Not A Monumental Good Thing

« February 2006 »

Memo to Disney: WHAT THE FUCK?

I'm not naive enough to believe that with the Pixar buyout/reverse takeover, that Steve Jobs and John Lasseter will transform the company into a shining utopia of creativity. Other than killing Toy Story 3 and maybe firing all the costumed gropers at the theme parks, though, I hope somewhere on their To Do lists is heading down to the music division and putting a mercy bullet in the figurative collective head of... DEVO 2.0.

You may, perhaps, be familiar with the A*Teens? The manufactured group of moppets who covered Abba songs? Well, Devo 2.0 is just like that, only younger and without the strict attention to gender-ratio replication. Five well-groomed teens of indeterminate age, but obviously young enough that their secondary sexual characteristics are still blinking and wondering what that bright light is. Singing Devo songs. In stores everywhere March 14.

Now, I don't have a huge emotional attachment to the music of Devo. I don't think they're some inviolate pinnacle of artistry. But that doesn't mean I'm ready to acquiesce to Devo 2.0. Whom I discovered via a commercial on deep Disney cable. Sixty seconds of retina-searing, eardrum-shattering horror. Beginning, of course, with Nicole, Michael, Jackie, Nathan, and Kane belting out "Whip It".

Those names, by the way, imply everything you think they imply - carefully assembled by agents and managers to create the proper calculated effect. Distinguishable without being different. Covering the entire spectrum from "white and blonde" to "white and brunette". In the bio of lead singer Nicole, it say she was "excited and shocked to find out she was going to be the lead singer of Devo 2.0", which says it all right there.

Well, not quite all. See, most of you will have learned by now that when I say something is horrifying, I am not, as they say, fucking around. I know from awful, and I hope you know I know from awful. So you will take my word for it, and my words are, despite their quantity, insufficient.

I will spare you the music. Don't go looking for it. For the most part, it's exactly what you'd expect. Aped inflections, soulless backing tracks even by New Wave standards, vocals superior to a Kidz Bop album only because there are fewer voices assaulting your dome. But I have to give special attention to "The Boy You Want".

The unfortunate gender swap is necessary, of course, because of lead singer Nicole. She's the one whose jazz hands have turned against her in a desperate, and ultimately futile, attempt to save humanity. The end result comes out like some kind of short-bus Donnas song with extra keyboards, and will twist your soul like Moebius origami.

At this point, I'm sure, you are wondering what horrible, twisted licensing agreement allowed this to happen? Did some shady lawyer invoke an unread clause? Hold tight, because it's time to turn to the press release for ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"The original members of DEVO re-recorded ten of their old songs (some with revamped lyrics) and two brand new ones with DEVO 2.0... The platinum-selling band hand-picked kids Nicole, Jackie, Nathan, Michael, and Kane to don the famous 'energy domes' and become DEVO 2.0."

And if that isn't enough to make you hide under the bed, remember this - if Mark Mothersbaugh didn't put money away for his later years, you know damn well Scott Stapp hasn't, so let's all hope civilization collapses before the 2020's.