Devo 2.0, "Devo 2.0"
(Disney Sound) ***
pioneers and heady social theorists critiquing the explosion of corporate
culture and the ensuing "de-evolution" of mankind, Ohio's post-punk heroes
Devo were one of the most subversive bands in the history of rock. So is
this group-sanctioned new project the ultimate corporate sell-out, stooping
even lower than its recent Swiffer commercial, or is it the most thoroughly
twisted prank and brilliant bout of brainwashing it's ever attempted?
How about a little of
Disney cast the five 10-
to 13-year-old members of Devo 2.0 as it might have a sub-"American Idol"
kiddie band, selecting lead vocalist Nicole Stoehr from among 1,000
applicants. Devo recorded new backing tracks for several of its classic hits
and wrote two new originals, "Cyclops" and "The Winner," while the hired,
flower-pot-wearing Booji boys and girls did the singing a la those annoying
"Kidz Bop" collections, gently toning down the more overt double entendres
of some of the lyrics. (You didn't think "Whip It" was really about the
rodeo and "Peek A Boo" paid homage to the playground game, did you?)
The hired kiddie
vocalists can be a bit cloying at times, and the new tracks lack the bite of
the originals, with a mellower digital sheen. But great songs are great
songs, and I for one prefer having my 9-year-old grooving to "Boy U Want" --
retitled from the original "Girl U Want" -- over anything by Britney Spears
or Lindsay Lohan.
Kid Rock & the
Twisted Brown Trucker Band, "'Live' Trucker" (Atlantic) ***
With this old-school,
stop-gap, between-new-albums, greatest-hits live set, the former Robert
James Ritchie solidifies his standing as a New Millennial amalgam of Lynyrd
Skynyrd, Grand Funk Railroad and Bob Seger rocking hard to a hip-hop groove
and pulling off the most unlikely feat of delivering a concert album that's
more than a mere souvenir, and which deserves a place beside such '70s
greats as "Frampton Comes Alive."
Kid Rock's band always
has been a crack live outfit, and he is a consummate performer, delivering
the expected hits ("Bawitdaba," "American Bad Ass," "Rock 'n' Roll Pain
Train), dissing pretenders to the throne and replacing Sheryl Crow with an
even better choice, downstate Illinois' redneck woman Gretchen Wilson, for
the duet on "Picture." Recorded live before worshipful crowds in hometown
Detroit, these versions sometimes better the originals, and if there's any
complaint, it's only about what's missing ("I Am a Bulldog," "Yodeling in
C'mon, Kid: You know
this should have been a double album! Preferably on vinyl, and with a
gatefold sleeve so we could clean our bud.