Depeche Mode – Momento Mori

Memento Mori

In January I mentioned I have a complicated relationship with Depeche. A new album had been announced, and once again we long time fans brace ourselves and hope for something moderately decent. The lead single Ghosts Again was released a month later, and good heavens it was magnificent! Could the new album actually be any good?

Memento Mori has arrived.

The first listen was nerve wracking. I only really liked two songs so decided to give it a few days of repeated listens for everything to sink in. After each listen I found there were more things I liked that time around. One night while loading the dishwasher I found myself humming one of the new tracks. A good sign.

So, five days in, is it any good? Yes it is. It's much better than Spirit and Delta Machine. And to be honest that's all I could have really hoped for. There's less bluesy guitar work this time around and the synths & strings used to great effect.

Tracks I like:

My Cosmos Is Mine
Wagging Tongue
My Favorite Stranger
People Are Good
Always You
Never Let Me Go

Tracks I love:

Before We Drown
Ghosts Again
Speak To Me

Tracks that make me go hmmm:

Don't Say You Love Me
Soul With Me
Caroline's Monkey

Before We Drown is majestic, and Speak To Me is the best album closer since Clean from Violator.

Depeche albums do take a while to fully sink in. I have to remind myself that some of their albums I consider classics I've listened to with the benefit of years of reinforcement. Of course the Alan Wilder years are long gone, they're never going to be that band again. But I could grow to like this new version of the band based on this album.

If this proves to be their swansong, so be it, a fitting book end to an amazing career.

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  1. Dave2 says:

    My favorite tracks are the exact same as yours (with "Before We Drown" as my #1). — The rest are okay. I like them better than what we were getting off the previous two albums, but they don't compel me to listen to "Memento Mori" on repeat in its entirety.

    • kevin says:

      Before We Drown is up there with some of the best DM tracks in recent memory. Certainly the highlight of the album for me.

  2. Göran says:

    Nice review. I haven't listened so actively to DM for years but just bought the album. Like you I think it is a good first listen but will need a few more spins before an actual verdict is ready

    • kevin says:

      I'll be honest, if you haven't listened to a Depeche album in a while… you haven't really missed much. This album though has all the potential to be one of the better "post Alan" albums. I hope you end up liking it.

  3. martymankins says:

    I am so happy to read this review. After a dozen listens and hearing 5 of the new songs live, I like this album a lot. And as you said above, so much better than Spirit and Delta Machine.