Everyone and their grandmother has probably heard of "Whip It". They know the visual of those guys in the weird red hats (flowerpots?). They've seen the video with the poor woman getting her clothes whipped off. They see it every time MTV or VH1 does an 80s Weekend, sandwidched between "Too Shy" and "Video Killed The Radio Star".

Crack that whip!
Give the past the slip
Step on a crack
Break your momma's back

"What this hell is it about?" wondered middle America. Is it about jerking off? ("Hey, I'll be whippin' it good tonight, man!") Is it about nitrous oxide abuse? Are these guys just a big joke?


When a problem comes along
You must whip it!
Before the cream sits out too long
You must whip it!
When something's going wrong
You must whip it!

Devo is a very intelligent band. Complex time signatures, sardonic subject matter, and a keen knack for hooks were signatures of the band. "Whip It" has all these things. With a riff borrowed from "Pretty Woman", with the beat moved to the back, (Just listen, and you'll see) "Whip It" attacks its target - Reagan-Era America's stupidity, and willingness to use violence to solve its problems.

Now whip it!
Into shape
Shape it up!
Get straight!
Go forward!
Move ahead!
Try to detect it!
It's not too late
To whip it!
Whip it good!

On an album that makes such a big deal out of personal freedom, "Freedom Of Choice", "Whip It"'s attack on the new American mindset of violence and mob mentality is prophetic. It holds as true today as it did in 1980, if not more true. After all, devolution is a continuing process. It's a God given fact, you're gonna Shrivel-Up.

When a good time turns around
You must whip it!
You will never live it down
Unless you whip it!
No one gets away
Until they whip it!

The video was a metaphor too. Cowboys representing Reagan America, cheering at the racist display of clothing being whipped off a Latino woman, while another cowboy rapes some other woman in the farmhouse. It was sardonic, intelligent, sarcastic, and flew right over almost everyone's heads.

I say whip it!
Whip it good!

I bet you'll think next time you see a Swiffer ad, hm?