At this point I have heard enough synthpop (and enough Depeche Mode) to understand how this record breaks from that tradition (much like the previous record, Violator, also does), and so I feel like I might actually have something decent to say about it, unlike when I first listened to Violator.
To their credit, Depeche Mode grew in the ’90s; other synthpop bands ended or disappeared, in part I think because of the changing musical landscape, wherein surviving on synthesizers plus vocals became commercial death. The degree to which Depeche mode have incorporated things not originally in their sound (or associated with synthpop) is pretty drastic/radical, and more so than I imagined before I heard a lot of the genre.
But this is still not really my kind of music: it’s moody without being immediate enough; the songs are catchy enough but are not compelling enough for me personally to get really excited.
That’s not to say it’s bad, of course. The melodies are reasonably strong (though I would say Violator has the better set of songs, for the most part) and everything is well done. And, like I said, they’ve clearly outgrown their original sound at least a little.
It’s just not my thing. No matter how many times I listen to Depeche Mode, I can’t love them.
All tracks written by Martin Gore.
- “I Feel You” 4:35
- “Walking in My Shoes” 5:35
- “Condemnation” 3:20
- “Mercy in You” 4:17
- “Judas” 5:14
- “In Your Room” 6:26
- “Get Right with Me / Interlude #4” (a hidden track starts at 2:59) 3:52
- “Rush” 4:37
- “One Caress” 3:32
- “Higher Love” 5:56
- Andrew Fletcher: keyboards, backing vocals
- David Gahan: vocals
- Martin L. Gore: songwriter, keyboards, guitar, backing vocals, bass guitar, organ, lead vocals
- Alan Wilder: keyboards, programming, drums, bass guitar, backing vocals, piano
- Depeche Mode – mixing, production
- Hildia Campbell – additional vocals (“Get Right with Me”)
- Chris Dickie – engineering
- Mark Einstmann – assistant engineering
- Shaun de Feo – assistant engineering
- Flood – mixing, production
- Steáfán Hannigan – uilleann pipes (“Judas”)
- Paul Kendall – engineering
- Steve Lyon – engineering
- Wil Malone – string arrangement and conducting (“One Caress”)
- Bazil Meade – additional vocals (“Get Right with Me”)
- Kevin Metcalfe – mastering
- Volke Schneider – assistant engineering
- Samantha Smith – additional vocals (“Get Right with Me”)
- Mark Stent – mixing
- Matthew Vaughan – additional programming
- Jeremy Wheatley – assistant engineering