BFTP: Something for Everybody’s Song Meanings
Due to unforeseen circumstances involving a future article I’m writing, you’re getting another article I wrote on Facebook. Tomorrow will end the pasting stuff, promise.
All of the things we are passionate about in life can be reduced to marketing terms. Despite the fact that what the narrator is constantly on the hunt for is never identified, it is clear that it is of great importance because of its “fresh”ness–a quality worth dying for. Indeed, he doesn’t have a choice; it’s useless to resist its power because it is that fresh–so fresh that a small part of it is comparable to heaven.
Everything you love in life is advertised to you every hour of every day–even the things you are most passionate about have been reduced to meaningless marketing terms. You go along with this because you are entirely insignificant compared to advertising.
What We Do
American society has become entirely automated for more than 60 years. All Americans do is consume, breed, vote and maintain the status quo. Nothing is more meaningful than existing at status quo; no one achieves true happiness. The lucky ones are the first to die.
When confronted with individuality from other people in our lives, Americans are clueless as to how to proceed. When someone doesn’t do what they say, they’re powerless. “Eating and breeding and pumping gas; cheeseburger, cheeseburger, do it again. What we do is what we do.”
Please Baby Please
One of three songs on the album in which Devo sings about wacky shit, as they are wont to do at times. It’s a cry to help to an anonymous third party to bring the narrator down to earth. Please baby, please.
Don’t Shoot (I’m a Man)
More accurately stated as “don’t shoot, my life has value” but that’s a bit hard to sing. We live in a fascist police state where you can be assaulted by the police without justification for minor offenses. Despite trying to live your life as peacefully and non-confrontationally as possible, you are just as likely to be brutalized by the police as a murderer, simply to maintain the status quo.
Despite the fact that you wish you were important enough to be above suspicion for all of these things, your wishes amount to nothing, and if you step out of line, you get tased. No matter how valuable you think your life is. None of your problems will be resolved in your lifetime. All you can hope to do is live without your life being ended by police or security guards. Don’t tase me, bro.
Perhaps my favourite song on the album. You try hard to fall in love. You try and try to find a nice girl to settle down with. But thanks to twenty first century attitudes toward gender and sex, you and the girl you want to be with will never be able to communicate with each other. Ever.
Love has been redefined as a series of subterfuges and lies that you can never hope to get wise to because the rules change every day. And knowing all of this, we do nothing but accept it because we have no other options but to keep trying to connect and keep hurting each other.
The anthem of either the soldier’s disconnect towards modern warfare and its computerized nature or the suicide bomber’s disconnect towards humanity due to being convinced that their own death and the deaths of innoncents are the only things that can prove them right.
Hauntingly, the song works perfectly both ways, and presents no bias towards either. The American flying the drone plane over Baghdad and the young Muslim man who has been convinced that he needs to end his own life for the good of the world are both removed from the humanity surrounding them. A tragedy either way.
The leader of the nation in question throughout the rest of these songs can’t accomplish any noble goals or help anyone, thanks to a nation and a media set up against him. No matter how much he wants to help everyone in the world, he can’t accomplish anything because old white men are bitter that they lost an election.
Despite trying to reassure the nation, the media spins his words into whatever they can sell as a lie. The problems he’s trying to deal with are out of his control because no one in his own party or his own nation will co-operate with anything he wants to do to solve them.
Devo sings about wacky shit number two. Step up; dare to be badass; investigate your problems; tell haters to stand on the side and watch your magnificence. Cos you’re awesome when you get down to it.
Devo sings about wacky shit number three. Cameo is the name of a Native North American guy who’s kinda badass and call kill white people with his words. Kinda really badass.
Could be sold as a satirical commentary on how the Native North Americans have made “white man” into a non-threat by having a reputation as honest and good, but really, it just seems like a “this dude is badass!” song. And makes more sense that way.
Later Is Now
“‘Sooner or later’; everybody gets it, right?” Whether you’re driving an SUV to look macho or slandering celebrities, all of your actions will come back to haunt you. Yet, because what you do is what you do, you fail to notice the long-term consequences of your actions. There is no “sooner or later” because later is now.
“Tomorrow is a replay, so tonight, I’ll try to sleep. I’ll deal with it later, I’ll deal with it later, I’ll deal with it later–Later is now.” There is no later or sooner. Only now.
No Place Like Home
“A song of truth and beauty, for you…” We’re chopping down forests, polluting rivers, robbing animals and plants of their habitats. We’re destroying all the things on Earth that make it a home suitable for life, even though we’ve only been here for the blink of an eye. We’ve dug our own graves for the last century of our existence, and if we were removed right now, the Earth would heal itself.
But there’s no place like Earth for us to return to. We can’t remove ourselves from this planet, because it’s all we have and all we will ever have. We destroy the rest of the world because we think we can survive without trees or bees or anything else in this world. Congratulations, humanity, it’s too late to save ourselves. We’ve killed ourselves, everyone we love and their children. Congratulations.
All of the above is true. Our passions have been reduced to advertising. We live our lives in a zombie state of comfort. We can be killed at any moment for any minor wrongdoing. We cannot connect to anyone outside of ourselves. Not through love, and not even when we’re killing them. We’re leaving the leader of the free world to fail because helping him takes too much effort. We don’t see any consequences for our actions, and thus fail to correct our mistakes. And we’ve ruined the only place we can call home.
And accepting all of that as true and despairing of it will lead you to become precisely as useless as the rest of the world. Believing you can’t solve anything is as bad as believing you’re not doing any harm, because either way, you’re not trying to help. Don’t march on. Fall out of lockstep. Help.