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.

 tagged: ,

Season Three, How's That Going?

Star Trek Picard and The Mandalorian have entered their third season. How's that going for them so far?

Up to this point, the previous seasons of Star Trek Picard have been…fine. The show as a whole meandered a bit, and I'm not sure quite figured out what it was trying to be. But I still enjoyed it because, well, Patrick Stewart and Jeri Ryan, come on. Season three though is a different beast entirely. They've gone full on TNG nostalgia and I'm here for it! Every single episode has been great and I'm really really glad they finally figured this show out. It was The Next Generation all along.

The Mandalorian, however, has been quite the surprise. When they nailed the landing at the end of the second season I thought Favreau and Filoni could do no wrong. Then came the hot mess that was The Book Of Boba Fett. Made even more bonkers when it turned into The Mandalorian season 2.5 because reasons. Made even more bonkers because you had to have watched this lessor show for The Mandalorian season three to make sense. And we're now half way through said season and I still don't really have any idea what the goal is. The episodes haven't been great, the writing poor, and in places just outright silly. It feels very rushed like Disney just said "I don't care it isn't very good, just get it out there, we have more toys to sell".

 tagged: ,

Swift City

Glendale is a suburb of Phoenix, and was host of this year's Superbowl . Turns out Taylor Swift is a bit popular and has a couple sold out shows at the stadium. And there's a bit of city rebranding going on.

Glendale, Arizona, is changing its name to Swift City in honor of Taylor Swift launching the Eras Tour at State Farm Stadium with two sold-out performances on Friday and Saturday, March 17-18.

The temporary and symbolic rebrand takes effect Friday, the opening day of the tour, and lasts through Saturday.

The name Swift City was unveiled at a news conference on Monday where Glendale Mayor Jerry P. Weiers read a proclamation laying out the case for Swift and Glendale in a series of sentences beginning with "Whereas" and referencing lyrics to several hits on his way to a closing involving the words "I do hereby declare."


Of An Age

Obviously you can never over share on the internet. And I'm of an age now where I'm going to do a thing. A really really fun thing. Want to guess? Here's a clue.

 tagged: ,

Super Bowl

You may have heard that the Super Bowl is this coming Sunday. And it's here in our fair city. Well, it's in Glendale to be fair, and we used to live in walking distance of the stadium before we moved into Phoenix proper.

As you can imagine it's the only thing the local news is talking about. There are "NFL experience" events all over town, concerts, and visitors. Drove past one of the smaller public airports this morning, the private jets of the rich and famous are already arriving and parked.

This is my one "football" game I watch a year. I don't have a horse in the race obviously so just hoping for a decent game. The fun of it is really going to see friends and the odd frosty beverage while the game is on TV.

 tagged: ,

Phoenix This Very Winter

When the never ending summer has day after day of the same weather you yearn for something, anything, that's just different. Variety, after all, is the spice of life. And we Phoenix residents are a funny bunch. We're never more happy when clouds appear over the mountains, even happier when they deliver rain.

So at this time of the year it's nice to be…cold. It's been bitterly cold here in the mornings every day this week. Like, see your breath and make sure your plants are covered, cold. My car's dashboard pinged a 'low temperature outside' warning as we hit 32°F driving to school.

There's just something about being able to wear a coat, sip hot Americanos, and breath in that crisp air.

 tagged: ,

Death By A Thousand Cuts

Back in December I wrote about Twitter and Mastodon lamenting the possible demise of the service I've grown to love; and noting we have that Mastodon lifeboat to climb in if such a demise came to pass.

Time passed. Idiotic management decisions aside, Twitter still held together. Sure the tech folk I follow have abandoned Twitter in favor of Mastodon but like 85% of the people I follow are still there. So I've been trying to better allocate time to switch between both services.

And things were mostly fine.

Well, until today.

Last night around 11pm ET, Tweetbot and Twitterrific stopped working, with authentication errors. They’re still down, as are other popular clients. Twitter has said nothing, either publicly or in communications to the affected developers, so your guess is as good as mine whether this is an unintended outage from Twitter’s skeleton crew staff or a strategic decision to pull the plug on third-party clients.

The API is still functional so this was a selective and intentional targeting of third-party clients. I've been a happy Tweetbot user for years and this is an incredible poke in the eye and fuck you to the developer community.

The Twitter experience was always so much better with no algorithmic timeline, no promoted tweets. Just chronological order like the good lord intended. So I've installed the official Twitter iOS client today and it's…not great? Look at all those ads and "hey add your birthday to your profile" messages interspersed with actual Tweets. Yay.

So this is another death cut for me. Only 994 left to go? But seriously, what to do from here? Unless everyone I follow on Twitter also jumps ship I'll still want to hang around and interact with Twitter peeps. A social network lives and dies by who's there. What a sad sorry state of affairs.

Fucking Elon Musk, that guy has a lot to answer for.

 tagged: , ,


What happened was, my car decided it wouldn't recognize either key fob just out of the blue. So I'm here at the car dealer having all the things diagnosed. As I sit and wait, the chap sitting across from me is asleep and snoring. And they have The Price Is Right on TV. Please send help.

 tagged: ,


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
Black Celebration
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?

 tagged: ,