Depeche Mode – Violator

Depeche modeSo basically, the rest of this week is going to be (early) 1990’s nostalgia week. I’m thinking back to the early 1990’s, the era of my growing love of music. Unlike a lot of people, I don’t think my love of music came from my parents. Frankly, I can’t see how you can trace back my taste now to the prevalent music of my upbringing in the 80’s which basically consisted of the Carpenters, Beatles, Dire Straits and Now That’s What I Call Music Volume 2 (which my parents had on vinyl!). Of course, I’m not going to rag on any of these bands, “Money For Nothing” has a classic riff and the Beatles are the best band of all time yaddda yadda blah blah blah, but if I hear “Ob-la-de-ob-la-dah” I may punch someone in the face. I distinctly remember that we got a big hi-fi set-up that had a twin cassette deck at Christmas 1990. A day or two later after we fitted it all up, I remember remarking to my dad that I liked a song on the radio (DNA fet. Suzanne Vega – Tom’s Dinner) and he said “well, just record it”. He reached over put in a new, blank cassette and clicked record. That was it, I could just record stuff off the radio!?!

This was the catalyst of at least 8 years of recording stuff of the radio, until I finally got a job and could afford to buy CDs. But at this time, it meant I could add to my meagre tape collection, of which I got two a year at Christmas and my birthday. The compilation that year was Smash Hits 1990, which despite having a huge slice of cheesey pop, had some top Madchester hits (Happy Monday, 808 State, Candy Flip, Soup Dragons) and a song that was to be totally memorable. This was Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy The Silence”. That riff is so perfect that you could play it on a loop for half and hour and it would still sound brilliant. So why didn’t I try and get the album it was from. Maybe I wouldn’t have had any luck in getting my parents to buy an album called Violator that had a song called “Personal Jesus” (a song later covered by Marylin Manson and Johnny Cash).

Violator doesn’t sound nearly as dated as you would expect, the slick synths and beats sound of their age but not constrained by it. The early tracks like “World In My Eyes” and “Sweetest Perfection” have a glossy production but still hit the mark, especially the latter’s dizzying climax. The siren like synth effects on “Blue Dress” almost take away from a slow dance beat that is entrancing. Violator is an album overshadowed by it’s hit single (and by the world conquering tour that took place afterwards but it’s also a well rounded album that doesn’t sound as old as it should.

Depeche Mode – Enjoy The Silence:

For reference, in case you can’t remember this is DNA & Suzanne Vega “Tom’s Dinner”, video’s shit but it’s the song that’s important:


  1. Idetrorce

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

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