Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Depeche Mode's Strange Highs And Strange Lows

Depeche Mode's The Best Of Volume 1 hits the streets this week and like the infamous remix album from a couple of years ago it's available in three versions to keep DM fanatics on a diet of ramen and tap water to support their problem. The most prevalent criticism that the compilation has received is that it is pointless because they released their definitive singles collections two albums ago. It's hard to argue with that but in the band's defense it has been eight years since then and "Martyr" is available to download giving fans interested in the music rather than "collecting" an avenue to avoid shelling out too much money to get a taste of the collection's sole new track. I've given the album a listen and it is more of a success than I expected. Avoiding the chronological approach The Best Of works in the disc's favor avoiding the storyline of changing times and evolving sounds that unconsciously came across in The Singles instead finding common ground across the different eras of the Mode. A recent PopMatters article echoed a sentiment about Depeche having never released a bad album but The Best Of has enough sense to skim the generally dull Ultra and only include the one amazing track from the otherwise completely dreadful Exciter. Do I expect to buy it and own these songs for a second or third time? No. But it’s definitely recommended for casual fans who don’t feel the need to own all the albums. If you fall in that camp it is worth your time.

Perhaps if you read blogs you may have noticed that Depeche Mode won "Best Group" at the MTV Europe Music Awards a couple of weeks ago over competition from The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Eye Peas, Keane and Pussycat Dolls. That inspired an interesting post by at Electronically Yours about the group's low profile in their native country despite their status as Britain’s most successful musical export. It's something to contemplate as you watch Fletch's brief acceptance speech here.

Click on the link to stream Depeche Mode The Best Of

5 comments:

J'ason D'luv said...

Hey DM (oh, how ironic the initials are),

Two things -- you forgot to add the word "won" in the first sentence of your last paragraph -- You may have noticed Depeche Mode WON "Best Group"...

Also, I actually picked up the Best Of at Virgin the other day. I'm such an impulse-buying whore. That said, I do fall into the category of casual listener as of the last decade. I bought Ultra back when it came out, and Exciter, too... but Exciter sucked so bad I traded it in at a used CD store. I haven't listened to the last album, but did download "Precious."

I have to say, though, that "Martyr" is really great, and I'm loving owning the Best Of...

'Twas a time when I owned all their albums, albeit on cassette (I even saw them live on the Violator tour, with Nitzer Ebb), but Songs Of Faith And Devotion was the first of theirs I didn't pick up. That one came out my freshman year of college... though I did buy the single for "I Feel You." I guess I just wasn't feeling Dave Gahan's "L.A." vibe.

I'm curious to watch the bonus 'short film' and videos on the DVD disc included with the new set.

Daft Monk said...

Thanks the proof reading. I fixed it.

I'm with you on "Exciter". I think "Dream On" is an amazing song but Gore admitedly that he only could write for that album when his label sent people over to help with the demos and it showed on the album. Good to hear you like the Best Of.

xolondon said...

Awww, I would have put "Home" on it. Anyway, the best version of "Dream On" (IMO) is the one on the Live in Paris DVD, with the acoustic intro.

J'ason D'luv said...

UPDATE: Good Lord, I'm on such a DM kick just in these past two days! I can't stop playing them.... They're having a public viewing of the Live In Paris show at a small club here in L.A. on Monday that my friend The Duke (who's a major DM fan) and I are going to. He's crazy... he saw them here, then he flew up to see them in San Francisco and then flew to Vegas to see them, too.

Anyway, the Best Of short film, as I suspected, is just an edited compilation of clips from their DVD extras on the re-releases they're doing for the albums. It's cool, though, since not all the albums are out yet, and so it's a bit of an exclusive for right now to have the Best Of, as far as that film goes.

J'ason D'luv said...

And, that should have read Live In Milan, not Paris...