Depeche Mode has been around for quite awhile and proven themselves to be a lasting influence on music today. Coming in on the wave of electronic, synthesized music of the 80’s, they have become the epitome of that music genre. They’ve become one of the most longest lasting and successful bands to come out of the New Wave Era. They’re music is characterized by the smooth sounds of singer Dave Gahan’s voice and their synthesized beats and melodies.
The inclusion of the electronic sound allows them to get a distinct sound that you can’t get from instruments alone. Their music is also overflowing with messages about the perils of falling prey to human foibles and follies. They also haven’t been afraid to tackle difficult subjects like God and sex. It’s hard to choose a list of ten songs that epitomize the band or that are even “best.” I’ve tried to choose several that I think show the band’s characteristics, but that are also one I just enjoy listening to. My top ten Depeche Mode songs are as follows.
1. “Personal Jesus” – Violator
This song is the epitome of the greatness of Depeche Mode. It’s got great lyrics and an infectious pulsing, electronic beat. Several artists from Marilyn Manson to Johnny Cash have covered it. It’s definitely my favorite by far.
2. “Enjoy the Silence” – Violator
This song was a rebirth for Depeche Mode, becoming a fast hit with its simple lyrics, but beautiful sound. Everyone knows its melody, whether they like the song or not.
3. “Everything Counts” – Construction Time Again
From the older albums and the hay day of Depeche Mode fame, this song has a typical moral message for the masses about the dangers of greed. It’s always a favorite at the live shows, complete with hand gestures.
4. “Strangelove” – Music for the Masses
This song has a great electronic beat that Depeche Mode is known for.
5. “People are People” – Some Great Reward
One of the earliest hits, “People are People” is one of the songs that the band is known for. Everyone knows it for its message of tolerance and its distinct electronic melody.
6. “Policy of Truth” – Violator
One of the hits in the 90’s, this song is one of my tops because of the smooth beats and the feel. If someone has ever slighted you, this is a good song to listen to.
7. “I Feel You” – Songs of Faith and Devotion
This song is a bit harsher than anything else Depeche Mode has ever done, which makes it distinct and interesting. It’s harsher in sound and sets itself off with a more crackled, grizzled sound to Dave Gahan’s voice.
8. “Stripped” – Black Celebration
This song has a great vocal exchange between the band members and a nice electronic sound.
9. “Blasphemous Rumors” – Some Great Reward
This song is one of my favorites because of the bravery in the lyrics. It shows their courage and confidence in their message. I also like the echoing, eerie sound in the verses that then jump into the chorus. It emphasizes the seriousness of the subject matter. I’ve always been surprised that it’s gotten such good radio play, but am glad that it has.
10. “A Question of Time” – Black Celebration
This song’s strong beat and electronica gives it a great sound.
Depeche Mode is one of the most influential bands of the 80’s and their distinctive sound has been carried on until today. As the band continues to make new albums and reinvent themselves, they will continue on creating a new fan base in the newer generations. It’s good, however, to remember their roots because that’s where you truly find their genius.