Since I’ve been on my Depeche Mode kick the past couple weeks, it has made me truly realize how amazing this band really is. Not that I didn’t think that before but, after delving deep into their catalog, starting with album number 1 till their newest, it’s not hard to come to the conclusion that Depeche Mode is one of those bands that will live on forever. While on this journey, I started to really look closely at their visual aspects. Over the years they have released some of the most artistic and unique music videos. Naturally, you know what that means… it’s time for a video rank! Here are the top ten videos by the one and only, Depeche Mode.
Yes, I am on a huge Depeche Mode kick right now. There is something so genuine and pure about a Depeche Mode album. Martin Gore’s songs along with Andy Fletcher’s soundscapes and Dave Gahan’s incredible vocals, make Depeche Mode a band that is timeless and exhilarating to listen to. One of my favorite stories about Depeche Mode is how they found Dave Gahan. The story goes, Vince Clarke (former member/founder of Yazoo and Erasure) was out one evening and saw Dave Gahan on stage doing a rendition of David Bowie’s “Heroes.” After that, Dave was in the band and Depeche Mode was born. So it’s only fitting that I share a cover of “Heroes” for you all to enjoy.
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.
As a band since 1980, Depeche Mode have cemented their legacy as an influential and inspirational group. They have released albums that will forever be the soundtracks to many lives. Through the years and 14 albums now, Depeche Mode have always followed the beat of their own drummer and their catalog shows that. Some albums are better than others and then there are those albums that are quite underrated. Anyways, below is a ranking of Depeche Mode’s albums from not their best to their best.
The date is March 19, 1990 and Depeche Mode have just unleashed the masterpiece Violator on the world. This album propelled the band into international notoriety and helped to usher in a new wave of alternative music. I also remember my dad buying me the cassette of Violator when I was 6 and I couldn’t stop listening to it. It’s pretty amazing how much my parents helped to keep my love of music growing since I was a wee lad.
Depeche Mode’s Violator, though only 9 songs, is deep and without compromise. Each song has a genuine purpose of being on the album and you get a genuine sense of “feeling” from every single one. Everyone knows “Personal Jesus,” “Enjoy The Silence,” and “Policy of Truth” but the real gems are the deep cuts on the album. “World In My Eyes,” “Halo” (which is my favorite song on the album), and “Clean” are a trifecta of artistic expression. “Sweetest Perfection” and “Waiting For The Night” are two of the best songs on the album along with “Halo.” Sorry but, I really think “Halo” is one of their best songs ever. The one song that I was never too keen on as a stand alone song “Blue Dress” is quite a dark song. The way it fits right after “Policy Of Truth” is truly remarkable.
The oozing of sexuality and darkness through the entire album is captivating and sophisticating. Martin Gore proved on Violator that he is a force to be reckoned with as a songwriter. Dave Gahan’s voice and conviction singing the words of Gore, makes it seem as though he wrote them himself. Not to mention the production by Mark “Flood” Ellis, (who you might know from his work with U2, Nine Inch Nails, PJ Harvey and The Smashing Pumpkins) which really accentuated the use of synthesizers, live drums, drum machines, and guitars. His knack for getting the best tones for the songs and albums is absolutely remarkable.
Violator stands out in the bands catalog for not only being the most successful but the one that some believe to be their peak of creativity. Personally, I love that the band has been able to keep on their legacy of creating new music and albums that still carry the torch for the band. Since the 25 years since the release of Violator, Depeche Mode has gone on to release 7 more albums and continue to sell out venues all around the world. The magnitude of influence the band has left over the years is insurmountable.
2016 was a great year for music. So many great albums were released. I’ve mentioned this before, but I really think that in ten years, 2016 will be looked back on as a great year for music.
So as 2017 is right around the corner, here are my most anticipated albums for the new year.
With Our Arms To The Sun- Orenda
AFI- AFI (The Blood Album)
Black Map- In Droves
Code Orange- Forever
Marilyn Manson- Say10
Wear Your Wounds
The Black Queen?
Alice In Chains?
Corrosion Of Conformity
A Perfect Circle?
L.A. Guns with Phil Lewis and Tracii Guns
Killer Be Killed?
He Whose Ox Is Gored
Spirit In The Room
Here Lies The Hero