Weekend Listening: Violator by Depeche Mode
Listen while you read (volume may be loud):
Album: Violator by Depeche Mode
Released: 1990 by Intercord Record Service
Notable tracks: “Personal Jesus,” “Policy of Truth,” “Enjoy the Silence”
Depeche Mode is an electronic-sounding band out of England. Until 1990, most people in the United States hadn’t heard of them. They had a following and were apparently popular in England, but I don’t live there so I dunno.
The first time I heard of them was with this album, which I totally bought for the awesome looking cover. When you were branching out of your musical tastes before the internet it was really hard to decide what to pick, so you judged an album by the cover. I didn’t realize I had just purchased the absolute best album I would ever listen to.
Violator came out in 1990, before CDs were mainstream. Many cassette players had a feature that would allow you to fast forward to empty space on the tape, allowing you to find the good songs easier (the skip button on a CD player does the same thing). Except his album had no empty space.
Depeche Mode designed the album so the cassette player couldn’t determine where the songs ended/began. You could either skip around and hope you found the song, or you could listen to the entire thing. It was an ingenious move for the band; they bet on the apathy of human nature and won.
Violator is made of individual tracks, but it all feels like one song. The songs connect to each other, sometimes by just a long note, sometimes by a verse blending, or by a slow tempo changing. Listening to the songs individually sounds wrong to me. The relaxing techno-melodies paired with the hauntingly sexy voices of Martin Gore or Dave Gahan create 47.77 minutes of really good music.
Make it a ’90s weekend and spin some Depeche Mode. You’ll be glad you did.
Listen to Violator: