I’d been a pretty ardent follower of Depeche Mode since Violator in 1990, gobbling up the other two albums they unleashed in the 90s, both “Songs of faith of devotion” and “Ultra” being solid albums, the former more than the latter in this blogger’s books. By the time 2001 rolled around and almost four years had past since their last album, the shine of Depeche Mode had worn off a bit for me and they were no longer front of mind. So it took me a while before I got around to listening to their tenth studio offering, “Exciter”.
If you can pardon my obviousness, I actually didn’t find the album all that exciting. In fact, this was the first of their albums that I didn’t thoroughly enjoy all the way through, a trend that has unfortunately continued through to their most recent work. That’s not to say I dislike the band now, nay, each album has given us some very good tracks. I just don’t find Mode as consistently good as they were through the 80s and 90s.
“Dream on” is one of the highlights of “Exciter” for me. You can hear the influence of producer Mark Bell (LFO, Björk) with the EDM beats throughout the record but here, it’s augmented by a bluesy acoustic guitar riff that just doesn’t quit. Dave Gahan’s vocal work is almost soulful and old-timey, clear and front of the palette of the austere production with Martin Gore adding his usual flourishes at opportune moments. Gore’s song subject is an addict hitting rock bottom and you feel that he is a addressing a woman he could love if she would give him the chance. But it’s Gahan that is singing the words and he does so from a place of experience.
“Feel the fever coming
You’re shaking and twitching
You can scratch all over
But that won’t stop you itching”
This is Depeche Mode. And it’s awesome.
For the rest of the Best tunes of 2001 list, click here.