Two and a half days until I finally see Depeche Mode live.
I’ve been trying for twenty-one years.
That’s right, if my wanting to see Depeche Mode in concert were a living thing, it would be old enough to legally buy alcohol.
So here’s what I think are their twenty-five greatest songs. A couple are official videos, most are various and sundry live versions, and two of them could not be found anywhere in YouTube land. But taken together, it should give you an idea of both why I love this band and what an amazing pop history they’ve made over the past twenty-eight years.
25) Love in Itself
24) Freelove (Deep Dish Freedom Vocal)
I specifically used this mix because I don’t think the album version is as strong of a song. It’s altogether drearier, and it doesn’t pop the way this remix does. So hats off to you, Sharam and Ali of Deep Dish.
23) Any Second Now (Voices)
22) Get The Balance Right
21) In Sympathy
Easily the best song off their newest album Sounds of the Universe, and it’s already been dropped from the setlist of this tour. Dammit.
20) I Sometimes Wish I Was Dead
For some reason, Warner Music is very particular about this track. I haven’t the slightest idea why, but for some reason, you can’t find a YouTube of this song (as performed by Depeche Mode) anywhere. It was only the B-side of the biggest-selling 12” single (1989’s “Personal Jesus”) in Warner history…
Normally, Dave Gahan sings this song, but there aren’t any extant versions of that on the YouTube. So you can easily hear his take on the song on any of the albums (and it’s one of Dave’s best songs that he sings), but Martin’s version is just beautiful.
17) Leave in Silence
I do this song at karaoke sometimes, because someone has to.
15) But Not Tonight
14) If You Want
Written by unheralded genius Alan Wilder.
The song that would have caused Junior High mixtapes to be invented had they not already existed.
11) New Life
10) It Doesn’t Matter
08) Blasphemous Rumours
You never outgrow this song. I’ve talked about its fascinating grammatical complexity before, but it also reflects the basic roots of any conflict with religion. Seeing them perform it before a pop crowd just makes it all the more surreal. And effective.
07) Behind The Wheel/Route 66 (U.S. Version)
Ivan Ivan (the madman behind I-Square Records in the 80s) did an amazing megamix of Behind The Wheel and Route 66 for the U.S. It can be found on the domestic 12” single, an extravagantly-priced CD promo, and on a 1988 Sire Records CD sampler called Just Say Yo. It is magnificent, even if you just have my word to take for it.
05) Never Let Me Down Again
04) Fly on the Windscreen
03) Everything Counts
02) Enjoy the Silence
Again, no official video to be found. So this is my favorite of the remixes. It doesn’t really give you all the lyrics (or any of them, for that matter), but if you haven’t heard “Enjoy The Silence,” then there’s something wrong with you.
01) Shake The Disease