Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Devo - Girl U Want

Devo was one of the most interesting, creative and visual bands of the late 1970's and early 1980's.  The band was formed in 1973 in Ohio and gradually evolved into a something resembling a new wave art rock band.  With their matching uniforms, planter headgear, and campy attitudes, they seemed unlikely rock stars.  However, they were also great and under-appreciated songwriters.  Nowhere is this more evident than on their 1980 album, Freedom of Choice.

The big hit from the album was "Whip It," which reached #14 on the singles chart.  The strange western/new wave video of that song also received a ton of airplay on MTV.  However, many critics, including your humble author, favored "Girl U Want" -- a song that is somehow both mechanical and rocking.

"Girl U Want" was inspired by the Knack's "My Sharona," although in typical Devo style, it is about unrequited love; the lyrics contrasting with the uptempo melody.  As to the video ... I still have no idea what it means.  But it is definitely interesting.

More interesting stuff:  Devo created a mellowish alternate version of this song around 1982 that is worth checking out.  Additionally, both Robert Palmer and Soundgarden covered the song, and had (unsurprisingly) really different interpretations.  All three of the above covers are on YouTube, and I highly recommend a listen.

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