Old Traditions are New Again,
This review is from: New Traditionalists (Deluxe Remastered Edition) [Explicit] (MP3 Music)
The long awaited reissue and remaster of Devo's 1981 "New Traditionalists" is well worth the wait. I've had this CD in three different forms now; an early 90's Japanese import, stolen from me and replaced by the Infinite Zero version, and finally, this. I had also read the saga of the disintegrating master-tape a long time back, but this version is the best "New Traditionalists" has ever sounded. More punch, thicker bass and bottom, much better definition.
There's also the fact that Devo was on a creative roll at the time. They'd just had a major hit with "Freedom Of Choice," had done major TV shows and concerts, and this was meant to be the album that kept that momentum going forward, moving ahead.
New Traditionalists" found DEVO in that precarious state. Their arty irony and brainy pop smarts had made them a flavor of the moment and suddenly the whole world was chanting "are we not men?" It both emboldened them and deepened their cynicism. "Through Being Cool" rallied the alienated to rise against the ninnies and the twits at the same time "Beautiful World" wearily declared that it might have been a beautiful world for you, but "it's not for me." After all, how could you rail against the lemming/jock mentality when they were the ones donning energy domes at the football games and singing "Whip It" at corporate synergy rallies?
But having been touched by the gold finger of hit making, DEVO did their best to fill an album with enthusiastic pogo anthems about their favorite topics, love sex and the willful decline of the human condition. "Jerking Back and Forth" and "Love Without Anger" are typical visions of human relationships ala DEVO. (The stop motion doll video for "L.W.A." is among the band's best.) "Going Under" had them tinkering with their sound a little.
While it charted about the same as its predecessor, none of the singles performed as did "Whip It" and the record was considered a commercial disappointment. (Oddly enough, "Working In a Coal Mine" came from the movie "Heavy Metal" and was inserted as a single into original album pressings, was a bonus track on the Infinite CD, and is left off here. Also missing, the "Devo Saves The Children" poster art.) The bonus tracks are nothing much to speak of, other than they show what molds "Super Thing," "That's Good" and "Patterns" were cast from. What I am really hoping for now is the ultimate remasters on the remaining Devo albums, even "Smooth Noodle Maps."