There was, perhaps, not much to love about the 1996 soundtrack to the Jackie Chan vehicle Supercop, but—as you could also have said, justly, in defense of the 1983 soundtrack to the Dan Aykroyd vehicle Doctor Detroit—there was at least this: two brand-new tracks from DEVO were etched in its grooves. The pride of Akron contributed the theme song, “Supercop,” and an interpretation of Nine Inch Nails’ “Head Like A Hole.” These were, I believe, the first new recordings they released in the nineties.
The Clinton years were not a total famine for the dutiful spudboy; there were opportunities to see DEVO play, and there was even the DEVO CD-ROM game that sucked away months of my life I probably should have spent learning to write code, speak Italian, or build pipe bombs. But no matter how rosy those days look from our current perspective, that period was not so great for the DEVO fan, either. Jerry Casale put his finger on it at a 1999 show in Universal City, observing from the stage that, pace Prince, it would actually have been more fun to party like it was 1981, because back then there had been plenty of good cocaine, and you could still get a blowjob without going to jail (a reference to l’affaire Lewinsky).
As much as I like NIN records, Trent Reznor’s persona and lyrical concerns have presented obstacles to my entertainment now and again, over the years. I have a lot of thoughts about why this is, and I will expound upon them at length if you buy me a beer, but it probably comes down to a preference for the satirical over the confessional mode. In other words, because DEVO tends to place the emphasis on others’ stupidity rather than their own hurt feelings, they can sing “Head Like A Hole” without sounding merely aggrieved.
More after the jump…