Shout (Devo album)

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Shout
Devoshout.jpg
Studio album by Devo
Released October 9, 1984 (1984-10-09)
Recorded July 1983–April 1984
Studio Record Plant, Los Angeles, California
Genre
Length 32:48
Label
Producer Devo
Devo chronology
Theme from Doctor Detroit
(1983)
Shout
(1984)
E-Z Listening Disc
(1987)
Singles from Shout
  1. "Are You Experienced?"
    Released: 1984
  2. "Here to Go"
    Released: 1985
  3. "Shout"
    Released: 1985
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 1.5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau C[2]

Shout is the sixth studio album by the American new wave band Devo. It was originally released in October 1984, on the labels Warner Bros., and Virgin, two years after their previous album, Oh, No! It's Devo. The album was recorded over a period of ten months between July 1983 and April 1984, in sessions that took place at the Record Plant in Los Angeles, California. The album retained the synthpop sound of their previous records, with an extensive focus on the then-new Fairlight CMI Series IIx digital sampling synthesizer. Despite the popularity of synthpop in 1984, the album was a critical and commercial failure, peaking at only No. 83 on the Billboard 200, and ultimately led to Warner Bros. dropping the band from their label. "Shout" was the second Devo album in which co-founder and bass player Gerald Casale sang the majority of the lead vocals, which are usually performed by Mark Mothersbaugh.

Following its release, the band went on hiatus for four years. Although the band would release two studio albums through Enigma Records, they would not release another album through Warner Bros. until Something for Everybody in 2010. The band themselves have been quite vocal in that they were less satisfied with the album and Gerald Casale once said on Twitter in response to a question from a fan that recording the album was even "too painful to talk about."[3]

As with every Devo album, the band developed a new look for the album, eschewing the black T-shirts and slacks with white "Spud Ring" collars, and replacing them with the "Chinese-American Friendship Suits."

Background[edit]

The album was the first of two Devo albums to use the Fairlight CMI, the other being 1988's Total Devo. These approaches further pushed the sound of the guitar into the background of their music. Shout was the final album by the 1976–1985 line-up of Devo, with their third and most prominent drummer Alan Myers leaving the band shortly after the album's release. According to the book We Are Devo, Myers cited a lack of creative fulfilment as his reason for leaving the band, something that he had felt since Devo's move to Los Angeles in the late 1970s due to the band's increased use of drum machines and electronics which had greatly reduced Myers' role in the band, even though Gerald Casale had begged him not to leave.[4]

One of Shout's singles is "Are You Experienced?", a Jimi Hendrix cover that carried on the Devo tradition of radically transforming notable songs, which began with their 1977 cover of the Rolling Stones song "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction." The chorus melody of another Hendrix song, "Third Stone from the Sun," is transformed into a backwards guitar solo partway through the track. Similarly, "The 4th Dimension" incorporates the guitar hook from the Beatles' song "Day Tripper", "Jurisdiction of Love" contains a few notes from "Love Machine" by The Miracles and "Here to Go" quotes a bit of the music to Wilson Pickett hit "Land of a Thousand Dances."

Cover artwork[edit]

The album cover photograph, which was taken by Karen Filter is a head shot of Timothy Leary's son Zachary Chase on a composite background with his left hand raised by his open mouth in a "shout" gesture. The album's back cover depicts a head shot photo of guitarist Bob Mothersbaugh's daughter Alex with her eyes focused upwards and her left hand raised by her ear in a listening gesture. It's notably their first album since 1978's Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! not to feature any of the band's members on the outside cover.

Promotional music video[edit]

A lavish music video for "Are You Experienced?" was produced by the band in conjunction with Ivan Stang of the Church of the SubGenius. The video featured Devo as floating blobs of wax in a lava lamp and Jimi Hendrix (played by Hendrix impersonator Randy Hansen) stepping out of his coffin to play a guitar solo, and the cover children Chase and Alex. Despite being one of Devo's most visually complex and expensive music videos, it wasn't included on the 2003 DVD music video collection The Complete Truth About De-Evolution (although it had been included on the LaserDisc of the same name issued in 1993). In an interview with Gerald Casale for Earcandymag.com,[5] he explained:

E.C.: Speaking of de-evolution, why didn't the Hendrix estate give you permission to put the "Are You Experienced?" video on the DVD?

Gerald Casale: Further de-evolution. You understand that the consortium of people that now represent the Hendrix estate are basically run by lawyers; the lawyer mentality. Lawyers always posit the worst-case scenarios. Though that video was loved for years by anybody who saw it including the man who commissioned it —Chuck Arroff, a luminary in the music business, who still claims to this day that it was one of his five most favorite videos ever—, they [the lawyers] didn't get it and assumed we were making fun of Jimi. That's like saying "Whip It" makes fun of cowboys. This is so stupid it's unbelievable.

Abandoned tour[edit]

As the band were dropped by their record label and went on hiatus following Shout's release, there was no tour to promote it. The only songs to be performed live from the album are the title track, as part of the "Somewhere With Devo" suite from 1988 to 1991 and a one-off performance of "Here to Go in 1991".[6] Devo had apparently planned a tour show with a video projection backdrop, similar to the Oh, No! It's Devo tour of 1982.

Critical reception[edit]

The album received very negative reviews upon its release, with Mark Deming of AllMusic retrospectively calling it a "forgettable, slick and glossy product with all human surfaces stripped away". According to a 2005 interview with Bob Mothersbaugh, "Mark and Jerry kept saying in interviews that the guitar was obsolete and wanted to prove it with the Shout album."[7] In a 2007 interview with Billboard magazine, Gerald Casale stated that Shout was the biggest regret of his career, "because the Fairlight [synthesizer] just kind of took over everything on that record. I mean, I loved the songwriting and the ideas, but the Fairlight kind of really determined the sound." [8]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale, except where noted. 

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. "Shout"     Mark Mothersbaugh 3:15
2. "The Satisfied Mind"     Gerald Casale 3:07
3. "Don't Rescue Me"   Mark Mothersbaugh M. Mothersbaugh 3:07
4. "The 4th Dimension"     G. Casale 4:24
5. "C'mon"     G. Casale 3:15
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
6. "Here to Go"     G. Casale 3:18
7. "Jurisdiction of Love"   M. Mothersbaugh M. Mothersbaugh 3:00
8. "Puppet Boy"     G. Casale 3:10
9. "Please Please"     G. Casale 3:04
10. "Are You Experienced?"   Jimi Hendrix M. Mothersbaugh 3:08
Total length:
32:48
Additional tracks

Personnel[edit]

Devo
Production team
  • Devo – producer; graphic concept
  • Bob Casale – engineer
  • Mike Shipley – mixing
  • Steve Marcussen – mastering
  • Jim Mothersbaugh – technical assistance
  • Will Alexander – programming consultation
  • Al Horvath – additional E-mu Emulator programs
  • Bill Wolfer – additional E-mu Emulator programs
  • Vigon Seireeni – art direction
  • Karen Filter – photography
  • Effective Graphics – computer graphics
  • Zachary Chase (boy) – front cover kid
  • Alex Mothersbaugh (girl) – back cover kid
  • Clacton and Frinton – DEVO's Chinese-American Friendship Suits

Chart performance[edit]

Peak positions[edit]

Chart Peak
Position
Canadian Albums Chart[9] 92
U.S. Billboard 200 Chart[10] 83

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]