Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Depeche Mode - Songs of Faith & Devotion - 1993


 We've got a big post today!  I've been working on a compilation of fan mixes this week, and I came across a huge cache of excellent Depeche Mode mixes from mixers I hadn't heard of before.  I was so inspired by DM, I had to up this post by a couple weeks because of it.

DM's follow-up to Violator, I felt this album had been heavily inspired by the increased popularity of Grunge and Industrial bands in the US.  It's really DM's first hard album, a lot harder than any other album they ever released.  Being really into NIN at the time this album came out, I was really taken by it.  Honestly, it is beautifully written, and really captures the essence of what DM was at the time.

Unfortunately, it was Alan Wilder's last album, and on future releases it became readily apparent that he was the master designer behind the art of the other three.  He brought them together to make the work beautiful, and it really shows here.

Best songs on the album would include Walking In My Shoes, Judas, In Your Room, Rush and Higher Love.  They all contained strong intensity in their lyric and performance, work to be admired.

The remixes were, in some cases, better than the album tracks.  William Orbit's mix of WIMS is spectacular, and the Zephyr Mix of In Your Room really leads the pack, blowing the original out of the water.

I never cared for I Feel You.  It's a grinding dirge of sorts.  Really grates on my nerves....

Such a good album produced one of the best tours of the year.  Excellent performances that really show that they aren't just studio artists, they can handle and execute perfection on the stage.  I had gone to the Violator Tour in 1990, but I missed this one.  Really kicking myself on it now, it would've been great.  Many jealous kudos to those who were able to see this one!!!

I played this album and the mixes for years.  Long after others had faded away into the depths of my collection.  Not even Ultra stopped this one.  It's not my favorite DM album, but it was their last great one.  The rest have been marginal at best...





6 comments:

  1. I just wish I could catch them on their new tour. I have seen them three times, once way back their Violator Tour - Brilliant, and then twice during their Universe Tour - as good live as on Disk - if not better - cool post

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  2. I saw them on this tour, and they were absolutely brilliant -- as always. I was lucky enough to get to go to the final show of their Music For the Masses tour at the Rose Bowl, and that is definitely the absolute BEST live show that I've ever been to. Haha, I'm out there in the crowd in the 101 documentary, somewhere!

    I agree with you about the best tracks on this album -- my favorite is "Judas." That's one of my all-time fave Depeche songs -- though it's hard for me to pick just a few, because I love SO MANY of their songs. They've been one of my favorite bands ever since their first album came out when I was in high school, right at the beginning of my senior year. Loved them ever since!

    I have to disagree with you about the newer Depeche albums not being good, though. I'll agree, they don't come together as a cohesive whole as well as some of the older albums, but there are moments of sheer brilliance on them. One notable example being "Sister of Night" from "Ultra" -- I think that holds up as one of the most beautiful songs they've ever done, along with "The Bottom Line." And if the groove of "It's No Good" can't get your booty shaking, then nothing can!

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    1. thank you for this great post, another addition to my mp3 collection. Now I have the DM CD twice: I have it on original CD, and now it's also in my DM mp3 folder entitled "DM Songs Of...1993 plus".
      The original CD has a nice jewel case, the lyric sheet and a see-through tray. A real beauty.
      To me "Songs Of..." is their Achtung Baby, in design and tone, even the photos are from A. Corbijn (U2 photographer also).
      My favorite tracks are "Walking In My Shoes" and "In Your Room". The latter is my standout. Sadly, the single version is much weaker. The other singles were quite radically remixed. I think they should have kept the original versions and edit them instead.

      Nevertheless, your posts are a great for revisiting albums.
      Keep on like this, I like it.

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    2. I'm going to STRONGLY stump for "Playing The Angel".
      Listen, I agree - Wilder was the true backbone of this group, he was the one who slid all the beautiful minor-key notes into the songs that made the butterflies flutter in yer stomach. And once he left, the band was never even CLOSE to the same.
      But having said that, "Playing The Angel" is a really, really damn good album. Give it a couple of plays in a row and I think the hooks will sink-in. I only like a few tracks on "Ultra" (esp. Home, the best non-Wilder single they managed), and the laughably titled "Exciter" has a couple of BEAUTIFUL M.Gore ballads but otherwise.... blah.
      But for some reason, they really managed to claw-back some of their sound with "P.T.Angel". I just adore that album. Wish I had gone to see the tour.
      In fact, after listening to them for over half of my (long!) life, I've only managed to catch them 3 times (Music For the Masses, the Singles tour and one of the Exciter shows). I'll probably make the effort to see them on their upcoming tour, just because it's been too damn long.
      Thanks for these downloads!

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  3. -= Martin L. Gore =-October 24, 2016 at 4:32 PM

    I agree with you about Alan Wilder. Nobody knew that he was the main force behind structuring their awesome and authentic style! I think the song writing is still as good as always but the arrangements (or lack thereof) make the songs fall flat. I wish they would reconcile and bring him back. He hasn't really done anything with Recoil in a while anyways. He said he mainly left DM because he had to do 90% of the work in the studio.

    I saw them on this tour (with Primal Scream opening up for them) and it was quite different from the previous time I saw them (Black Celebration tour with Front 242) because this was the first time they all played real instruments, which turned them into an arena rock band. That may have also inspired them to get away from their original synthpop sound (unfortunately).

    btw, my favorite track on this album is "One Caress" (so profound):

    Oh girl
    Lead me into your darkness
    When this world is trying it's hardest
    To leave me unimpressed
    Just one caress
    From you and I'm blessed

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  4. Digging this today. Thanks for including the Mountain View show.

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