Wednesday, 5 February 2014

ENJOY THE SILENCE AND ME

Today (5th February 2014) is the 24th anniversary of Depeche Mode releasing what is for me their greatest work, Enjoy The Silence. Every so often you hear a song that has a profound effect on you; it rewires your brain, makes you hear music differently and in some small way changes you. Enjoy The Silence did all these things for me and did them permanently. Simply put, it's my favourite song of all time and there will never be a piece of music released that changes that

Enjoy The Silence 7" BONG18
To describe how much Enjoy The Silence changed my life I should give this some historical context. I was 15 when it was released and whilst I had 101 and liked Depeche Mode they were only one band of many and that selection of bands was headed by INXS. The first time I heard Enjoy The Silence was in my mum's car on the way to school and I was stunned. It sounds like a cliche or something made up to make this blog sound more interesting but I genuinely remember everything about the moment I heard it - the beats, the melody, the lyrics, everything. Music hadn't sounded like this before. 

Enjoy The Silence 12ONG18 and L12BONG18
At the first available chance I headed to Dumfries and bought the 12" which contains 4 tracks in all - the 7" mix, Enjoy The Silence (Hands And Feet Mix), Enjoy The Silence (Ecstatic Dub) and an instrumental Sibeling. The remixes, as is the case with all the remixes of this single, are great. They bend and twist the song in new ways but never lose any of its' brilliance. This was my first exposure to the world of Depeche 12" singles and remixes and like when I first heard the lead track I was mesmerised. Who are these people and what are they doing to me? We had a family holiday in the summer of 1990 travelling to Italy by train (don't ask) which was a complex enough operation that I chose to make more complex by buying the limited edition remix 12" in London on day 1 of the trip. I guarded it all the way to Italy and back and played it as soon as I got back to Castle Douglas. The remixes (Bass Line and Ricki Tik Tik Mix) were and still are immense and the instrumental track Memphisto lovely but the stand out is the Harmonium mix of Enjoy The Silence which is just Martin and a harmonium. It is the track as Martin originally intended it before Alan Wilder took it to the disco. I didn't know this at the time as my desire to become a Depeche Mode dullard hadn't yet hit me but I remember loving the fact the song had a completely different feel and pace in that mix which really showed off the beauty of the lyrics. So, so good.

Enjoy The Silence XL12BONG18
The final piece of the Enjoy The Silence jigsaw fell into place after seeing an ad in Melody maker for an ultra limited one sided etched 12". I picked it up in a record shop on the Whitesands in Dumfries which for some reason had a load of the 12" and equally limited cd single for 99p each. I only bought the 12" which like the cd contains one track - Enjoy The Silence The Quad: Final Mix which is a four part remix by four different remixers lasting just over 15 minutes. It's odd in places no doubt but it's great. The annoying thing is that when I started properly collecting Depeche records I had to pay over £30 for the cd I could have bought when I was 16. 

Still from Enjoy The Silence video
Enjoy The Silence is just perfect. You all know the song and I'm sure nearly all of you reading this love it. The video is iconic and is the perfect mix of Depeche's music and Anton Corbijn's art. One thing I especially love is the intro to video. That particular version of the song has never been released other than on the video and it is the definitive version for me. The single artwork, again by Anton, is simple and beautiful and Martin's lyrics never fail to move me. This was a band at their peak and everything they touched at that point turned to gold. I can't believe the song is 24 years old and I can't believe it's been 24 years since I first heard it. Unlike me, it's not aged at all. 

Listen to it again today (video below) and give thanks to what or whoever you give thanks to that Depeche Mode and Enjoy The Silence exist.










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