and Devo's "Gut Feeling"

Recommended for Devo fans.

I have just posted a few dozen song reviews in the songs section, including a review of every song on the "Total Devo" album. I do want to take a moment to re-post one of my song reviews here. In this review, I attempt (in a probably poor attempt) to capture the feel of the medley "Gut Feeling"/"Slap Your Mammy" from the first Devo album.

8. Gut Feeling/(Slap Your Mammy)

Review by: Ontario Emperor (Visit my web site)
Written on: Oct 8, 2005

I'm surprised that no one has discussed the insanely great progression (de-gression) of this medley, from beginning to end.

It starts off underneath a tree on the Kent State campus, on a nice peaceful afternoon (with no National Guardsmen present yet) with a hippie plucking the strings on his guitar, playing some mellow stuff. Then the bass player joins, sounding not at all hippie-dippie, but good nonetheless. Then you get your drummer (remember real drums?) joining in, and the mood gets a little repetitive and you realize you're NOT at Woodstock. Then your keyboards enter the picture, and the keyboardist's fingers keep on creeping farther to the right on the keys, finally slamming some chords to close out the instrumental portion of the song as the drumgs and bass and guitar get more frantic. A guitar chord slams in there, and Mark starts singing the most hateful and spiteful lyrics possible, as the song gets faster. And wait, the guitar is chugging along now, and things are getting faster and faster, and the drums are beating, and Mark is shrieking the second verse. Then he gets to the chorus, and what's the guitar doing here? Now we're in the noise realm, and things are clunky and junky and the hippies are slam dancing and I don't think the people at the coffee jazz club are going like this and now Mark's SCREAMING and they're starting a new song that's even faster and now Mark is just slapping mammies!

Truth to tell, I don't care for the very last part (slapping is a little too much for me), but the medley is one gigantic buildup that starts you in one place and takes you to a very different place.

Here are a few other reviews of the song:

Review by: darcy kessel
Written on: Apr 2, 2003

this is one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite albums. a great ballad. I love the build up starting with major chords being picked (e-g-c-a-d), followed by the palm muted power chords to thicken the sound, then the drums and bass kick in, just to be topped by the harmonious keyboards that add swirls of colorful beauty to an already perfectly written song. And just when you think you've had too much the vocals to the first verse start and pull you into one of the best devo songs of all time.
Review by: MammySlapper
Written on: Jun 19, 2004

This song proves that DEVO can actually play the instruments in their hands. An excellent progressive rock song. Definately one of the best on the album. YOU MUCT LISTEN!
Review by: Brad
Written on: Nov 26, 2004

This is definitely one of Devo's finest songs. I especially like the distorted and dissonant guitar parts towards the end of the song.

On a different website, TODCRA reveals some controversy about the arragnements of this song:

Someone said on SpudTalk:
"I always find myself strumming the guitar chords and/or playing the keyboard part to this one when I access my gear. Speaking of which, I prefer when Mark plays the long solo to Gut Feeling rather than the edited version (ie: The Total Devo tour as heard on the Now It Can Be Told album)."

TODCRA then posts some rules (you can follow them, or you can't - it's all the same) regarding "Gut Feeling":

1. The intro should be at LEAST 1.45 long. The longer the better. If they wanted to do an hour long intro, that'd kick ass. If it's under a minute, the song should just be derailed because it will never be anywhere near as cool as it should be.

2. It HAS to go into "Slap Your Mammy". No ifs, ands, or buts. (well, should be "nor buts", but cliches are dumb that way). Granted, the segue between GF and GOS was kind of cool, but since it wasn't Slap Your Mammy, I don't care.

3. It has to SEGUE into SYM. I just listened to the Mashin' Potatoes comp again (which I recommend), but the band that did GF/SYM did the entire thing in under 3 minutes. WRONG. AND they didn't segue, it was intro-gutfeeling-stop-ohyeahwegottadoslapyermammy-slapyermammy-end. They're pretty good musicians, but the thing is, that's not how the song goes. The structure should.. nay, MUST be: few instruments / more instruments / more instruments / all instruments / song / song / feedback / more feedback / nothing but feedback / single guitar out of feedback / all instruments / Slap Your Mammy / more SYM / Move it up and down now / move it all around now / more of that / end.

TODCRA then says the following:

If the song is done really really well, it will take up an entire god damn 50 CD set. We're talking Grateful Dead length jams, only without the sucking that usually goes with the Grateful Dead.

TODCRA identifies something that people often forget. While short, compact, perfectly arranged songs are cool (wasn't it the Residents that released an entire album of songs that were only one minute long? And don't forget that Elvis Costello could squeeze twenty count'em twenty songs on VINYL), long, drawn out songs are simply awesome if done properly. Old style jazz groups know this, some rock groups know this, and TODCRA knows this. I don't know if Devo could pull off a 50 CD version of "Gut Feeling"/"Slap Your Mammy," but I could certainly enjoy a ten minute version of the instrumental portion before Mark starts singing.

And to top it off, TODCRA has a whole piece on "Total Devo."

I said a lot about "Total Devo" at The gist of what I said was as follows - I realize that there are people who can't stand Devo as a dance band, but Devo makes a very good dance band, and "Total Devo" is a very good dance album with only a couple of weak songs in the bunch.

But here's what TODCRA said about "Total Devo":

In, Strumpo wrote:

"I'm just wondering if anyone actually listens to Total Devo regularly. I just can't grasp what they were thinking when they did this. Everything about it is of a lower quality than their previous material. I'm not a huge fan of Shout, but it's a hell of a lot better than Total. The whole thing is almost un-Devo -- the cover, the songs, the cliche Devo mantra liner notes, and Kendrick. The songs are presented like something a 'real rock band' would do, and as Mark has said, it isn't rock music they don't like, it's rock bands. I'm just puzzled by this album."

I dunno.. I listen to Total DEVO sometimes... not really regularly, but it's not banished from my CD player or anything. But it is a very sub-standard album....

TODCRA then goes on to criticize David Kendrick, mainly because of the classic game "one of these Devo members is not like the others."

Whatever suits your boot.

From the Ontario Empoblog


Popular posts from this blog

How to modify behavior (hint: I.A.N.T.)

Perhaps this will become an award-winning blog