As with my review of the remastered Q. Are We Not Men? We. Are Devo!, it is rather ironic that the last of Devo's albums to be remastered for CD are their two most iconic albums: the grand statement of De-evolution with Q. Are We Not Men? A. We Are DEVO! and the commercial breakthrough, Freedom of Choice. Nearly fifteen years after Henry Rollins first began releasing the remasters of the remainder of Devo's WB catalogue on his Infinite Zero label, WB have finally gotten around around to remastering these groundbreaking albums.
Hallelujah, Freedom Of Choice has been remastered for CD. You can actually hear bass on the CD of this reissue and the remastering reveals so much more detail and clarity. Instrumentation sounds much more open and not the muddy mess evident on the previous CD release of this abum. It's as if a wet blanket has been lifted off your speakers. However, as with Q?A!, the remastering process has not entirely corrected everything and has even introduced a few glitches of its own.
Again, in going back to the "original analog recording tapes", all of the artifacts of 30 years of analog tape storage have once again come to the fore. There are numerous tape print through (ghosting) artifacts that detract from the overall enjoyment of this album. The worst examples of these is the end of Girl U Want where there is a persistent echo of "She's just a girl, she's just a girl" as well as a pre-echo of the bass intro to It's Not Right. Ditto between Mr. B's Ballroom and Planet Earth where there is a post echo on the former and a pre-echo on the latter. None of these artifacts were on any previous vinyl or CD release of this album. Hello remastering engineer, did you actually listen to this before signing it off? It's Not Right. Every one of these glitches should have been removed during the remastering process.
As for Deluxe, I don't think so. Maybe WB should've passed this one over to Rhino as well for the Deluxe treatment. Tacking the Dev-O Live EP onto the end of the album as Deluxe bonus material is plain lazy. For a format that can hold up to 80 minutes of content, this "Deluxe" disc still clocks in at just over 50 minutes. Where is the bonus material/disc of B-sides, demos and other oddities? Where is Turn Around (you know, the song covered by Nirvana) and the remix of Snowball that were also recorded during these album sessions? Where are the demos recorded during the FOC writing process that didn't appear on the Rhino Handmade Recombo DNA set: Red Shark (that became It's Not Right), Ton O' Luv, Freedom Of Choice and Don't You Know? What about Fountain of Filth that was recorded numerous times during the demo sessions? Or how about a DVD with the live TV appearances on Fridays or Don Kirshner's Rock Concert? And not a liner note in sight. As with Q?A!, this reissue offered a golden opportunity to release a Deluxe version of this iconic album by an iconic band that has been lost.
Devo truly were Pioneers That Got Scalped and now us long denied fans have been scalped as well. Hopefully the forthcoming Devo reissues from WB will have a bit more effort put into them in terms of both remastering of the audio and bonus materials.
I'm giving this five stars for simply because of the iconic nature of this album. If I could break it down between rating the audio quality, the bonus materials and the remastering the individual ratings for these categories would be a lot less.