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

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

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

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

I say whip it
Whip it good
I say whip it
Whip it good

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

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

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
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


Lyrics submitted by magicnudiesuit

Whip It Lyrics as written by Mark Mothersbaugh Gerald Casale

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Whip It song meanings
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46 Comments

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  • +10
    General CommentI forget who it was, but a friend of mine in a rehab I went to told me that Devo (standing for De Evolution) was a band that took an 80's progressive approach to the growing commercialization, loss of ideals, and corporatization of the 80's as opposed to the 70's in America. When they say whip it, they mean for us to get our act together. In the music video, they're wearing flower pots on their head, but they are facing down, indicating that we are growing in reverse, de evolving and deteriorating instead of growing. But don't worry, it's not too late. If we try to detect it, we will, and we can get straight and move forward again.
    saxypepperon May 22, 2006   Link
  • +3
    General CommentThe lyrics evoke a working class desire to pull oneself up by the boot straps and to overcome adversity. The song has violent undertones, and Devo has often described it as a mockery of Ronald Reagan and his policies.
    kmk_natashaon September 24, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think PursuitofLife's post comes closest to my opinion on what this song is about. Devo - which is short for DE-EVolution - believed that humanity had stopped evolving and had starter de-volving. This was reflected in a lot of their songs at the time - "Freedom of choice; is what you got. Freedom FROM choice; is what you want." They made a lot of comments about society and the herd mentality.
    If you read the song lyrics and didn't see the video then I think it would be a bit of a big leap to conclude that this song was about masturbation and/or S&M. And the reasons for the video theme are documented elsewhere.
    With Whip-It I think Devo are having a playful, ironic stab at the whole American self improvement mindset in which people read books and go to seminars etc. in an attempt to be different, to stand out, to be successful. But in the end this just produces a herd of sheep all following an Anthony Robbins type Guru who's the only one of them who is actually original and successful! All the 'followers' – following the Guru’s mantras like “shape it up, get it straight, move forward” are just sheep. See what I mean? And that's why PursuitofLife is right I think; if you don't think about Devo’s songs you miss the point and don't see the underlying ironic humour.
    As for some of the other posts, I was around when Devo first started out and they were unbelievable at the time; they truly were unique and original. They were helping music – and therefore humanity – to evolve! They inspired a whole bunch of people in music and other fields. People today don't realise that in those days hardly any songs had video-clips and those that did usually had pretty lame ones. Devo were one of the bands who lead the way towards the MTV generation; the irony of the whole is delicious!
    FillsHerTeaseon August 07, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis songs video is class.
    Razormasticatoron June 15, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis is a pretty simple song, it's a "get over it", "seize the day" kind of advice.

    There a tendency to read too much into it.
    The S&M theme of the video is mainly for visual and comic sense.
    Chinupon December 31, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentsongfacts.com/…

    This explains the meaning.
    kmk_natashaon February 13, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentPeople who think this song is about masturbation or S&M: please refer to the Devo song "Mongoloid" for a description of yourselves.
    oballon October 09, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI have to go with Stoolhardy and BoojiBoy - it's not about masturbation (you guys are thinking of "Turning Japanese" by the Vapors). Mark and Bob 1's dad, aka General Boy, helped a little with writing it - it's a parody/condensation of 1980s self-help slogans. Anyone remember Whip Inflation Now?
    Dubious Meriton March 06, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think the most obvious explanation, or what would seem to be the obvious meaning to those who don't get the irony, would be thatit's about being able to use confidence to overcome your problems (in the sense that to "whip it" would be to beat it or overcome it). What gives away the fact that it's irony is the part about how "Before the cream sits out to long/you must whip it"...because sudden;y it's talking about whipped cream.

    It's odd that people don't even go so far as to get the first possible misconception, and underthink it to the extent that they think it's about actually whipping something (like with a whip).

    But that's the point of Devo songs, isn't it? That if you don't think about it you'll completely miss the irony/humor...so you end up being a part of the culture that the song is making fun of, and the joke's on you...

    That's the point, isn't it? Devo songs are a parody of the consumers of the music industry...?
    PursuitofLifeon April 04, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"The lyrics were written by me as an imitation of Thomas Pynchon's parodies in his book Gravity's Rainbow. He had parodied limericks and poems of kind of all-American, obsessive, cult of personality ideas like Horatio Alger and 'You're #1, there's nobody else like you' kind of poems that were very funny and very clever. I thought, 'I'd like to do one like Thomas Pynchon,' so I wrote down 'Whip It' one night." --Jerry Casale
    JohnnyLurgon April 11, 2011   Link

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