Friday 13 March 2020


Policy Of Truth was the third single released from Violator. It was released on 7th May 1990, three weeks before the World Violation Tour kicked off. It's a funny one really. It's not as obvious a single choice as Halo, and it's a song that many people don't particularly like. On recent tours for example, its return to the setlist has been used by many as a chance to take another bathroom break or refresh their beer. I've always liked it (surprisingly enough) and, like all Violator releases, the attention to detail in the artwork, video and even the labels on the records are all marvellous. It seems to me that Policy Of Truth is seen by many as the least loved of the Violator singles and possibly even the least loved track on the album. Martin loves it mind you, telling BONG in 1998 that "It has been one of my all-time favourite songs that we've recorded." I'm with Martin - it deserves a lot more love than it gets.

Original UK subway advert
The video for the single was filmed in New York between 10th and 14th March while the band, Anton and his crew were conducting photoshoots and filming the footage to be used on the screens on the World Violation Tour. Various photos, including the one below, taken at the shoot were used in the World Violation Tour tourbook and in Anton's Strangers book. 

The video itself is a tale of Depeche Mode getting the brush off from a couple of women who ultimately have a good laugh about mucking the band around. The band are all hanging around New York, dressed in leather and moodily lit. We see each of them getting off with one of the women only to be suddenly abandoned. Dave looks annoyed, slapping a wall and then randomly singing whereas Martin just looks sad. Look at his little face at 1 minute 2 seconds in. Fletch and Alan on the other hand both just look bemused. To get over his wall slapping anger, Dave jumps in a car and drives around New York, eventually arriving back at his flat where colour footage of the two women is rather bizarrely playing on the wall. It transpires that he shares a flat with his bandmates and they all sit around looking gloomy while Dave keeps singing. It doesn't look like a happy living arrangement. Anyway, the video plays out with Dave back in his car while the rest of them are all hanging out in the same places they were abandoned, each like a slightly like synthesised, leather clad Greyfriar's Bobby. We see two girls leave a bar chuckling doubtless discussing the fact they've made Depeche Mode look like a bunch of lovesick teenagers.

That's my interpretation anyway. Judge for yourselves here:

I really do like the video. As I've inevitably said too many times already, every aspect of the Violator era artwork and filmed footage is exceptional. 

The single's release was preceded by the release of the usual promos. The promo 7" single R7BONG19 looks the same as the standard 7" but has the Radio Edit of the track on its A-side. Like the 7", it has the single version of Kaleid on the reverse. The record also has the R 7 BONG 19 etched on the inner groove if you want to check your copy. Here is the front of the promo:

and here, thrillingly, is the back:

The promo CD features the same two tracks:

As you'll see, it says it fetaures the 7" version of Policy Of Truth. That's not actually the case. A promo 12" was released too featuring four tracks.

Their names and the remixers are revealed on closer inspection of the label (told you we'd talk about labels). We'll look at the remixes shortly:

The standard releases all have gorgeous sleeves. The cassette single insert shows four pictures of the cover model all of which are used on various sleeves over the release:

The front sleeve mirrors the promo poster above as you will see. There are two tracks on the cassette with both appearing on each side. They are the single versions of Policy Of Truth (about 1 minute longer than the Radio version) and Kaleid. Kaleid (pronounced the same way as the first two syllables of the word "kaleidoscope") is an instrumental track that is thrillingly good. Clearly drawing influence from the prevailing acid style at the time, Kaleid is just magical. This version is the best of the three available across the formats.

The rear insert of the cassette single

The 7" single is identical to the promo 7" in every aspect other than the inner groove which doesn't say R 7 BONG 19. It also features the single version of Policy Of Truth with the single version of Kaleid on the reverse

There's the front. And here is the back:

The 12" is a three track affair, featuring three superb remixes.

On the A-side of 12BONG19, we find the Beat Box mix of Policy Of Truth by Francois Kervorkian. It's like an extended version of the track with Dave's vocals given more space than in the Single versions. If you love classic Depeche Mode remixes, you'll love this. The Beat Box mix is in fact an edit of the full mix. The full version appears on the 2004 reissued CD single and the US CD single from 1990.

12BONG19 - rear and b-side

The first track on the B-side is the Captiol Mix of Policy Of Truth, again by Francois. It features a sample saying "I want to tell you my side of the case"  that is taken from Richard Nixon's "Checkers" speech. Go to 58 seconds in below:

The remix itself is really cool. It's less of a 12 remix than Beat Box and is more experimental, pulling parts of the track here and there and highlighting some of the cool noises that you might not otherwise notice or enjoy. The When Worlds Mix...erm...mix of Kaleid completes the 12" with a noisier version of the original B-side by Daniel Miller and George Holt.

CDBONG19 features the two Policy Of Truth remixes from the 12" and adds Kaleid (Remix)by Bruce Smith and Sean Oliver, a dancier version of the track with a the acid style bass line an enjoyable prominent feature throughout.

There were of course also limited editions available too as we can see advertised above in Record Mirror. The advert promised a version of Policy Of Truth remixed and remodelled by The KLF and that's what we got.

L12BONG19 is a glorious thing. It's a glossy gatefold sleeve with a gorgeous all black equally glossy inner sleeve. The Trancentral Mix is exactly what you'd expect from The KLF - a slightly sinister partly ambient track that takes Policy Of Truth in an unexpected but quite brilliant direction. There's a sample again too, this time from Bob Hoskins' speech in The Long Good Friday. Listen here, 4 seconds in:

The B-side features the Remix of Kaleid found on CDBONG19 plus the Pavlov's Dub version of Policy Of Truth, another Kervorkian remix.

Gatefold unfolded

It's a decent enough remix that again features the voice of Richard Nixon but adds Winston Churchill for good measure ("I must not conceal from you tonight...the truth as I see it") from his speech to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on March 31st 1949. If you want to hear that in full, click here

L12BONG19 rear featuring all sorts of glossiness

Finally, we had a limited edition, 5 track CD single.

LCDBONG19 features the two Policy Of Truth remixes from L12BONG19, adds in the When Worlds Mix of Kaleid then somewhat needlessly throws in the single versions of both songs to round it all off. It's a nice package with a cool sleeve and a rather lovely shiny CD.

Policy Of Truth entered the UK charts on 28th May at number 28, peaking the following week at number 16. It then went to 18, 30, 51 and 70 before heading off in to the sunset. It's a single that underperformed for the band in the UK, perhaps because of the combination of the relatively recently released album and no UK tour for another 6 months. It's a single that shouldn't be overlooked though, as it is a solid track. Next time you hear it live, remember this blog and, instead of getting that next beer, sing along. You'll enjoy it.


  1. Brilliant post! Before listening to the song, I admit, I thought this one is my least favorite from the album :) but once again you converted me. Specially after about 2:17 into the song those harmonizing vibrating sounds just surround you and you drown in them :)

  2. Great post! Among the people I used to hang around with back in the early 90's, POT was considered one of the highlights of the album. Personally I've always loved it. I actually think I prefered POT over ETS for a brief period in 90/91.

    I don't quite get why the inclusion of the single versions on the LCD should be needless. Being a CD convert back in 1990 I would have been very annoyed had those tracks being exclusive to a rather needless 7" single!

  3. I really can´t imagine that someone might name this masterpiece as "least favourite" song from Violator. Definitelly in my all-time Top 10!!!

  4. I just can´t imagine that someone might name this masterpiece as "the least favourite song" from Violator. Definitelly in my all-time Top 10!!!

  5. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is the first time the single version of the A-side (and b-side as well) were featured on the LCD, instead of the regular CDBong. Talking about CD releases only here (the first L12s in the 80's also offered the 7" versions as a plus).