Sunday 20 December 2020



2020 has been an unparalleled car crash of a year. From diseases the world can't shake to the rampant buffoonery of the likes of Messrs Trump and Johnson, no-one will look back on 2020 with any fondness. We've all tried to carry on as normal of course and, for this blog and for most of you reading, that has involved a lot of Depeche Mode related activity. It's been a busy year for the band and, even though that doesn't seem to have involved a new album, there has been plenty to take in this year.

At the end of a frankly laughable year, here then is a review of Depeche Mode's 2020. See you all in 2021.


Not much Depeche related in January. Everything seemed normal then really didn't it?


February the 28th saw the world finally find out about Live Spirits.  The official site gave us this press release and everyone pencilled May 1st in their diaries as the date we'd see the live film from the tour that had ended months ago. Like everything this year, that didn't quite go to plan


In certainly not affiliated in any way to Depeche Mode news, this blog ran a month long project celebrating Violator's 30th anniversary. If you want to see how that went, check out the 31 articles right here

The band also announced the release of the much anticipated and frankly gorgeous Violator: The 12" Singles boxset. This picture caused an almost peak Beatlemania style outpouring of joy from the DM fanbase. Well, the part of it that buys repeated versions of the same thing over and over again. The part that includes me.

Meanwhile, here in Scotland and in most parts of Europe, we went into a brief lockdown. That sounded like a novel concept then - a few days "working from home" would be just what everyone needed to have a break and watch this flu like thing disappear from view as quickly as it entered. We'd all be back at work in a few weeks and we'd look back on this and laugh. Oh.


The world went bananas basically. Depeche Mode stayed quiet. We all did really.


The world continued to go crazy. The only thing that could save it was the long awaited release of Live Spirits. May started as May always does with May 1st and that was the DVD release date as announced by the band (see February above). It didn't happen though. It was put back to June. 


June was a busy month. Firstly, June 14th saw the 40th anniversary of Dave's first appearance with the band who were then known as Composition Of Sounds. I wrote about that here.

Next, 23 months after the tour ended, Live Spirits arrived, presenting a fairly flat version of both Waldbuhne gigs. The DVD was hotly anticipated by all Depeche fans but it sadly didn't satisfy. I reviewed it in July here.

Thankfully, we had Liverpool's Premiership win to lift both the Live Spirits and the Covid-19 gloom. I'm sure we can all agree that Jurgen's boys winning the title was a really 2020 highlight right? 


July brought us the majestic, beautiful and every other word in any known language that means those things Violator: The 12" Singles boxset.

Despite spending a whole month repeatedly writing the word Violator, I went into the boxset in the sort of depth that worries my non Depeche fan friends - reach out and click this


Another month free of new Depeche Mode news. There was other news of course but it was unrelentingly grim.


The official site burst back into life this month with an announcement about the Songs Of Faith And Devotion: The 12" Singles boxset.

Once again, people got very excited.


A new month and more new release news. The long awaited and much anticipated Anton Corbijn Depeche Mode photobook was announced. ACDM was a large, massively expensive thing that was limited in number and weighed the size of a small car. It's full of wonderful photographs and everyone that bought one (I didn't) was delighted. The people who bought it simply to sell it on Ebay deserve to have all the scorn there is in the world poured on them.

Obviously, I felt the need to tell everyone what I thougth of it - DMAPA

The Songs Of Faith And Devotion: The 12" Singles boxset also arrived this month. As you would expect, I went mad about it and wrote a blog that featured a photo of everyone of of the matt black inner sleeves in each 12".

Normally I'd say that I really should get out more but that wasn't really possible this year.


On the 7th of November, the band were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Being from Britain, I have no real idea why this is a big thing but it's great to see Depeche Mode get recognised as being a band worthy of this honour. It was fantastic to see their acceptance video. Dave's speech was great and Martin's chuckling and Fletch's larking around made for a great watch. They all look healthy and in great spirits and that is wonderful to see.  Dave even ended the video by telling Martin to "get back to the studio." Did that mean that something new was being worked on?

Well yes, but not a new Depeche Mode thing. November 17th saw the announcement of Martin's next MG project, the seemingly monkey themed e.p. The Third Chimpanzee. As the kids say, that "drops" in January and I'm very much looking forward to it.

Finally, November also saw the delivery of the DMAC books most of which were actually taller than the people who now owned them.

And Trump lost. Good times.


There has been no Depeche Mode news yet this month but there are still 11 days to go. 

That was Depeche Mode's 2020. What will we see from them in 2021? There's the MG e.p. obviously and we'll no doubt see the Ultra and possibly Exciter 12" boxsets at some point this year. 2021 will also see the 40th anniversary of the release of Dreaming Of Me and Speak And Spell.  Will the band celebrate those in any way? Will we get new album news? 

As we continue to suffer with all things Covid related, in the small corner of the world that is Depeche Mode related, it's always cheering to get news of some sort. If there is any this year, the blog will bring you that along with the usual nonsense including the "I've bitten off more than I can chew this time" Singles project that is already behind schedule.  There will be news about Halo this year too.

As ever, I still can't believe that people read and like this blog and I continue to be touched by everything everyone says about it. Thank you very much for reading and I look forward to more Mode related nonsense next year.

Meanwhile, please stay safe and take care of yourselves.

Tuesday 15 December 2020


After See You had shown everyone that Depeche Mode were still very much able to carry on with a new songwriter, the band followed Martin's synthpop masterpiece with another poppy love song. Let's be honest, it's not their best single, but it did pretty well considering its fairly synthpop-by-numbers approach, curious lyrics about "wanting a scar" and a video that is quite terrible. Despite all that though, it's still better than everything about Hole To Feed and it has a glorious B-side. Here is the story of The Meaning Of Love.


The Single

The Meaning Of Love was released on 26th April 1982. 11 years later, Walking In My Shoes would be released on the same day - one single a towering, dark masterpiece with a sound that is the essence of Depeche Mode and the other the second single from Songs Of Faith And Devotion. Ho ho.

The single entered the charts on 8th May at number 34 and this appearance on Top Of The Pops on 6th May helped it rocket up the charts to number 12 the following week. Martin had only just finished his shift on a fishing trawler as you can see from his clothing. 

Number 12 on 15th May was as high as the single would get however and it then tumbled from there to 17, back up to 15 curiously, back down to 17 and then 21, 46 and 72 before leaving the Top 75 forever.

It was reasonably well received in the music press. Smash Hits said it was "as damn near perfect as a record could be," which is perhaps a bit much, before adding that the song was "truly scrumptious."  Smash Hits also printed the lyrics and a picture of the still officially three piece band in its 28th April edition

Sounds was less complimentary, claiming "the lead melody line is musically identical to their last hit" which isn't really true.

As we'd learn when A Broken Frame was released, The Meaning Of Love was clearly not the direction in which Martin's song writing was headed. In hindsight, it's very much an exception to the general theme of the album and it stands out along with A Photograph Of You as being almost too poppy for the record. Pre A Broken Frame however, pop songs were what Depeche Mode did, or were at least what was expected of Depeche Mode, so it's perhaps no surprise that The Meaning Of Love was picked to follow See You. It was a safe choice and certainly a wiser choice than A Broken Frame's other full on pop track A Photograph Of You. That would have been a bad move.

As a song, The Meaning Of Love is fine but nothing special. Martin clearly came up with the lyrical concept before the lyrics however.

"Yes Martin"
"How would you describe something other people tell you that you want or need when you don't want that thing itself?"
"I dunno. I'd just say no thanks to whatever it was being offered."
"Hmmmm...and if you'd made notes about it?"
"Are you ok Martin?"
"You know....if you'd researched something, made notes but still couldn't see why people thought you should have it...if you said it seemed that wanting it was like wanting something really odd?"
"Look, Dave. Help me here. From the notes I've made so far, love seems something like wanting...."
"I have no idea Martin. A car? A bar? A guitar. Actually, a guitar would work because we use nothing but synths. A guitar Martin. There."
"A scar Dave?"
"Love seems something like wanting to be badly cut enough that your skin ends up disfigured Martin? Almost certainly not. No. Don't use scar."

That conversation probably happened.

The Meaning Of Love quickly joined the band's live set, debuting at the 20th January 1982 show at Crocs and featuring another 133 times before last being heard live on 10th March 1984 at University in Madrid. Little did the gig goers that night realise that they were witnessing musical history.

The B-side of the single is far more interesting than the A-side. Oberkorn (It's A Small Town) is named after the, would you believe it, small town of, that's right. Oberkorn in Luxembourg. Martin told Jonathan Miller all about it:

"Instead we found ourselves pulling into a tiny village called Oberkorn. It was a curious kind of village with a population that would hardly fill the first few rows of any ordinary theatre, so it was quite a fascination for us to find out just what would happen. Instead of our gig being to a handful of people, the place was packed as the audience came from all around and even from across the borders. But there was an interesting twist to this concert. When we got back to our hotel our record company told us that whilst the A-side of our single was all set, they needed a title rapidly for the B-side. We're never all that good with names and the first thing that sprang to mind was the name of this village, Oberkorn. So that's the title we used!"

Footage of the gig on 30th March 1982 recently appeared on RTL Today and you can watch it here - Oberklick (It's A Small Piece Of Footage)

It doesn't feature Oberkorn (It's A Small Town) sadly. The song itself is an instrumental but a gloriously haunting one. It's one of those synth instrumentals that only the early 80's era was capable of producing really, all gloomy swooshes and uplifting melodies. Brilliant. The song would eventually appear on the band's setlist, appearing 47 times on the A Broken Frame tour. You can hear part of it before My Secret Garden on the ...And Live Tracks 12" of Get The Balance Right. ("Good evening everybody.")


This video is on drugs. It starts with children playing with building blocks before Depeche Mode and a mystery fourth man (he was apparently called Alan Wilder and he had some role in the band. As your grandparents) appear in front of  very glitzy backdrop that is an obvious fire hazard. Oddly, Dave is holding a book but that's because he's read "more than a hundred" of them and he throws it away, no doubt in a visual joke that will please all fans of that sort of thing. Hang on...more than a hundred? DOES THAT MEAN THAT BOOK WAS BOOK 101 AND THIS WAS THEREFORE ALL PART OF SOME MAGNIFICENT PLAN? DOES IT?

No, no it doesn't. Stop that. We move on from Dave throwing about Book 101 (...hang on....) and we find him peeking through a keyhole at a ballet dancer. It turns out he's not just being a peeping tom as,  all of a sudden, he literally becomes pie eyed, which is a way people in Britain had back then of saying that someone was in love with someone else. The phrase makes no sense of course but that doesn't stop the visual gag slamming home as mightily as the book one earlier. Anyway, Dave then dusts the pastry from his eyes and gets back to the day job of being a scientist. He looks into a microscope and sees Fletch as what I can only describe as one massive sperm singing to him, closely followed by Martin. We mercifully return to the live set part where the band all take it in turns pointing at Dave and singing "I've never been in love before," before we obviously move to a shot of 60's children's puppets Pinky & Perky dancing around. By this point, you have no idea what's going on anymore.

Dave then starts eyeing up the dancer from a park bench in a park where she is somewhat inexplicably dancing. His whole head then turns into a pie which is just baffling. There is no such phrase as "Pie Headed." Dave loses the pie and hands the dancer flowers and they fall in love. Pinky & Perky return, this time operated by Dave in front of the other band members who have another sing and jiggle around, before we head home to Dave And The Dancer, now married and very much out of love. They have a row and she throws things at Dave, presumably having just been played the Hole To Feed demo. Quite brilliantly, and I genuinely mean that, a piece of debris flies towards the TV on which we see the band in action and they all duck. Very good that. The one positive thing to emerge from Dave And The Dancer's marriage which was no doubt the talk of the tabloids by that point ("All Gahan Wrong" etc) was their child which is probably a boy (that haircut makes it hard to tell). He has worked out that love has its ups and downs and, noting his parents' behaviour, Child Of Dave And The Dancer, calmly uses his building blocks to spell out the song title. 

Just goes to show you eh? Or does it? I have no idea. There's a lot packed into that video and I've just watched it three times in a row. I wrote more than I intended to about it and now need a lie down.

The Formats

Once again, there were only two formats released in Britain.

Firstly, there's the 7" which remarkably enough features the A-Side and B-Side described above. The sleeve (above) is different to the 12" which is a nice touch I always think and, like See You before it, takes a very literal approach to depicting the song title. 

The labels are a nice touch too. Here's the A-Side

Here is the B-Side

There are 7 different variations of the 7" if you're the sort of troubled soul who needs them all. See for details.

The 12" (front cover at the top of the page) features two remixes. On the A-Side, the literal interpretation theme of the video and sleeve is followed with the Fairly Odd Mix of The Meaning Of Love. It's just under 5 minutes long and lives up to its name. Much in the way remixes do now, it adds a few extra beats and ambles along before going all bleepy and odd about 1 minute 30 in. It's the sort of thing that people would proclaim revolutionary if the Aphex Twin released it on its own. The song returns and we get back on track with the middle 8 of the song before the Aphex Twin re-emerges. 

Once again, and this is all getting a bit annoying now, we go back to the middle 8 of the song. All of a sudden, someone (maybe Martin? I imagine a lot of you know the answer) says "What do you want to do then? What can we do" which is something of a surprise. The last of the Aphex Twin returns with Dave trying to sing over him before the song we all know and partially love appears in a seemingly different key to the remix and the whole experience ends. Not fairly odd, very odd. Very odd indeed.

The B-Side is Oberkorn (It's A Small Town) (Development Mix). Not only is it a much better remix name, but it is also a much better track. It's 7 minutes 39 seconds of quite glorious instrumental goodness and is yet another B-Side from that era that you really must familiarise yourself with.

The UK CD Single reissue campaign in 1991 assembled the 4 tracks from the release in the one place:

As ever, there are a couple of nice foreign formats to have a look at. The German red vinyl 7" is a lovely thing, both on the A-side

and the B-Side

The 12" was released on yellow vinyl too.

If you want one, the cheapest currently on Discogs is £64. Pricey.

Once again, the Intercord blue stripe CD from Germany is a must have. No-one ever knows why that is the case by the way. I certainly don't yet I collect them. 

There were also various releases in Belgium, France, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Sweden and Australia.

And with that we leave The Meaning Of Love. Its place in Depeche history is secure, not because of the video (THAT MUST HAVE BEEN BOOK 101 - THIS IS EXTRAORDINARY etc) but because of the single that followed it. Leave In Silence clearly signposted the way Depeche Mode were heading but only after The Meaning Of Love showed us the way out of the first phase of the band's career.

We'll have a look at Martin's first go at making "violence" rhyme with "silence" next time.

Monday 16 November 2020



Everything was going so well for Depeche Mode. Dreaming Of Me saw them gain a large fanbase outwith their local area, New Life sold nearly 500,000 copies and made them a household name and Just Can't Get Enough built on that, turning the band into a Top Ten band in the UK. Their debut album Speak & Spell was about to be released and the world was their oyster. What could possibly go wrong?

NME, 2nd January 1982

Ah. The news of Vince's departure first appeared in December 1981 and that appeared to be that for Depeche Mode. Jaunty instrumental Big Muff and Tora! Tora! Tora! aside, Vince had written all the band's songs. Someone needed to step up and keep Depeche Mode going and that man was Martin L Gore. Turns out he wasn't too bad a songwriter at all.


The Single

Picture courtesy of

See You was released on 29th January and entered the charts on 13th February at number 40. It crawled to number 31 the following week, but the band's appearance on the 24th of February edition of Top Of The Pops saw it fire up the charts to number 10. Another Top ten hit. Who said they were finished?

As you'll notice, there was a mystery fourth person with the band. That chap was Alan Wilder and, after initially joining as a live musician only, he soon became an official member of Depeche Mode. Alan stayed with the band until 1995 before quietly leaving with very few members of the fanbase noticing, a position that remains the same to date. People regularly say "I can't even remember if Alan was in the band" when his name comes up. He's a mystery and can only be remembered by very few fans indeed.

The single continued its relentless march up the charts, moving from 10 to 8 and then to 6, the band's highest chart position to date. It was an outstanding result for them. The single dropped from 6 to 11 and then 13, 27 and 42 before a final stop at 59 and then into the eternal darkness of life beyond the Top 75.
Before I move onto the single itself, we have to pause to appreciate another of the band's television performances promoting See You. As we'll see later, the single was released in West Germany on red vinyl 7" and on the cover there is a sticker that says "Aus der TV-Sendung Bananas" which basically translates as "as seen on the TV show Bananas." 

There was a German pop programme called Bananas in 1982 and on the 27th of April that year, Depeche Mode appeared on the show performing See You. As you'd expect for a TV show, they just mimed to the track but they did so, and there is no easy way to say this, while holding chickens. Live chickens in fact. As you can see, the band did their best in what could only have been trying and highly troubling circumstances:

There is much to mention here from the notion of playing electronic instruments amidst bales of hay (surely a fire risk) to Fletch's "Focus on the chicken Andy FOCUS" face at 1 minute 8 seconds in while two Germans get frisky in the hay behind him. You could also embrace Martin at 1 minute 30 or so thinking "A fancy suit while holding a chicken is the limit. From now on it's leather, women's clothes and heavy make up. That'll get me taken seriously." I would heartily recommend you watch on repeat Alan at 1 minute 56 holding a prime piece of poultry, pondering his new job and thinking "What the fuck have I got myself into here?"

Whatever you do, do not forget to watch this most legendary of Depeche Mode performances. There is only seven years between this and Personal Jesus. That is remarkable.

See You is a gem of pop song and it was praised by most reviewers. Melody Maker came up with the rather catchy "Vince splits, world gasps, Depeche fade, no? No!" which I enjoy. Smash Hits claimed the single was "light years ahead of the rest," leaving Danny Baker to kill the buzz with the harsh "Their last single was trying and now this is insipid." That's Danny Baker for you - as a rule, if he likes it, it's usually bad. That means See You was therefore bound to be good.

Smash Hits 23 January 1982

See You is far poppier than any of Vince's Depeche work and it clearly has the aim of ensuring a chart smash. It's filled with glorious melodies and harmonies throughout and features some lovely bubbling electronics - what's not to love about it? For a band who were put in the position they were by Vince's departure it was a strong response.  

The song was played live 211 times between the Crocs gig on 20 January 1982 and the gig at Torwar Hall in Warsaw on 30th July 1985 which was a show that marked the last live outing for a number of early Depeche tracks as we've already seen. DM Live Wiki has you covered for all recordings that exist of See You. I particularly love the version from the wonderful recording of the 21st February show at Tiffany's in my home town of Glasgow where the band sing the vocal sample line instead of using a sample. They do bloody well too - check it out on DM Live Wiki here

The B-side is a curious track. Now, This Is Fun initially sounds like something that should have very much stayed in the studio, but on repeated listens it gets catchier and catchier ultimately forcing you to admit that it is not too bad at all. The band played it live a remarkable 86 times on the See You and Construction Time Again tours with the last live airing taking place on 2nd June 1984 in Ludwigshafen in Germany. Lie To Me has only ever been played live 77 times, nine times less than Now, This Is Fun. 

When Depeche Mode were preparing the A Broken Frame - The 12" Singles boxset, a photograph of the 12" master tape appeared on the band's Facebook page that showed the song was originally called Reason For Fun:


The Video

The See You video is, relatively speaking of course, on a far grander scale than Just Can't Get Enough's budget video. It opens over a smoke-filled railway platform with a bow tied Dave distracted from waiting for his train by a haunted photobooth firing out pictures of Dave and his girlfriend. The person playing the girlfriend was in fact Martin's actual girlfriend at the time, Anne Swindell.


As you can see, the story appears to be Dave goes out to buy a record and, while doing so, walks past his bandmates playing cash registers and stumbles upon another haunted photobooth which reveals his girlfriend has been hanging around with the other band members and mystery new man Alan Wilder. "Alan who?" you ask. I'll explain it one day. He used to be in Depeche Mode.

The video ends with Dave breaking all chart rules and actually buying his own single. He is still wanted in Essex for crimes against the Top 40 and remains an outlaw to this day.

The Formats

There were only two formats released in Britain. Firstly, we have the standard 7":

The sleeve seems to show a very short man smoking while looking through a window at a very tall woman while the label is a lovely thing with a love heart at the centre because this is very much a love song. Now, This Is Fun isn't that, but as you can see below, it still gets the love heart label:

Sadly, despite its appearance, the sleeve isn't made of wood. The 12" single has an entirely different cover:

It features two tracks being Extended Versions of See You and Now, This is Fun

Neither remix is a radical reinterpretation of the song it remixes; in fact all the really are are slightly longer versions of each song. See You's 3 minute 55 second single version becomes a whopping 4 minutes 50 seconds long and Now, This Is Fun is stretched from 3 minutes 27 all the way to 4 minutes 45 seconds. The whole 12" then takes 9 minutes 35 seconds to play. I'm sure there's a version of Hole To Feed that is at least 4 times that long or perhaps it just felt that way (see future blog).

There were a few represses of this record and one of them stands out as it has a different sleeve. On the sleeve, the girl's face on the cover leans to the left:

Other than that, there is no difference between this and the standard 12". This one is more collectable and once sold for £58 according to Discogs. No, it wasn't me. See You joined the world of digital music as part of the UK CD singles boxset in 1991 and features the 7" version of Now, This Is Fun and the two tracks from the 12":

As I mentioned earlier, there is a German red vinyl 7" version of See You. This was the first of a series of such releases that ran all the way up to and including Never Let Me Down Again. Here is the front cover with that Bananas sticker:

It features the same tracks as the UK 7" as does the German 12". As well as a black vinyl release though, that format was also released on majestic red/purple marbled vinyl. Just look at this:

How lovely is that? If you like it, here's the back of the sleeve and the B-side as a treat just for you:

There is also the German blue stripe CD which is always a lovely thing:

The French CD is a nice item too:

The later re-press of that doesn't have the greyed out centre. If you are going to collect the French CD singles, go for the ones with the greyed out centre - that seems to be the thing to do.

The single was also released in America, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Japan and Sweden among others. In "Formats I Don't Yet Have But Want" corner, my favourite is the Spanish 12":

An especial discoteca indeed.

See You may not be regarded by many as one of the most important Depeche Mode singles there ever has been, but it's arguably the most crucial. They needed to come out fighting after Vince left and they did that with their own Martin-written pop gem. It kept Depeche Mode firmly in the spotlight, proved the doubters wrong and landed the band their biggest hit to date.

Plus it gave us the chicken video. We'll always have the chicken video.

Friday 30 October 2020



When Songs Of Faith And Devotion was released, any lingering perceptions people held of them being a weedy electronic act were finally and permanently dispelled. Despite Violator's all conquering performance, Depeche Mode were still viewed with suspicion in their homeland and when I Feel You first appeared, it shocked not only Depeche Mode fans but also everyone else who heard it and was told it was Depeche Mode. While Songs Of Faith And Devotion is not as universally acclaimed as Violator is, it is still a hugely important album and one that is still an enthralling album from start to finish. The album's singles were all wonderful and three of them even charted in the Top Ten in Britain, their best singles-from-an-album chart performance ever.

The newest boxset in the Depeche Mode 12" reissues is the Songs Of Faith And Devotion one and that has been released today. Let's see what's inside.

As with the previous 12" boxsets, it recreates and celebrates the era quite marvellously. The front of the box (above) is a new take on I Feel You's iconic artwork.  Martin is on the left and Dave on the right (more of how we know this below) and Alan (beside Martin) and Fletch have been decapitated for some reason. Harsh. The back of the box looks like this:

As ever, it comes with one of those pointless paper menu things which acts like a picture menu in a restaurant where you don't speak the language? "How do you say play the limited edition 12" of Walking In My Shoes?" "I don't know - just point to it."

"No I said CONDEMNATION. God, don't these people speak (insert language?)"

The 12" singles are, as ever, beautifully and faithfully (lolz etc) reproduced. When I Feel You came out I was in my first year at Aberdeen University. The song debuted on Simon Mayo's Breakfast Show on Radio 1 and I recorded it and then played and rewound the tape (ask your grandparents) endlessly and much to the increasing distress of those who could still bear to hang around with me. When the singles came out, I bought and played them endlessly too, all the time wearing a selection of Depeche Mode t-shirts and being known as "Depeche Mode Dave" to some because I wasn't mature enough to wear actual adult clothes.

Fast forward 27 years and I'm currently listening to I Feel You on 12" while wearing a Depeche Mode t-shirt and relaying that anecdote to a bunch of people who know me as the bloke who writes a Depeche Mode blog. That's progress. I think.

Anyway, I'm not reviewing me thank God, I'm reviewing the singles. Future blog episodes will look at each single in turn (wait...come back) so I'm not going to review all the remixes today. Here's the I Feel You 12":

The cover shows the drawings of the band that would become the terrifying large metal things that hung behind the Devotional stage. Top left we have Alan with Dave to his right. Andy is below Dave and Martin bottom left under Alan. How do I know this? Well, other than Martin's picture having something like his hair, each drawing has the band member's birthday in the bottom right. Presumably Anton did this so that the permanently drunk band would be able to remember birthdays on the Devotional tour - either their own or everyone else's. The back of the 12" features Dave looking moody in Hamburg:

There is no inner sleeve here, just a paper one. Here's Side A of the record:

Even though that is just a big purple blob, I do like that. Side B  has another lovely label and tells us the tracks:

The Throb Mix is the standout for me here. The Babylon Mix is good but has a daft name. Not as daft as others in this box however. There was of course a limited edition 12" and it is a lovely looking gatefold. Here's the cover:

Alan and Dave minding their own business there while Martin and Fletch slope off to chat all things Basildon on the back:

The gatefold inner features two pictures:

On the left we see Alan and Dave back in Hamburg with a lifesize topless cartoon and on the right, all four lads together, all clearly hungover and with Martin standing in a very odd way. The front of the inner sleeve is wonderful:

It's a lovely thing. The other side of it is, well, black:

I show that for completeness sake and nothing else. The labels are again fantastic - here is Side A:

As you can see, it mirrors the image on the inner sleeve. Things like that probably shouldn't make me happy, but they do. If you are reading this then you are likely nodding in agreement. The B-Side label is below:

Fantastic. These 12" singles were easy to get at the time, unlike the In Your Room ones and the recreations here are spot on. There are two Brian Eno remixes on this 12" by the way which are quite interesting. They Eno here and there, burbling and glugging around in that Eno-y way but are pretty decent if you like that sort of thing.

The second single, and the only one to fail to crack the UK Top Ten fact fans, is the godlike genius of Walking In My Shoes. The standard 12" has a lovely shiny sleeve:

As you can see, it features the topless, terrifying part woman part demonic hellbird that featured on the live footage accompanying the song. The same beast features all over this single. Here she is on the back sleeve too:

The original pressing of the singles had a matt cover with spot gloss (thanks Scott) parts such as the barcode section above and the repressing didn't. The boxset version is a recreation of the original pressing. There is no inner sleeve here, just a paper one and Side A's label looks like this:

Side B lets Side A take the arty glory and instead shoulders the burden of displaying actual information:

On the music side of things, for this is after all about a band who play music, the b-side My Joy is a track you don't want to miss. It's a hidden Depeche classic. There is only one remix of the title track here and that is the Grungy Gonads Mix.

That name doesn't improve with age.

The limited 12" is another wonderful thing and I had, and still have, a T-shirt with this cover:

The back is another matt/spot gloss affair:

Like I Feel You, this is a gatefold 12":

The Page 3 with a demonic bird head theme continues on the inner sleeve:

The other side of the inner sleeve is nudity free; in fact it's free of anything other than the catalogue number - L12BONG22:

I really like that. Side A of the actual record continues the label theme from the standard 12":

Again, Side B tells you everything you need to know:

There are four remixes of Walking In My Shoes on the record and they are all great although the Ambient Whale Mix is a bit bland.

The next single was the much heralded Depeche Mode Do Gospel Condemnation and this release introduced us to the Devotional tour which the band had already kicked off by the time the single came out. The sleeve takes a still from the film used when the song played on the tour:

The rear prints the lyrics which look like they've been drawn by someone holding a pencil between their toes rather than their fingers:

The original issue of the single featured a deluxe inner sleeve and that's what we get here. "Deluxe" seems an odd word to use as it's not as if it gets you access to a lounge or free booze, but its a nice thing anyway. It uses another still from the tour film:

The word "deluxe" is further tested by the rear of the inner sleeve whihc is once again just black:

Perhaps its shiny nature gives the additonal luxury purchasers of the re-pressed version missed out on thus ruining their lives. The record features 5 tracks including the Paris Mix of Condemnation, so called because the remix was finished off in a studio in Dusseldorf (hilarious), the at-that-point unreleased Jazz Mix of Death's Door and three remixes of Rush. The first two tracks appear on Side A

and in a move that will surprise nobody, the other three feature on Side B:

The limited edition 12" was a real thrill when it was released. Instead of being called Condemnation, it's called Depeche Mode Live and it features four tracks, Condemnation, Personal Jesus, Enjoy The Silence and Halo, all live from the gig at Forum in Milan on 4th June 1993.

It's another gatefold too. On the cover (above) we have Dave in action and on the back, with another matt/spot gloss effort, we see Martin belting his way through Condemnation:

The gatefold shows all four band members in hot live action on the left and Dave captured wonderfully by Anton in full rock star mode on the right:

Wonderful. The deluxe inner sleeve was again only available with the first pressing of the 12". If you bought later pressings, the record was thrown into the street and you were made to pick it up while people laughed at you outside HMV. Thankfully, the boxset reproduces the deluxe version although is it REALLY deluxe if it's just the same as the standard 12"?

The same question applies to the other side of the inner sleeve:

Side A features Condemnation and Personal Jesus

and, ever the traditionalists, the other two songs pop up on Side B:

The final single from the album was In Your Room, released in its Zephyr Mix form, a mix that would haunt live versions of the song for years after Devotional until they saw sense on the last tour. It featured on the 12" in 7" and Extended form along with two other In Your Room remixes and a comically bad remix of Higher Love, the ironically titled Adrenaline Mix. The cover uses the light bulb motif from the Devotional tour film and the song's video:

Here's the rear:

Again, lucky purchasers of the first pressing could bask in the glow of having a deluxe inner sleeve, reproduced here. It looks like this:

"Where's the luxury," you scream, "It must be on the other side. SHOW US DAVID." 

No, it's black too. At this point, I should let you all know that I'm veery much aware that I'm posting pictures of black inner sleeves. It's clearly a very odd thing to do, but I've started down this road and it would actually annoy me now if I knew I didn't have a photo of every sleeve, no matter how black they are. And yes, I have taken a picture of every one. I've not just taken on and re-used it. I am one of you remember and I know what you/we are like. Depeche Mode fans are very, VERY strange people and they'd complain if I tried anything on here. 

Side A of the record looks like this:

Side B is equally straightforward:

The limited edition 12" and final release from Songs Of Faith And Devotion, is a wonderful 6 track affair featuring six superb live tracks - In Your Room, Policy Of Truth, World In My Eyes, Fly On The Windscreen, Never Let Me Down Again and Death's Door. They are all bloody brilliant - the Devotional version of World In My Eyes is one of the band's finest live arrangements of all time and the live version of In Your Room makes your body shiver for hours after hearing it. Incredible. Depeche Mode are hugely underrated as a live band. This record shows just how good they were then. The cover is all lightbulbs, all the time. Here's the front:

Here is the back:

The really quite lovely cover art is one thing, but can you cope with ANOTHER deluxe inner sleeve? You can? Ok, here's one side of it

and here's the other:

The inner sleeve equivalent of a 5 night all inclusive break in a 7 star Dubai hotel. The labels on the record are gorgeous. Here's Side A:

and here is Side B:

Beautiful. As with the Violator singles' cover art, everything about the Songs Of Faith And Devotion cover art is superb with so much thought being given to every aspect of it, deluxe sleeves aside. The recreation of every aspect in this boxset is tremendous work.

I should say that the records sound superb too.

As with other boxsets there is an extra but, sadly, the only extra here is an admittedly lovely reproduction of a promo poster for Walking In My Shoes:

Perhaps we were spoiled with the incredible extras with the Violator boxset, and I'm perhaps being a bit too greedy, but an additional record such as a reproduction of the Rush  12" promo would have been a cool addition. It's a nice rarity from the era like the World In My Eyes promo reproduced last time, The lack of an other extras doesn't detract from how fantastic this boxset is mind you. I think if anything we may have been too spoiled by the last box.

Finally, there's a download card. 

The whole 12" reissue series has been incredible and a real joy throughout. The Violator box was going to be a hard act to follow, but this boxset is very much up to the task. It recreates the original releases perfectly and, when enjoyed and appreciated as a whole, it reminds us just how good Depeche Mode were in 1993.