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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo

Devo

1978

Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo
Album Summary

Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! is the debut studio album by the American new wave band Devo. It was originally released in August 1978 on the Warner Bros. label (Virgin Records in Europe). Produced by Brian Eno, the album was recorded between October 1977 and February 1978, primarily in Cologne, West Germany. The album received somewhat mixed reviews from critics and peaked at No. 78 on the U.S. Billboard chart and No. 12 on the UK Albums Chart. Recent reviews of the album have been more uniformly positive and the album has been included on several retrospective "best of" lists from publications including Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, and Spin. On May 6, 2009, Devo performed the album live in its entirety for the first time as part of the Don't Look Back concert series curated by All Tomorrow's Parties. On September 16, 2009, Warner Bros. and Devo announced a re-release of Q: Are We Not Men? and Freedom of Choice, with a tour performing both albums.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.1

Votes

9719
Genres
Post Punk
New Wave

Reviews

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Tue Apr 13 2021
5

Produced by Brian Eno, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! was a seminal touchstone in the development of American new wave. It was one of the first pop albums to use synthesizers as an important textural element, and although they mostly play a supporting role in this guitar-driven set, the innovation began to lay the groundwork for the synth-pop explosion that would follow very shortly. It also doesn't hurt that this is arguably Devo's strongest set of material, though several brilliant peaks can overshadow the remainder. Of those peaks, the most definitive are the de-evolution manifesto "Jocko Homo" (one of the extremely few rock anthems written in 7/8 time) and a wicked deconstruction of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," which reworks the original's alienation into a spastic freak-out that's nearly unrecognizable. But Q: Are We Not Men? also had a conceptual unity that bolstered the consistent songwriting, making it an essential document of one of new wave's most influential bands.

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Fri Mar 12 2021
1

What a waste of time and energy. Why this is on the list, I have no idea but it needs to be removed. It's just utter shit.

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Fri Apr 16 2021
5

So nice I listed to it twice. It's only 35 minutes long. I had this, on vinyl. In 1980. Maybe even earlier.

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Mon Feb 22 2021
5

Probably got the fifth star because I listened while going for a run and it helped me along

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Sun Feb 14 2021
5

Great satire delivered in solid music

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Fri May 07 2021
5

Great album! It was like a crazy mix of the ramones and the beach boys

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Wed Apr 07 2021
4

Super fun and energetic. Could see most of these songs being in a movie soundtrack.

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Wed Feb 03 2021
4

But Q: Are We Not Men? also had a conceptual unity that bolstered the consistent songwriting, making it an essential document of one of new wave's most influential bands.

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Mon Dec 20 2021
4

dunno if i'm a man or devo any more.

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Wed Apr 14 2021
2

invested 34 minutes during my morning ablutions to discover i do not like Devo. that talk-singing with shitty surf rock riffs doesnt do it for me. i cant believe i listened to the whole thing

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Tue Nov 03 2020
1

Starts with the fucking Devo guy singing "yeah, yuh-yuh-yeah yeah yeah!" over and over, moves on to the least essential Rolling Stones cover in history, and somehow goes downhill from there. All of the thumbs down. Best track: Space Junk

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Mon Apr 19 2021
4

This album kicks ass. 70s pop-punk with fat riffs and some ethereal 80s sounds that were clearly ahead of their time.

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Wed Jul 14 2021
4

For me, listening to this album for the first time all the way through was a bit like discovering as a kid that your dad cheats on his taxes or keeps porno mags under the bed, in other words that he's a not a superhero, but just a regular flawed human being. The problem is, I've had Devo's greatest hits collection for a decade or so and I guess a part of me was expecting that kind of unabashed brilliance from their debut album. Completely unfair. Most of Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! is merely very good rather than brilliant. One nice surprise is that, even though the songwriting isn't for the most part at the level of masterpieces like Gut Feeling/Slap Your Mammy or Jocko Homo, the production completely slaps. For a pop album, QAWNMWAD easily boasts the most well thought out synth patches of 1978. Yes, getting an appropriate synth sound is easier when your stock in trade is satire, like Devo, or tongue in cheek pop deconstruction, like The Cars, but the range of decent synth sounds on QAWNMWAD is impressive nonetheless. I suspect a lot of that is producer Brian Eno's doing. He also does a beautiful job of balancing the various elements of Devo's sound. The guitars are crisp and the vocals have just the right amount of echo and reverb. I love the way the bass is processed on Mongoloid, with a clean, springy sound up front with almost imperceptible tweaks that create depth. Eno's production manages to be both immediate and deep. You can elect to groove along on the surface, but there's a lot going on in these tracks if you care to drill down. Another thing I gained an appreciation for is the basic musicianship of the band, which is apparent even in the lesser tracks. Drummer Alan Myers is the glue that holds the band together. His big robotic beats are a major part of Devo's sound, and he handles the tricky time signatures and section shifts with aplomb. Singer Mark Mothersbaugh is a maniac--I love his phrasing and energy, which never flags. It's not easy to do full on satire and rock out at the same time. But what about the songs themselves? Well, most of the compositions, like Come Back Jonee, are built on short snippets with layered, interlocking rhythms. Much of the interest comes in these tunes comes from the performances, the arrangements, the production touches, and the amusing and thoughtful lyrics, which is admittedly far from nothing. But these songs feel like an additional section or two or some twist would have pushed them into classic territory. The one discovery here is Too Much Paranoias, which is possibly just as nuts as Gut Feeling/Slap Your Mammy although a lot less commercial. Yes, it's built on one riff, but the melody is practically atonal, and there's that improvised bridge in the middle of the tune. Pure insanity, in a good way. I dunno. Yes, Devo's style is unique and a lot of fun. The playing, production, and arrangements are first rate. And there are a handful of outright classics on this album. But I can't give this a 5/5 because of there are just too many songs that feel like underachievers.

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Tue Jul 27 2021
5

Seminal …. Fruits all through the 80s and beyond … with Devo and Dave Byrne/talking heads … Something was brewing

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Fri Feb 11 2022
5

Like listening to a blueprint of what was to come in 1980s.

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Sun Dec 18 2022
5

Kanonplatta med åtskilliga hits. Ägde skivan som ung och den gick varm på skivspelaren. Mongoloid är en av världens bästa låtar dessutom.

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Sun Apr 09 2023
5

This was an awesome album. Great recommendation.

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Mon Apr 10 2023
5

Unnngh - love this Devo album! I saw them live at a festival in Japan in like 2008, and they looked like a bunch of portly middle aged men in yellow jumpsuits and funny hats, but they sounded exactly the same. I was convinced they were miming and kinda bummed out, but then towards the end of the set the singer started to get slightly out of breath and it became apparent that they’re just awesome and can recreate their sound from the glory days at will…. 😆 Fave track - "Gut Feeling / (Slap Your Mammy)" is just so so good. Love the moody intro to "Mongoloid" too...

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Wed Apr 12 2023
5

Devo arrive at their first album fully formed - a bunch of geeky clowns dismantling rock 'n' roll on record, all in service of a sinister, shadowy credo that humanity is going backwards. You're never too sure whether they're joking or not, and that ambivalence lurking in the heart of Q: Are We Not Men? forms a huge part of their appeal. The other is their weird, stiff, hysterical motorik music. There's not a bad track here, and many real highlights. Strange sounds, played with intent and determination.

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Tue May 09 2023
5

PREFS : TOUT MOINS PREF : RIEN

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Mon Dec 20 2021
4

Q. What does SHACK eat for breakfast? A. Lamb chops.

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Thu Mar 10 2022
4

This is very much music of its era, the late 70s where electronic music and synthesisers were becoming quite common. Music was changing,to me this wss the foundation of the 80s pop sound. There are similarities with Talking Heads. This is fun, humerous music and less confrontational than the contemporary punk sound coming from the Clash, the Pistols and Iggy Pop. it is fun to listento, but sounds very 70s

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Fri Apr 07 2023
4

This is one of those albums I bought recently because everyone should own this record on vinyl. For novelty and nostalgic reasons, Devo is one of those one-of-a kind bands that had an interesting concept and took it as far as they could. I first saw them on TV (SNL or Fridays?) around this time and well, they were hilarious! Personally, I liked them best on the early albums, as their sound was fresh and exciting on the debut, but loses steam towards the end. Still an enjoyable listen and you can't help, but visualize those goofy hats.

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Tue Apr 25 2023
4

Perhaps the most bizarre album I have ever enjoyed - it really is very strange. I'm not sure it is one of the best 1001, or one of the most important 1001, but it is certainly interesting and I am glad to have heard it. Pretty much every track has the germ of a pop song in it, but then buried under many layers of bizarreness.

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Wed May 03 2023
4

What a treat - so easy to enjoy the punchy and unique stylings and fun instrumentation. Seems completely original and innovative compared to some of the other rock and post-punk outfits of the time. Weird and a total joy. Fave track: Come Back Jonee

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Wed May 03 2023
4

Really fun record that still feels timely, with exciting angular melodies and often quite funny lyrics. Only mildly dated by its production. Can hear the influence in a lot of today's post punk. Fave track: Too Much Paranoias

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Wed May 03 2023
4

listened on my lunch break, deserved a more sincere listen and review sorry bout it. Liked what I was hearing 3.5/5

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Thu May 04 2023
4

This album rules. Super fun, very unique, lots to love about it. I sometimes like how subtle the electronic instrument use is, other times I feel like it could be a little more emphasized, but overall a solid record.

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Fri Jun 23 2023
4

Q: Is this yet another classic album produced by Brian Eno? A: Why, yes it is.

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Wed Apr 12 2023
3

I don't think I've ever listened to a Devo album all the way through before. As someone who grew up with MTV, they made such a big visual impact on my young eyeballs that the music has always been somewhat secondary. And I'm still not positive if I'm supposed to take the music itself seriously... but I kinda don't care. There's a general tone and feeling that came through while listening to the collection of songs here that I enjoyed overall. I don't like the Stones cover and I agree with Craig that the songs aren't as strong as I'd hoped for, especially thinking in comparison to that album we listened to recently from The Cars. But again this one is more about the feeling and it gave me a good one. Plus, I got to have a meeting with Mark Mothersbaugh once and he couldn't have been nicer. Their offices had weird instruments laying around and was exactly what I hoped it would be. Towards the end of the meeting, Mark had to leave to go talk to David O'Russell about scoring one of his films and asked if I'd rather go in his place. Ha. Top 10 moment in my entire film endeavor.

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Sun Jun 26 2022
2

Certainly they transcend the novelty act trap (and memories) but don’t get to actual substance or any real merit beyond the occasional chuckle or non-negligible cleverness. “Satisfaction’ works pretty well and “Gut Feeling” is the closest to straight-up effectiveness in the New Wave/indie rock vein – but there’s a saminess has the satire wearing thin before too long. One likes the commitment to doing something different and pretty damn original without loving the output. In time, the funny hats would make it hard to take the music seriously; one wonders if they were taking the piss out of their fans or who took whom too seriously (or not seriously enough). One doesn’t think enough of the product to be inspired to consider the depth or poignancy of the social satire (consumer culture is a pretty fat target) or how this fares as performance art. (That it was on the radio makes pop music the main genre. Were they merely a less serious Talking Heads? Were they outdone by their spiritual heirs (e.g., They Might Be Giants, Dead Milkmen and Magnetic Fields)? 2.5 > 2

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Mon Mar 13 2023
1

Irritating for the most part and I felt like it was an inside joke that I didn’t get.

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Sat May 15 2021
5

New wave that sounds like something new, and not Duran Duran or whatever. There’s an energy here that is really infectious to listen to, exciting. Their cover of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” sounds like it should have been their song, not the Stones’. Favourite track: “Jocko Homo.”

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Fri Jul 09 2021
5

5/5 - well that was unexpected! Off to Dead Kennedy's and Sex Pistols now

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Tue May 25 2021
5

The moment the first song started I knew I would like this album. The take on "Can't get no satisfaction" is interesting, but for me one of the weakest tracks on the album.

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Thu Nov 04 2021
5

Such manic oddball fun. Overseen by Bowie and Eno in Conny Plank's studio near Cologne so it comes with some serious avant-pop pedigree. I really like their "dehumanized" approach and the bizarre concept they have going. Probably the best album of their career, hitting a home run right off the bat. Certainly among the greatest things that ever came out of Ohio.

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Fri Dec 31 2021
5

What a great album . I remember watching them play Satisfaction on SNL and not knowing what to think. Now I just think they're brilliant and ahead of their time. 5 🌟

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Thu Apr 14 2022
5

Classic! What's not to like?

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Wed Apr 27 2022
5

A great album. It's absolutely criminal that many people see Devo as nothing more than a "one hit wonder". I'd probably give it a 4 for my enjoyment and an additional star for its influence and my assumption that others have probably given this too low of a score.

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Thu Jul 28 2022
5

Love this album. The synths sound strange in all the perfect ways, it's catchy and weird, but it's not so out there that it's not enjoyable. It's just excellent.

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Thu Jul 28 2022
5

The first 4 Devo records are all great. This is my favorite. There is a nice blend of instruments and synths before they really settled on their sound.

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Thu Jul 28 2022
5

Genius record with all the weirdness and musical brilliance that made Devo the greatest thing I had ever heard at the time. This is something nobody had ever heard before. Catchy, fun, odd, anti-normal, punk, new wave synth, and one of the greatest covers of all time (Satisfaction) - this record packs so much into 11 tracks. It’s even more surprising today to think that Bowie and Eno were part of this. Six stars if I could.

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Thu Jul 28 2022
5

Such a great album!! I love the raw punk edges the band had with the new wave sound. It's so damn good.

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Thu Aug 18 2022
5

Fuckin banger. In my collection

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Thu Sep 01 2022
5

This is one of my favorites. Good from start to finish.

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Fri Sep 23 2022
5

Yeah yeah yeah yeah ye ye ye ye ye ye ye ye YEAH The satisfaction cover is actually so good The lyrics and substance of Mongoloid are problematic but the music goes hard Lots of Talking Heads vibes which makes sense since this was produced by Brian Eno Why tf did they spell Johnny “Jonee” Wow loved this album so much more than I thought I would

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Fri Nov 04 2022
5

I love this! It's an essential work of burgeoning punk/new wave fusion. Uncontrollable Urge is a perfect opening track and that horribly jarring cover of Satisfaction is glorious in all its subversive cheekiness. Devo rules.

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Wed Dec 21 2022
5

My first Devo album, it holds up

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Fri Dec 30 2022
5

New wave classic from the end of 70s, and together with 'Freedom of Choice', my favourite Devo album. The first four tracks could be skipped but the sequence Mongoloid - Shrivel Up = 5-star new wave songs.

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Wed Jan 04 2023
5

Innovative and ahead of their time. They weren't afraid to just be themselves, and it shows. At the time nobody knew what the hell to make of them. Now, it's pretty obvious the impact that they had on a vast majority of 80s new wave and alternative music.

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Fri Jan 27 2023
5

Geniuses at the top of their game

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Fri Jan 27 2023
5

Look at those smartass with funny hats making some of the most advanced new wave music you will ever hear. I love those guys.

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Sun Jan 29 2023
5

The rhythms are airtight, the synths punchy, Mark Mothersbaugh’s vocals yelping along at just the right pitch. But the magic of Devo really takes hold once their real meaning clicks: wicked social satire masterfully painted with sci-fi and kitsch.

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Sun Feb 19 2023
5

Aww hell yeah. This is some great shit. It's super fucking weird and didn't sound like anything else at the time. Great music and tons of fun.

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Thu Mar 09 2023
5

Fantastic album by a fantastic band. I think people pass Devo off as a one hit wonder, but they couldn't be more wrong. They're a electronic punk band with a message of devolution & were founded after the founding members witnessed the Kent State Massacre. If you listen carefully, those aren't just pop songs, and I'm grateful to have seen them live last year at Cruel World Fest. The energy was off the charts complete with the band ripping their signature suits to shreds. Do yourselves a favor & watch their old 80s shows on YouTube. Nearly the entire album is made of my favorites. I remember first hearing their version of (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction on the movie Casino & was amazed. How in the world can a band recreate THAT song so perfectly? Again, wow. This album is pure joy for me. 5 stars.

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Tue Mar 14 2023
5

The best. I remember how quirky and strange this sounded when it came out, especially Satisfaction. Now it just sounds like a cool cover version.

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Wed Apr 05 2023
5

LOVE THIS. I've listened to this album before but I enjoyed it more this time around.

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Sat May 13 2023
5

What can I say? This is my favorite album released in 1978, beating other incredible LPs such as Kraftwerk' *The Man Machine*, Wire's *Chairs Missing*, Brian Eno' *Music For Airports* or Talking Heads' *More Songs About Buildings And Food". Of course it's gonna be in my own list. Just like those great 1978 albums, *Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo* is one of a kind. It's totally weird and yet incredibly catchy. Tracks like "Incontrollable Urge" and the legendary "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" cover make for a great start, and later on, you have "Mongoloid" and its bouncy bassline, infectious guitar riff and wry lyrics, "Jock Homo" and its crazy vocals, "Shrivel-Up" and its off-kilter synths, or "Gut Feeling", with its enticing arpeggios and insane build-up. Oh, can someone explain to me why this track is not available on Spotify?--without it you don't have a full picture of the dynamics side two go through! Those cuts, along with the rest, suggest a self-contained universe. A nonsensical one, sure. But one that's relatable once you understand what the band is all about: making fun of the whole human race, and have a blast about it! In a way, this record is a mix of all the other albums I've quoted up there--except *Music For Airports*, but since Brian Eno produced this debut, there's still a direct connection to him here (Eno also produced Talking Heads LPs around that time, which shows how important he was for both New Wave and *No* Wave around those years...) Devolution is also a funny concept that hasn't aged a day, if only because of our current "idiotic" time. Early post-punk has many treasures like that, and his here is one of the most precious one. I wish I had more time to talk about this record today. But I only have time left to give a dumb "grading". 5/5, then. Good luck for the album that comes next! Number of albums left to review: 561 Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens: 214 (including this one) Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: 102 Albums from the list I will certainly *not* include in mine (many others are more essential to me): 127

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Thu Aug 03 2023
5

Classic album. Devo is practically their own genre

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Tue Aug 08 2023
5

Landmark album of unbridled kookiness.

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Sun Aug 13 2023
5

I love this band and I love this album, and coincidentally I just listened to this a couple times not more than 2-3 days ago. It's a phenomenal record from a creative force.

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Fri Sep 08 2023
5

Album 160 of 1001 Devo - Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo Rating : 5 / 5 Favorite Track : Uncontrollable Urge I like this album. Nice representation of post-punk/new wave. Was about to rate it lower but decided that I'm not an album critic but a listener who is rating according to my level of personal enjoyment. Fun album. This genre needs some representation on my top rated albums and this one will do that just fine.

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Sun Sep 17 2023
5

A genre and era-defining album for Devo, and one of the best debut albums I’ve ever heard. This is a perfect album in so many ways, long one of my favorites. It’s cold, angular, strident and unabashedly weird. It’s smart and satirical and precise in its delivery in a way that should make it seem overly aloof, but this is music that’s also crisp and catchy and just so much fun to listen to. For a band as singularly strange as Devo is, they’re also incredibly engaging and likeable, which is the secret sauce that keeps this album from being remembered as some bizarre manifesto for art school kids and weirdos (I mean, it’s also that, but I mean that as a great compliment). Add to that the best cover of a Stones song ever recorded, and you’ve got something really special. Fave Songs (All songs, from most to least favorite): (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, Mongoloid, Uncontrollable Urge, Praying Hands, Gut Feeling / (Slap Your Mammy), Jocko Homo, Come Back Jonee, Too Much Paranoias, Space Junk, Shrivel-Up, Sloppy (I Saw My Baby Gettin')

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Thu Oct 19 2023
5

This was fun! I can’t describe it better than the Apple Music blurb, which called it “pop music from a dystopian novel”, tracking the group’s jokey “space caveman” idea that society was devolving rather than evolving.

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Mon Dec 18 2023
5

This album upset my dog. 5 stars.

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Thu Jan 11 2024
5

Amazing! They were way ahead of their time!

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Fri Jan 12 2024
5

Some of the drumming and background seems almost Beach Boys-esque, and I hear lots of precursors/similarities to the Talking Heads. Also just like, weird electronic experimentation that's pretty fun.

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Wed Jan 24 2024
5

I love it. Weird lyricism, and a sound that feels like it's permanently on the verge of falling apart, yet somehow stays on track.

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Mon Feb 12 2024
5

An obvious all-time fav and classic. Staple in any collection. Gut feeling, space junk, come back jonee, mogoloid.... Absolute favorite.

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Thu Feb 15 2024
5

So so good! I haven’t listened to this one in a while, and it was really fun to revisit. A terrific debut!

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Mon Sep 21 2020
4

Devo sure is weird. Glad I listened the Frankenstein-like cut of the album + six live tracks + three B-sides as listed on Spotify. That meant I got Whip It again. Wild that "Mongoloid" doesn't cause more Discourse.

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Fri Feb 26 2021
4

Wonderfully odd, and a precursor to an onslaught of ska and new wave sounds. I don't have a good reason to like it, since the vocals are absolutely the type I despise, but it works for me in this combo. Still, this isn't an album I would reach for as readily as the other 5-stars, so 4 stars it is!

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Thu Jul 08 2021
4

A very curious album with sounds that probably had never been heard before. Very cool

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Thu May 27 2021
4

Devo is weird but I like it.

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Sat May 29 2021
4

Maybe the only Talking Heads rip-off band worth a damn

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Sun Feb 14 2021
4

This is a solid album! The music is great, the concepts are wild -- it's all around a good/interesting listen.

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Fri May 21 2021
4

Devo is a one-of-a-kind band. Though they weren't quite coneheads yet, you could sense their weird nerd-iness and quirky delivery through many of their songs. The album starts with a banger and follows up with a cover that rivals the original. Devo rules at playing their songs in their little oddball world. Not ever song is a winner but this album is an undeniable new wave cornerstone. We Are DEVO!

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Tue Apr 20 2021
4

Finest band in plastic flowerpot hats ever. Really great album.

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Thu Jul 08 2021
4

Quirky, nerdy, urgent and paranoid post punk/new wave/surf rock with tons of humor and satire. Weird, but in that good way.

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Tue May 11 2021
4

It was alright. Kind of punk-ish

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Sun Jun 06 2021
4

Too much paranoias is a track that fits in perfectly with what alternative rock would become in the 90’s. Gut feeling is a bop

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