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CD Review: Depeche Mode, Playing the Angel

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It’s hard to believe, but in the past decade, Depeche Mode has only released two albums: 1997’s Ultra, and 2001’s Exciter. Prior to both of those albums was 1993’s Songs of Faith and Devotion. I guess DM have been on a four-year release cycle in the 1990s. Well, it’s been four years since the release of Exciter, and Depeche Mode’s latest, Playing the Angel, is here — finally. It’s been worth the wait.

I know many DM fans are divided over Songs of Faith and Devotion, and I’m not sure if that same division exists for Exciter, but I have to say, I wasn’t a fan of Exciter. I’d rank it as one of DM’s worse albums. Does Playing The Angel bring redemption to the group? Hell yes it does.

If you’re a fan of the WB’s Smallville, you would have heard the first single from the album, “Precious,” in the season premiere of that show. I’ve been so far out of the DM loop that I didn’t even know a new album was about to be released. Which reminds me, I need to get back into the DM loop.

Once again, Martin L. Gore takes us through religious metaphor in his exploration of relationships. DM’s sound on Playing the Angel is very different from past albums in some ways. I’ll get to that in a moment. I know it’s safe for some bands to stay within the confines of a particular genre, but DM have taken chances and are not afraid of presenting listeners with challenging material. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to hear DM sound like they did in the 1980s. With Dave, Martin and Fletch in their 40s now, I would hope their style would mature — and it has.

The album opens with the industrial screeching of “A Pain That I’m Used To,” and for a minute there I thought I was listening to Nine Inch Nails. We go from the industrial noise to a more techno-style beat. Dave Gahan sounds fabulous, by the way, and Martin Gore provides the guitar licks we first heard in SOFD. Towards the middle the track picks up a melody reminiscent of “Enjoy the Silence” from Violator.

“John the Revelator” begins with a nice old-school sounding analog synth line and aggressive vocals from Dave. Martin’s lyrics touch on various religious themes but seems to be discussing how certain groups (or individuals) appropriate God for their own means — while also throwing in references to the Book of Revelations from the Christian bible.

An interesting trend is beginning to become apparent — the use of melodic devices from previous DM albums. The melody for “John the Revelator” could very well be “Pleasure, Little Treasure” from Music for The Masses.

“Suffer Well” takes a very simple synth line and percussion and adds in electric guitar and features harmony from Martin L. Gore, with lyrics again dealing with religious metaphors.

More analog synths to begin “The Sinner in Me” and features another great vocal performance from Dave.

“Precious” might bring comparisons to “Enjoy the Silence” but it’s a great track, one I keep playing on my computer and in my car. This is the DM we all know and love.

“Macro” features an unusual vocal performance from Martin L. Gore. Not his best work, and it’s a bit too obvious, as if Gore were really trying hard to sing in a way he isn’t used to singing.

“I Want it All” is a lovely song and a stand-out track from the album.

“Nothing’s Impossible” is another guitar-heavy track with a great industrial synth line and percussion.

“Introspectre” is a brief instrumental that segues into “Damaged People,” with Martin sounding more like Martin Gore than he did in “Macro.” It’s a slower-paced song than anything else, I suppose a DM-style ballad (albeit with some dark imagery in the lyrics.

“Lillian” is sure to get you on the dance floor, another classic-sounding track.

We close with “The Darkest Star,” another slower-paced number with a dreamy vocal from Dave. I’m not sure I would have gone with a slower-paced track to close out the album, but it’s still good.

Playing the Angel is certainly the best of the post Alan Wilder albums. There’s some experimentation with an industrial, techno vibe, and it works. The group is now on tour (and not playing Portland…again). I’d really enjoying hearing DM perform this album live. Which, of course, will not happen, since I’m in Portland. Dear tour director, please convince DM to come to Portland. We have a large arena and I’m sure you’ll be able to pack it with fans. Is that a little pathetic? I guess so. Here’s hoping we do not have to wait another four years for a new DM album.

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  • River

    OK, I am going to give my honest opinion.

    I have been listening to Depeche Mode since 1992. The first song i heard by them was “Shake the disease”.

    I am a bit dissapointed in this album.
    There are a few tracks that are really good, but over all there isnt really anything new.

    After listening to this album, i just realized that “Songs of faith and Devotion” and their older music will always be my favourite songs.

    The album is very noisy! Martin should let Dave do all the singing, coz’ Martinz voice sounds rather strange on a track called “Macrovision”.

  • Balcky

    So far Precious is indeed the standout track for me (granted, I’ve only listened to the album once). It’s an accessible song, whereas the others are a bit too dreamy and become boring, or as in Macro, one begins to wonder why Martin sounds so strained. But, at any rate, I agree that the quality is the best post-Wilder album, and Dave sounds better than ever (those voice lessons and laying off the heroin apparently helped). Though I haven’t yet connected with the songs, I’m pleased that it sounds distinctly like DM, but matured and evolved. yay for the new album!

  • Steve Blair

    PTA is a great album. I doubt very much if there has been a better one released this year. Right from the opening salvo of APTIUT to the last bars of The Darkest Star it takes you to another place for fifty awesome minutes. Precious is probably the most commercially viable song but APTIUT, Suffer Well, Sinner in Me, Nothings Impossible and Lillian all have something to offer for non DM fans. Go and get a copy and hear for yourselves.

  • Carson

    I have been a DM fan for years. I have owned nearly every album and subsequant remix cd they put out. I am also one of the freaks who loved exciter and ultra…however, I will admit that they were missing elements from previous DM albums, most notably, the ‘industrial lite’ sound that Alan brought to the group…however, their strengths were that the songs were far more complex than previous albums. You could listen to them over and over and you would find yourself with a new appreciation for them with time. Also, the vocal style of Dave was more soulful and subdued, which I didn�t like at first but it grew on me. That being said, there was a huge gap between DM with Wilder and DM without. They were missing things like the use of Martins voice as an effect or instrument (ala MFTM), the industrial influence was gone, and the tracks were less orchestral and more generic techno in nature. (Which if you ever listen to Recoil, Alan Wilders solo project, you will hear what exactly he used to bring to the band.)

    Well, after listening to PTA, the gap has been filled a lot more than the past two albums. They have the industrial influence again (not the same as Wilder, but still good). They were careful not to over due it too. They also seem to pay tribute to what has made them great. For example, the ending of �Sinner in Me� that is very similar to �Blue Dress� on Violator. It is a wonderful blend of what we have come to love about the band, old and new, over the years. The only down side is that Martin obviously went through a divorce, and the songs clearly reflect that. (This is bad for those whose wife or GF gets really turned on by a good DM love song like World in My Eyes or In Your Room). This album will not be helping me get any, but hey, it still rocks! I also must say that it is nice to have Dave write a few songs too. I was not a huge fan of his solo album, but I am 100% pleased with his tracks on PTA. (Must be that Gore harmony backing him up that I like). All in all, I give the album a 9 out of 10.

  • Brent

    They were in Portland for the last tour, Exciter. Unless youre referring to Portland, Maine.

  • I missed DM in Portland for the “Exciter” tour. The last I saw them was the “Devotional” tour in 1993.

  • Gabor

    I am an old fan and my most favourites are Strangelove, Never let me, the Violator album, In your room, Walking in my shoes(*****).
    The last DM songs I liked very much were “It’s no good” (*****)
    and “Useless”.
    To be honest, my opinion is that Exiter
    on the music side was very weak,just an agony, unlistenable – perhaps except Freelove.
    Unfortunatelly at first listening PTA is also just another agony. Where are those simple but very strong melodies that once Martin could write ?
    Precious is not bad. I would expect something like “Lillian” from DM.That is
    very good!

  • Maria Chaffey

    I have been a DM fan since 1980. The last 2 albums I found disappointing – too manufactured, no passion. They certainly missed Alan Wilder (and so did I). Their very best album for me was Songs of Faith & Devotion (loud & exciting)- but this new album comes VERY close.

    On first listening, a couple of songs grabbed me – I think Nothing’s Impossible is FANTASTIC – it has been a long time since a DM song has made the hairs on my arms stand up – but this one certainly does. Which surprised me because I wasn’t expecting much from the Gahan songs.

    And John the Revelator – pure genius, great baseline.

    ALL the songs grow on you by the second listening – and the tunes shine through. The production is addictive – I can’t stop listening. I have to disagree with some of the above reviews – the songs with lead vocals by Martin Gore are some of the most addictive on the album – turn your speakers up and just let everything wash over you.

    The album makes me feel like a teeneager again – the old Mode are back!
    Maria Chaffey (UK)

  • PETE


    Still DM ,but I think the best days are behind them for good.
    After great “Ultra” and somehow disappointing “Exciter” new album seems to follow strange and dangerous path.

    To all hardcore five star fans:-C’mon guys this album doesn’t deserve five stars.
    I have been hardcore DM fan like you since 1982,collecting all bootlegs and remixes and I really miss old /read-“young”/ Depeche Mode.

    I was lucky to meet Martin Gore in June in NYC and talk a while about new album-it was something for me….,
    But I have to admit I’m a little disappointed & nervous about our beloved DM future.

    Solid Four Stars-Out of respect.

  • Jan B. Petersen

    THANK`s Maria Chaffey.

    U just wrote all the right words – nothing more to say. But you are also an OLD DM fan, so am I (started in 82)
    Alan is STILL sadly missed – but DEPECHE ARE BACK !!

    Jan B. Petersen (DK)

  • Jeremy Casper

    I love the album. I have been with them since 82 like many of you. I agree somewhat with a loss from Wilder leaving. However, I throw in Ultra and Exciter often and blare them loud. I guess when you are addicted, a hit now and then is essential. I am thoroughly pleased with Playing the Angel. I will put it up there with their top few albums. For those of you who don’t like it, don’t you remember not liking past albums of theirs that you grew to love? DM is notorious for giving material that does not quite fit in with your expectations. Case in point, a few of you did not like Macro. I decided yesterday after hearing the album 6 or 7 times that Macro is my favorite (for now). I blast it. I love it. Martin’s voice is naked, beautiful, strong, resonant, and awe inspiring. As for this album not being a “make-out” cd, at least that song definitely is. Not sure why? read the lyrics again and try not to sweat. DM is back, though I don’t think they went anywhere. Ultra is dark and beautiful, exciter is electronic and beautiful. PTA is a perfect mix of analog, digital, and guitar. Pure DM, Purely perfect.

  • Cawfebug

    I have been a mode fan since mid 80’s. I instatntly liked all there albums to Songs of Faith and Devotion. After that it took me a while to warm up… although I now love ultra and I like Exciter, just like, w/ a few songs being very strong and in the vien of trad. DM.

    I really liked Precious on first listen. I was very dispt. in the rest of the album. Yes, I know it may take a while to get used to it, but most of the songs have no life, complexity, etc. very drab.

    I really hate to give it a poor review… but it’s time for mode to take a break. Do what new order did ya know.

  • Siniman

    Like a lot of you, I have also been a DM fan for near a couple of decades. I remember hearing Construction Time Again for the first time – loved every song instantly! Some Great Reward – every song. Black Celebration – All but one song truly loved. Up to Violator – loved half instantly, the rest grew on me. SOFD – most of it had to grow on me. Ultra – WTF? (except Home of course) Exciter – not exciting in the least.
    Frankly, I’m growing tired of having to have DM’s songs grow on me. It’s like forcing myself to be in a one-sided relationship just because I’ve been in it for so long. Sorry, with this album it’s divorce time for me. They need to go back to their more melodic, chord diverting, cleaner danceable roots.

  • revs

    Without Alan wilder sound genius Depeche Mode are a normal pop band.

  • Dustin

    First, I want to say the Exciter deserves more respect. “I Feel Loved” is a kick butt dance song, and “When the Body Speaks” is a gorgeous ballad. In fact, most of the album is very strong. To me, the weakness of post Wilder DM is that many songs sound unfinished and somewhat like demos in process. PTA sounds a little more finished than the last 2 and is another great album. Dave’s “Suffer Well” is my favorite and I hope it doesn’t face the same fate as “Halo” did in being the best songs on the album that somehow doesn’t get released as a single. 2 singles are already chosen and it’s hard to imagine “Lillian” not being a single, so I can only hope for 4 singles.

  • Ricardo

    Almost 25 years have passed since Depeche Mode recorded their first album, Speak and Spell. They became the best and most influential band in the electronic scene, and also one of the biggest and most important acts in the world. Obviously, all of these achievements force them to give their best in every new album they release. And this is what we find in Playing the Angel.
    The album starts with “A pain that I’m used to”, their strongest song in years. Nobody ever thought that a mature band could sing and play with such energy, and so well.
    “John the revelator” takes us to Martin’s deepest obsession for religion, blended with Dave’s best vocalization in the album. Purely emotional.
    “Suffer well” makes Dave’s debut as a songwriter in a Depeche album, and in a wonderful way. Perhaps the fact of singing words of his own (and some collaborators) made him truly believe what he is saying. Essential.
    Nothing but excitement and passion continues in “The sinner in me”. Electro sounds mixed with a desperate guitar, haunting vocals and deep lyrics.
    Precious. The well-anticipated first single appears as the track number five. There’s no much to say about it: elegant, deep, emotional… classic depeche sound.
    Here we finish with the first part of the album. Excellent, there is no other word to describe it.
    There is a bridge between first and second part of the set, “Macro”. Martin on vocals. Stripping himself, letting come out his thoughts, his emotions, his weaknesses. A different song. A perfect bridge.
    The ghost of “Waiting for the night” gets into Playing the Angel. Second incursion of Dave on vocals, he “Wants it all”. Fantastic.
    “Nothing is impossible” takes us to the depressive world of Depeche Mode. The depressive world that marked a whole generation.
    The next song is “Introspectre”, it leads us into a mysterious path, a brief loss of consciousness.
    The album gets darker, and in that sad darkness we find Martin singing again, depressive sounds and voices, but a light shines at the end, this light is “Lilian”. A bright light that pops up like trying to tell us there is a solution of it all, a reminiscence of the eighties.
    Well used to happy and emotional endings, we arrive eager for listening to the last track of the album, “The darkest star”. A good song, without any doubt, but perhaps the the album deserved something bigger.

    Instead of repeating the same formula that made them superstars, Depeche Mode shows us that their creative strength continues intact. Many comparisons among fans with previous albums appear. But it seems as if they haven’t realised of something. Since Violator, Depeche Mode have been creating completely different albums. That is something that deserves respect and recognition, and makes of DM the definite biggest band on earth. Other comparisons with bands of the 90’s (e.g. Nine inch nails) just reflects that these people don’t know who gave birth to NIN’s sound.

    Yes, Depeche Mode.

    This is not the way a 25 year-old band should sound. Fresh, mature, and grandiose.
    I highly recommend purchasing “Playing the Angel”, one of the best albums of our times.

  • I think this album is much likeable, certainly has the feeling that it gives you something nowhere else to be found but at DM.
    At first I didn’t like it, found the industrial bits too harsh and simple, but anyway – these sounds work, you can’t just step by them.
    After all, for me it’s kind of a sincere work, not trying to be super-sounding (not close to Recoil albums’ full-spectrum sounds for sure..) but shows emotions of frail humans in a musical language. That’s pretty rare today, I guess.

  • Spence

    I went out and bought tickets, have great seats next to stage, ordered the new DM CD on Amazon and waited patiently for the release date. I Spent hours on the dm website listening to Precious and interviews with the band before the new release; excited that this album was going to be one of the best.
    All I’m going to say is I love DM; I just hope the concert is better than the new album. Very, very, disappointed! DM you forgot about your loyal fans, and catered to all the Goths!!! (Dark, depressed music), Precious will be my only love on this album. But I have faith they will do better next time.
    Concert, please bring on the DM I loved for all these years.

  • Bryan

    I agree with everyones comments…Theres something Wilder added that has been missing the past couple of albums. However PTA has brought back about 80% of that feeling I got when I was a teenager. And the best part is, as I was ready to give it thumbs down on the first couple of listens, now I’m beginning to think its pure genius. Everyone is talking about “suffer well” and its comparison to “behind the wheel”, I think its pure “Question Of Time” ingredients. Best tracks by far(not in any order)

    : John Revelator (Faith Devotion like track)

    :Suffer Well (Question of Time like)

    :Sinner in Me (Rocks) very (Violator “Clean” meets Music Masses)

    Nothing Impossible (Kicks ass, delivered chills)

    Damaged People: Awesome (“World Full of Nothing”/”Home” Gore Track..however “macro” sucks

    By the way, Precious sucks, doesnt even fit in this album..Wanna be “Enjoy the Silence” And it comes nothing close to the brillance of that track. Lillian couldve been better..but props up to Darkest Star..Weird track but haunted depeche like construction time days was half the reason I got into them.

    9/10 Rating

  • Carlos Javier

    When i hear Precious, i think, well, the sound its very good and the most important, the line between Ultra and Exciter is broken (thanks god),
    but, now that i can hear all the LP i say that i cant believe the extraordinary work that make Depeche again, for the true devoted’s, this album have eleven wondefulls songs, the best for me are
    1.- Nothings impossible
    2.- I want it all
    3.- Precious
    4.- Lilian
    The most “strange” and out of time on the disc its Macro, but we know that Martin’s songs and interpretations are not communs (remember It doesnt matter two, sometimes )
    For me, a new DM classic’s albums.

  • Stefanie Yunakov

    What surprises me about some of these comments is that we are (as most humans are) quick to guide, to point and make fun of, or disagree with… I have been a fan of DM since 1980!!! That is a long time to love something, unconditionally. I look at my love affair with DM like a relationship, with peaks and valleys, with good songs and not so good, but overall, do I have any regrets, NO. I think that DM is BRAVE, brave for being different, not just from everyone else in this greedy industry that spits out a new ‘star’ every week, but even different with each album. It takes guts to reinvent the wheel, not knowing if it will impact the listener, or will even sell an album. It makes me love them even more, knowing that they take that chance – everytime.

    I really do love all of DM’s albums, my favorite possibly being Black Celebration, but then I loved Songs of Faith and Devotion, for the edge, and several songs on both Ultra and Exciter got me, well, excited. Music is not about dance, it is form of poetry, an expression of one’s soul, or at least that is what I believe DM is doing, has done and continues to do.

  • Nice cover by Corbijn. I noticed the electronica too in this album. That may turn some people off that enjoy strictly disco club attritions, but that is what remixes are for, right?

    Electronica is volatile and asymmetric, but in equal pace it allows more creative space than you average rockaday johnny ballad. This album was unpredictable and good transition from the more spacious and ambient influenced Ultra.

  • Love their new album. It gets better every time one hears it, except for Macro (which I think sucks big time, sorry). I have been a, kind of, fan since I was about 8 years old (am 29 now). Didn’t have a clue what they were singing about but liked the sound anyway. (since I’m dutch and english is not my mothertongue)
    I feel this album, and Exciter for that matter, is less ‘dark’ then the previous albums, which tend to make you feel even more down when you’re already feeling bad.

    Since I just like their music and do not consider myself to be a die hard fan, I was heavely disappointed to find out that they’re touring and every concert, within a 5 hours drive, is sold out. A lot of tickets are now for sale at different sites but never in a million years will I pay over a 100 pounds (minimum) for a frigging ticket. (e.g http://www.ventic.com)
    Why don’t they have the possibility (on the DM site) of subscribing to some kind of mailing list, on which you get the latest news on your favorite band of all times? If such a thing does excist, please do notify.

    Anyway, Nothing’s impossible and Suffer Well are definitely my favorite songs, on this album. Thumbs up for Dave!

  • David C

    I’ve been a die hard fan since 1986, making Depeche Mode my favorite band now for 19 years. I take their albums very seriously and always anxiously await the next album. Now, with that in mind, I can safely say that Playing the Angel is not only the best album since Violator, it is the best Depeche Mode album ever made. There is something about this album that is unlike anything they’ve ever done before. What is it exactly? I can only describe it as this album has a throbbing and pumping feel about it that permeates about half of the songs. It is as if the volume of the music has been turned up and now both the vocals and instruments are in a cohesive, yet somehow magical, type of competition with each other in a way that really makes both shine equally. It took about five full and uninterupted listens the albums to build up to this opinion. I am now convinced that with this album we are truly in the presence of greatness, possibly unmatched by any other artist in the last few years and almost unheard of for a band 25 years into their career. My musical tastes are fairly varied, but I would set this album near the top of my top ten of all time along side the likes of Journey Escape, Duran Duran’s first album, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Queen A Night at the Opera, Van Halen’s first album and Pat Benatar’s Crimes of Passion and of course Depeche Mode’s own Violator & Music for the Masses

  • W/O Alan = music sucks

    This album TOTALLY SUCKED. By all that’s proper and truly DM, have you tried pairing Precious with Enjoy the Silence? It’s not even close, the songs are fine, as if they were made by some cheesy wannabee band.

    But what the hell! This isn’t a cheesy band doing this album but DM. Oh! How low have they sank, slower and ever surely deeper into mediocrity. Without Alan Wilder putting the right finesse, the subtle mix of sounds, this album just suck.

    This isn’t worth the price if you ask me, just buy the World in my Eyes single and you’ll see how much of a difference.

    This is the band which has produced Everything COunts, Somebody, Black Celebration, Never Let me Down Again, Walking in my Shoes, and all they could come up is this crappy album.

    Don’t be hypocrites, at best, thise album deserves 3 starts out of 5 and I’m still being generous at that, because I still remember the SOFAD and VIOLATOR years well in my mind.

    Without Alan Wilder, DM is just another mediocre band. Tsk! Tsk! Now it’s made obvious

  • JAM

    I saw their first show of their tour last night. It was an awsome experience, and Alan Wilder was playing with them!!!!

  • Rever

    I just bought the album, all I can say is that truly, DM is no longer the great band that they used to be. Without a doubt Ultra is the best they could come up after the post Flood and Wilder era.

    I’ve been listening to the album and it’s all obvious, music lacks the melody which made them great, the lyrics doesnt move me anymore unlike in the SOFAD album and things aren’t just the same without their great producer Alan who all through those years was sitting quietly doing his job, applying the music and all the while we thought DM is about Martin’s lyrics.

    I wish Alan would be back. This album is just an excuse for the band to tour and it’s clear enough. it’s just a money venture.

  • spence

    I posted my feelings about this new album a week or so ago. I guess I’m writing this new entry to say that I’m sorry for the comments I made before about how disappointed I was of the new album. I’ve taken the time to sit and really listen to the new album; and I can say that I’m really starting to enjoy it now. To all the true DM fans I apologize for my comments and say, if you’re having a hard time with some of these new sounds, just take the time to really listen to the music, lyrics, and they will start to really grow on you. DM has had several albums that just take time to really get into them; I guess I forgot since it’s been so long since they have released something new.
    Like most DM fans will say, the music draws you in; their unique sounds will never go, and will always be the reason DM has been my favorite band for so many years.
    Welcome to Salt Lake City DM we love you!!!!
    See you Saturday

  • I waited a few weeks before I would write a review for Dmode’s latest. With pretty much all their albums, it takes a few listen to fully appreciate the tracks. The only exception to that formula would be Exciter. I don’t consider that a Dmode album. PTA is a step forward no doubt. It brings back the elements that make Dmode great. The one positive that rears itself is the confidence Dave has developed as a song writer and performer. Nothing’s Impossible is a great track, one of my favorites. And while everyone’s harping on Macro from Gore, I like the damn thing. Martin always pushes himself in different directions. I’m sure he knew this song would throw a curve to most of us. Remember, Dmode albums are made for the Dmode fan; the ones that are going to go out and buy the CD the first couple of days. The whole experience is something special between us and them. It has always been that way, and hopefully always will.
    This is a great album. Most say the best post Alan. I would say Ultra is probably just as good if not better. Give me another month with PTA and I’ll let you know. Every week there is a different song that grabs me. To sum it all up…welcome back boys!

  • DM101

    This album is the best since Speak and Spell. Or so they say it is.

    I think this is the worst post-wilder album. With inconsistent songs, lack of melody, the smooth weave of sounds no longer there. The last song of the album is a slow shocker which never reaches anything else but disappointment.

    There are a few decent songs here and there but it’s a clear disappointment. The worst song being Macro, Martin sings a song which is beyond his skill to do so.

    This album is a mess but at least I’ll be able to see DM tour again and hear the old songs live once again.

  • Buck

    I’m very disappointed with this album.

  • Seattle

    I’ve been listening to DM forever now and I didn’t get a chance to listen to the new album before going to the concert. The show was great and hearing the new songs live for the first time was better than listening to the cd first. I really like the new album and was totally thrilled I got to see them live again. I think both were well done.

  • Linda

    Last night I went to the Depeche Mode concert at Madison Sq Garden and all I can say is WOW! I read the reviews of people here who were disappointed with the new album. Initially, it is a shock since it is so different. That is what makes Depeche a great band. They don’t play it safe and stick to what has worked in the past….they evolve and keep it fresh. Madonna has does the same over the years and it works. Once you realize it departs from what you expected, you can open your mind, let the music flow in and evaluate it based on the quality of the stand alone achievement, instead of comparison to the past. I have been a devout fan since 1982 and this was probably the best of their concerts that I have been to. For a band to be around for 25 years, sell out 2 nights at MSG, and give an energetic performance like that was nothing short of incredible. David Gahan was particularly amazing. It is stunning to imagine that the ever handsome David Gahan could possibly be 43 with a body and moves like that…and that voice. He rocked the house, which was a largely 20-something crowd. I found out about the concert long after tickets went on sale, so I was lucky to get some newly released seats after much persistence. Frankly, I was lucky to find out about the concert tour at all since it was not largely publicized. I can only hope that they will add on some new US dates after their overseas leg….and hopefully Philadelphia will be one of the stops!

  • As a DM fan This album wasn’t that great. I give respect for doing it, but took me a while to warm up to it. I give it a 3 out of 5. Martin Vocals cannot hit notes like before. I noiced when I saw him on his mini tour. It somewhat sounds like he has gone gospel. Very ackward, anyways this DM album..infact the last 3 albums would have been great with alan. Didn’t like the fact that Martin switched to strings throughout half the set. Only reason I see them live because I know they will always play old songs. Otherwise it wouldn’t keep it soo interesting. I hope they don’t become like the rolling stones..still making albums in their 60’s and keep draggin on..haha..hmm that would be interesting.

  • Adrique

    I think this album a quite a good one, much better than Exciter, but I think not really better than Ultra.
    What I didn´t like much was hardcore-Gore-sound of many songs (Macrovision, I Want It All, Damaged People, Darkest Star), even though the songs are not really bad. I liked it (the sound) on Gore´s Counterfeit2, but I don´t appreciate it on this album, it annoys me a bit.
    I don´t understand why there´s such a nonsense like Introspectre.
    On the other hand, there are many great tracks – Pain That I´m Used To (the beginning of this song reminds me The Dead of The Night), John The Revelator (I guess my no.1 of this album), Sinner In Me, Nothing´s Impossible (sounds very dark) and maybe Lillian (sounds bit like Camouflage´s The Great Commandment).
    Other songs are are a little over average.
    Resume: not worst, not really great, but maybe a step to the right direction. We´ll see…

  • Danny

    This must be (in my opinion) one of the worst DM album ever!!!
    I heard comparissons of PTA and Ultra or Violator… PTA is nothing like those albums!!! The songs are way too complex! They no longer have that flawless like feeling!
    SOFAD was, i think, the best DM album ever! Ultra comes very close, i can’t get enough of it… and Exciter sucked big time (except for i feel loved, i loveee this song!)! As for PTA… i think it is a little better than Exciter… but far away from the “big” albums from the past!
    Now i feel like i’m making miself to like the songs from PTA, but i now know that DM will never be the same, or, as good, as they were when Alan Wilder was with them…
    The only songs that are worth listening on PTA (in my opinion) are: Suffer Well (to damn complex! but still, a very good track!), Precious (the only “non-Alan” track on this album that still has “it”, that flawless feeling!), John The Revelator (weird sounds… but i think they match the song)!
    However, we may have a few plesant suprises from DM in the future…