DM: Still fresh after all these years

With as much as I love music, you’d think 2 things:

  1. That I’d listen to it more often;
  2. That I’d write about it more often.

Most of the time, I think the music simply speaks for itself. You don’t need me telling you what it’s like. Just go listen to it.

And I’m also a firm believer in free will – which includes the right to choose whether you like something without peer pressure or advertising influence.

Depeche Mode logo

Depeche Mode logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is kind of funny about this is that many people actually do decide whether they like something or not – and even whether to buy it or not – based upon the opinions of others. Be it advertising, a friend or coworker, or a professional review or blog article.

So this time I’m going to step in and at least urge you to listen to the new Depeche Mode album, “Delta Machine”, which is available to purchase soon but is currently streaming FREE on iTunes.

For emphasis, let me state that again:  currently streaming FREE on iTunes.

I believe this is a relatively new ploy of iTunes and it’s already hooked me twice. The first was the recent free streaming of David Bowie’s new release. I bought the album on iTunes after the first song.

DM is one which I didn’t need to hear in advance, though. I’ve been a longtime fan – first finding them the early ’90’s with the release of Violator then Songs of Faith And Devotion while simultaneously working my way backward in their catalog to the beginning and picking up as many CD-singles and remixes I could find.

DM resonated for me at a particular time in my life when I felt the most alone – senior year of high school. Enjoy The Silence was like a prayer. It felt like I was breathing the words. I would spend nights driving in the dark listening to it. I would spend more nights up late listening to it by headphones as I composed bad poetry lamenting my many unrequited loves.

In Your Room described in sound how I felt in college toward a particular friend who I loved deeply but who looked at me only as her companion – her rock to hold her above the waves but not as flashy as the lights in the water calling to her.

At the same time, I was getting into my gig first as an AM campus radio DJ and later as an FM night DJ. It seemed like a small world, working in a basement – often alone – and knowing that the radio signal was reaching all of Long Island but that I had no idea how many or how few ears were listening.

I was listening to Smashing Pumpkins (poetry and angst), Sister Machine Gun and NIN (purely angst), Portishead and Radiohead (sadness), and pretty much any techno (body) from Lords of Acid and Prodigy to the most obscure Euro-techno you can think of.

But while those groups came and went – as they changed their sound to be more “radio” or changed vocalists and bandmembers – as they aged and mellowed – DM has retained whatever it was they had in the beginning.

I’m not sure what to call it. I’m not sure I want to give it a name for fear of lessening it. But it’s still there, despite the years that have past.

Bands like Alice In Chains and AC/DC have retained their original sounds – but to their detriment so that a song now is almost interchangeable with those of decades earlier. DM isn’t that simple.

English: The icon used on iTunes for the app

English: The icon used on iTunes for the app (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whatever it is, the only other band I can think of off-hand who has done it as well is Radiohead.  The “sound” has changed over time, but there are still certain things you hear that make you say “That’s Radiohead” and “That’s Depeche Mode.”

For both, one thing is easily the lead vocals. Another is the style of the lyrics as well as the construction of the songs.  But I still suggest there is something more. Something deeper. Perhaps it’s not something in the music but something in me.

Whatever it is, I’ll keep listening. I’ll keep coming back for more.

One response to “DM: Still fresh after all these years

  1. I remember going to the Songs of Faith and Devotion concert without knowing who DM were (somehow). It was absolutely awesome, though I admit I don’t like all of their music. Just hearing the title ‘In Your Room’ takes me straight back to those times. Somehow like moving through dark, warm water – immersed. There’s a kind of saturation or immersion in that album.

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