Musically, the 90s were a very fruitful decade for Depeche Mode. In 1990, they truly conquered America with Violator which sold 4.5 million copies in the US and featured their first top ten hit with “Enjoy the Silence” followed by their first number one album in the states with Songs of Faith and Devotion and then after a long hiatus released Ultra in 97 that went to the top 5 in america and #1 in the UK, . The 90s were also a very dark time for the band as issues of substance abuse and personal differences fractured the band. Andy Fletcher struggled with mental instability and wasn’t able to continue with the second half of the Exotic tour in 94. Alan Wilder left the band permanently in 95, David Gahan almost died with a near fatal overdose in mid 96, Martin Gore even contemplated breaking up the band and releasing the music he had written at that time as a solo project. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and the band persevered, setting them up for the long run. This is the history of that time.
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Musically, the 90s were a very fruitful decade for Depeche Mode. In 1990, they truly conquered America with Violator which sold 4.5 million copies followed by their first number one album in the states with Songs of Faith and Devotion. The 90s were also a very dark time for the band as issues of substance abuse and personal differences fractured the band as Andy Fletcher struggled with mental instability and was not able to continue with the second half of the Exotic tour in 94. Alan Wilder left the band permanently in 95, David Gahan almost died with a near fatal overdose in mid 96, Martin Gore even contemplated breaking up the band and releasing the music he had written at that time as a solo project.
#5 It’s no good the second single from Ultra. Musically I feel like this one hearkened back a bit to the classic Violator sound. It went to #5 in the UK and #4 on the US Modern Rock tracks chart and broke the top 40 on the hot 100. I felt like it was David’s strongest and most sincere vocal on the record and though the song is obviously about a relationship, Gore’s words could be taken a different way. I remember Anton Corbin appeared in the video.
#4 Walking in My Shoes the second single from Songs of Faith and Devotion. It went to #14 in the UK and #1 on the US modern rock charts, the same spot as I feel you. Corbin did a great job with the design of this, the bird woman freaked me out in a good way. I also Love the lyrics: Now I’m not looking for absolution Forgiveness for the things I do But before you come to any conclusions Try walking in my shoes. Even though Martin wrote the song, The Gahan sang it, you felt it was his, a cry for help and a reminder to those who judge.
#3 World In MY Eyes from Violator. To me, one of the best opening tracks in the history of long play albums. It sets up the record perfectly and let’s the listener know that you’re about to get hit over the head with a sledgehammer. Andy Fletcher said of the song and I quote: “Martin did the demo on his own,””I don’t remember it standing out when we heard it then.
#2 Policy of Truth from Violator. That phenomanal noir like guitar drone, from Martin really set this song apart from any other DM song. I remember listening to this while watching Twin Peaks, of which I became a major fan, still am. Because I played it while watching the show, and they are both so strange and eerie for some weird reason this song and the show morphed into one for me. I can’t think of one without thinking of the other. Ha. The song went to #1 on the US modern rock charts and #15 on the hot 100 and #16 in the UK. In my opinion it was heads and shoulders above anything on the charts at that moment.
and #1 Enjoy the Silence from Violator. DM’s first top 10 in the US, in topped the modern rock charts and went to #6 in the UK it hit #1 in spain, denmark and poland. I already covered this in our 1990 segment but this song is where the dies was cast for Depeche Mode. this is where they came out of the underground for good and took their rightful place as stadium Gods, yes they were already doing this when Music for the Masses was transforming them, but this song was the tipping point where they went from another band within modern rock to becoming the face modern rock. It inspired countless bands of today from Coldplay to the Killers. Coldplay even paid tribute in their video Viva La Vida.
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