Friday, January 04, 2008

FDF Volume 1 Issue 81: **REPOST**Depeche Mode - Violator

This was my first every "take down". I have posted this only in text form.

Album - Violator
Artist - Depeche Mode
Key Players - Andrew Fletcher - keyboards, backing vocals. David Gahan - lead vocals, Martin Gore - keyboards, guitar, backup vocals, occasional lead vocals,
Alan Wilder - programming, keyboards, drums.

Produced By - Depeche Mode, Flood.

Release Date - March 19, 1990

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I actually heard an older track from the band recently and decided I'd go back and give them a listen. I thought I had "that" record and was surprised to realize I only had this record. It is still a good record and I hadn't listened in a long time, so..there you have it.

Overview - Formed in 1980 UK synth pop band Depeche Mode (named for a French Fashion magazine) have been a long running fan favorite in the electronic music genre. The band were no strangers to releasing albums. Violator was the bands seventh release and was coming off the heels of the successful "Music For the Masses album and tour (which sold out the Rose Bowl and was released as "101") . Fans (both new and old) were teased with the lead off single "Personal Jesus" a full six months before the album was released. A pretty amazing feat before file sharing. Considered by many fans to be their best album (or one of the strongest) the band would reach international fame and tour extensively for this album. Four singles would be released from this album in the US. The album would make Rolling Stone Magazines list of the Top 500 cds of all time, landing on spot 342. In 2006 the album was re-released as a hybrid SACD/CD +DVD Package. It had 5.1 mixes of album tracks as well as the b-side singles from the album.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - Two keyboards feed off one another as "World in My Eyes" gains momentum. The inescapable sound of Depeche Mode is now in your ears. Gahan has the baritone whisper at the outset but it swells. The song keeps the same tempo with a machine like back beat, which is not uncommon in this genre. Martin Gore takes the lead vocals on "Sweetest Perfection". The key song writer of the band takes over on a haunting slow churning track. The sound of brushes on drums adds a unique touch. "Personal Jesus" could be considered one of, if not "the" song from Depeche Mode. Even if you don't know who the band is, you know this track. It has a harder back beat than the two earlier tracks. Guitars have a particular punch and the machine like break down towards the end always had heads bobbing on dance floors. Once more we slow down some as "Halo" begins. One synth will hold the basic tempo, while one will do more over the top, a third, will add some cool noise at random points. About a minute in the track moves along a little quicker and gets a little more urgent both musically and lyrically. Upon listening once more this track has a similar feel to the "Policy of Truth" which comes up in a few tracks. "Waiting for the Night" is another track with a lengthy, quiet fade up. The keyboards at times sounds like children's instruments but adds a unique touch. Gahan is very laid back vocally, resorting to whispering just about the whole track. Yet another single even casual fans would notice is "Enjoy the Silence". This hearkens back a little more to the bounce of previous Depeche Mode records. It almost sounds like a cast off from the bands prior album(s). A far more radio friendly sounding track overall it doesn't force the electronica sound. Gahan is in fine voice and has a slight wave to his voice on the chorus. Also to note the radio single cut this song down drastically considering radio would rarely (if ever) play a track longer than 4 minutes, this, the album version is over 6. Granted its just a series of bars repeated, and the chorus but it is funny to go back and say "This is where the song used to end". Without slowing down yet another single released to US radio "Policy of Truth" follows. After the intro a punchier keyboard comes high in the mix. Gore and Gahan share some of the call and response vocals on this track. Once again Gore takes the lead vocal duties on "Blue Dress". Although they at times sound similar Gore has, I feel, a stronger voice. Since he is the key song writer one has to wonder if he writes things specifically for him. It doesn't go up into some bizarre vocal range, but when you hear a track like this Gahan wouldn't have been the right choice. The album closes out with "Clean" which layers the various textures from the outset. One keyboard holds a bass line, another shoots lasers of sound over the top. We then get hit with hard marching like bass drums. We haven't broken any new ground by this point, but we have somehow remained interesting as well.

Where are they now? Dave Gahan released a solo album in 2007 called Hourglass. This was his second solo release. Martin Gore has also released a solo ep and lp and played guitar in the studio for Gwen Stefani. Andrew Fletcher spends his time away from Depeche Mode as a touring DJ. Alan Wilder left the band in June of 1995. He had been in the band for 14 years but the extensive tour (15 months leading up to this time) proved to be enough for Wilder. He now devotes his time to the band "Recoil". Depeche Mode as a collective are rumored to head back to the studio in 2008.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience)
- I have no idea why, but I have never seen Depeche Mode live.

FDF Overall Take
- Depeche Mode might not be for everyone, then again is there a band out there that is for everyone? Regardless, the band has stayed together with hardly a line up change in over 30 years and released some great records. The hard work has paid off as the band has sold more that 91 million records world wide. Chances are you have one of these records, if not, this is a good place to start.

Official Site , Martin Gore here, The band Recoil and Recoil on myspace

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


Post a Comment

<< Home