Underrated Albums

Underrated Albums: Depeche Mode- Songs of Faith and Devotion

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Depeche Mode is one of the most intriguing bands of the last 30 plus years. They have never been a band to keep making the same album. They’ve experimented and evolved in a way that is truly astounding. Each album stands out on it’s own. Some are better than others but the true essence of Depeche Mode is in each of their releases. Which brings me to their 1993 album Songs of Faith and Devotion. Following up an album like Violator is never easy but, this is Depeche Mode we are talking about. They followed up their breakthrough album with a record that took chances and showed just how really diverse Depeche Mode is.
Songs of Faith and Devotion is the eighth studio album in the bands catalog and it’s one of their more darker and aggressive albums. This album would be produced by Flood again and was recorded in a rented home which the band built a studio and live and worked in. This album saw the band become very interested in the alternative music that was taking over. Bands like Jane’s Addiction and Soundgarden have been mentioned as key inspirations for the albums sound and style. The making of the album was quite difficult. Growing tensions among band members and drug addiction had caused some very trying times for Depeche Mode. Despite all this, Songs of Faith and Devotion is one of the best pieces of work the band has ever put out. Songs like “Walking In My Shoes,” “I Feel You,” “Condemnation,” In Your Room,” “Rush,” and “Higher Love,” just further prove that this album is truly remarkable. Even with the addiction issues, Dave Gahan’s vocal performances on this album are beyond stellar. Martin Gore, in my opinion, outdid himself with the songs he wrote on this album. Perhaps the growing tensions within the group especially the most strained between drummer Alan Wilder and Gore, helped to make some of the bands best songs. The following promotional tour for the album, The Devotional Tour, would be regarded in the bands history as their most “debauched” rock tour ever. This tour would also be the catalyst for the long break the band took afterwards before they would begin work on their album, Ultra.

Depeche Mode’s catalog is full of so many great albums. Violator is always going to be the one that the “masses” reach for but, the deep fans know there is more than just “Personal Jesus” and “Enjoy The Silence.” Personally for me Songs of Faith and Devotion is in my top 3 favorite Depeche Mode albums (the other two are Music For The Masses and Exciter). There is something truly beautiful about how all the negativity that surrounded the making of this album created a record that surpassed an expectations that people would have. For almost 40 years now, Depeche Mode has proven you don’t need to make the same record twice. Taking chances and evolving in a way that still keeps the essence of the band in tact, has always been key to the bands success, and Songs of Faith and Devotion cements that fact.

 
Depeche Mode- Songs of Faith and Devotion:

 

 

Songs of Faith and Devotion Documentary:

 

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Underrated Albums: Static X- Machine

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Back in 2001 following on the heels of their successful debut Wisconsin Death Trip, Static X released their second album Machine and really stepped up their game. Instead of repeating what they did on Wisconsin, Wayne Static, Tony Campos and Ken Jay made an album that truly surpassed their debut. While the band always had electronics and an industrial tinge, Machine was the album that really brought that to the forefront along with strong riffs and a heavier vocal approach. Machine would become the bands heaviest album and the one that stands out the most.

I remember my dad taking me to the record store so I could buy this album. Once we got in the car I immediately put the cd in the car and let it rip. And rip it did. The moment “Get To The Gone” began, I knew that this was going to be one hell of an album. In fact every song on this album is badass. There are those songs that are heavy like “Permanence,” “This Is Not,” “Burn To Burn,” “Machine,” “…In A Bag,” and “Structural Defect.” Then there are songs that explore a bit of the melodic side like “Black and White,” and “Cold” which you might remember from the Queen Of The Damned soundtrack.

Static X made the perfect follow up album to their debut. The “sophomore jinx” was not going to hinder them even with losing a band member before the recording of this album. Another thing that makes Machine underrated is that instead of relying on drum machines and loops/samples, the band made a point to make this as organic as they could while still maintaining their “Evil Disco” sound. Static X was one of the most fun live bands of that era and continued to be throughout their career. Sadly, the band would go on to break up later on and in 2014 Wayne Static died from a drug overdose. One thing is for sure though, Static X wrote some really rad songs and Machine is probably their best album.

 

Static X- Machine:

 

Anything But This (B-Side from Machine):