Devo still promotes its satirical philosophy of de-evolution, the idea that humans are regressing instead of progressing in this age of overbearing technology. That idea isn’t remotely as striking today as it was 40 years ago, when Devo founders Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale formulated it as students at Kent State. But obsolescence isn’t the real problem with Something For Everybody, Devo’s first album since 1990—instead, the disc suffers from simply sounding like a weak iteration of itself. Comprising 16 tracks voted on by fans, Something is definitely an album for those fans, a gleefully retro-futuristic set that repackages everything Devo has always been great at, including the science-fiction windup toy “Human Rocket” and the kinky synth-jam “Knock Boots.” But Mothersbaugh occasionally slips out of his robot patois into something resembling tired old human singing, and the band’s trademark subversion is all but nullified by songs like “Don’t Shoot” (which unfortunately works “Don’t tase me, bro!” into the lyrics) and “Sumthin’,” a humorless rant against TV pundits and the Taliban. “What we do is what we do / It’s all the same / There’s nothing new,” sings Mothersbaugh on the quaintly Kraftwerk-esque “What We Do.” Sadly, that confession is no excuse.
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