A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
Track #22 on Thommy Ford’s Playlist
It’s one of Devo’s most memorable moments. The riff is perfect—a hard edged single note guitar line that’s doubled by a trebley synth to help it cut through the pulsing bass and drums. Meanwhile, Mark Mothersbaugh’s Android-Elvis voice drives home the catchy melody. What more could you want from a Devo song?
Oh yeah, some insightful snark from the lyrics would help.
According to the band, “Girl U Want” was inspired by The Knack’s “My Sharona.” Only Devo could hear The Knack’s run of the mill lyrics about teenage lust and turn them into a song explicitly about the dehumanizing power of desire.
She sings from somewhere you can’t see
She sits in the top of the greenest tree
She sends out an aroma of undefined love
It drips on down in a mist from above…
She’s a real thing but you knew it all along
She’s just the girl, she’s just the girl
The girl you want
And it’s not only that the object of desire has been removed from reality or placed on a pedestal, our smitten protagonist has become little more than a simpering beast: “Look at you with your mouth watering/Look at you with your head spinning.” Sometimes we want a puppy love song to just be a puppy love song, but when we do need one to cut through the crap and reduce our loves and lusts to their absurd truth, we can always turn to Devo.
Watch the madness that is Devo’s official music video below, and stop by the library to check out Freedom of Choice from our rock collection. (And please don’t laugh at the keytars. Those are Moog Liberation synthesizers folks, and they’re serious instruments.)
Review by Matthew