Devo's "Whip It" has one hand reaching out to the future (a Minimoog synthesizer drives the tune and a six oscillator synthesizer, custom-made for the band by Moog Music, provides the low end) and one hand reaching back to the past (bass player Gerald Casale has said that the lead guitar riff is based on the riff from Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman," with the beat moved to the end) and both feet firmly planted in awesomeness.
For some reason, I had the song stuck in my head this morning, and now, in an effort to wrest the ear worm from my skull, I'm wallowing in various cover versions. You get to come along for the ride.
We'll start with a relatively straightforward cover by DEVOtees Pearl Jam (donning their energy domes), from their 2009 Halloween show at Philly's beloved Spectrum.
Big Daddy's, as
they're wont to do, does the song in a 50's pop style.
YouTube user speedybrock re-imagines the song as a metallic assault that recalls the early 80's in a different way than the original does. Would have loved to hear some vocals on this one!
Gary and his Ukulele
YouTube user Gary Halacan whips out his uke for a stripped down version of the song. Things get real cute when his homemade energy dome, part of the packaging for a lamp, starts to come loose. Gary also does an awesome Run to the Hills.
A Bunch of Middle Schoolers
The coolest kids in the whole world reenact the original music video, miming the instruments, but providing their own vocals.
There's a whole lot of context missing here, but let's try and piece it together: The Chipmunks have been forced into child labor and are mass producing some sort of baked good. Alvin, inevitably, makes a poor decision and screws everything up, and for some reason, "Whip It" was deemed the appropriate musical accompaniment.