With Freelove released on the day the Exciter tour ended, you would think that would be that for Exciter era Depeche Mode, but no. Ever keen to confound us, Depeche released a fourth single from the album, 3 months after the tour ended.
What we got was a lovely surprise AND the band's first UK Number 1!!!!
BORN A LOVER - GOODNIGHT LOVERS
Originally given the working title of Born A Lover, Goodnight Lovers, BONG33, was released on 11th February 2002. The release was a fairly limited one, only seeing official releases in a few European countries. BONG 51, the issue of BONG that confirmed the end of the magazine, came out after the single had been released and curiously confirmed that the single had "finally been released" in February. They weren't wrong.
The single did pick up a couple of reviews. In Dotmusic (nope, no idea), Ben Gilbert said:
"The fourth single from last year's resoundingly well-received long-player 'Exciter' confirms the somewhat surprising but nonetheless commendable resurrection of Depeche Mode. Almost as much a prayer as a track, 'Goodnight Lovers' is a resolutely calm and reflective mesh of atmospherics, the embryonic incarnation subtly mirrored in rock and roll survivor Dave Gahan's gentle vocal lilt. Elsewhere, amid the deep, soothing vocal mix, chiming electronic flourishes resonate to the close. Nothing very much happens, but then, as some people in this business could do with learning, less is often more."
Thanks to the super Depeche Mode Press File site, I can also offer the opinion that matters - yes, it's the Huddersfield Daily Examiner:
When Exciter was reviewed, Goodnight Lovers caught a few ears. Stephen Dalton in the NME said:
"(B)etter still is beatific closing number Goodnight Lovers, where Dave purrs and whispers over a gliding ambient lullaby to 'all soul sisters and all soul brothers." This is the one to soften even hardened Mode haters, a gorgeous moment of sensual healing."
The best thing about Goodnight Lovers however is its chart position. Top 40 rules at the time excluded the song from the Top 40 because it contained three songs in addition to the single itself even though one of those is actually a remix of the single as we will see. The songs issue did however qualify the release for the Budget Albums Chart and on the week of release, Depeche Mode got a
UK NUMBER ONE!!!
Ok, not quite what one would normally call a Number 1 single, but we'll take it. Technically it was the first time a Depeche Mode single had reached Number 1 in the UK so that is a win.
Goodnight Lovers is, of course, a wonderful song, both soothing and haunting. It's the warmest track on Exciter and ends the album perfectly. It has featured in the band's live sets too, but not on the Exciter tour. Instead, it was played 76 times on Touring The Angel and it was a joy. Dave and Martin sang together with Martin utterly drama queening it up at the end of the song most nights and the whole thing was tremendous fun. It was last played on 3rd April 2006 at Wembley Arena in London.
Third time lucky for John Hillcoat here as he makes a decent fist of this video. Perhaps that is because nothing actually happens.
The Depeche Mode boys are joined by the Exciter tour's backing singers Jordan Bailey and Georgia Lewis and everyone with the exception of Fletch has a good old singalong. Well, they do in the sense that they all appear to be in separate rooms with footage of everyone else playing on the walls. The video was filmed the day after the tour ended so perhaps they had all seen enough of each other and insisted on separate rooms for filming.
Everyone is of course dressed in black with Martin wearing what you would like to think is a leather shirt. Fletch only appears briefly and every time we see him he has his eyes closed. It had been a long tour for him.
We end with Dave shushing us all and with that gesture, the Exciter period comes to an end. I'm choosing to ignore the rather awkward appearance at the MTV awards a couple of days after this video was filmed. Stop bouncing around Martin. Just stop it.
There's not much to look at here as there were only three official formats released. The 12" single was pressed in Germany and UK copies were imported in. 12BONG33 was available on black vinyl with a limited run of 9,000 on red vinyl. 3,500 of those were reserved for the German market. Initial orders from Mute Bank of the red vinyl single came with a free poster.
I think I remember reading that there were only 300 red vinyl 12" singles that came with the poster but that may well be something I have made up entirely. The 12" is filled with good music - well, almost. On Side A (above), we have Goodnight Lovers and When The Body Speaks (Acoustic), a lovely remix.
Once again, I really like the cover and the labels. On Side B, an attempt is made to do the impossible and make The Dead Of Night listenable. The Electronicat Remix tries its best but it didn't stand a chance. You can only work with the materials you are given and remixing that song is akin to being asked to build a workable spaceship with cheese. The second track on Side B is a joy however. Remixing Goodnight Lovers is a tough task, but the Isan Falling Leaf Mix does the job splendidly. It is a wonderful take on the song and one of my favourite Depeche remixes.
The black vinyl version features the same four tracks.
It doesn't come with a poster however.
For any fans of promos who are feeling left out, welcome to your part of the blog. There was only one UK promo for Goodnight Lovers and here is RCDBONG33.
It features on track only and that is, rather unsurprisingly, Goodnight Lovers. For pedantry fans, there were also CD-R's kicking about and, apparently, a one-sided 12" acetate limited to 6 copies featuring Goodnight Lovers (Kreidler RMX). If you have that, well done.
Having had a CD promo, it made sense to have a CD single too. CDBONG33, like all releases from this campaign. comes in a cardboard sleeve with a thinner sleeve inside housing the disc. It is a lovely thing and my favourite CD single from the Exciter period. Now there's a fascinating fact.
It has the same four tracks as the 12" and a picture of the boys in hot live action on the inner sleeve.
Goodbye to both lovers and the Exciter campaign then. It had been a hugely successful one for the band and had seen them perform a lengthy tour to mainly capacity crowds everywhere. Releasing two singles after it ended seems odd right enough but there was a lot of momentum in DM world at the time so why not.
The next album would be three years away from this release but we would get a remix compilation before that. That means that I am contractually obliged to mention Enjoy The Silence 04. I'll skip over that quickly next time and instead focus on the excellent remixes that accompanied it.