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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#DepecheMode #90s #90sTop5

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.

90s Fiver.

#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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20 COMMENTS

  1. One of my top 5 bands. Last few albums arent the best but i see them any time i can when they tour even had to drive to Canada.

  2. I think they probably also have one of the strangest trajectories as well. Those first couple of albums and first few years, they were almost Duran Duran-ish in a way…stylish, poppy, teen magazine type stuff. Then…they just metamorphosized into something singular and unique: dark, beautiful soundscapes, mysterious, remote. Almost like metal if it were filtered through an alien lifeform. Just an incredible band that cannot be replicated.

  3. What a lot of people do not realise is that DM are two groups. Their albums, songs, music and production in the studio are works of art. But then, you watch them live. The performance, the engagement, the theatre, the power, you feel like this is a different group covering your favourite studio artist. And yes, live performances bring tears to grown men's eyes. That intro, that lyric, that riff or that sound effect. People say DM are a religion, the trouble is religions never really evolve, DM do. People also forget that DM formed around 1981 and are still today doing 18 month world tours with new albums roughly ever 4 years. I heard New Life at my school youth club in 1981, aged 13. Epiphany. Last saw them live in Manchester 2017 Global Spirits Tour.

  4. Bless You Professor. Brilliant! The Greatest Band of All Time. Dark. Seductive. Emotional. Dramatic. Hypnotic.

    Honorable Mentions:

    – One Caress
    – In Your Room
    – Personal Jesus

  5. I saw DM on the World Violation Tour in 1990 in Stuttgart…it was quite an experience. That concert was legendary. The PA system was messed up and we ended up singing Shake the Disease accapella with Dave. I was barely 15 at the time. Great memories. Still my favorite band and Violator is still my favorite album. 🌹Ive loved them since Everything Counts though in 1983.

  6. Halo should have been a single. The video was so good and yeah I've been bitching about that for 30 years. It never gets the respect it deserves. Never put on any collections…. Same for Clean like it could have been on bonus videos on the last videos collection.

  7. In the 90s I was running to industrial clubs one in San Diego and one in Orange California the piranha room and San Diego and sanctuary in Orange I love Depeche Mode I think they are one of the best bands ever but I would argue that Peter Murphy give them a run for their money in the 90s

  8. Yes, I am now visiting big concert anymore, because of phone mania. But in small clubs, and not so famous live music bands. It is world still ok. Peoples do a few pictures and short video, but they keep mobiles most of time in the pockets 😀

  9. My 90s DM 5er is definitely a mash-up of Violator – with Personal Jesus and Waiting for the Night topping the list (Waiting for the Night was insane live – saw them twice, both times in Montreal). I have to say though, when it comes to new millennium DM, I unexpectedly absolutely loved Exciter, the naughty little thing.

  10. It’s incredible that a band can release their best album a decade into their career and then remain relevant 40 years in. Hats off to Depeche Mode.

    My top five 90s DM:
    5. Barrel Of A Gun
    4. Halo
    3. Policy Of Truth
    2. It’s No Good
    1. Enjoy The Silence

  11. You wear guilt
    Like shackles on your feet
    Like a halo in reverse

    That imagery kills me every time. Brilliant lyrics abound with DM.