Freedom of Choice

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The title track from Devo's stellar third LP is a quirky concoction of humor and politics. Musically, the song displays the band perfecting a balance of traditional rock instrumentation, featured prominently on previous albums, with the use of a more electronic foundation that would soon come to dominate their sound. Pounding drums give way to a pulsing synthesizer melody, accentuated by tight distorted guitar. An echoed-out floor tom is overdubbed, giving a tribal effect to a group singalong chorus: "Freedom of choice -- is what you got/Freedom from choice -- is what you want." The lyrics decry the general taking for granted of democratic freedoms, "And then if you got it/You don't want it/Seems to be the rule of thumb." Lead singer Mark Mothersbough lends his high-register, slightly over-pronounced vocal delivery to lyrics that point to an omnipresent apathy in our "middle of the road" American culture: "Don't be tricked by what you see/You've got to ways to go/I'll say it again/In the land of the free/Use your freedom of choice." There is also a humorous section repeated after a brief rocking guitar solo that makes for a strange metaphor, "In ancient Rome/There was a poem/About a dog/Who had two bones/He picked the one/He licked the other/He went in circles/And he dropped dead." "Freedom of Choice" is an infectious rock song with a message, tempered with humor in a weirdly compelling fashion that only Devo could pull off.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Greatest Hits 1990 Warner Bros. 3:28
We're All Devo [Video] 1990 Rhino / Warner Bros.
Hot Potatoes: The Best of Devo 1993 Virgin / EMI Music Distribution 3:28
Just Can't Get Enough: New Wave Hits of the 80's, Vol. 4 1994
Various Artists
Rhino 3:24
Oh, No! It's Devo/Freedom of Choice 1994 Import 3:28
Rock of the 80's, Vol. 10 1994
Various Artists
Priority Records
Adventures of the Smart Patrol 1996 Discovery 3:27
MTV the First 1000 Years: New Wave 1999
Various Artists
Rhino 3:21
Pioneers Who Got Scalped: The Anthology 2000 Rhino 3:28
The Essentials 2002 Warner Bros. / Rhino 3:29
Whip It & Other Hits 2003 Flashback Records / Rhino Flashback 3:29