18. October 2005 · Comments Off on Listening to Depeche Mode (Playing the Angel) · Categories: That's Entertainment!

This is simple, if you like Depeche Mode, buy Playing the Angel. If you don’t like or have never liked Depeche Mode, this album isn’t going to change your mind because it’s just so Depeche Mode. You really can’t get much more Depeche Mode than Playing the Angel. I can’t tell you it’s their absolute best album yet, it’s going to take about a year’s worth of listening for me to make that decision because there’s just so MUCH here. “Lush and layered” don’t begin to cover it. This is both headphone music and subwoofer music. Purely in the ears it pretty much fills nooks and crannies your listening muscles may not have used in awhile. The subwoofer will invade your chest cavity and get you swaying…you’re not going to be able to stop. And unless you’ve been neutured, this album is going to make you at least a tad horny. This is “boom-chicka bowm-bowm” elevated to high art. But it’s also dark and brooding and bordering on DM’s madness. No, I’m not going to compare it to Violator. This is something else. This seems to be the year when artists I like just decided to be the best themselves they can be. Mixmasters will be dipping into this well for years to come.

Song by song below the fold. I have a definite opinion about what’s going on here, don’t read it if you want to form your own without prejudice.

A Pain That I’m Used To – Distortion, controlled feedback, bassline, heartbeat-drumbeat, David Gahan’s vocals lightly whip-caressing the microphone to the beat. More distortion/meltdown. Something wickedly mental this way comes…with a good beat you can thrash/dance to.

John the Revelator – Depeche Mode takes us to church and drifts off to madness yet again.

Suffer Well – Sort of like old INXS but Depeche Mode.

The Sinner in Me – Johnny Cash would have recorded this one too if he was still around. This is going to be in every mass murderer/horror movie for the next 20 years, maybe 30.

Precious – This has nothing to do with “Lord of The Rings” or Gollum. If this video (which came with the iTunes purchase) is any indication of what the rest of the visuals for this album are going to be, they’re walking away with sweeping the MTV Awards next year. I can see why it’s the first single musically it’s the sweetest piece on here.

Macro – “See the micro-cosim, in macrovision, our bodies moving with pure precision. One universal celebration, one evolution, one creation.” Believe it or not, those words in this song do NOT sound completely insipid. I just call ’em like I see ’em. This is sweet on a primal level.

I Want it All – Merry go round music. I’m not sure they can add any more tracks to this. It’s just right, there’s just enough going on here. Longing, lots of longing here. Funky ending. Makes me wanna hip twitch with my honey.

Nothing’s Impossible – A lyrically hopeful song done dark and brooding. Classic DM.

Introspective – Short instrumental, a breather.

Damaged People – Madhouse music. The chorus’ music is riffing on I Don’t Know How to Love Him from Jesus Christ Superstar! Makes me wish I was back in high school/college so I could make out with a chick with cherry red hair…oh wait…I married one…bonus.

Lilian – Their take on “Evil Woman” or “Maggie May.”

The Darkest Star – Back to madness with a glimmer of hope and light and even more madness…but not spiraling down…an upward spiral into madness? Is that what this is all about?

Waiting for the Night (Off Violator? Oh wow, iTunes gave us an extra track, another look at a classic.) – Mmmmmmmmm, David Gahan, a keyboard, a little reverb, a bit of overdubbing and a lift up out of the darkness, into the night. If you haven’t lived through the darkness of a day to the beautiful light of night falling, I can’t help you understand this one.

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