Devo 2.0: DEV2.0


Format: CD/DVD 2-pack

Label: Walt Disney Records

Country: US

Year: 2006


The true genius shudders at incompleteness, and usually prefers silence to saying something which is not everything it should be. – Edgar Allan Poe

It’s my hope that- if nothing else- this blog will occasionally provide a service, bringing music to the attention of those that may have inadvertently overlooked a real gem. This is one of those gems…

The Devo 2.0 project was straightforward in concept- Take a bunch of kids, give them Devo songs to cover, throw a bunch of Disney’s money at it, and watch the whole mess crash and burn under its own ridiculous weight.

dev20fSimple, right? Except something went horribly wrong… or horribly right, depending on your point of view. The music is actually GOOD. Well produced and executed, the vocals are more than competent. The songs are catchy, family friendly (gasp), with a generous spattering of delicious subversive irony that old school Devo fans require.

Speaking of the older hardcore fans- where were they when all this was going down? You’d think they’d be all over this shit like Oprah on a honey baked ham! Yet I never hear Devo 2.0’s named mentioned; looking at Amazon there’s a scant FIVE reviews of this album. I don’t get it.

Maybe people thought this was a joke, or at best Devo sticking it to ‘the man’ by working hand-in-hand with Disney and churning out dumbed down mainstream swill suitable only for tween radio filler in the process? Ironically they would be right… but that’s only half the equation. Admittedly I haven’t delved deeply into the copious amounts of interview footage on disc two where Devo (the original) wax poetic and get all conceptual. For the purposes of this review I don’t find it necessary. I get it.

Devo 2.0 are a delicious, bubbly, extremely listenable slap in the face to pretentious music snobs everywhere. Perhaps calling it a ‘challenge’ would be more accurate- if you embraced the heady conceptualism of the Devo treatise back in the day, then Devo 2.0 must be welcomed as well. Their mere existence taunts you with a catch-22 that demands your participation and questions your very integrity as a Devo fan.

Coming back down to earth…

It was touted at the time that the music was actually performed by the kids themselves, but even then it seemed highly implausible. The original Devo provide the actual music with the exception of vocalist Nicole Stoehr. The lyrics of the classic Devo songs were changed often and freely. This was done to make some of the more ‘adult’ themes of the classics more family friendly, but to me the unique lyrics are an amusing alternative and a cute breath of fresh air to songs I’ve been listening to for twenty plus years.

Disc one is audio:

  • That’s Good
  • Peek A Boo
  • Whip It
  • Boy U Want
  • Uncontrollable Urge
  • Cyclops
  • The Winner
  • Big Mess
  • Jerkin’ Back ‘N Forth
  • Through Being Cool
  • Freedom Of Choice
  • Beautiful Choice

Disc two is video:

  • That’s Good
  • Big Mess
  • Whip It
  • Freedom of Choice
  • Uncontrollable Urge
  • Peek A Boo
  • Cyclops
  • Beautiful World
  • Boy U Want

Plus DVD bonus features:

  • DEV2.0 Interviews
  • DEV2.0 Photo Gallery
  • Why DEV2.0?
  • Original De-evolutionists
  • DEV2.0 Animations
Singers Mark Mothersbaugh and Nicole Stoehr discuss the craft

Singers Mark Mothersbaugh and Nicole Stoehr discuss the craft

So you get an audio disc, a DVD with nine full videos, probably close to an hour’s worth of bonus interviews (many with original Devo), still galleries, and an ‘animation’ section which features all of the slick animated backgrounds used in the videos. The videos themselves (see example above) are bright, colorful, and a real joy to watch, bringing an extra layer of infantile subversion to the proceedings. Graphically the package design itself is a work of art, staying true to the Devo design aesthetic while updating it for this most special mutation.

Considering this set can be had on Amazon used for about four bucks there’s no excuse not to get one. If, after picking one up, you fail to see the brilliance here you clearly have no sense of humor nor irony… or just don’t grasp what Devo was all about in the first place.

Fun FactDevo 2.0’s keyboardist was Jacqueline Emerson, better known as Foxface from ‘The Hunger Games.’

Fun Fact 2Supposedly this album concept- with cutsie kids taking the reins of a well-established pop group- was meant to be an ongoing Disney project. The Go-Go’s were the next band slated to get the tweeny treatment, but alas it appears this never came to fruition…


One thought on “Devo 2.0: DEV2.0

  1. Pingback: Film, Music - Review: All That Glitters Is A Maresnest - Kittysneezes

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