|Liner Notes for a Tribute to Depeche Mode CD released by Cleopatra 1999
by Rod Reynolds
Trance Mode Express 3.01: A tribute to Depeche Mode Vol. 3
"I'm waiting for the night to fall, I know that it will save us all..."
Depeche Mode debuted in 1981 as part of the 'new wave' of British pop combos with their first single, the overtly jittery "Just Can't Get Enough", and the band assimilated well amongst the tribe of emerging synth-pop acts such as Haircut 100, A Flock of Seagulls, and Soft Cell...
However, the band took a decidedly bold career track of their own. While constructing experimental yet unassuming electronic pop albums, they quietly developed their own musical sensibilities. Their fourth album, 1984's 'Some Great Reward', hinted at what was to come on "Blasphemous Rumours", with it's controversial subject matter and its classic line, "I think that God's got a sick sense of humour, and when I die I expect to find him laughing."
1986's 'Black Celebration' not only celebrated the darkness, it embraced it. Along with a fan base that suddenly and inexplicably numbered into the hundreds of thousands, this low-key alternative band found it could sell out Pasadena's Rose Bowl, and exploded the boundaries of the then-fledgling Modern Rock scene. Black clothes, black hair, black attitude; a Black Celebration was under way.
The at once chilling yet inviting electronic rhythms layered underneath the fascinating social irony of lyrics such as "Princess Di is wearing a New Dress" and the vulnerability of "let me see you Stripped down to the bone" cemented the band's reputation and fan loyalty well beyond anything previously seen within the genre.
1987's 'Music for the Masses', initially thought by many to be a title laced with irony, soon became prophecy. The cold desolation of "Nothing", the Gothic Christian imagery throughout "Sacred", the titillating naughtiness of "Little15", and the melancholy plea to "Never Let Me Down Again" connected with millions of fans across the globe.
Not surprisingly, the album 'Violator', dMode's artistic and commercial triumph, topped the charts in 1990. As audiences clamored to "reach out touch faith" and took "Personal Jesus" into the Top 40, the remarkable *sound* of the album drew in even more of the 'masses', and threw the band's followers into a tantalizing world of dark intensity.
Martin Gore's endearing words promised to "show you the World in My Eyes"; Dave Gahan's voice ironically dared you to "Enjoy the Silence"; Alan Wilder's remarkable and experimental use of lush and compelling electronics drew you in; and Fletch... well Fletch was the grand tour guide.
While dMode's songs are actually *all* 'Songs of Faith and Devotion', 1993's album of that title was part familiar and part departure for the band, for the first time featuring real guitars and drums in a meaningful manner. "Walking in My Shoes" showcases the intricacies of this duality, while other titles such as "Judas" and "Condemnation" re-assert the dark religious imagery that is a constant in the band's material.
Reduced to a threesome with the departure of keyboard guru Alan Wilder, the band still managed to keep the classic dMode sound alive, and moved forward with 1997's stunning album 'Ultra'. "It's No Good" became an instant dMode classic, along with other notable tracks such as "Barrel of a Gun", "Useless" and the 'mellow Martin' track, "Home". In 1998, a career marking second volume of "the Singles" and a climactic world tour continued the band's ground-breaking success.
The Black Celebration is still under way; welcome to "Trance Mode Express 3.01: A Tribute to Depeche Mode Volume 3".
"I've been waiting for the night to fall, now everything is bearable..."
The Art Dept Los Angeles
Lyrics from "Waiting for the Night" by Martin L. Gore
'Walking in My Shoes' originally from the Depeche Mode album Songs of Faith and Devotion
'Happiest Girl' originally from the Depeche Mode cd single World in My Eyes
'New Dress' originally from the Depeche Mode album Black Celebration
'Any Second Now' originally from the Depeche Mode album Speak & Spell
'Pain Killer' originally from the Depeche Mode cd single Barrel of a Gun
'It's No Good' originally from the Depeche Mode album Ultra
'Just Can't Get Enough' originally from the Depeche Mode album Speak & Spell
'Waiting for the Night' originally from the Depeche Mode album Ultra
'Stripped' originally from the Depeche Mode album Black Celebration
'The Sun and The Rainfall' originally from the Depeche Mode album A Broken Frame
All titles written by Martin L. Gore
(EMI Music Publishing/Grabbing Hands Music Ltd/Emile Music)
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