Shout is the album that is pointed to most as the literal beginning of the “de-evolution” of Devo. I’m here to say you should go back and give the much maligned sixth studio album a second chance. Shout is full of catchy hooks, some of the best synthpop riffs of the early 80’s, and is honestly one of the bands most accessible works. The 1980’s were most certainly a fickle time in the music industry, especially in America. Had Devo continued to write quirky and discordant music they would have most certainly been written off as the decade was starting to shift toward serious music. As the band evolved into a more commercially palatable band they were shunned for not staying the same. It was honestly a lose/lose situation. How any new wave fan can hear these songs and not enjoy them is beyond me.
R U Experienced? (First single off of Shout)
What Devo has on offer with Shout is one of the best pure pop albums of 1984. Unfortunately as they campaigned that the guitar was dead and that the synthesizer would take over music, 1984 proved them very wrong. Iron Maiden released their iconic Powerslave record, Judas Priest released their platinum selling Defenders of the Faith album, Van Halen released 1984, and though they dabbled with synths in Jump, the opening riff of Panama is enough to say that guitars weren’t going anywhere. To make matters worse, hair metal was gaining ground and was soon to take over the airwaves and MTV. With all that in mind, the throwback 60’s style synthesized pop tracks that Devo were offering seemed out of place.
We Are Here To Go (Second single off of Shout)
Devo would see their label drop them, have their tour cancelled, and their visibility in the public eye diminish severely after Shout was released. There are some albums that are worthy of this notoriety but this isn’t one of them. Devo would spend the next 4 years on hiatus and never really recovered from the blow they took after the fallout of this record. It wasn’t until the 2000’s that respect for what Devo had done in pioneering new wave and synthpop music that it was “okay” to listen to these tracks again. I’m taking the opportunity now to say give Shout a chance. Pure pop fun is the only outcome, and who can say no to that?
Shout (Third and final single off of Shout)