My Top 10 Albums: #6 – Devo – New Traditionalists

This post is part of a ten-part series showcasing my top 10 albums. Certain obvious legends (Beatles, Queen, Rolling Stones, etc.) are not in the list, these are albums not everyone knows or picks.

New Traditionalists holds a special place in my musical heart. I jumped on the Devo train when everyone else did in 1980, when “Whip It” soared up the charts. It was quirky and jumpy, unique, and commanded attention. 1981 brought New Traditionalists, Devo’s fourth album and follow-up to the mega successful Freedom of Choice. Freedom is a great album and could easily take this spot instead of New Traditionalists, but I was in on the ground floor for this release in August of ’81, and the entire vibe of the record was stellar. Now-classics like “Love Without Anger”, “Through Being Cool” and the iconic “Beautiful World” grace the record and deliver a darker-edged sound than before.

“Workin’ In A Coal Mine” didn’t make the record, but showed up on the Heavy Metal movie soundtrack, and became the only song on the double-set to chart. Warner Brothers had leaned on Devo quite a bit, first refusing to let them re-record portions of New Traditionalists when newer 2″ recording tape began to disintegrate before the vocals were recorded, then denying the inclusion of “Workin’ In A Coal Mine” in the album’s lineup. This goes to show the control record companies had over artists at the time, and why some of the creative luxuries artists enjoy now were just a dream in the early 80s.

It’s a great record, and shows Devo had vision into the future in making videos before MTV even began.

Track Listing

1Through Being Cool3:14
2Jerkin’ Back N’ Forth3:05
3Pity You2:47
4Soft Things3:27
5Going Under3:28
6Race Of Doom3:43
7Love Without Anger2:37
8The Super Thing4:20
9Beautiful World3:35
10Enough Said3:30

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