I’ve been working like 8am-9pm almost everyday, and it’s been killing me. When I reach home at 9-10pm, I just play a little music, shower and sleep. I’ve been playing Lana Del Rey on repeat for most of the past 3 years, but now it’s become Depeche Mode!
(Can someone say hunkle??)
Since I didn’t grow up with Depeche Mode, unlike most of their hardcore fans (most of whom, like them, are around their 50s…. but they’re still really cool 50+ year olds! :P) my favourite couple of songs aren’t the usual ones. Everyone says that Violator is their best album, but having listened to Violator top to bottom a billion times, I personally don’t like it THAT much.
My favourite album is actually Playing the Angel. It’s a little more rock than my usual tastes, and it can be too noisy at times, but on the whole I enjoy it immensely. It’s like Songs of Faith and Devotion, their classic 1993 album, which was also more rocked out than their old style, but with more trademark weird synth sounds. (Spotify link)
I also have a soft spot for Exciter. It was a huge departure from their usual dark dancey electro-rockish tunes, I’ve always said it’s like Depeche Mode does Backstreet Boys. Ardent fans hate it, but hey, I’m not nearing 50. It’s a little spacey and relaxing and filled with notions of love, more than their usual sin-guilt-redemption stuff. Like Depeche Mode on weed. (Spotify link)
Violator is probably the 3rd best album for me. It is definitely the most consistent album. Out of 9 songs, 4 are in my favourites that get constant reply, and there are another 2 that I chuck into a lengthy playlist. It also produced their all time best hit Enjoy the Silence, and the excellent and rather witty World in my Eyes which is a personal fave of mine. I have to say it is immensely listenable though. (spotify link)
My favourite individual songs are:
5. People are People (1984)
(Damn, Martin (the guy in the gay black tank top and eyeliner) was really cute, in a really gay way, at 21… and I swear everyone looks prepubescent.)
A really big hit at that time, I think this song always rings pretty true. It’s just super catchy and anthemic, and great to bop along to. I love the chorus ‘I can’t understand/what makes a man/hate another man/help me understand’. Great upbeat song no matter what kind of mood you are in, and a staple in 80s playlists.
4. Strangelove (1987) (video vaguely NSFW)
Damn, has this song aged well. Doesn’t sound too tinny or aged even now. Great to bop along to, with a great synth hook and a fantastic melody. And Martin Gore at 25, can write such fantastic lyrics as ‘I give in/to sin/because you have to make this life livable.’ Like WOAH mind blowing. Perfect blend of poppy 80s quasi love song with a dark twisted electronic edge.
3. Freelove (2001)
The most Backstreet Boys song from the album which Depeche Mode went Backstreet Boys. The melody is undeniably pure pop, but it’s one of my favourites because of the texture of the instrumentals that elevates it way beyond pop. The constrast of the quiet acoustic guitar versus the synth…. thingy in the chorus, versus the licks of the distorted electric guitar. Oh, and the lyrics are fantastic too. ‘No hidden catch, no strings attached, just free love’ has been stuck in my mind for the longest time.
2. Never Let Me Down Again (1987)
I didn’t like this song THAT much at first listen, but to really appreciate the beauty of this song you need to see the live version, in which I love how the rich growls of Dave Gahan’s voice comes through, probably because he’s 14 years older than when this song was first recorded. The beat of this song is relentless, the guitar AND piano hook is awesome, and it’s an all round great headbangingly electro-rock tune. I also love the bit at the end when it goes all soaringly orchestric and magnificent. Lyrics are rather straightforward but catchy, about getting high with your friend. 😛
So before the top one comes about I have a few honourable mentions:
Best showcase of Dave Gahan’s voice of pure sex and virility: Broken (2013)
I do like the construction of this song a lot, because of that synth squeak note that’s so interesting. But the highlight of this song, especially in this live studio version, is how I swear his voice makes your ears orgasm. So very rich and booming.
Best uh…. weird song?: Lie to Me (1984)
This song is weird as hell, especially that strange oriental influenced instrumental bit. But somehow it is catchy as hell, thanks largely to the chorus. I love the dark twisted lyrics ‘Come on and lay with me/Come on and lie to me/Tell me you love me/Say I’m the only one’.
Best… I give up, I just think this deserves an honourable mention: Walking in My Shoes
(Dave Gahan looks like Jesus in this video.)
I think the lyrics are pretty masterfully written with fabulous themes, about how the narrator has sinned but asks whoever is judging him to ‘try walking in my shoes.’ And props for working ‘absolution’ and ‘scapegoat’ into a pop song. I think this song would resonate with just about anyone.
And my favourite song is…
- Lilian (2005)
This song is SO GOOD. Super upbeat and dancey, yet dark and mopey and helpless at the same time. With a fantastic melody and fucking fantastic hook. And the absolutely sublime verse that goes ‘I should have run/I should have known/Each dress you own/Is a loaded gun’. I never get sick of hearing this song. Definitely my favourite Depeche Mode song, which I know, is a very unconventional choice.
Very long post rambling about stuff that might interest absolutely nobody, but felt great writing it all down 😀 And I hope that I may have exposed you to some great music!