Construction Time Again is a glorious album and I will fight you in the pub car park of your choosing if you say otherwise. I will say however, that it is an album that lacks in obvious singles, Everything Counts aside. The songs have a harsher feel to them and each one has a rough edge or two that makes it an unlikely chart smash.
The only exception to that is Love In Itself. It's a song that has all the light industrial feel of the rest of the album but is somehow weaker; if the songs on the album were football players, you'd pick Love In Itself to go in goals. It's a lovely song and certainly not without many charms but it's not the most memorable single the band have produced. That said, it has wonderfully named remixes, superb artwork, world class labels and yet another superb limited edition 12".
I'm convinced. I love it. Here is the story of this underrated goalkeeper...sorry...single, BONG4, Love In Itself.
ALL THE WORDS THAT WERE SAID - LOVE IN ITSELF
Love In Itself was released on 19th September 1983, a few weeks after Construction Time Again. The band remixed it for release, calling the 7" version Love In Itself 2 with admirable numerical logic. The remix is a slight perkier version of the album track really and equally enjoyable. As an aside, do take the chance to listen to Martin's demo of the track on the ever majestic DM Live Wiki - click in itself
Love In Itself initially crawled into the charts at number 35 on 1st October, climbing its way to number 26 the following week. The next week it only gained two places, but thankfully our intrepid heroes had a plan. Let's get all tanned somehow, make Alan tuck his polo shirt into his chinos whie playing drums, give Martin a ...checks notes...guitar (??)) and let's go on the 20th October Top Of The Pops.
Note that Martin has stolen Alan's Everything Counts xylophone. I'm also convinced that young Martin has had a beer or two here. Anyway, fashion horrors aside (that jacket Dave?) this appearance did the trick and sent the song ROCKETING UP THE CHARTS to...ah....number 21. It went to 22, 35 and then 62 and then vanished.
The reviews were ok. It got Single Of The Week in Smash Hits for example. British national treasure Lenny Henry was the guest reviewer that week and he seemed to like it:
The bees' knees indeed. As you can see, Lenny said what all Depeche fans of that era said - a guitar? A REAL PIANO? Don't worry, Depeche Mode weren't going all S****** B*****. Geoff Barton in Souds was probably being complimentary when he said that "(N)othing short of driving a rusty meathook through Dave Gahan's malformed cranium" would prevent it being a hit. Number 1 magazine said "Unfortunately, the record as a whole, though 100% less weedy than 'Everything Counts', is just so cluttered. Someone seems to be throwing cutlery around in the chorus break, Sweep makes an appearance on the last verse. And is that a train on the fade-out?"
Yes it was a train, So what?
Unlike Everything Counts, Love In Itself has not proved to be a live favourite of the band's, It's a single the band seem to have forgotten as it's only been played live 47 times, last being heard live on 10th March 1984 at University in Madrid. Farewell, Love In Itself. We barely knew you.
The B-side was an absolute joy. Presumably Alan Wilder's parts for The Great Outdoors! and Work Hard were the good parts as the band trusted him with a B-Side of his own. Fools is a wonderful track and that is that. It's never been played live and that's probably right, but, as B-sides go, it's superb. Nice work Alan.
As ever, the stellar detective work of the epic Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group springs to life here, telling us this rather odd video was filmed in Dan-Yr-Ogof and Cathedral Caves in South Wales in the Brecon Beacons National Park. Quite why the song screamed CAVE VIDEO, no-one knows but the video is worth watching if only for the band's tans, Fletch's slicked back hair and Martin's "I don't care if it is a cave, I AM wearing bondage gear and THAT's THAT."
There's a pylon, caves too tall for the band (except Martin) to walk under, the Basildon Boyzone element pretending to play trumpets for the trumpet sound line (you're singing it right now), lots of Dave singing, Martin playing an actual guitar (BURN HIM. AND THE GUITAR), fire, more pretend trumpets and so on. Nothing much happens really. It's not bad, it's not good, it's just a video.
The video you'd put in goals if it and the other videos were being picked for a football team. Apart from Hole To Feed. You'd just ignore that.
The 7" single came in the cover above. It shows the Construction Time Again man and he's clearly used his big hammer to build two scaffolding towers but, that odd imagery aside (he was already up the mountain surely?), it's superb, The label is great too, copying the album label design beautifully. Every inch of this was thought through and it's brilliant.
The rear side and B-side label are equally lovely.
12BONG4 is something every Depeche fan must own. Firstly, the cover (above) is just magical, taking the 7" cover and adding information about the tracks down the right hand side. How could anyone want any more? The one track on the A-Side is worth the price of admission alone. It's a 12" remix and it's called Love In Itself 3. That remix title is so good, the actual remix itself is barely relevant. Happily. Love In Itself 3 is yet another textbook early Depeche Mode 12" remix. I love it
The B-side features two tracks. Fools (Bigger) isn't actually a larger version of the track but a remixed, longer one and it's great. Love In Itself 4, which was originally named as Cocktail on early masters, is a lounge style version of the song, showing that Depeche Mode could actually play guitar and piano. "Are you not going to click now then?" Yes Martin, yes we are.
There was another L12 too. L12BONG4 was the third and final instalment of the series that gave us the first recorded glimpse of the live Depeche Mode. Again, it came in a faux leather style, numbered sleeve with more gold piping than was necessary. The A-Side gave us Love In Itself 2.
The B-side added four more songs from the gig at Hammersmith Odeon on 25th October 1982 - Just Can't Get Enough, A Photograph Of You, Shout! and Photographic. I presume that swapping A Photograph Of You for The Sun And The Rainfall was too much to ask for eh? Still, add this to the previous two L12s and you have a stunning record of early Depeche Mode. Three perfect 12" singles. The 1991 CD single reissue put Love In Itself 2, 3 and 4 together with both versions of Fools:
Away from the UK, let's first go to Germany. There was of course a red vinyl 7" with an A-Side (above)...
...and a B-side. The coloured vinyl 12" is a glorious slab of industrial grey vinyl:
That's magnificent. The B-side is too:
The tracklisting is the same as the UK 12". The tracklisting on the blue stripe Intercord CD however adds Love Itself 2 albeit it puzzlingly calls it Love In Itself 2 (Original 7" version).
There is also a bewilderingly rare German cassette single version of the 12". "Don't you have this David you amateur?" you ask. Well, no, no I don't. There is onve available on Discogs as I type which you may want to buy. It "only" costs £980. Seriously, what the hell is going on? Were there only 2 of these made or something? Are they gold plated? Madness.
There was of course a German L12 too. Firstly, there was a standard, boring black vinyl version:
Still a lovely thing of course. It featured the same tracks as the UK L12
Intercord didn't fail us and they produced this stunning coloured vinyl version:
The B-side is equally appealing:
As with the previous two singles, there is also a CD version:
That adds Love In Itself 3 to the L12 tracks albeit it calls it Love In Itself 3 (Original 12" Mix) which is needlessly confusing
As it did with its versions of the two previous L12s, France added an extra track, namley Love In Itself 3 (Original 12" Mix) to the A-Side and left the B-side as it was.
There is also a 4 track CD single and a 6 track numbered version of the L12:
There are a couple of different CD versions of that too and any number of other releases from other countries including Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, New Zealand, Spain and Sweden.
It may not have been their biggest chart success, nor may it be their most beloved single, but Love In Itself is a fine release. Great remixes, great artwork and another great L12.
The band didn't stand still and soon headed to Hansa again, this time to record an album rather than just mix it. That would lead to the band releasing their biggest UK single to date, having success in Germany and reaching number 1 in Germany.
We'll see, erm, why that should be next time.