“It’s a modern life but it’s not what you’re looking for…”
Devo, the Ohio-originated band comprised of brothers Bob and Mark Mothersbaugh, Gerald and Bob Casale, and Alan Meyers (RIP to Bob and Alan) was a well-known and highly-regarded group revered by many for their quirky and sardonic take on modern society. Since their inception in the early ’70s the group forged an impressive body of work and a style of their own, their music incorporating genres such as pop, rock, punk and new wave, with a surrealistic and nerdy approach. Short for De-Evolution, the group argued that American society and humankind in general was devolving, losing capability of rational thought and taking up a herd-like mentality, becoming cogs in the machine. Their music drove this point home, sounding downright robotic and odd… yet fascinating, which garnered the group much critical success and a cult-like following. Best known for their hit “Whip It,” still one of the most well-known tracks of the ’80s, the group definitely has had a major influence on many artists, and quite a few standout listens.
“Modern Life” is one of em, a listen which nails just what the group is about, sounding like a soundtrack to a most peculiar existential crisis. The concept is simple: Modern life blows, because we’re all stuck in our little bubbles of 9-to-5s and boring lives, caught up the the cycle of material things, money making, and cheap thrills while our real goals and dreams have been squashed long ago. Sounds like your life, right? Pretty depressing, right? Yeah’p, but it’s so damn catchy!
Take it from me, just don’t play this in your cubicle and you’ll be fine. Also, check out this fan-made video of the track, set to a campy ’60s commercial for Westinghouse appliances…It’s ridiculously fitting.