Lost in the ’80s: Devo, “That’s Good”

Written by Lost in the '80s, Music

lit80s

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  How can one of Devo’s most famous songs outside of “Whip It” be Lost in the ’80s?  How can a song whose video was in heavy rotation back in the day be considered a lost classic?

Because I write this column and I said so, that’s why.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about this classic single.  While long-time Devotees may have blanched at the abandonment of guitars and real drums, synthpop fans rejoiced as the sequencers and squiggly keys joined forces with the programmed Linn drum in this ode to stuff that’s, well, good.  Reaction to Oh No, It’s Devo (the album from which it was pulled) was nearly universally thumbs-down.  The first single, “Peek-a-boo,” flopped, despite an inventive video that MTV played into the ground (after some light censorship of animated french fries entering donuts, of course).  Devo was struggling with their label Warner Brothers over promotion, but the label did pony up for another single and a video to promote it.

They even paid for an extended version of “That’s Good” (download) which was worked to clubs to Top Ten success.  The band did their part to promote the single, playing it on Late Night With David Letterman and even during prime time network television, albeit on the low-rated Square Pegs.  Rock the bat mitzvah!

Ah, Johnny Slash, we hardly knew ye.  It’s a good time to still be a spud, as Devo continue to play selected dates here and there, and are even recording a full-fledged album.  Plus, Devo: The Complete Truth About De-evolution is available on DVD with (nearly) every Devo video.  Heck, you can even buy Square Pegs: The Complete Series on DVD!  Oh, dad … we’re all still Devo!

“That’s Good” peaked at #104 on the Billboard Bubbling Under Chart and at #6 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play Chart in 1983.

Get Devo music at Amazon or on Devo