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Pop/Rock - Released March 22, 2013 | Columbia

Hi-Res Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
The strange thing about Depeche Mode is that even when they possess the wisdom that comes from being put through the wringer -- both as a band about to break up and lead singer David Gahan's struggles with addiction -- they are still quite good at making self-destruction sound seductive. Everybody knows that was the devil talking in "Personal Jesus," while "Strangelove," "Behind the Wheel," and so many other prime Depeche tunes sink in a sea of sin or drown in damnation, and the band sound like they're in the throes of ecstasy while doing it. Delta Machine, the band's 13th album, feeds off this negative energy and winds like a snake the whole time, slithering through a well-written (ten songs from Martin Gore with three coming from Gahan) and lusciously recorded set of serpentine siren songs (behind the boards there's Playing the Angel and Sounds of the Universe producer Ben Hillier, plus longtime asset Flood providing the mix). "Heaven" is a simmering ballad, combining the sexy and lusty attitude of "Personal Jesus" with the reserve of their 2005 hit "Precious." The great "Alone" seems the quintessential post-millennial Depeche track with music that glitches, groans, and somehow grabs the listener, while the lyrics give away the big conundrum "I couldn't tell if you were blessed or cursed," which is the sexiest trait ever according to the Mode. With some blues-rock guitar and the darkest synthetic landscape underneath, key track "Slow" is a lusty wish to delay la petit mort, while "Should Be Higher" suggests "When the shame and the guilt are removed and the truth will appear" as if the Rocky Horror Picture Show's "Don't Dream It, Be It" traded its camp for carnal desire. "Should Be Higher" is also one of the rare moments where the beat is pushed, so those who still expect the dancefloor side of the group will be disappointed with this slower set. Those who don't buy into the dark eroticism that drives the album will be disappointed as well, but don't mistake "dour" for "down for it" when it comes dressed-in-leather pants, because the simmering and dark Delta Machine is certainly the latter. ~ David Jeffries
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Pop/Rock - Released March 22, 2013 | Columbia

Hi-Res Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
The strange thing about Depeche Mode is that even when they possess the wisdom that comes from being put through the wringer -- both as a band about to break up and lead singer David Gahan's struggles with addiction -- they are still quite good at making self-destruction sound seductive. Everybody knows that was the devil talking in "Personal Jesus," while "Strangelove," "Behind the Wheel," and so many other prime Depeche tunes sink in a sea of sin or drown in damnation, and the band sound like they're in the throes of ecstasy while doing it. Delta Machine, the band's 13th album, feeds off this negative energy and winds like a snake the whole time, slithering through a well-written (ten songs from Martin Gore with three coming from Gahan) and lusciously recorded set of serpentine siren songs (behind the boards there's Playing the Angel and Sounds of the Universe producer Ben Hillier, plus longtime asset Flood providing the mix). "Heaven" is a simmering ballad, combining the sexy and lusty attitude of "Personal Jesus" with the reserve of their 2005 hit "Precious." The great "Alone" seems the quintessential post-millennial Depeche track with music that glitches, groans, and somehow grabs the listener, while the lyrics give away the big conundrum "I couldn't tell if you were blessed or cursed," which is the sexiest trait ever according to the Mode. With some blues-rock guitar and the darkest synthetic landscape underneath, key track "Slow" is a lusty wish to delay la petit mort, while "Should Be Higher" suggests "When the shame and the guilt are removed and the truth will appear" as if the Rocky Horror Picture Show's "Don't Dream It, Be It" traded its camp for carnal desire. "Should Be Higher" is also one of the rare moments where the beat is pushed, so those who still expect the dancefloor side of the group will be disappointed with this slower set. Those who don't buy into the dark eroticism that drives the album will be disappointed as well, but don't mistake "dour" for "down for it" when it comes dressed-in-leather pants, because the simmering and dark Delta Machine is certainly the latter. ~ David Jeffries

Pop/Rock - Released July 3, 2013 | Mute Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography

Pop/Rock - Released July 3, 2013 | Mute Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
Initially the title must have sounded like an incredibly pretentious boast, except that Depeche Mode then went on to do a monstrous world tour, score even more hits in America and elsewhere than ever before, and pick up a large number of name checks from emerging house and techno artists on top of all that. As for the music the masses got this time around, the opening cut, "Never Let Me Down Again," started things off wonderfully: a compressed guitar riff suddenly slamming into a huge-sounding percussion/keyboard/piano combination, anchored to a constantly repeated melodic hook, ever-building synth/orchestral parts at the song's end, and one of David Gahan's best vocals (though admittedly singing one of Martin Gore's more pedestrian lyrics). It feels huge throughout, like they taped Depeche recording at the world's largest arena show instead of in a studio. Other key singles "Strangelove" and the (literally) driving "Behind the Wheel" maintained the same blend of power and song skill, while some of the quieter numbers such as "The Things You Said" and "I Want You Now" showed musical and lyrical intimacy could easily co-exist with the big chart-busters. Add to that other winners like "To Have and to Hold," with its Russian radio broadcast start and dramatic, downward spiral of music accompanied by Gahan's subtly powerful take on a desperate Gore love lyric, and the weird, wonderful choral closer, "Pimpf," and Depeche's massive success becomes perfectly clear. ~ Ned Raggett

Alternative & Indie - Released October 14, 2013 | Columbia

Pop/Rock - Released July 3, 2013 | Sony_Mute Records

Pop/Rock - Released July 3, 2013 | Mute Records

Consider this a primer, because there is no way a career spanning 25 years can be summarized justifiably within the cramped space of an 80-minute disc. The Best of Depeche Mode, Vol. 1 takes a very selective skip through the group's past, and it leaves no room for anything off Black Celebration -- an album many fans (albeit the most depressive ones) cite as a favorite. While the relatively thorough Singles 81>85 and Singles 86>98 can be seen as the proper entry route, they don't have the benefit of covering 2001's Exciter or 2005's excellent Playing the Angel, so this disc -- as of 2006, at least -- is very nearly the best possible way to get a feel for the whole daunting discography. Tending to stick to the singles that made the greatest impact on the mainstream and club charts, the selections do signify that the group hasn't lost any traction. Just compare the difference between 1981's "Just Can't Get Enough" and 2005's "Precious" to the difference between the Rolling Stones' "Time Is on My Side" (1964) and "Mixed Emotions" (1989); Depeche Mode remained on an even keel creatively, while the Stones were hailed for continuing to exist and for making music that didn't embarrass their legacy. (If that's not a slap in the face of real rock & rollers who laughed at the thought of synth pop as more than a silly trend, what is?) Also consider this: If a poll were to be conducted in order to determine the absolute favorite Depeche Mode song of all time, there would be at least 40 write-ins in addition to the 18 options (including a decent new song) provided here. So, if you should happen to pick up this disc as an introduction and find yourself knocked out, you have a lot of catching up in your future. ~ Andy Kellman

Pop/Rock - Released July 3, 2013 | Mute Records

In between Violator and Songs of Faith and Devotion, a lot happened: Nirvana rewrote the ideas of what "alternative" was supposed to be, while Nine Inch Nails hit the airwaves as the most clearly Depeche-influenced new hit band around. In the meantime, the band went through some high-profile arguing as David Gahan turned into a long-haired, leather-clad rocker and pushed for a more guitar-oriented sound. Yet the odd thing about Songs of Faith and Devotion is that it sounds pretty much like a Depeche Mode album, only with some new sonic tricks courtesy of Alan Wilder and co-producer Flood. Perhaps even odder is the fact that it works incredibly well all the same. "I Feel You," opening with a screech of feedback, works its live drums well, but when the heavy synth bass kicks in with the wailing backing vocals, even most rockers might find it hard to compete. Martin Gore's lyrical bent, as per the title, ponders relationships through distinctly religious imagery; while the gambit is hardly new, on songs like the centerpiece "In Your Room," the combination of personal and spiritual love blends perfectly. Outside musicians appear for the first time, including female backing singers on a couple of tracks, most notably the gospel-flavored "Condemnation" and the uilleann pipes on "Judas," providing a lovely intro to the underrated song (later covered by Tricky). "Rush" is the biggest misstep, a too obvious sign that Nine Inch Nails was a recording-session favorite to unwind to. But with other numbers such as "Walking in My Shoes" and "The Mercy in You" to recommend it, Songs of Faith and Devotion continues the Depeche Mode winning streak. ~ Ned Raggett

Pop/Rock - Released July 3, 2013 | Sony_Mute Records

Pop/Rock - Released July 3, 2013 | Mute Records

Pop/Rock - Released May 10, 2013 | Columbia

Alternative & Indie - Released October 14, 2013 | Columbia

Pop/Rock - Released July 3, 2013 | Sony_Mute Records

Pop/Rock - Released July 3, 2013 | Mute Records

It took Depeche Mode only four years to assemble their first singles compilation, but 12 to assemble The Singles 86>98. Appropriately, the second set was much more ambitious than The Singles 81>85, spanning two discs and 20 songs, plus a live version of "Everything Counts." The Singles 86>98 was an album that many fans, both casual and hardcore, waited patiently for, and for good reason -- Depeche Mode were always more effective as a singles band than as album artists. That's not to say that the double-disc compilation is perfect. DM's output fluctuated wildly during those 12 years, as the group hit both career highs and lows. It's possible to hear it all on this set, from "Strangelove" and "Never Let Me Down Again," through "Personal Jesus" and "Enjoy the Silence," to "I Feel You" and "Barrel of a Gun." It's possible that some casual listeners will find that the collection meanders a bit too much for their tastes, but the end result is definitive and, along with The Singles 81>85, ranks as Depeche Mode's best, most listenable album. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Pop/Rock - Released July 3, 2013 | Mute Records

Whether the band felt it was simply the time to move on from its most explicit industrial-pop fusion days, or whether increased success and concurrently larger venues pushed the music into different avenues, Depeche Mode's fifth studio album, Black Celebration, saw the group embarking on a path that in many ways defined their sound to the present: emotionally extreme lyrics matched with amped-up tunes, as much anthemic rock as they are compelling dance, along with stark, low-key ballads. The slow, sneaky build of the opening title track, with a strange distorted vocal sample providing a curious opening hook, sets the tone as David Gahan sings of making it through "another black day" while powerful drums and echoing metallic pings carry the song. Black Celebration is actually heavier on the ballads throughout, many sung by Martin Gore -- the most per album he has yet taken lead on -- with notable dramatic beauties including "Sometimes," with its surprise gospel choir start and rough piano sonics, and the hyper-nihilistic "World Full of Nothing." The various singles from the album remain definite highlights, such as "A Question of Time," a brawling, aggressive number with a solid Gahan vocal, and the romantic/physical politics of "Stripped," featuring particularly sharp arrangements from Alan Wilder. However, with such comparatively lesser-known but equally impressive numbers as the quietly intense romance of "Here Is the House" to boast, Black Celebration is solid through and through. ~ Ned Raggett