Review Summary: This is Depeche Mode's rebound after songwriter Vince Clarke left after their first album. It is flawed, but it shows Gore's struggle in taking over as songwriter and trying to create his own style. It is slightly underrated.
Many fans describe this album as being very diverse in sound and style and I couldn’t agree more. Vince Clarke just left the band, so Martin Gore now had his own style to work with, which is definitely much darker than Vince. Martin though borrowed a lot of the fun campiness from Clarke in some songs, which is fine in my opinion but those songs really stand out as “weird” on this mysterious album. This album in my opinion is the most forgettable DM album, along with Construction Time Again. This is DM trying to regroup after losing their songwriter, and you see hints of Martin’s songwriting getting toward DM’s darker identity, but it’s not there yet.
LEAVE IN SILENCE- A great dark opener that leaves one in suspense and confusion. The first listen I was shocked at how eerie this song really was. It completely slaps Speak & Spell in the face with its gloominess.
MY SECRET GARDEN- A very so-so song with weird feelings. I can’t tell if its positive or negative. I think it’s a pretty good listen nonetheless.
MONUMENT- A slow and steady song, perhaps a little boring but pretty creative.
NOTHING TO FEAR- A great instrumental that’s fast paced and musically genius.
SEE YOU- By far my favorite on the album. It combines Vince’s campiness with Martin’s dark tones and its just wonderful. I can really relate to the lyrics in this one and the ending is intensely great.
SATELLITE- A great, tragic dark song. Very emo lyrics here, a great push toward DM’s darker style.
THE MEANING OF LOVE- And all the darkness goes out the window. This is my least favorite on the album, its campiness just doesn’t fit the album, it belongs on Speak & Spell.
PHOTOGRAPHIC- Same thing as “Meaning of Love” very poppy and stands out. It’s a little better though, as the strange air noise fades into the next song.
SHOULDN'T HAVE DONE THAT- A very Construction Time Again esque song about society and tragedy. You really can spot Martin’s views on the world in this melacholic ballad sung by him and Dave.
SUN AND THE RAINFALL- My favorite non-single of the album. A wonderful, tragic song that is beautiful in every way. It’s a lot like “Enjoy the Silence” in its tone. Great song, really makes this album worth it.
NOW THIS IS FUN- B-side to "See You", a fast paced song that seems pretty ambivalent. I enjoy it for the most part.
OBERKORN (IT'S A SMALL TOWN)- B-side to "The Meaning of Love", a calm and mysterious instrumental that captures the cover art.
Cover Art: A lot better than the last album, the art is a gloomy farm land with a stormy sky and a farmer tending the fields. It really captures the mood of the album, bleak and mysterious.
All and all I think DM fans will treasure this more than Speak & Spell. I liked Speak & Spell a little better, but this is a truly the beginning on DM’s strive toward perfection, and I recommend it for DM fans, but not for those who want to start out, again, see Violator.