My favourite albums #4: Depeche Mode – ‘Violator’

I’m in love with this album. All the elements of it are perfect. The songs were written by Martin Gore, who sings lead on two of them. A lot of the sound was due to Alan Wilder and producer Flood. The attention to detail is incredible. The layers of sound are best appreciated when listening with headphones. Violator was the seventh studio album by Depeche Mode and was released in 1990.

  1. World in My Eyes. ‘Let me take you on a trip / Around the world and back / And you won’t have to move / You just sit still’. A chilled-out, carefree track with an irresistible bassline. Smooth vocals, every sound in its right place, cool as a glass of iced water but also somehow warm at the same time.
  2. Sweetest Perfection. ‘I stop and I stare too much / Afraid that I care too much / And I hardly dare to touch / For fear that the spell may be broken’. A darkly seductive, obsessive and vaguely orchestral song with a fascinating array of sounds.
  3. Personal Jesus. ‘Reach out and touch faith / Your own personal Jesus / Someone to hear your prayers / Someone who cares’. This merger of electronica and rock ‘n’ roll is one of the band’s most successful singles and has an iconic video.
  4. Halo. ‘You wear guilt / Like shackles on your feet / Like a halo in reverse’. This song is about the bittersweet feeling you get when you’re doing something (or someone) you shouldn’t, as the pleasure outweighs the guilt. And the synths are wicked.
  5. Waiting for the Night. ‘I’m waiting for the night to fall / I know that it will save us all / When everything’s dark / Keeps us from the stark reality’. A stunning, atmospheric track, relatively sparse as it lacks drums. Beautiful vocals from Dave and Martin.
  6. Enjoy the Silence. ‘Words like violence / Break the silence / Come crashing in / Into my little world’. Famously this song started out as a sorrowful ballad before Alan and Flood gave it the disco treatment, resulting in a massive hit.
  7. Policy of Truth. ‘It’s just time to pay the price / For not listening to advice / And deciding in your youth / On the policy of truth’. Incisive lyrics, pounding beats and guitar-like screeches give this song a mean edge. The hook is so catchy it’s evil.
  8. Blue Dress. ‘Can you believe / Something so simple / Something so trivial / Makes me a happy man’. This shimmering, pulsating yet tender song is almost a ballad. It’s joyful in tone and has breathy-sounding effects.
  9. Clean. ‘Clean / The cleanest I’ve been / An end to the tears / And the in-between years / And the troubles I’ve seen’. An incredible track with very ‘clean’ sounds, achingly perfect production and excellent vocals from Dave.

Favourite track? Enjoy the Silence, as the first song which really got me interested in Depeche Mode. I’ve listened to that song hundreds of times and I never get tired of it. My next favourites are World in My Eyes and Clean.

Catch up with previous posts in my ‘favourite albums’ series: The Beatles – Revolver, Simon and Garfunkel – Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, Kraftwerk – The Man-Machine.

6 thoughts on “My favourite albums #4: Depeche Mode – ‘Violator’”

  1. Aww, this is my favourite album! People rarely mention Clean, but I think it’s the best track on it. You’ve made my day with your post!💜

    1. So happy that I’ve featured your favourite album! And ‘Clean’ is so underrated and a perfect finish to the album.

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