A very DEVO Christmas
To comfort: Arts DEVO doesn’t adhere to the usual traditions this time of year. Jesus, Santa, Hannukah Harry, they’re all the same—nice dudes keeping an eye on everyone. Whoever it is, it’s comforting imagining someone’s paying attention to what we do. Christmas is for making more time to be with people I like, and I am very grateful that I have friends and family who are down with spending extended amounts of time in the same room with me and Mrs. DEVO. This year we get several days’ worth—in Chico and in that most Chistmas-ey of locales, Pismo Beach!—of doing nothing but eating, drinking and talking till the stories run out.
To joy: The San Francisco Giants are still World Series champs. And the team is sharing the love … with Chico! The Giants’ World Series trophy is going on a road trip, and on Jan. 11, 2011, at 11 a.m. (coincidence?), the actual trophy will be on display in Chico, in the downtown City Plaza. I’ll see you there.
To freedom: Schools let out for Christmas break last Friday, and outside my office window overlooking one of the main walkways between Chico Junior High and downtown I watched as the inmates hit the streets upon release. Two particularly energetic and fun-loving youngsters made the most of their freedom by lying in wait behind a planter just around a curve of Camellia Way as it goes over Big Chico Creek and onto First Street. As cars appeared around the bend, each took turns mooning defenseless drivers who fell into their trap. Needless to say, these kids were doing some awesome work, and I wanted so badly to press my own white B.A. against my second-story window. But on second thought, sharing a partially nude moment with a couple of minors didn’t seem like such a good idea. Santa has been watching, and there will be two extra presents under the tree for each of you good boys this year.
To song: Give me a huge break, Internet end-of-year best-of lists (I’m looking at you, Said the Gramophone and Pitchfork). As a new-music fiend, I read you all every year, rushing around madly to lap up free samples of every digital morsel I missed over the previous 12 months. But I am starting to get a little pissed: How can it be that Cee-Lo Green’s “Fuck You” is buried below so many forgettable tunes? It is hands-down the best song of the year. It is a perfect pop song; a funky dance number; and it unabashedly brings one of the most satisfying human utterances to its invigorating chorus. “Fuck You” is so tasty IT CAN’T EVER BE DENIED! Add to that fresh piano-driven hook, the funky (unh!) stop/start arrangement and Green’s impressive pipes, and the thing just smokes! But best of all, of course, is that soaring chorus, which opens up big and drops each sing-along “Fuck you” (and “Fuck her too”) into the groove for the most cathartic car-stereo/dance-floor track since “Hey Ya.”
While the indie kids stare at their belly buttons, it’s actually mainstream media—despite the fact that the song as it’s originally sung is unbroadcastable in this country—that has gotten it right (No. 1 in Rolling Stone, No. 2 in Spin, and No. 1 in Time magazine). It’s even nominated for a Grammy (five actually), and Green will perform it at the ceremony. Of course, he’ll be doing the lame radio edit—“Forget You”—but we’ll know better.