Smooth Noodle Maps

Smooth Noodle Maps
Studio album by Devo
Released June 1990
Recorded October 1989–January 1990
Studio Master Control Studios, Burbank, California
Genre Synthpop
Length 34:28
Label Enigma
Producer Devo
Devo chronology
Now It Can Be Told: DEVO at the Palace
Smooth Noodle Maps
Devo's Greatest Hits
Singles from Smooth Noodle Maps
  1. "Stuck in a Loop"
    Released: June 1990
  2. "Post Post-Modern Man"
    Released: October 1990
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic link
Robert Christgau[1]

Smooth Noodle Maps is the eighth studio album by the American new wave band Devo. It was originally released in June 1990, and would be their last album released through Enigma Records. The album was recorded over a period of three months between October 1989 and January 1990, at Master Control Studios, in Burbank, California. "Smooth Noodle Maps" was Devo's last full-length studio album until the release of Something for Everybody in 2010, as well as the last Devo studio album to feature David Kendrick on drums.

The front cover of the record (and the fold-out of the CD version) featured the members of the band emerging from a strange circle. The liner notes from the "Post Post-Modern Man" single revealed that the circle is actually a computer simulation of the planet Jupiter. This image of Jupiter was provided by Philip Marcus and Nicholas Socci.

The album includes a cover version of the early 1960s song "Morning Dew," transformed into a dance song.

Album title

The album title refers to a kind of discrete mathematical system—a noodle map—which may exhibit chaotic behavior, similar to the standard map. The adjective smooth refers to the lack of kinks or discontinuities. This is referenced in the song "Devo Has Feelings Too," which include the lyric "snake through the chaos with a smooth noodle map."

Promotional music video

Two videos were made for the album's second single, "Post Post-Modern Man." The first, which was directed by Devo co-founder and bassist Gerald Casale and was never officially released, saw the band driving a Lincoln Town Car along the desolate Interstate 10 in Southern California. According to Casale, when the finished video was delivered to Enigma Records, they demanded the video include March 1990's Playboy Playmate of the Month, Deborah Driggs, in order to make it more marketable. After acquiescing to Enigma's demands, MTV then rejected the video because it used the Macro Post Modern Mix instead of the "college alternative track" they wanted to market, as featured on the original album. This resulted in a second video directed by Rocky Schenck which featured Devo in a spoof of Home Shopping Network, selling various Devo-related merchandise.[2]


Like the Total Devo tour before it, the Smooth Noodle Maps tour saw Devo scaling things back and presenting a very basic set with no complex visuals. The band wore plain white Tyvek shirts and shorts with the Jupiter image from Smooth Noodle Maps on the left breast of the shirt. As in earlier tours, Devo removed their shirts later in the set to reveal solid black T-shirts emblazoned with the band name on the front.[3] The three songs performed from the album where "When We Do It", "Post Post-Modern Man", and "A Change Is Gonna Cum." Prior to the Smooth Noodle Maps tour, Devo had performed "Post Post-Modern Man" and "A Change Is Gonna Cum" as early as October 1989 during the Total Devo tour, and following the band's reunion in 1996, "A Change Is Gonna Cum" would be the only post-1982 song the band performed until the release of Something for Everybody in 2010.

Due to poor ticket sales and the bankruptcy and dissolution of Enigma, who was responsible for organizing and financing the tour, the Smooth Noodle Maps tour had to be cancelled part way through. The final concert of the tour took place at Perkins Palace in Pasadena, California on March 23, 1991. The concert featured a different setlist than other shows on the tour, omitting "Going Under", "Happy Guy", "Post Post-Modern Man" (with both "Happy Guy" and "Post Post-Modern Man" never being played again), "A Change Is Gonna Cum", and "Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA", and adding "Here to Go" from 1984's Shout (the only time the song was ever played), as well as older songs "Midget", "Blockhead", and "Be Stiff". This gig also marked the last time Devo played "Midget" and "Be Stiff" until the "Hardcore Devo" tour in 2014, as well as the last performances of "When We Do It" and "Somewhere with Devo." The concert saw Devo don a new look, eschewing the aforementioned white Tyvek shirts and shorts, and replacing them with multi-colored leisure suits (as seen in the artwork for the album) as well as red pompadours for the encore.[4] In an interview with Mark Mothersbaugh from excerpts on their 1996 computer game "Devo Presents Adventures of the Smart Patrol, "Around '88, '89, '90 maybe, we did our last tour in Europe, and it was kind of at that point, We were watching This Is Spinal Tap on the bus and said, 'Oh my God, that's our life.' And we just said, 'Things have to change.' So we kind of agreed from there that we wouldn't do live shows anymore." Devo would not perform again until a reunion gig at the Sundance Film Festival of 1996.

Tour setlist

  1. Going Under
  2. Happy Guy
  3. That's Good
  4. Jerkin' Back and Forth
  5. When We Do It
  6. Girl U Want
  7. Whip It
  8. Post Post-Modern Man
  9. A Change Is Gonna Cum
  10. I Can't Get No Satisfaction
  11. Uncontrollable Urge
  12. Mongoloid
  13. Gates of Steel
  14. Jocko Homo (Acoustic)
  15. Jocko Homo
  16. Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA
  17. Gut Feeling (Slap Your Mammy)
  18. Somewhere With Devo (including Shout/Disco Dancer)

Critical reception

Critical reviews were similar to their previous two albums, with many reviewers pointing out that "There's nothing new here, just a rewritten regurgitation of their mid-80s work", though the single "Post Post-Modern Man" received some praise. This album as well as its two singles hold the distinction of being Devo's worst selling efforts; all of them failed to appear on the U.S. charts.

Track listing

All tracks written by Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale, except where noted. 

Side one
No. TitleWriter(s) Length
1. "Stuck in a Loop"    3:52
2. "Post Post-Modern Man"    2:55
3. "When We Do It"    2:57
4. "Spin the Wheel"    3:46
5. "Morning Dew"   3:01
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "A Change Is Gonna Cum"   3:10
7. "The Big Picture"   2:45
8. "Pink Jazz Trancers"   3:13
9. "Jimmy"   2:51
10. "Devo Has Feelings Too"   2:40
11. "Dawghaus"   3:23
Total length:
Additional tracks


Production team


  1. Christgau, Robert. "Devo". Robert Christgau.
  2. Devo (2003). The Complete Truth About De-evolution (DVD). Rhino Home Video.
  3. DEVO 1990 snm tour uk PART1
  4. DEVO - Perkins Palace, Pasadena, California - March 23rd, 1991

External links

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