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Devo's Freedom of Choice
Finally, after all that waiting, The Future arrived in 1980. Ohio art-rockers Devo had plainly prepared with their 1979 second LP Duty Now for the Future, and now it was go time. Propelled by the new decade's high-tech, free-market, pre-AIDS promise, 1980's Freedom of Choice would rocket what Devo co-founder Gerald Casale calls his "alternate universe, hermetically sealed, alien band" both into the arms of the Earthlings and back to their home planet in one scenic trip.
Before an artistic and commercial decline that resulted in a 20-year gap between Devo's last two studio records, Freedom of Choice made them curious, insurgent superstars, vindicated but ultimately betrayed by the birth of MTV. Their only platinum album represented the best of their unreplicable code: dead-serious tricksters, embracing conformity in order to destroy it with bullet-proof pop sensibility. Through first-hand accounts from the band and musical analysis set against an examination of new wave's emergence, the first-ever authorized book about Devo (with a foreword by Portlandia's Fred Armisen) explores the group's peak of success, when their hermetic seal cracked open to let in mainstream attention, a legion of new Devotees, and plenty of misunderstandings. "Freedom of Choice was the end of Devo innocence-it turned out to be the high point before the s***storm of a total cultural move to the right, the advent of AIDS, and the press starting to figure Devo out and think they had our number," says Casale. "It's where everything changes."
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What Reviewers Are Saying
Evie Nagy's 33 1/3 book on Devo's Freedom of Choice is fantastic, nerdy, swift and meticulous, and the book you have been waiting for if you even like Devo a little bit. * Jessica Hopper, Senior Editor, Pitchfork * ...a solid look back at the point where everything changed for Devo ... Nagy gets Devo's mix of nerdishness, humour, and serious political intent ... bringing together new quotes from Devo members, others involved with the album, people from Devo's circle over the years, as well as bits from contemporary articles to tell a story that's well worth reading for anyone interested alternative music or 1980s pop culture. * TheFifteenth * Interview -- PopMatters Excerpted -- Rolling Stone Interview * Bedford and Bowery * Excerpted * Fast Company * Nagy's look at Devo offers some great anecdotes for the spuds out there. There are coked-out stories about the band in the studio and on the road, as well as a look at how the oddball aesthetic of Devo left its fingerprints on nerd culture over the last few decades, maybe even initiating the whole geek chic thing. -- Hubert Vigilla * Ruby Hornet * Nagy has conducted interviews with the remaining Devo members, has quoted extensively from interviews and has told in detail the history of the album including the elaborate studio sessions with producer Robert Margouleff ... This is compulsory reading for fans. * HHV-mag (Bloomsbury translation) * Get straight! Go forward! There's no Hazmat jacket required to whip through Freedom of Choice, which motors through Devo's rich history with all the relentless precision and curveball flourishes of their greatest works, and-best of all-vividly renders the very human souls behind the automaton anthems that devolutionized an era." * Sean Howe, author of Marvel Comics: The Untold Story * "Spuds will love the nostalgia and the insiders' information in Devo's Freedom of Choice ... Non-spuds who think of Devo as a one-hit wonder will be surprised to read of Devo's impact and musical influence. Spuds and non-spuds alike will want to dust off their old LPs or cassettes, or pull up some songs on YouTube, and relive the early days of Devo, a great band ahead of its time." * Reading Glutton *