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Pop - Released March 21, 2018 | Venusnote Ltd.

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Pop/Rock - Released July 3, 2013 | Venusnote Ltd.

Martin Gore has famously noted that Depeche Mode stopped worrying about its future when the first post-Vince Clarke-departure single, "See You," placed even higher on the English charts than anything else Clarke had done with them. Such confidence carries through all of A Broken Frame, a notably more ambitious effort than the pure pop/disco of the band's debut. With arranging genius Alan Wilder still one album away from fully joining the band, Frame became very much Gore's record, writing all the songs and exploring various styles never again touched upon in later years. "Satellite" and "Monument" take distinct dub/reggae turns, while "Shouldn't Have Done That" delivers its slightly precious message about the dangers of adulthood with a spare arrangement and hollow, weirdly sweet vocals. Much of the album follows in a dark vein, forsaking earlier sprightliness, aside from tracks like "A Photograph of You" and "The Meaning of Love," for more melancholy reflections about love gone wrong as "Leave in Silence" and "My Secret Garden." More complex arrangements and juxtaposed sounds, such as the sparkle of breaking glass in "Leave in Silence," help give this underrated album even more of an intriguing, unexpected edge. Gore's lyrics sometimes veer on the facile, but David Gahan's singing comes more clearly to the fore throughout -- things aren't all there yet, but they were definitely starting to get close. © Ned Raggett /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released July 3, 2013 | Venusnote Ltd.

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Pop/Rock - Released June 6, 2011 | Venusnote Ltd.

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Pop/Rock - Released June 6, 2011 | Venusnote Ltd.

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Pop/Rock - Released May 30, 2011 | Venusnote Ltd.

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Pop/Rock - Released November 5, 2010 | Venusnote Ltd.

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Pop/Rock - Released December 7, 2009 | Venusnote Ltd.

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Rock - Released April 17, 2009 | Venusnote Ltd.

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Pop/Rock - Released November 13, 2006 | Venusnote Ltd.

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 /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released November 13, 2006 | Venusnote Ltd.

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 /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released September 28, 2006 | Venusnote Ltd.

Issued in 2006, this one-CD/two-DVD set presents the beloved British synth pop act performing live in support of its well-received comeback album, Playing the Angel. While the DVDs feature songs from throughout the band's career, the CD portion of the release presents concert versions of eight songs from Angel only, including the darkly vibrant "Suffer Well" and the melancholy "Precious." © TiVo
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Rock - Released October 13, 2005 | Venusnote Ltd.

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Pop/Rock - Released October 18, 2005 | Venusnote Ltd.

When Ultra was declared the best Depeche Mode album since Violator, those who said so must have forgotten about Songs of Faith and Devotion. When Exciter was declared the best Depeche Mode album since Violator, those who said so must have also forgotten about Songs of Faith and Devotion, in addition to having found a roundabout way of saying that it was merely better than Ultra. There's no doubt this time: Playing the Angel is both the band's best album since Violator and, more significantly, an album that is near Violator in stature. The biggest clue dropped by the band prior to its release was a quote from Dave Gahan, who said that being in Depeche Mode is better than it has been in 15 years. Some quick math reveals that Gahan was hinting at the Violator era, a time when the band's creativity and popularity peaked synchronously. It also turns out that this is a time as good as any other to be paying attention to the band. Playing the Angel lacks Songs of Faith and Devotion's end-to-end chest-beating, Ultra's grinding murk, and Exciter's desiccated patches. It takes the best qualities from those releases, combines them with a few subtle allusions to Violator -- tiptoeing the border that separates retread from reinvention -- and makes for a highly concentrated set of songs that all but demand to be heard in one uninterrupted shot. Gahan, still riding the confidence he gained as a songwriter from Paper Monsters, his 2003 solo debut, contributes three songs co-written with band associates Christian Eigner and Andrew Phillpott. Though none of them vie to be the album's centerpiece, it's apparent that the move wasn't a concession of desperation on anyone's part. The friendly competition seems to have kicked chief songwriter Martin Gore into high gear; he's in top form. Musically, a lot of analog gear was used, and it's apparent that the arrangements and extra sounds were less fussed over than they have been in the recent past. You get the sense that everything fell into place, as opposed to being forced or aimlessly manipulated. Despite the favoring of older gear, there's no other year in which any of the songs could've been made. Like the best Depeche Mode, almost everything on the album will make an initial wowing impact while remaining layered enough in subtle details to surprise and thrill with repeated listens. It is not the kind of album a 25-year-old band is supposed to make. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Pop/Rock - Released October 25, 2004 | Venusnote Ltd.

There was a time when you could walk into your average record store and find the singles section by spotting the big block of black rows. These rows signaled the whereabouts of the Ds and tended to eat up a disproportionate space of the singles section. In 2004, the Mute label condensed all of these releases into Remixes 81-04, which itself was ironically (or fittingly) presented in multiple versions. This particular version is a triple-disc set that attempts to function as a representative sampling of Depeche Mode's innumerable remixes. It does an admirable job, making a point to highlight glorified extended versions and radical reworkings alike. François Kevorkian, for instance, uses his invaluable understanding of the inner workings of both disco and dub to extend and sensitively tweak "Personal Jesus" for the dancefloor, transforming it into something that he would likely spin while DJing. Air, however, alter "Home" to the point where it sounds like one of their own moody, downcast productions -- Martin Gore plays guest instead of host. One of the most thrilling remixes shows no respect to the source material; Adrian Sherwood's decimation of "People Are People," from 1984, is a succession of jackhammering beats, agitated noise fragments, bizarre vocal interjections. In order to entice hardcore fans who already have the old remixes on the original single releases (or the six exhaustive box sets), a handful of new remixes were commissioned. Most of these appear in the latter half of the third disc, and at least half deserve to be in the company of the better-known reshapes. "Clean" is turned into a bristly acid gallop by Colder, and the new rhythm winds up coming close to mirroring "Personal Jesus." Rex the Dog reaches all the way back to "Photographic," providing layer upon layer of bursting synth. Ironically (or fittingly), Paul Morley -- who, as one of the tricksters behind the ZTT label (Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Propaganda), came up with the idea that you could never have a track remixed too many times -- pens the liner notes. © Andy Kellman /TiVo
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Rock - Released April 3, 2004 | Venusnote Ltd.

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Rock - Released April 2, 2004 | Venusnote Ltd.

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Rock - Released April 1, 2004 | Venusnote Ltd.

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Rock - Released March 31, 2004 | Venusnote Ltd.

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Rock - Released March 30, 2004 | Venusnote Ltd.