Top 10 Depeche Mode Deep Tracks

Top 10 Depeche Mode Deep Tracks

Feature Photo: Taya Ovod / Shutterstock.com

There aren’t a lot of bands in the history of rock to have released fifteen studio albums. Pink Floyd did it when they recorded their last album in 2014. The Rolling Stones have released more than twenty-five studio albums in their long history with their latest being released next month called Hackney Diamonds. Other bands have done it such as Fleetwood Mac, The Grateful Dead, Styx, and Cheap Trick have released at least fifteen studio albums.

For each band that traverses so many years with the goals of being reputable and prolific, the heavy burden of replicating success is daunting. Compromise on ideals is not an easy switch to press on and off. There is bound to be controversy and disagreement.

Over such a long spell, members of these groups change out just as the music and the styles of the times change. It is and has been part of the deals made to keep bands above ground and still touring.

Depeche Mode has been no different than any other high-profile band when it comes to members coming and going. Any deep dive into the songs of a band requires some analysis of the contributions from band members past and present. After Depeche Mode’s first album, lead songwriter, Vince Clarke, chose to leave over philosophical disputes. His music preferences led him to begin other music ventures, first Yazoo, and eventually Erasure.

Clarke was a huge part of the band’s forming and the development of the roots of the band’s sound. He is most famous for writing the Depeche Mode song, “Just Can’t Get Enough.” The history of Depeche Mode can be grateful for the blueprint he provided.

Because he left after only one album, Clarke didn’t leave a lot of room for long-term historical analysis of any of his effects on the band from the second album onwards. His replacement to the band is a completely different story, however.   Alan Wilder was with the band for the writing of six albums, from their third, Construction Time Again to their seventh, Songs of Faith and Devotion. After answering an ad in a music magazine for an experienced synth player, a new era was formed in Depeche Mode.

These six albums were some of the most monumental work the band did. The argument can be made that Wilder was with Depeche Mode during their most creative and successful time as a band. He was part arranger and producer, as well as a full-time musician for the band. He even played drums for them while touring. Also, he is credited with coming up with the title of the band’s luminary documentary, 101.

The sound production took a turn during Wilder’s time as it never really had in the past with more guitar edge and a wider breadth of synth. His abilities and what the band churned out is a diverse bevy of material. Let’s take a look at the Top 10 Deep Cuts from Depeche Mode with Alan Wilder as part of the group with at least one song included from each of the six albums he collaborated on.

# 10 –  Higher Love

This song is the last song from Wilder’s last album he did with the group, Songs Of Faith and Devotion. Wilder left the group at the end of the recording of this album due to his perspective on the band’s commitment to their music and to each other. Martin Gore and Dave Gahan were having drug and alcohol battles, while Andy Fletcher had already taken leave from the group for mental health from feeling too much stress.

 

# 9 – Love, In Itself

1983’s Construction Time Again is Wilder’s first time being part of the construction team for the songwriting of Depeche Mode. It is the first cut from the album. The song has a volume of New Wave sound that puts you somewhere else. It feels like this was an introduction to Electronic Dance Music (EDM).

 

# 8 – Something To Do

This is the first track from 1984’s Some Great Reward. It is a haunting, mysterious melody. And, it has the progressive feel for the variety of industrial synth sounds the band was able to achieve with Wilder as part of the team. Depeche Mode has always been an experimental synth band. Martin Gore, the chief songwriter of the group through the years, has an affinity for technology and synthesizers. From interviews, we can gather that he has one of the largest contemporary collections in the world.

 

# 7 –  Fly On The Windscreen

Many critics consider 1986’s Black Celebration album as a turning point for the band. The band had done enough sound collecting from all kinds of pounding metallic types of recordings over time to become the experts in this field of music, if there was one. Now, they were combining their penetrating rhythms with their original ethereal harmonies to produce unforgettable melodies. Wilder was a huge assist to Gore during these years with his genuine expertise in all things music.

 

# 6 – Here Is The House & Dressed In Black

There are duets in the library of Depeche Mode. They are somewhat of a rare type. But, Black Celebration has two songs termed as duets according to the songwriting credits. Interestingly, just about every song in the DM catalog without Gore considered as the lead singer is styled to incorporate Gore on the chorus and Gahan on the Lead similar to a duet. Gore is also known to go out on occasion and sing live any of the DM songs he has written.

 

This is the other duet from Black Celebration. Martin Gore is the chief songwriter, but the group has always had Dave Gahan to take on the lead singer role. Gore has been the lead on a few charting Singles, but the majority of DM songs are sung by Gahan. Gahan has done exceptionally in this role as he took voice lessons over the years and did the best he could to maintain his voice strength for live performances. Depeche Mode is considered one of the greatest live performers, and Gahan takes moves like Jagger’s to the next level on stage.

 

# 5 – Nothing

As Black Celebration turned up the frequency of artistry for Depeche Mode, it was 1987’s Music For The Masses album that pushed even further and prepared them for the history books on their next album, Violator. Music For The Masses had many moments of chiseled excellence, including this entry that was featured on their sell-out concert of The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, for the 101 special documentary.

 

# 4 -The Things You Said & Sweetest Perfection

This song is sung with Gore as the lead. ‘The Things You Said’ shows how Depeche Mode was able to master the synths and combine that with sensational lyrics to take a song from rhythmic to slower while staying melodic. Expectations were rising for the band because practically every song had a spirit of its own.

 

Nestled among all the hits on 1990’s Violator is this song. It’s not easy to find a deep cut on this album, but this one is just a hard, tough song that is sung with passion. The synth riff is distinct but reminds us of the Depeche sound.

# 3 – Waiting For The Night

When it comes to slow, melodic songs filled with tension, few do it better than Depeche Mode. In another duet, Gore and Gahan come together on this song from Violator to form the perfect pairing. This song is evidence of how they took their skill sets and kept surging forward through the years together. They know there is something special when they sing together.

 

# 2 – Mercy In You

Before Wilder left the band, he left them with arguably their best record in Songs of Faith and Devotion. While Violator gets a lot of the credit for their huge success as a band, it is Songs of Faith and Devotion that shows just how far Depeche Mode had stretched themselves musically. This song shows the strength the band had in that last album in 1993 with Wilder, as the heavy presence of sound was grunge-like with synths.In reading about the band over the years, I have noticed that many of their hardcore fans consider this album to be their pinnacle as a group.

 

# 1 – In Your Room

This song from Songs of Faith and Devotion just takes you on a trip. It is a song to be experienced. It has been part of their live sets for a lot of their tours. My favorite rendition of this song was on their Exciter tour when the contracted backup singers added their flare. Wilder never did much on the singing end of things other than the occasional backup vocal. But, his contributions sonically as an arranger, producer and musician are settled as treasures of Depeche Mode forever.

Top 10 Depeche Mode Deep Tracks article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023

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