Thursday, 16 December 2021

DEPECHE MODE - THE SINGLES 1981 TO 2021 (FINAL)

 


Depeche Mode's debut single Dreaming Of Me was released in 1981 which is somehow 40 years ago. In that 40 years the band have moved from trilby wearing synthpoppers to metal bashing Berliners to accidental stadium fillers ending up as globe straddling titans of electronic music.

They have released a number of classic, era defining albums and are considered to be one of the biggest live acts on the planet. The thing is, Depeche Mode started out as a singles band, releasing three outstanding singles before anyone heard their debut album Speak & Spell. They have never stopped being a singles band either and there are very few, if any, bands who have released as many classic singles as Depeche Mode. Think about it - New Life, Everything Counts, Master & Servant, Stripped, Never Let Me Down Again, Personal Jesus, Enjoy The Silence, Walking In My Shoes, It's No Good, Precious - the list goes on and on.

I decided that this 40th anniversary had to be celebrated, As Depeche Mode don't do that sort of thing themselves, I have spent the last 18 months or so reviewing every Depeche Mode single released in the UK, looking in worrying depth at the reviews of each, the Top Of The Pops performances, the clothing, the at times remarkable and at times terrifying videos and the various formats each was released on. Below, you will find a link to each blog. Dive in and relive Depeche Mode's glorious career single by wonderful single.

Writing all these blogs has been a challenge but a fun one. Thank you to everyone who has read these articles and commented on them. Thanks too to depmod.com, dmlive.wiki, depechemode.com, Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group, Depeche Mode Press File for all of the help fact checking and info gathering. Any errors that you find in any of these blogs are all mine.

Finally, thanks to Depeche Mode. Happy birthday chaps - it's been an interesting 40 years.



Part 3: Just Can't Get Enough http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2020/10/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_26.html

Part 4: See You http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2020/11/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part.html

Part 5: The Meaning Of Love http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2020/12/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part.html

Part 6: Leave In Silence http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/01/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part.html

Part 7: Get The Balance Right http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/01/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_12.html

Part 8: Everything Counts http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/01/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_19.html




Part 12: Blasphemous Rumours/Somebody http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/01/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_28.html

Part 13: Shake The Disease http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/02/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part.html

Part 14: It's Called A Heart http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/02/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_4.html

Part 15: The Singles 81-85 http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/02/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_5.html




Part 19: Strangelove http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/03/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part.html

Part 20: Never Let Me Down Again http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/03/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_10.html




Part 23: Personal Jesus http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/04/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part.html

Part 24: Enjoy The Silence http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/04/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_13.html








Part 30: In Your Room http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/06/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part.html


Part 32: It's No Good http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/07/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part.html

Part 33: Home http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/08/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part.html

Part 34: Useless http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/08/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_13.html







Part 40: Goodnight Lovers http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/09/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_16.html





Part 44: Suffer Well http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/10/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_21.html





Part 48: Peace http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/11/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_8.html



Wednesday, 15 December 2021

DEPECHE MODE - THE SINGLES 1981 TO 2021 PART 56: COVER ME

 


The third and final single from Spirit was the best of the three released from the album, the Dave, Christian and Peter written Cover Me.

By the time the single was released, the song had already become a standout track on the Global Spirit Tour, despite Dave's "WILL YA?" part every night somewhat interrupting the mood.  So with that in mind, WILL YA join me on a look at Cover Me?

WAY UP HERE IN THE NORTHERN LIGHTS - COVER ME

The Single


Cover Me was released on 6th October 2017 and, in a surprise move, the digital and physical formats were released on the same day. Oddly, this meant we got our hands on the 12" and CD only a month after we'd grabbed the Going Backwards releases. Being a Depeche Mode fan is never a cheap experience.

Cover Me had received quite a lot of attention when Spirit was reviewed. The Guardian said:

"...(T)he fantastic Cover Me, the latter a lone crack of light amid the otherwise consuming darkness: it slowly builds up to a finale that takes up half the song, is entirely instrumental and based around a simple analogue synth arpeggio."

Clash Music loved the song too:

"Cover Me is one of those redemptive songs that Depeche Mode are so good at, with that slow climb out of misery toward some sort of anguished optimism. The track includes an extended analogue middle section that feels like the coda from Violator’s Clean’expanded into a full song. It's reverential, but fresh at the same time."

Even Pitchfork approved:

"On Cover Me, Gore’s haunting Lanois-esque guitar twang allows you to close your eyes and picture yourself under the Northern lights Gahan sings about."

Finally, the Quietus summed the track up nicely:

"Another twisted ballad that’s ushered in by sweeping and sustained chords. The bass pulses like a heartbeat and the beats increase incrementally yet the pace remains measured and steady. But just as you think you’ve got a handle on things, everything gets bigger – more beats, more glacial sweeps and rhythms that suggest a re-acquaintance with Kraftwerk’s ‘Autobahn’ - except the tempo."

Good reviews all round really which was nice to see. The band even decided to actively promote the single which was about the first time they'd done that sort of thing since Peter's Pop Show in 1989 (hmmm - really?). They appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live on 4th October 2017 and played a live version of the Radio Edit of the song:


That's really rather lovely. I like that edit with the vocal coming back in again. The live set up is in place for this performance with Christian on mercifully subtle drums and Peter caressing his keyboards as only he can. Martin bobs around looking cool because, well. because he's Martin Gore and Fletch bobs his head about at times like Stevie Wonder, Fletching his keyboards for the full song. Dave, a man who has spent the preceding 5 months prowling stadium stages wanders around like a caged tiger albeit one wearing a nifty suit and sporting a pencil moustache and what appear to be fangs. He's on Global Spirit Tour mode and though he doesn't give it the traditional "WILL YA?" he does try to get the audience clapping along. Stadium is as stadium does.

Cover Me is a bloody marvellous song and sounds more like Depeche Mode than the rest of Sprit does if you see what I mean. It's Dave's finest Depeche track for me, just edging out Suffer Well and Nothing's Impossible. It was played at all 130 Global Spirit Tour gigs and rightly so. It's accompanying film, also of course the video for the song, was great. All in all, a superb song, a great live moment and if it is the last Depeche Mode single that we ever get, not a bad one to end on. Before you all write in, I have no idea if it will be the last single - let's hope not eh?

It didn't chart in the UK of course. Why on earth would it do that? It did get to number 3 in Poland however and number 35 in Hungary.

The Video


The video/film for the live shows was filmed in Venice Beach in October 2016 around the same time as the Where's The Revolution video.

Not much happens so there's not much to review but it is an oddly watchable video featuring only Dave as he wanders around in his spacesuit reminiscing about the days he ruled space. As it's Anton, it's naturally in black and white, but that suits the mood of the song nicely.

What a way to end the final video review eh? No cocktails, no spacehoppers, no Martin's nipples, no big hair and no voodoo monsters in a field. Sometimes less is more I suppose.

The Formats


The first of two formats was a CD single. It's a 55 minute, eight track release.


The tracks are:

1. Cover Me (Radio Edit) - lovely
2. Cover Me (Warpaint Steez Remix) - this is a decent remix by Warpaint. They supported the band on the tour and were part of the Facebook takeover. I asked them the question "What Depeche Mode song would you choose to cover?" They answered with an eyeroll and lots of other people started piling in which I thought was harsh. I went back on to defend myself and unmuted my speakers only to be greeted by Warpaint's cover of World In My Eyes playing on the Facebook page. Silly arse.
3. Cover Me (Erol Alkan Black Out Rework) - an initially sparse mix that builds into something rather enjoyable
4. Cover Me (Texas Gentlemen Remix) - This sort of works but has something about it that is quite annoying
5. Cover Me (Ellen Allien U.F.O. RMX) - The first of two clubbier (God I am old) remixes. It's the best of the two
6. Cover Me (Ben Pearce Remix) - the second of the clubby (stop it ffs) remixes and the weakest track here.
7. Cover Me (Josh T. Pearson Choose Hellth Remix) - this is tremendous. I'm a big Josh T Pearson fan and he covers Cover Me in his own unique style, adding parts of the Depeche song to wonderful effect. A cracker.
8. So Much Love (Kalli Remix) - a noisy, hugely enjoyable mix of this noisy, hugely enjoyable song. It would have made a decent single I think.


The 12" was another double 12" featuring a host of remixes. Sides A and C are pictured above.


And there are Sides B and D.  The tracklisting is:

Side A:
1. Cover Me (Ellen Allien U.F.O. RMX)
2. Cover Me (I Hate Models Cold Lights Remix) - This is pretty long but pretty good

Side B:
1. Cover Me (Nicole Moudaber Remix) - Another interesting remix that gets more interesting as it goes along
2. So Much Love (Kalli Remix)

Side C:
1. Cover Me (Erol Alkan White Light Rework) - as enjoyable as his remix on the CD
2. Cover Me (Texas Gentlemen Remix)

Side D:
1. Cover Me (Warpaint Steez Remix)
2. Cover Me (Josh T. Pearson Choose Hellth Remix)


And that was that. Cover Me came out, the Global Spirit Tour rumbled on for another 9 months and we got no more singles. The band ended the tour spectacularly and then headed off to hibernation.

Will we see another Depeche Mode single? Will we see them tour again? At this point, only Depeche Mode know. 

For forty years they have thrilled millions of us and have blazed a unique trail in the music world which will see their music stand the test of time. A number of their albums are rightly lauded as landmarks in music but their singles deserve recognition too. As we've seen throughout this series, they're not a bad singles band are they?

Let's hope I get to do Part 57 sometime soon. In the meantime, look out for a post in the next few days that contains links to all 56 parts of this series.

Monday, 13 December 2021

DEPECHE MODE - THE SINGLES 1981 TO 2021 PART 55: GOING BACKWARDS

 


The second single from Spirit was the album's opening track Going Backwards. The song was released digitally and then on two physical formats later on.

As with Where's The Revolution, we got plenty of remixes and we also got a rather enjoyable video. Here's the story of the single.

WE FEEL NOTHING INSIDE - GOING BACKWARDS

The Single


Going Backwards was released digitally on 23rd June 2017 as the Global Spirit Tour was getting into its swing in European stadiums. Physical formats, more of which below, would follow in September 2017 which really does seem a curiously long gap between the two types of release.

The song was one that grabbed a lot of attention when Spirit was released with its lyrics being held up as examples of the band's revived political feel following on from Where's The Revolution

The Quietus said:

"A mid-tempo, two-chord opener, the track’s ominous overtones and sense of dread are given weight, as Dave Gahan intones, “We have no respect/ We have lost control.” As an opening gambit, it certainly sets the tone for what’s to come from Spirit’s remaining eleven tracks. As the song slowly begins to unfurl, the bass drum kicks in followed by the snare as a skittering riff zig-zags its way over the top. “We’re going backwards,” sings Gahan, his voice portentous and devoid of mirth or joy, “to a caveman mentality” before uttering the coda over and over again, “We feel nothing inside."

Clash Music felt the song set the tone for what was to come on the album:

"From the off, with the edgy, slow-building opener ‘Going Backwards’ – with its trademark bass-heavy rhythms and edgy, nagging melody befitting of a classic Depeche Mode set piece – it's clear that ‘Spirit’ is going to be a challenging listen"

Mixmag loved the song:

"This album gets off to a barnstorming start. Going Backwards (is) among the most anthemic things Depeche Mode have done this century, apocalyptic both in sound and lyrics and perfect for these dark times."

Overall then, Going Backwards was positively received. By this point in their career of course, chart hits in Britain were beneath Depeche Mode, so the single didn't bother the charts here. It did reach number 37 in the US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart though. Hot rock indeed.

Going Backwards is a cracking song and was a great start to both the album and the live shows on the Global Spirit Tour. It was good to see Martin on spiky lyrical form and the song packed a punch Depeche Mode had been missing for a while. It was played at all 130 gigs on the Global Spirit Tour and was last heard in Berlin on 25th July 2018.

The Video


The video for the song was filmed at the band's Highline Session in New York in August 2016 and was directed by Timothy Saccenti. The additional musicians you see bobbing around are Kurt Uenala and Matrixxman.

It's an enjoyable enough take on the song and it's interesting to hear a live version without live drums. Dave growls along with his tour pencil moustache in full bloom, Martin does his Martin thing and Fletch is as lovably Flecthlike as ever. There are moody, arty shots of the band too and, beyond that, there's not a great deal to say about it. If only they could have made it fancier somehow. Wait a minute....


Look at that. It's a fancy 360 degree version of the video. You can use the controller on the screen to watch whatever you want in the video. Fancy 5 and a bit minutes of hot Fletch action? Help yourself. Want to watch Dave and nothing but Dave? On you go. Do you want to keep an eye on Matrixxman? Carry on, but you do know Depeche Mode are in the same room too don't you?

It may seem odd that a song bemoaning people being "armed with new technology" used, that's right, new technology to film its video but it's an interesting watch. Compared to the horror shows of the Sounds Of The Universe videos, it's a bloody masterpiece.

The Formats


There were once again only two official formats - a CD single and a double 12". The CD single is pictured above.


On the back we see the Mode boys dressed for the cold weather. There are eight tracks on the CD. They are:

1. Going Backwards (Radio Edit) - funnily enough, an edited version of the album track
2. Going Backwards (Chris Liebing Mix) - an enjoyable near nine minute remix by a big Depeche Mode fan.
3. Going Backwards (Solomun Extended Radio Mix) - it's ok I suppose though it doesn't do much and then gets a bit silly at the end
4. Going Backwards (The Belleville Three Full Vocal Mix) - one for what I believe the kids call the clubs. 
5. Going Backwards (Point Point Remix) - clever stuff this really. It's a bit like Leave In Silence (Quieter) in many ways and that is no bad thing.
6. Going Backwards (Chris Liebing Burn Slow Remix) - enjoyable again
7. Going Backwards (Maya Jane Coles Remix) - something a bit different again and rather pleasant
8. Poison Heart (Soulsavers Re-Work) - you imagine that this is how Dave wanted the song to sound all along.


The double vinyl 12" comes in a sleeve with a bigger opening that normal to accomodate both records. Sides A and C (above) have a D on them.


Sides B and D have an M on them as keen eyed readers have already spotted. There are 7 tracks in all here:

Side A:
1. Going Backwards (Chris Liebing Mix)

Side B:
1. Going Backwards (Solomun Club Remix) - fairly bland really
2. Going Backwards (The Belleville Three Deep Bass Dub) - again, relatively bland

Side C:
1. Going Backwards (Chris Liebing Burn Slow Remix)
2. Going Backwards (Point Point Remix)

Side D:
1. You Move (Latroit Remix) - hooray! a remix of an album track. Booo! It's not very good
2. Poison Heart (Soulsavers Re-Work)

All of the remixes on both formats were available digitally. The digital release added three remixes of Going Backwards: Solomun Radio Remix, The Belleville Three Raw Detroit Dub and The Belleville Three Full Vocal Radio Edit. I have no idea what any of them sound like so I have failed you all.

Finally, there was a one track CD-R promo in the UK and that was that. Even Taiwan didn't bother this time round.


Going Backwards was an interesting choice for a single as it wasn't necessarily the most obvious Spirit track for release but it was punchy enough song. As I mentioned earlier, it was a good album and gig opener and I have a lot of time for the song.

There was one more single to come and, as was now tradition, it would be a Dave written song. The last single from Spirit and indeed the last single in this review project is a cracking song. I'll Cover that (ha ha etc) next time.


Thursday, 9 December 2021

REVIEW: DAVE GAHAN & SOULSAVERS, LONDON COLISEUM, 5TH DECEMBER 2021

 

picture (c) Kevin May


For the first time since the second last gig of the last Depeche tour we have a guest blogger today. Kevin May is the co-author of Halo, the forthcoming book he and I are writing about Depeche Mode's Violator, co-host of the wonderful Metapod podcast and much much more. He also wrote the review of that second last Depeche gig so it's lovely to have him back again. Thanks Kevin


picture (c) Kevin May



Get your kicks on Route 66”… Or get your fix of Dave Gahan wherever and whenever you can.

This does seem to be the order of the evening, somewhat, with an almost full London Coliseum waiting (unless they went to the warm-up gig two nights before at Westminster Central Hall) for almost three-and-a-half years for a glimpse of the Depeche Mode frontman.

He’s back with his Soulsavers chums - well, collaborator Rich Machin and a squad of extremely talented live musicians - and an album of cover versions of artists ranging from Neil Young and PJ Harvey to Bob Dylan and, err, Eartha Kitt.

Gahan, of course, is not a complete stranger to cover versions, having recently reworked the classic Nothing Else Matters Metallica just prior to the release of the new Imposter album with Soulsavers.

With Depeche Mode, there is also the aforementioned Route 66 and, perhaps most notably, a rendition of David Bowie’s 'Heroes', which became a regular encore track during the Global Spirit Tour in 2017-2018 and has obviously historic significance to the foundation of the band in 1980.

So, here we are, gathered at a beautiful, 117-year-old Central London theatre (lots to look at pre-show, infinitely more interesting than another soulless arena, let’s be honest) and there’s the usual excitement and trepidation that surrounds such events when a band member is making his first appearance in a long time.

There is some Depeche royalty in attendance, with tour keyboarder Peter Gordeno sitting in one of the plush boxes, plus Gahan’s wife Jennifer and brother Phil in the Dress Circle.

A nice and unexpected touch on arrival is the programme given out (GULP - for free!!) to attendees, embossed with the same logo that appears on the curtain covering the stage just before the main act of the night begins.






Inside is a list of the songs that Gahan and Soulsavers covered in the album and will be performing, with some notes about why each was selected for the Imposter cover album. It’s a nice souvenir and a pointer as to how the evening is being positioned: a performance rather than a gig, with a nod to the often intimate feel that a theatre show can give the audience.

It’s worth mentioning that there are no accolades or any social media glory from pointing out how much you dislike Soulsavers and Gahan’s association with it now for almost 10 years - something that is rather irksome given that this is simply a performer who enjoys creating being involved in other things away from the day job… if we can call it that.

Creativity, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, yet it sometimes feels as if fans want to punish him for filling the downtime between Depeche periods by not giving his extra-curricular work a chance to breathe and be enjoyed.

Rant over…

The work itself is exquisite. These are extremely talented musicians and backing singers who saunter onstage alongside Gahan with no obvious fanfare or lengthy intro music. It really is all about the performance, even if there are the inevitable whoops and screams during some of the more recognisable - yet, toned-down - moves by Gahan as he sings.

This is not a night for dancing in the audience either, at least not initially.

picture (c) Kevin May


The Dark End Of The Street (originally performed by Dan Penn) is a solid opener, teeing up what the rhythm and pace of the evening are going to be - slow, intricate, intimate and featuring performances that will have certainly impressed the actual musicians in attendance.

The first standout song of the night is Lilac Wine, the Kitt cover, with Martyn Lenoble on upright bass and Gahan going up and down the vocal range with ease. “Listen to me, why is everything so haaaaaaazy…” - it’s a near-perfect rendition from all involved.

Cat Power’s Metal Heart is perhaps the most Soulsavers-esque song in the collection, with it sounding like a fusion of a number of tracks from the previous Angels & Ghosts album. But this is no bad thing, as these songs - as have other songs in the catalogue that have been performed live over the years - come alive when performed onstage.

Another highlight is PJ Harvey’s The Desperate Kingdom Of Love, one of a number of songs from the album that ordinarily might leave folk scratching their heads as to why they were selected. But when showcased by a live band, in a setting that warrants such detailed and excellent musicianship, they become something else.

There has clearly been a lot of thought that has gone into both the selection of songs for the album and the live performance of them on this mini-tour.

Shut Me Down (Rowland Howard), Smile (Nat King Cole) and even Not Dark Yet (Bob Dylan) are so well done that you might be forgiven for forgetting their original interpretations. The fingerprints of Gahan and Machin are over everything, but those who recognise will acknowledge that they still contain some elements of the source material.

It’s cleverly done.

The closer is Always On My Mind, covered by all manner of artists over the years, including Elvis Presley and Gwen McCrae.

While it would obviously be fairly amusing to hear Gahan belt out the Pet Shop Boys disco-pop version from 1987, we get the standard ballad, with a vocal performance that once shows the astonishing strength of a voice that has taken a beating over the years.

The encore inevitably gives the devotees something to really cheer about, as a rocky interpretation of Personal Jesus brings the theatre to its feet for a nostalgic stomp. It’s not quite the Waldb├╝hne in Berlin (the last time many of the attendees will have seen Gahan on a stage), but it’s a great moment.

Shine (along with All Of This And Nothing, arguably the best tracks from the previous album) gets a full-on, gospel-style outing ahead of probably the oddest song of the evening: a cover of John The Revelator from Depeche Mode’s 2005 album Playing The Angel.

It’s not a crowd-pleaser like Personal Jesus but is once again enough to get people out of their comfy seats for a little dance and waving of the arms. Some might question why a song that has split the Depeche audience over years made it the setlist but, again, tonight’s show is not about banging out old classics (Personal Jesus notwithstanding) but illustrating what a terrific group of performers can do.

Take Me Back Home, another Soulsavers track from the back catalogue in 2012, gives Gahan the chance for some Depeche-style back-and-forth with the audience - and then it’s all over.

Gahan, inevitably, is the last to leave the stage after the obligatory full band bow - clearly lapping up what appears to be genuine and, by then, rowdy appreciation from those in the theatre for an extremely accomplished, note-perfect performance from him and the musicians.



He has a lot to be proud of with the Imposter album and, especially, with this small run of shows with the band.

It’s often easy to forget - when fans hear many of the same songs in the Depeche catalogue tour after tour - that Gahan is a wonderfully talented vocalist and, when applied to compositions that test his range and style, he can legitimately stand alongside some of the best singers of his generation.

Marry all that to his ability to act and do the frontman thing - for want of a better description - and you get a character who clearly knows he’s good at what he does and genuinely loves doing it for an audience.

The Soulsavers sojourns are good for Dave Gahan - giving him the freedom to express himself in different and challenging ways. He should be forgiven for that by the hardcore Depeche masses and appreciated by everyone for that desire to test himself and enjoy himself at the same time as producing some stellar performances on stage.

Plus, as well all know, a period with Machin and friends often proceeds a return to The World Of Depeche Mode.

There is no indication at all that this latest bout of rock and gospel action with Soulsavers will lead to a similar pathway for Gahan - but if these performances and the reception to the album give him some encouragement to team up with Martin Gore and Andy Fletcher once again in the future, then we should all be grateful.

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

DEPECHE MODE - THE SINGLES 1981 TO 2021 PART 54: WHERE'S THE REVOLUTION

 


It had been more than three and a half years since we last heard from Depeche Mode when their comeback was announced. Their return with a new album Spirit was said to see a return to the political themes of Construction Time Again and lead single Where's The Revolution seemed to fit that theme perfectly.

With this single, we got a boatload of remixes, snazzy beards and a brief return for the Basildon Boyzone with their snazzy train dance. Let's get on board Where's The Revolution.

THE TRAIN IS COMING - WHERE'S THE REVOLUTION

The Single



Where's The Revolution was released digitally on 3rd February 2017 having been premiered at midnight that day on Polish radio station Trojka. Remixes of the song and the two physical formats would follow in March and April.

Of Where's The Revolution, The Guardian said it "attempts to turn their ability to rouse stadiums with sleazily paced anthemics into a galvanising force: “Come on people, you’re letting me down,” complains the chorus, while elsewhere the lyrics borrow from the Impressions’ People Get Ready." 

Pitchfork were fairly positive about the track:

"Depeche Mode deliver anthems with such proficiency that sincerity barely matters. A song like “Where’s the Revolution” makes you feel like singing in response to today’s headlines. Depeche Mode still make universal, stadium-sized music that’s limber enough to fit through your bedroom doorframe, as if it had been conceived with your life in mind."

Mixmag said the song was "among the most anthemic things Depeche Mode have done this century, apocalyptic both in sound and lyrics and perfect for these dark times."

Finally, Consequence said:

"Lead single “Where’s the Revolution?” has a appealing, nasty slap to the music but gets stuck on its title, tut-tutting the global community (“C’mon people you’re letting me down”) and then urging us to get on board the train"

Relatively favourable overall really. Most reviews of Spirit tended to be positive and Where's The Revolution certainly grabbed people's attention. 

Photo by Alex Pollock from his Depeche Mode Facebook Takeover day

The band appeared on Swedish TV show Skavlan on 31st March and treated us to a live performance of the song:


This gave us a preview of what was to come on the Global Spirit tour with Dave slinking all over the place proudly showing off his new pencil moustache. Martin bobs around looking as cool as he has done in years and Fletch shows us that four years away from the keyboards haven't diminished his Fletching one bit. Peter is there of course too and Christian still sounds like a man with far too many tom toms. A decent performance though and it was great to see them back. 

The promo work was restricted to a few appearances like the one above and another on novelty pork pie in a suit J**** C*****'s bewilderingly popular show. It also featured on the pre tour gigs such as the one that shall forever be known as The Greatest Gig Of All Time Ever at the Barrowlands in Glasgow. Have I ever mentioned I was there?  The song didn't chart in the UK but did make number 76 in the official Scottish charts which genuinely seem to be a thing. The ever Depeche thirsty Hungarians fired the song to number 3 in their charts, it's best global performance chart wise.

Where's The Revolution is a good track and I was excited by it when it came out. it was good to have the band return on spiky form rather than in Heaven mode and only a year after the twin horrors of the disastrous Brexit vote and the rise of Trump, having Depeche Mode lead the revolution seemed no bad thing at all. 

The one thing that let the song down was its live performance really. Despite the bespoke film and Dave's dance from the second floor of the song didn't ignite and tended to slow gigs down a little. It featured 114 times on the tour proper, giving way for some of the later festival dates but returning for the last two nights in Berlin. It was last heard on 25th July 2018 and I don't imagine we'll hear it again.

The Video


This was novel - a Depeche Mode video that actually featured Depeche Mode. Anton returned and brought the band back with him too to decent effect.

After the Delta Machine tour concluded, the band vowed that they wouldn't shave again until they next met up, imagining that they'd be back together soon. That proved an unwise decision however and, as the video opens, we find them all with three years beard growth. If that wasn't enough to make them angry, they also find out that, having bid in secret against each other on Alan's auction, they'd all bought the old tour t-shirts and acetates. Furious with themselves, they shake their fists and start pushing the box of Wilder goodies away, out of harm's reach.

News of this purchase had reached Depeche Mode collectors though and that was bad thing. The Black Swarm summoned its best team of Wilder fanatics and these black clad collectors desperate for anything Alan Wilder might have touched come after the band. Curiously, they choose to do so, slowly and in a curious dance formation. Still, those It's Called A Heart acetates will not be destroyed.

Depeche take this threat seriously. The only way to talk these fans of big hair and leather down is to have a shave for the first time since 2014 and for Dave to preach to them with Martin and Fletch standing guard. Dave will turn them back. "No-one actually wants or needs acetates for God's sake. Go away," he (possibly) shouts.

It seems to work. The Black Swarm start formation dancing to In Your Memory in an attempt to overpower the Wilderless Mode but they fail. The sheer power of Where's The Revolution sends them away scuttling back to their Recoil albums and Depeche keep on pushing the box of auction winnings away.

Hang on - what's this? More Black Swarm attack, this time with flags. These are the hardcore Wilder fans and they are going to use semaphore to distract the band and get enough time to get their hands on a cymbal used on the Devotional tour and a pair on unwashed stage trousers. They start signalling the lyrics to The Landscape Is Chaning and it nearly works as Fletch starts humming along. Dave and Martin save the day, as Dave gets back up on his box and again starts singing at the flag waving women who by this point are demented with Wilder based lust. It works. 

The only way they can get out of here is by escaping in disguise. They laboriously glue their shorn beards back on and decide to make a break for it. The dancing of earlier has had an effect on them though and, just as they had done in the Everything Counts and Master And Servant videos, the Basildon Boyzone re-emerge and perform what can only be described as a spirited but generally very bad dance. This surely won't help anyone.

It doesn't. The Black Swarm hear this and attack again, this time together. A vicious attack is made by dance and semaphore. Depeche Mode look doomed - all those Wilder goodies are surely lost? Depeche Mode are made of tough stuff though and they stand firm, Martin with guitar in hand and Dave in his Global Spirit stage gear. They sing Where's The Revolution at the Wilder crazed hordes one more time and that sees them off. 

Victorious but still scared, the band re-apply their beards and head off to destroy the loot, pausing only to show off the flags they took from the Swarm, the spoils of a bitter war. One day, all sides of the Depeche Mode fanbase will learn to live together in peace.

The Formats


There were only two offical formats this time round - a CD single (above) and a double 12". 


Lessons had been learned from the last couple of singles it seems as there are some decent remixes this time round. There are five tracks on the CD, all remixes of Where's The Revolution:

1. Album Version
2. Ewan Pearson Remix - bleepy and quite enjoyable
3. Algiers Remix - a remix by the band Algiers who supported on some Global Spirit Tour dates. If you are a fan of that band, as I am , you'll like this. It's a nice 7" style take on the song with some great noises.
4. Terence Fixmer Remix - not up to much really
5. Autolux Remix - another 7" style remix in length. It's a bit grating in place.


The double 12" is a nice package. Sides A and C are pictured above. It comes in a sleeve with a wide opening rather than a gatefold.


Sides B and D have an M on them as you can see. There are nine tracks in all here and if we are to be thankful for anything, let's be thankful for the fact it's a million miles away from the dark horrors of the Should Be Higher 12". The tracks are:

Side A
1. Autolux Remix - see above
2. Pearson Sound Remix - the slowed down vocal on this makes this an updated version of It's Called A Heart (Slow Mix) and not much more

Side B
1. Algiers Click Farm Remix - a second Algiers appearance but sadly not up to the standard of the first one
2. Simian Mobile Disco Remix - producer James Ford's day job remix the song. It's a bit bland but picks up towards the end.
3. Pearson Sound Beatless Remix - if I'd wanted to hear Treefingers by Radiohead, I'd play Kid A.

Side C
1. Simian Mobile Disco Dub - a less punchy version of the remix from Side B
2. Terence Fixmer Spatial Mix - you know it's a bad remix when it takes the very rare appearance of a brief bit of the song it's remixing to make you remember what this is meant to be in the first place.

Side D
1. Patrice Baumel Remix - really rather good
2. Ewan Pearson Kompromat Dub - again not too bad.

The single was released on CD in Taiwan once again and popped up on a one track promo CDR too. Everything was available digitally of course.


There is a 7" single too however. It was made available with the German music magazine Musikexpress.


The cover explains what you have on it.


On the A-side, there is the album version of Where's The Revolution.


On the B-Side, we have Should Be Higher recorded live in Berlin on 25th and 27th November 2013. That doesn't mean it's two versions by the way - it's taken from those two shows.


Depeche Mode were back then and on good form. Spirit would soon follow and while I might not be as wildly enthusiastic about it as I was at the time, there is enough on that album to show that there is life in Depeche Mode yet.

The band set off on the huge Global Spirit Tour, leading to them having their biggest touring success yet and to me nearly breaking the internet and myself with the Global Spirit Tour Project.

There were two more singles to come from the album, and we'll go backwards to 2017 (ho ho) and have a look at the next single next time,