Monday, February 8, 2016

Devo – "Uncontrollable Urge" (1978)

I got an uncontrollable urge
I wanna tell you all about it

Impulse control disorder (ICD) is a class of psychiatric disorders characterized by an inability to resist an urge or impulse.  (E.g., pyromania and kleptomania.)

In many Anglo-American jurisdictions, the inability to exercise self-control is at least a partial defense to a criminal charge.  So someone who kills another person as the result of an uncontrollable urge could be convicted of manslaughter, but couldn’t be convicted of murder.

After Lorena Bobbitt cut off the penis of her husband, John Wayne Bobbitt, she was found not guilty of the crime of malicious wounding because she had yielded to an irresistible impulse to do so.  (Many other women have experienced that same impulse at one time or another.  Fortunately, it has proven to be irresistible in only a small number of instances.)  

Lorena and John Wayne Bobbitt
Lorena testified that her husband had raped and beaten her repeatedly, and that the constant abuse caused her to finally snap.  

But the Ecuadorean native gave police a slightly different explanation for her action the night of her arrest: "He always have orgasm, and he doesn't wait for me ever to have orgasm.  He's selfish." 

“Uncontrollable Urge” is the first track on Devo’s debut album, Q: Are We Not Men?  A: We Are Devo!

I bought the album shortly after it was released in 1978, but forgot about it for a long, long time.  A couple of years ago, I discovered that it was available from my public library through Freegal.

It’s an absolutely unique album, full of compelling music by a group of very talented but very weird guys from Akron, Ohio.  If 7 Up was the uncola, Devo is the unrock ’n’ roll band.

Here’s a video of Devo performing “Uncontrollable Urge” in 2014.  Lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh – who went on to become a very successful movie and television soundtrack composer – was 64 years old at the time, and his performance gives hope to all of us hommes et femmes d'une certain âge :

Here’s “Uncontrollable Urge”:

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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