Let's review every Depeche Mode album in turn - No. 9 Ultra post 130

Yeah Depeche Mode. I don’t know anything about them. I can name two of their songs: Just Can’t Get Enough, which I was never much of a fan of, and Barrel of a Gun (? or maybe that’s the album in which case the lead single) which I recall liking but can’t actually remember the tune of.

So let’s go through each album in turn and rate it out of five. Even better, I think, if you don’t know them at all. Maybe by the end we’ll all be Depeche Mode fans, although it’s more likely we’ll give up half way!

1. Speak & Spell

Here it is:

Note for people like me, the original album is only tracks 1-11 and these are the only tracks I will be reviewing.

Here’s some Wikipedia background:

This was the only Depeche Mode album with Vince Clarke as a member. Clarke wrote most of the songs for the band, before departing to form Yazoo and later Erasure.

The album is significantly lighter in tone and melody than their later work, a direction which can largely be attributed to Clarke’s writing. After he left, Martin Gore took over songwriting duties, writing almost all of the band’s material. Later albums written by him would explore darker subjects and melodies.

The album title alludes to the then-popular “Speak & Spell” electronic toy.[ citation needed ]

When interviewed by Simon Amstell for Channel 4’s Popworld programme in 2005, Gore and Fletcher both stated that the track “What’s Your Name?” was their least favourite Depeche Mode song of all time.

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Their early work isn’t great. This isn’t the worst album so gave it a 2.

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I am mulling over a 2 or a 3 right now. I like a system that doesn’t allow cowards to give half marks. I’m going to listen again.

I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected, including Just Can’t Get Enough. I have obviously got to love electronic music far more over the last 20 years.

Okay, given it a 2. Photographic and Tora! x3 stood out for me but a lot of the rest just sort of faded into the background a bit. A few points sounded like Beatles tunes covered by a synth, which was odd.

We’re going to have to wait half a dozen albums or so for the really good stuff. Will we make it?

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Construction Time Again is the first of theirs that I really love, thats their third I think.

Excellent poster / thread title interface there (101)

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:raising_hand_man:t2: I am an unfamiliar person and shall be watching this thread with keen interest.

I’ve never really ‘got it’ with Depeche Mode.

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As an angsty teenager growing up with their peak output, they were absolute manna for me. I could definitely take or leave most of their post SOFAD stuff though.

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Big DM fan. Their early albums are a little lightweight until, as somebody mentioned, ‘Construction Time Again’. However, they are essential listening to really appreciate the journey they went on and how they developed as Martin took over the songwriting from Vince Clarke.
Having said that, I think I actually prefer ‘Speak & Spell’ to Martin’s first attempt at writing on the album ‘A Broken Flame’.
Some absolutely brilliant records to come further down the line.
A three from me for this vote.

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Give it a listen. Join me on this path.

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Black Celebration is my favourite. Although, as with The Cure, I like all their styles. Seeing them the other year at London Stadium was easily one of the best gigs I’ve been to.

That was from Ultra (1997) (don’t want to spoil it lol), the only one of theirs I’ve really listened to in depth

Really enjoy it though, don’t know why I haven’t heard more of them. Might be because they’re one of the ‘big discography’ bands that it can hard to get into, which is why it’s good that there are internet forums for this very issue :+1:

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@ me when you get to Violator and Playing the Angel.

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2. A Broken Flame


Tracks 1-10 are the original album.

From Wikipedia:

The album was written entirely by Martin Gore and was recorded after the departure of Vince Clarke, who had left to form Yazoo with singer Alison Moyet. Alan Wilder was part of a second band tour in the United Kingdom prior to the release of A Broken Frame , but had not officially joined yet and does not appear on the album.

Writing in Smash Hits , Peter Silverton observed that A Broken Frame , in contrast to the group’s early post-Vince singles which he thought showed “a lack of purpose”, “makes a virtue of their tinkly-bonk whimsy”.[7] In contrast, Melody Maker wrote that, although “ambitious and bold”, " A Broken Frame – as its name suggests – marks the end of a beautiful dream", a comment on the departure of main songwriter and electronics genius Vince Clarke.

So sounds like it’ll be a mixed bag, I guess.

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It’s getting a bit :grimacing: for me when The Meaning of Love kicked in. Started interesting but has been on a decline. That said, maybe I’m actually getting into this now? Is it so ludicrously earnest in its silliness I like it?

Yeah I think one of the genuine appeals about DM is how uncool and earnest they are throughout their growth and as their songs get better and better

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Their weakest album, so a two from me. They went on an upwards trajectory from this point for a good many years.

I like how much people like Playing the Angel from 2004. Was a nice sort of comeback that.

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