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