Devo's open letter on "Drowning in a Devolved World"

Originally published at:


A victim of collision on the open sea
Nobody ever said, life was free
Sink, swim, go down with the ship
But use your freedom of choice

I’ll say it again, in the land of the free
Use your freedom of choice
Freedom of choice

In ancient Rome
There was a poem
About a dog
Who found two bones
He peeked at one
He licked the other
He went in circles
Then he dropped dead

Freedom of choice
Is what you got
Freedom of choice


Devo’s original fans, the teenagers of the early 1980s [ETA: and late 1970s, the period when the band first hit the mainstream], will likely be the last American generation to enjoy the dregs of the postwar economic anomaly along with the hope that it would give us the luxury* to make the world a more just and human place for all. This is one of the many cultural ways we’re saying goodbye to those expectations.

[* and a luxury it is. Once one rejects Whig History and accepts that things are more cyclic than linear, the revelation that quickly follows is that progress requires human effort. That ability to exert that effort is much more available in a relatively (but substantively) peaceful and prosperous society that allows a little breathing room.]


Early 80’s? Some of us remember them appearing on SNL in 78. I saw them the next year at the Wolman Rink in Central Park.


Corrected above so your hipster cred is confirmed! Carry on…


So, let us not talk falsely now; the hour is getting late.

Well played.


Remember when DEVO collaborated with Disney on a Kidz Bop-esque version of their greatest hits, with subversive lyrics scrubbed away for maximum marketability?

1 Like

Who knew that being a punk fan in the 70s makes one a ‘hipster’? Saw Elvis Costello, the Ramones and Blondie the same year.



You forgot the ending which has the most telling lines:

Freedom of choice
Is what you got
Freedom from choice
Is what you want


Congratulations again on your fourth decade of 20s, hipster! Have a shabby felted button-up ‘coat’ that brings acceptance and free coffees.


This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.