September 20, 2017 is the anniversary to yet, another mistake given by the elite “music” magazine, Rolling Stone. Thirty-eight years ago, Dave Marsh reviewed Devo’s second studio album, Duty Now for the Future. Marsh it as “lame and fraudulent.” The adjectives here fits the writer, more than the album. Is Duty Now for the Future an album for the average listener or critic? Most certainly not. Is it as worthy as the band’s fearless debut album? Not at all. But what Devo establishes here the most, is not their placement as a “rock band,” but their quirkiness and weirdness. This isn’t an album you can just place with the rest of your Ken Scott produced albums. It’s an album that doesn’t talk or mention the concept of devolution at all, but it gives a wonderful strange insight of where music was about to head in the late seventies and early eighties. This is a country rodeo of inconsistency of the future.
I think of this album as their “crash dummy,” not only because of album cover, but also the production. There is so much happening, especially on tracks such as “Pink Pussycat” and “Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA,” the two most memorable songs on the album. The version of “Blockhead” might not be as exciting as the version off their Mechanical Man EP, but its flaw is only being overly overproduced, which should come in a liking for Rolling Stone. The track “Timing X” keyboards honestly sounds like it might have influenced the Alan Parsons Project or the 1990’s Chicago Bulls lineup theme, “Sirius”.
Marsh ends his review by saying “When I finish typing this, I’m taking a hammer to Duty Now for the Future, lest it corrupt anyone dumb or innocent enough to take it seriously.” Devo didn’t want to be taken serious on this album. The album sounds more like a playlist or compilation than it does a studio album, but that’s the specialty – its sloppy. This is an original album, by an original band. Critics like Marsh are the reason why Devo cannot expand their popularity in music, and will only be considered a “one hit wonder”. This is no surprise from Rolling Stone. In their review for Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!, Tom Carson claimed that “There’s not an ounce of feeling anywhere…the music here is utterly impersonal.” Marsh and his fellow colleagues clearly do not understand Devo’s irony, like most people don’t.
You can read Marsh’s shit stain here.