TITLE: Freedom of Choice
YEAR RELEASED: 1980
CHART ACTION: #22 US, #47 UK
SINGLES: Whip It (#14 US, #8 Dance, #51 UK), Freedom of Choice (#103 US)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Girl U Want, Gates of Steel
LINEUP: Mark Motherspaugh, Gerald V. Casale, Bob Motherspaugh, Bob Casale, Alan Myers
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The ‘breakthrough’ thanks to a fluky single, but it was a decent album.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Regrouping after a disappointing second album, Devo moved toward a synth pop sound while keeping guitars for flourishes and fills. The heavy lifting was on keyboards and synths.
Starting off strong with “Girl U Want”, the album announced Devo as a vanguard of synth music in the 80’s. “Whip It”, a fluky hit (catchy as heck, and the meaning zoomed past everyone almost). The closest song to the old sound is the title track, a martial call to individualism and a condemnation of complacency. Normal Devo stuff, as it were.
The album has some filler, but there’s no stunning lows or head scrathers as on their last album. The high points, though (including “Gates of Steel” and “Mr. B’s Ballroom” along with the other cuts listed above) raise up the grade.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: “Gates of Steel” was co-written with two friends from the Akron music scene.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. Live versions and demos..
GRADE A-: There’s some real Devo gold here, as it were!