Lots of people can remember that one track or album that really signified their teenage years, for me it’s ‘Violator.’ Let me tell you why.
Firstly, let me set the scene. I’m 15 and everyone in my local village is wearing leather jackets listening to Motley Crue, Poison and Skid Row. Don’t get me wrong, I loved those early glam rock bands but when my older brother started to play me 80’s tracks with an electronic pulse I thought: ‘Hmm, I think there’s more to music than just ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’ right?’
For the uninitiated, this is what I mean:
Fast forward a couple of years and Depeche Mode release ‘Violator’ a week before my 17th birthday. It gets to No.2 in the UK charts and all the stars align. Friends start getting into the band asking me for mixtapes and I get to wear my own leather jacket à la Dave Gahan lead singer of DM. ‘Personal Jesus’, ‘Enjoy The Silence’, ‘Policy of Truth’ and ‘World in My Eyes’ – four great hits from a sensational album.
Take ‘Enjoy the Silence’ for example – surely the greatest pop track of all time? Romantic lyrics forged upon 303 acid loops and delivered through a cracking Anton Corbijn video. Of all their tracks, this one really influenced me – it kickstarted my love affair with dance music, made me join a number of electronic music bands and pushed me to work for Ministry of Sound.
Nowadays, you can spend hours on YouTube unearthing all these documentaries about your favourite bands. As I recently learnt, ‘Enjoy the Silence’ was originally recorded as a ballad that almost didn’t make it on the album. In a last ditch attempt to revive the track, producer Flood and Alan Wilder remixed it for the dancefloor overnight and played it to the rest of the band in the morning. The rest is history. Those kind of stories amaze me.
I haven’t spoken about the other tracks on the album but they are equally fantastic, equally bizarre. You have to love the attention to sonic detail on this album and here’s why. Want to test your brand new sound system, car amp or stadium PA? Put this album on and press ‘play’ – it will sound #mazeballs.
Ok I’d better wrap up now as I’m sounding too much like an hysterical DM fan. My interest in Depeche Mode sort of faded shortly after Alan Wilder left – I never really felt they were firing on all cylinders after ‘Songs of Faith and Devotion’. Still, I did have the good fortune of interviewing Alan a couple of years back but I never did summon the courage to thank him for album and explain how important it was to me.
Well, Alan, if you’re listening. This one’s for you…