Thursday, March 22, 2007

Black Celebration

Something I have never really discussed in depth here is my love for Depeche Mode. I was living in the UK when they began their ascent to pop stardom. My first exposure to them was the song Photographic on the 1981 compilation Some Bizzare Album. This collection is notable for some of the other acts on it, including The The, Blancmange, B Movie and Soft Cell, but I digress. I loved the boys from Basildon and their synths. They looked incredibly geeky, but they wrote some pretty catchy tunes. I have kept up with the band ever since the early days, and still have all the old 7"s and 12"s, although I did take a teeny break right around '93's Songs Of Faith & Devotion, which I bought, sold and bought again later.

I am not as fascinated by their music anymore, but I am fascinated by their longevity. I never would have envisioned that those geeks with their synths would still be around 26 years later, or that they would ever get as big as they have on a global scale. Over the last year Mute Records has been reissuing the back catalog as two disc sets; the album remastered plus a DVD with a 5.1 mix of the album, a film, some live tracks plus extra songs from some of the concurrent EPs. I have bought Music For The Masses and Violator, and this week I picked up their 1986 classic Black Celebration. This is where the band began to resonate in America, and millions of black eye liner-ed youths made the boys rich and famous and effed up on fame and drugs. It resonated with me too. I had just moved from London to Minneapolis in 1986. I thought I was going into a cultural wasteland of bad American rock until I found this record store called Northern Lights. And they had all of the British music I needed to survive my first year as a working adult, especially this album and the Stripped EP. Having access to the music I thought I was leaving behind helped keep me sane and happy and made me realize that this was going to be a good place to live. Kind of funny considering the dark nature of this record. I haven't played the 5.1 mix yet - perhaps right after I post this. Anyway, here are a couple of key tracks of doom and gloom to help brighten your day...
Fly On The Windscreen

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