"Freedom Of Choice" as written by Gerald V Casale and Mark Allen Mothersbaugh....
A victim of collision on the open sea
Nobody ever said that life was free
Sank, swam, go down with the ship
But use your freedom of choice

I'll say it again in the land of the free
Use your freedom of choice
Your freedom of choice

In ancient Rome
There was a poem
About a dog
Who found two bones
He picked at one
He licked the other
He went in circles
He dropped dead

Freedom of choice
Is what you got
Freedom of choice!

Then if you got it you don't want it
Seems to be the rule of thumb
Don't be tricked by what you see
You got two ways to go

I'll say it again in the land of the free
Use your freedom of choice
Freedom of choice

Freedom of choice
Is what you got
Freedom of choice

In ancient Rome
There was a poem
About a dog
Who found two bones
He picked at one
He licked the other
He went in circles
He dropped dead

[Repeats]
Freedom of choice
Is what you got
Freedom from choice
Is what you want


Lyrics submitted by bouncing soles

"Freedom of Choice" as written by M. Mothersbaugh G.v. Casale

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Freedom Of Choice song meanings
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15 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentThose of you who think this song is *promoting* "freedon of choice" have got it all wrong, in my opinion. You need to pay more attention to the first verse, which is even more telling than the chorus.

    Taken from what I wrote on the page for the A Perfect Circle cover:
    The Devo original was about the illusion or futility of the sacred "freedom of choice" in the "free world." You're "free to choose" between sinking and swimming, you can have your choice of one of two bones. Devo offers no solution, however. They end by implying that people don't really even want freedom of choice and prefer to be sheep.

    You gotta see the commercial for Honda scooters Devo did. At one point they all say, in emotionless unison, "Then choose the scooter that best expresses your individuality. There are many sizes and colors." Devo doesn't seem to care if no one gets their jokes and social comments (just look at Devo 2.0).
    mqduckon August 18, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe song is actually mocking the freedom of choice that America claims to love so much. This is a very poor submission of lyrics - in one chorus they actually say:
    Freedom of choice
    Is what you got
    Freedom from choice
    Is what you want


    and the line there was a poem about a dog who had two bones he picked at one he licked the other he went in circles till he dropped dead is basically how consumerism (millions of choices) keeps us from knowing what we really want. Does anyone really care that we get to choose between Coke and Pepsi? Big fucking deal.

    The video shows a french fry fucking a donut - a perfect metaphor for how companies keep consumers fat and stupid.
    Chinupon December 31, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI’m afraid I have to disagree with mqduck; Devo were most certainly promoting “freedom of choice” with this song. The concept which started Devo was that we had stopped evolving and started DE-VOlving. With this and many other songs they were pointing out that a lot of people simply follow the societal herd rather than choosing their own paths. And whereas some of their other songs made this point in much more obscure ways, this one was as straightforward as you can possibly get. At the end of the song they aren’t merely implying that people don’t want freedom of choice, they’re saying it quite explicitly and are criticising people who have that mentality. And as for offering a solution they most certainly are providing one! In the first verse the lyrics are “sink, swim, go down with the ship; but use your freedom of choice”, which can only be taken to mean that you shouldn’t allow the outcome to be determined for you; they are saying – frankly and openly - that whatever happens you should make sure that it is occurring because you used your freedom of choice.
    FillsHerTeaseon August 07, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI don't know.. But I love the lines about the dog..
    Kittypawon May 01, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is briliant I must say. i think this song is basically about thinking for yourself, and how most people don't want to. I used a quote from this song in an english essay. I think I referred to Devo as 'A popular group of 80s philosophers'
    TaintedGloveon October 28, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this song is expressing the existential view of how freedom of choice is a sort of defining aspect of humanity. Sartre is a French philosopher that basically said that all men are essentially free, and this freedom is expressed through the choices that you make. We must make choices on a day to day basis and we define ourselves through the choices we make. Our "freedom of choice" is interestingly both liberating and confining, in that we often feel overwhelmed and oppressed by our freedom, knowing that once we make a choice and commit an action, there is no going back, and we can never know the consequences of our actions until after we commit them. As a result, it is often true that the happiest folk are those that have very little freedom, those for whom the pressure of decision-making is taken out of their hands.

    I feel this song is a general discussion of the significance of the freedom of choice for man, I really don't see any connection with consumerism. If you are interested more in these ideas, I highly recommend reading Sartre. Start here: btinternet.com/~glynhughes/squashed/…
    kaliciouson April 14, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    They are drawing attention to the distinction of "Freedom Of" and "Freedom To"
    and so that simply tossing the word "freedom" around by itself is meaningless out of context.
    funkspielon June 25, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyeah sure Devo are a little corny, but you can't deny they got a great message in this song. just be yourself and use your freedom of choice. and don't dismiss them because they're an "80s band" they actually have some things to say
    masterofpuppets80on May 02, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA perfect circle covered this song. good on em.
    TaintedGloveon October 28, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAs well as the idea of the American Consumerist version of "choice" being no choice at all, I think "freedom from choice is what you want" could also mean that a lot of people (again, typically Americans) would rather let "The Man" do their thinking for them, it's easier.

    And by the way, I think the french fry going into the donut was in the video for "That's Good" or "Time Out for Fun", but definitely not "Freedom of Choice"
    UglinessManon January 10, 2005   Link

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