2000. “Satisfaction (I Can’t Get No)” by Devo

Official video:

Well, what an appropriate video to be #2000 on my seemingly never-ending list of songs. I can’t believe I’ve written about 2000 songs already and am still hovering at letter “D.” The current count is well over 7,500, so I think its safe to say that finishing this project might be forever out of reach – its like each time I get halfway to the finish line, I still need to go halfway to the finish line again, and then halfway again… and again…

Devo’s 1978 debut album, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!, is widely regarded as their great contribution to world culture. While I don’t have it in my iTunes library, I’ve heard it many times and agree that its a genuinely groundbreaking effort – and album that in some ways introduced the concept that intellectuals and geeks could be punks, too.

Devo are sometimes mistakenly regarded as a “stupid band,” but they were arguably the smartest men on the punk circuit from their inception to their transformation into (smart) new wave popsters.

One of the highlights of Q: Are We Not Men? is their cover of The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”.

While the song isn’t theirs, their reworking of it is as much a statement of style and purpose as any song they recorded. The rhythm and guitar work bears almost no resemblance to the bluesy rock of the Rolling Stones. The guitar parts are a model of nervousness, the rhythm section is (as the AllMusic critic commented) “spastic,” and the vocals are sung with an uncontrolled abandon that sometimes feel like they were from a different recording session – certainly to a different rhythm than the rest of the song!

If Mick Jagger wasn’t getting any satisfaction, it was a temporary thing. He’d get it some other time, he was just being impatient. Mark Mothersbaugh wasn’t getting any satisfaction because, well, he was way too nerdy and spastic to get it. In fact, I believe firmly that Mark Motherbaugh and the rest of the band really weren’t getting any satisfaction, and may Booji Boy bless them for it!

Anyhow, a 1970’s cover of a 1960’s classic that set the stage for much of the music of the 1980’s just feels right as song 2000.


2000. “Satisfaction (I Can’t Get No)” by Devo — 4 Comments

  1. I still think it is the best cover of any song ever written. It is also the first song that they performed as Musical Guest on SNL in 78. This perked my ears in genuine musical interest. But it was their second performance that sealed the deal.

    More on that when you post that song…

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