One of two things has happened: this is the best Depeche Mode record I’ve ever heard OR I’m finally getting used to them and enjoying them more than I used to, and if I go back to their “better” records I’d like those more too.
I thought I’d listened to a few early records of theirs but I have no ratings or reviews recorded, which means I either didn’t listen to them or I didn’t listen to them enough to review them. I mention this because I thought I felt as though their sound didn’t evolve enough for me over the decade. But I don’t know where I got that impression if this is the earliest album of theirs I’ve ever properly listened to. Anyway…
The big differentiating factor with Depece Mode compared to the other synthpop bands is their songs – it basically always feels like you’re listening to a songwriter with a voice who has just chosen to use technology to express those songs when listening to one of their records, whereas that is often rarely the case with the records by other synthpop bands of the time. And that’s true here, to a great degree. These songs are way better than most of the songs being written by synthpop bands at the time. Because they’re songs, as opposed to dance numbers or whatever.
And I must say that I’ve always preferred their “darker” aesthetic to the bright, poppier and dancier aesthetic that was dominant at the time. So that’s not what’s changed for me.
I guess I’m just used to them now, as I’ve heard four or more of their albums. I know what to expect and maybe now I feel as though I can judge their music better, as compared to itself as opposed to comparing it to my very limited knowledge of contemporary synthpop. (For better or worse, that knowledge is less and less limited every day due to my podcast.)
So this probably isn’t their best album by any means but, in the weird order I’ve heard them, it’s the best I’ve heard so far. So that’s um, something, I guess.