I have a complicated relationship with Depeche Mode. But first some history.
The very first Depeche Mode song I can remember hearing was Shake The Disease back in 1985. I must have been eleven years old? There was a boy who lived across the street that I was friends with. He was a couple years older than me and had bought the song on 7" single. I can distinctly remember him bringing it over and we listened to it on my Dad's record player in our living room.
I didn't know it at the time, but that would change things forever. I'd found the exact song, the exact band, the exact type of music that would become the soundtrack of my youth.
One of the first albums I ever bought on vinyl with my pocket money was The Singles 81→85. I played that album to death. And it was the start of my teenage Mode vinyl addiction that spread to buying every album and 12" remix of any song I could get my hands on. Any excuse to go into a record shop to look just in case there was a rare mix I didn't own.
It wasn't just vinyl. I'd go on to buy every single VHS tape of videos or concerts – eventually wearing out my copy of The World We Live In And Live In Hamburg. Over the years I'd end up seeing them live six times, the best of which on the Devotional tour at Crystal Palace in London 1993.
So why a complicated relationship?
The Depeche of the Alan Wilder golden years is my favorite band of all time. Hands down. Not even close. To me, this body of work will never be bettered:
Construction Time Again
Some Great Reward
Music For The Masses
Songs Of Faith And Devotion
Alan left of course. The band continued without him and would release a further six albums. All of which I still bought, because Depeche Fucking Mode.
But herein lies the rub. Any long time fan will tell you the albums of the later years are (whispers) not great.
And so we fast forward to the year 2022. Two major things happened. Fletch passed away. Dave and Martin announced a new album.
So, yet again, even after being burned so many times before, I find myself looking forward to a new Depeche album. Maybe this time it will be good?