Wednesday 8 September 2021



Following Exciter's release in May 2001, Depeche Mode embarked upon a lengthy world tour in support of the album. The second single from the album, I Feel Loved was released on 30th July 2001 as the tour wandered through America. 

The song was stood out among Exciter's sparse electronica (I'm ignoring The Dead Of Night - I always do) and was perhaps the more obvious choice for "comeback" single but Depeche Mode don't do obvious do they? 

With I Feel Loved, we got BIG NAME remixes, a questionable video and more promos than anyone knew what to do with. This is the story of I Feel Loved.


The Single

Picture courtesy of

BONG48 confirmed that I Feel Loved would be the second single from Exciter and told us it would be released on 16th July 2001. It wasn't of course and instead I Feel Loved, BONG31, came out two weeks later on 30th July.

In his review of Exciter, the NME's Stephen Dalton said of I Feel Loved:

"Gore's songwriting (veers) off into diverse and occasionally sublime directions. Hence the cheekily titled pop trifle I Feel Loved, a blast of shameless disco hedonism with a side order of existential ennui."

Fair enough. The NME's Single review took a different path:

"Post-drugs contentment may have given the Mode their best album in years but there is still a vague air of mid-life drift about tracks like this - plush, polished, executive-class disco pastiche full of expensive noises but not much passion. Still, it certainly exudes more authentic dancefloor zing than superstar DJ Danny Tenaglia's flaccid house mix, which reeks of a lazy contractual obligation bashed out on the way to catch a flight to Ibiza. Iggy's 'Dirt' is also here, reworked into a slo-mo gothcore stomp. Trent Reznor must be spinning in his grave. You know, the one where he sleeps."

To promote the song, Depeche Mode appeared on UK programme CD:UK, a show that was meant for kids but firmly aimed at adults. It was presented by Ant & Dec who for those of you outside the UK were two notorious Newcastle based rappers, very much the Ice-T and Eazy E of their day, who were tamed and turned to TV work. If you don't believe me, look for Let's Get Ready To Rumble which is very much their equivalent of Fuck Tha Police. Anyway, Depeche recorded this performance on 24 March 2001 and it was later broadcast in May that year.

As Ant or possibly Dec notes, one of the biggest bands in America there. Not the world mind, just America. It's a fairly standard performance really. The music is from playback but Dave's vocals are live which is nice although as we can hear has already replaced the "I" in the title with "Ahhhhhhhh." That apart, Christian is now fully in place, Martin will not feel the benefit of that coat when he gets out and Fletch, well, Fletch gives a stellar performance of knob twiddlery. One day they should turn all the keyboards on and see what noises he is making. It may well be art.

There was a Top Of The Pops appearance too on. Like the CD:UK one, it was filmed in March and was then broadcast on 4th May, Sophie Ellis-Bextor introduces the band and, once again, we have a live vocal. As it was recorded at the same time as Dream On (see last blog), Martin is wearing his penis t-shirt again. Stop it Martin.

The band also appeared on the Jay Leno show on 7th August 2001 but that video isn't available just now. It's a live take so it means that there are backing singers, more tom-toms than one ever needs (i.e. more than 0) and Dave fairly screaming out the lyrics. All a bit odd really.

Australian promo poster

The, erm, blizzard of publicity in the UK saw the single not do that well at all really. It entered the charts at Number 12 but instead of going up it fell, firstly to 31 then 43, 54, 69, 72 and 77. A disappointing showing really.

 I Feel Loved is a funny one really. At the time it felt as if the band were trying a little too hard to tap into the dancier side of the market (God, I sound old) and, as I mentioned earlier, it stood out on Exciter as being rather against the grain of the album. As a Depeche Mode-do-pop type thing it's fine and certainly better than later attempts at the same such as Lilian, but I wouldn't call it classic Depeche Mode. It was only played at 50 of the 84 Exciter tour shows because it put too much strain on Dave's voice and was last played live on 8th September 2001.  The fact is, it didn't really work live and that will be why we've never heard it since.

Joyously, we also had a non-instrumental B-Side this time. Dirt by The Stooges from their legendary 1970 album Fun House was covered for the B-Side and it is really rather good and far more Depeche sounding than the A-Side. It's never been played live however.

The Video

February 2001 - Depeche Mode HQ, Basildon:

"Hello is that John Hillcoat?"
"Hi, it's Depeche Mode here. We're on speakerphone. Do you know who we are?"
"Tainted Love right?"
"Close enough. We have a new single coming out a.."
"Really? I thought you guys stopped after A Little Respect."
", that was Erasure. Same label but different band. We're Depeche Mode - you know Enjoy The Silence, Personal Jesus and all that?"
"The horses video and the one with the man dressed as the King?"
"YES! That's it John."
"Right ok, cool. Hello Depeche Mode - how can I help you."
"Well, as we said John, we have a new single coming out. We're rehearsing for our tour just now so we don't have a lot of time but we'd like you to direct the video for us."
"Oh right..."
"Are you up for that?"
"Why not. Anything I should know?"
"Well, to give you a bit of history, we originally made very bad videos, then they got slightly better, then Anton Corbijn came onboard and made us artistically credible. We really want to carry on down that road to be honest."
"I know Anton's stuff. All monochrome and random images of priests and women in underwear. Is that what you're after?"
"No, not really John. Just something that looks decent and fits the song really."
"Ok, grand. I think I can do that."
"See you in California in April then John? Would that work?"
"Ok. That sounds fine. Tell me, do any of you know any dog handlers? Or people that own attack dogs?"
"Not really John, no. Why?"
"Never mind, Depeche Mode, never mind. See you soon."

April 27th 2001, Hollywood, California

"Martin, are they real police?"
"Looks like it Dave."
"And the dogs?"
"Definitely real, Dave."
"No! Are they police attack dogs?"
"That Hillcoat chap mentioned dogs didn't he?"
"He did Andy and yes Dave, they look very much like police attack dogs."
"I don't want to get bitten Mart. They might damage my keyboard hand. I won't be able to play if that happens."
"Don't worry Fletch. I'll see if I can find Jo...ah there he is. John! John!"
" Ah hello Marvin. "
"it's Martin."
"Undoubtedly so. I've been working very hard on the video for I Felt Love you know. There's a whole concept that will blow your minds."
"What do we need to do?"
"Nothing Malcolm. Just go in there and play. You, the singer and that tall chap with the dark glasses hiding behind that skip. Does he not like dogs?"
"Not really, no."
"Ok, off you go. We'll get this very Depeche Mode like video filmed and that'll be that. And don't worry - it's NOTHING like an Anton Corbijn video."

May 2001, Depeche Mode HQ, Basildon

"No answer Dave. That's the third message we've left him."
"Well, it's too late to do anything now Martin as we need to go on tour. We'll just have to leave it."
"I know Dave, I know. It's a shame that it's a shoddy shambles of a video that makes literally no sense and just sees us playing in a club while dogs wander about. Future reviews on smartarse blogs won't like it. "
"No-one will read that Martin, don't worry."

June 2001, behind a skip, Hollywood

"Have the dogs gone? Can I come out now? Martin? Dave?......"

The Single

This release was promo-tastic. Let's have a look at the UK promos first.

Firstly, we have the promo CD, RCDBONG31. It features two remixes of I Feel Loved: Danny Tenaglia's Labor Of Love Radio Edit and Danny Tenaglia's Labor Of Love Edit, the radio getting no look in on the latter. 

There were three promo 12" singles each housed in lovely sleeves with the labels matching the sleeve colour. They don't make them like than anymore. P12BONG31 features all 14 minutes 12 seconds of Danny Tenaglia's Labor Of Love Mix. It's very good fun and features a snippet of Excerpts From: My Secret Garden which is rather random but very enjoyable.

On the AA Side, we have not only a snazzy label but also Danny Tenaglia's Labor Of Love Instrumental which is a full 29 seconds shorter than the A-Side.

PL12BONG31 has Danny Tenaglia's Labor Of Love Dub on Side A.

The AA Side features the Desert After Hours Dub which is the only place we'll find that and Danny Tenaglia's Labor Of Love Edit.

Finally in promo land, we have PXL12BONG31. On the A-Side we have the Umek Remix.

The AA Side has the Thomas Brinkmann Mix and Chamber's Remix on its gorgeously labelled side.

There are promo CD-Rs too but that's a level of madness to which I will not descend. To the official releases then, starting with CDBONG31:

As with Dream On, the single came in a cardboard sleeve which housed another cardboard sleeve containing the CD. Dave's arm and hand appears on it.

The rear of both sleeves is far less colourful. The CD contains three tracks in all: I Feel Loved (Single Version), Dirt and I Feel Loved (Extended Instrumental). The title of the latter tells you all you need to know.

LCDBONG31 is an interesting thing. There's a nice inner sleeve there for example. There are three remixes of I Feel Loved to listen to - Danny Tenaglia's Labor Of Love Edit, Thomas Brinkmann Mix and Chamber's Remix. The latter two are fine, but the Tenaglia one is the winner here.

On the other side of the CD sleeves, it's all black again. Even Dave's arm is in black and white. The exciting thing here though is the Enhanced element. This was 2001 when the world was still fresh and innocent and things like small films on CDs blew everyone's minds. Here, there are four 30 second long videos: In the studio with Mark Bell and Gareth Jones, the first Exciter photoshoot with Anton, the second Exciter photoshoot with Anton and At The Video Shoot with Stephane Sedoui. There are also 9 exclusive images and a downloadable wallpaper. For your computer, not your house.

12BONG31 features Danny Tenaglia's Labor Of Love Edit, an 8 minute long edit of the full remix on Side A.

Side AA contains Danny Tenaglia's Labor Of Love Dub.

We got an L12 this time too. L12BONG31 has the enjoyable enough Umek Remix on Side A.

Side AA houses the Thomas Brinkmann Remix and Chamber's Remix. It has a lovely label too. These are of course the same three tracks we saw on PXL12BONG31. If you look closely enough, and if this is what your life has come to then welcome to the club, PXL12BONG31 is etched on the inner groove with the "PX" part scored out. Admit it, this is what you come here for.

Before we look at the 14,000 or so different things that popped up in America, let's look at what France did. They released 2 CDs like the UK ones and a promo 12" featuring two mixes you couldn't get anywhere else: Laurent F. Remix and Fafa "Superfunk" Monteco Remix -Club Version. The BONGFAN2 CD that came with BONG52 features the former remix and Fafa Monteco Mix - Edit Version. 

In the US then, there were 15 different CD-Rs. 15! They feature a whole lot of remixes that I frankly can't be bothered listing here. As ever, will look after you there.

There is a US promo CD in a jewel case.

Dave's arm appears on the inner sleeve and the CD contains three versions of  I Feel Loved - Remix, Danny Tenaglia's Labor Of Love Edit and Album Edit.

As well as a 7" and a CD single (neither pictured because I don't have them), there is a double 12". On disc 1, we have Danny Tenaglia's Labor Of Love Edit on Side A and Thomas Brinkmann Mix and Chamber's Remix on Side B.

Disc 2 has Danny Tenaglia's Labor Of Love Instrumental on Side C and I Feel Loved (Extended Instrumental) and Dirt on Side D. There are also two promo 12" singles.

I Feel Loved came out, Depeche Mode found favour with clubbers for the first time in a while and the band's 84 date Exciter tour was well underway. All was well in Depeche Mode world.

Perhaps I Feel Loved didn't perform as well as the band thought it might, but it did have a longer shelf life than you might imagine as it ended up nominated for two Grammys in 2002. Sadly, it lost out in the Best Dance Recording category to Janet Jackson's impressively bland All For You and in the Best Remixed Recording, Danny Tenaglia's Labour Of Love Mix lost out to the Deep Dish mix of the even blander Thank You by Dido.

The next time we saw Depeche Mode, they would have moved beyond feeling loved to Freelove. We'll look at that next time.

1 comment:

  1. I love this series. And as always well spotted "Danny Tenaglia's Labor Of Love Mix. It's very good fun and features a snippet of Excerpts From: My Secret Garden which is rather random but very enjoyable"...

    But you should have spotted the rhythm from the equally fabulous Rio Mix of another awesome DM B side Shout!