Depeche Mode
The Best Of - Volume I


4.0
excellent

Review

by Stephen Gore USER (43 Reviews)
May 27th, 2008 | 18 replies | 7,634 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Ever heard Personal Jesus? Enjoy The Silence? Want to know more? Look no further

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

Depeche Mode have been around for twenty-eight years. From nervous beginnings playing one-fingered synth riffs in Essex pubs to pumping out industrial electro-rock in gargantuan American stadiums, abstinence to drug addiction, peroxide to perms, shy lads-from-school to tequila slammer-fuelled piggyback fights, a lot’s changed; nothing more so, however, than the music. Compilation albums usually show this; however, it’s clear from looking at this one just how far the Basildon boys have come. Look! There’s ’Just Can’t Get Enough’, that uber-cheesy, teeth-rottingly sweet keyboard-fest from 1980, sharing space with the pervy hiss and spit S&M fetishes of ’Master And Servant’. And there! ’Personal Jesus’, all bluesy glam stomps and anti-devotional lyrics, just one track away from ’Everything Counts’, which is so pleased with its sugary lead melody that it’s confident enough to use “Korea” and “career” as a rhyming couplet without blushing.

However, rabid fans (who will doubtless own every song they’ve ever produced) will have no need for this collection of eighteen singles. So who will want this? Most people who stop to investigate Depeche arrive either through word of mouth, teenage angst, a love of New Wave bands, a healthy interest in leather, or (usually) the recent plethora of covers by other artists. It is indicative of the talents of lead songwriter Martin Gore that artists as polar as Johnny Cash and Marilyn Manson both stepped up to cover the same song (‘Personal Jesus’), while Lacuna Coil, Mike Shinoda, Tori Amos, Keane and roughly three million other artists have set out to cover/reinterpret/murder ’Enjoy The Silence’. Most people are pointed in the direction of Violator, the band’s magnum opus, which is a terrific shame, because there’s still much to be found either side of 1990, as this collection demonstrates, having only two songs from Violator present. ’I Feel You’ shows off their weird, grunge-electro phase, ’People Are People’ was the metal-bashing key to the American door (with the abominable-yet-catchy ”People are people so why should it be/You and I should get along so awfully”) and ’Never Let Me Down Again’ is one big industrial drug trip. Shallow, self-obsessed vanity has never sounded so cool as it does on ’It‘s No Good‘, while ’Shake The Disease’ was never on an album yet is one of their greatest hidden gems, and you even get a new song ’Martyr’, which unfortunately is the sound of self-parody (twangy guitar, bleepy synths, lyrics about religion and suffering).

This is The Best Of (Vol. 1) and a jolly good job too, because given the amount of hits they’ve had, one CD just won’t cut it. Where, for instance, is ‘World In My Eyes’? Or ’John The Revelator’? Why has one of their biggest and best albums (Black Celebration) been completely overlooked? What about those great non-singles (Halo, Clean, Higher Love, The Sinner In Me)? Why include the catchy yet slightly embarrassing early songs like ’New Life’ and ’See You?’ Surely they’d put people off?

Relax, fanboys. No-one cares at the moment, they just want to know a bit more about Depeche Mode. There’s plenty of space on the next compilation. In the meantime, this mostly excellent collection, while not as cohesive as a true album, still delivers by emcompassing all the musical changes of the group and serves up an electro-rock smorgasbord of pain and suffering, Mode style. You just can’t get enough.



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user ratings (63)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Iai
Emeritus
May 27th 2008



3553 Comments


Great review. I pretty much agree with everything.

fireaboveicebelow
May 27th 2008



6837 Comments


pretty good review for only 3 paragraphs. I wish they did a new version of Everything Counts

Stinkfists
May 27th 2008



22 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I agree also agree with you. Nice written review!

Willie
Moderator
May 28th 2008



15911 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review. I won't be getting this because I have the box set with all the singles and stuff, but this would definitely be a good place for most people to start.

Most people are pointed in the direction of Violator, the band’s magnum opus
That always confused me because I thought Ultra was so much better.

Digging: Nero Di Marte - Derivae

Iai
Emeritus
May 28th 2008



3553 Comments


Ultra? That's kind of an odd pick.

Willie
Moderator
May 28th 2008



15911 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, I hear that all the time. I've heard most of their albums (possibly all of them, but not positive), but nothing holds my attention like Ultra.

Iai
Emeritus
May 28th 2008



3553 Comments


Black Celebration was always the one I was told to turn to next.

Willie
Moderator
May 28th 2008



15911 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I guess so. The best reccomendation is usually "Violator" or "Songs of Faith..." just because they're have the most songs that people might remember. Black Celebration is old enough to still be really good, but not so old that they were still doing that 80's synth pop stuff that they started with.

Kaleid
May 28th 2008



711 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Black Celebration was the turning point, when they made a concious effort to become more of an album band. It's that album that started getting them labelled gloomy and depressing, but it's still one of their best. Ultra can be fantastic but it was a bit too lo-fi for some DM fans

Willie
Moderator
May 28th 2008



15911 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like lo-fi so maybe that had something to do with it too. Plus I like the gloominess of that album, and Love Thieves is a great song (I read your review for Ultra).

Kaleid
May 28th 2008



711 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Heh heh, you're not the first one to pull me up over that! I don't mind it, I just think it takes the umph out of the start of the album. Still, I lot of Black Celebration had the same pace and I gave that 4.5, so maybe it's just me

kygermo
October 6th 2008



994 Comments


I agree with Willie in saying Ultra is a bad-ass record. It really is. Its dark, murky, pretty much the definition of how dark DM can get.

I own all of the albums so this compilation is not needed in my collection. BUT, for the casual, this might be good.

No Behind The Wheel? No Home? The best bet for somebody to get into DM is to have a friend who likes them burn you a cd. Good review, mate, and Im glad all of their records are reviewed already!

Titan50
November 15th 2008



4588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Same with The Cure, this just doesn't get it. Need to get all of their studio albums

bloc
February 1st 2010



34774 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

One of my favourite bands ever. This album is basically all you need if you only know Depeche Mode off the radio.

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

Trez
May 15th 2010



90 Comments


Singles 81 > 98 is a good compilation too. 1st Disc is older/mellower stuff 2nd disc is newer/Heavier stuff. Obviously not as current but still a great place to start.

Acanthus
January 29th 2011



9537 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Its a great starting point album, "Master and Servant" is amazing.

Kaleid
January 30th 2011



711 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's also a good start in terms of showing their variety. Most people have this image of them where they're either doom-and-gloom, or poppy, whereas often they're actually both.

This album is full of win just for including Shake The Disease. It's such an underrated song, and lost to most people because it wasn't on a studio album.

DutchDevotee
February 20th 2012



37 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

For volume 2 they should include Get the balance right as the 'other' hidden gem which wasn't on a studio album. Still a great song, imho.



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