Devo Song of the Day: Turn Around

When I was a seven-year-old kid, my brother or sister purchased Devo's "Whip It" as a 45. The song was a big hit, and somehow they got a copy of it. That 45 must have been played a hundred times in my house in Lynchburg.

The B-side, however, was not. "Turn Around" was not on the radio, and I don't think any of us felt the need to play it. Why would we? It wasn't hip. It wasn't cool. 

As I grew up, I forgot entirely about Devo, and what I thought was just a complete one-hit wonder. I remember Weird Al did a parody song called "Dare to be Stupid" that helped confirm this sense that Devo was just a joke, and not one that had any sort of longevity to it. 

Somewhere during college in the early 1990's, I heard Nirvana's cover of the song, and thought it was great. It reminded me of the single, which was probably gathering dust in my parent's basement. 

I wish I could say that Devo helped pave the way for me to enjoy music my entire life, but the reality is that the band did not have much influence on my life until I uncovered a 2007 blog post on Rock Town Hall that made me realize I'd been missing so much. They were not my Gateway band. 

We'll get into all of that later. Right now, I want to inaugurate this series by simply writing about Turn Around, a track whose lyrics are with me today as I continue my introspective quest to figure out who I am, what makes me me, and who is ultimately to blame for all the problems in my life.

Turn Around helps me realize that I'm the only person to blame for anything, and I'm the only person who's going to fix anything. This track reminds me that it's important to look at myself without aspersions. Imagine Burns' "To a Louse" with a fast-paced beat and a monologue halfway through!

There's a reason why Nirvana decided to cover this track. Their cover brings the lyrics out more for me. The track also follows the A-B-A pattern that Kurt Cobain said he learned from the Pixies.


However, I am not posting a link to the Weird Al parody. I love the guy, but as I hope to describe in the blog posts to come, the parody helped obscure my ability to know a band that is much more influential than anyone really knows. Including me, because I have no way to measure that sort of thing. But I can write my reflections and observations and other musings.

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