Violator- Depeche Mode

Release Year: 1990

Rating: 10/10

This album has been named one of the 500 greatest albums by Rolling Stone and is often considered the best by the band and it’s really hard to argue it’s not. Violator is definitely one of the band’s best efforts yet. They’ve had other awesome albums like Music for the Masses, but something about this one is just perfect. This is one album I can leave on repeat for days and never get tired of it. It has some of their best known songs, along with other tracks that show you how great this band is.

Depeche Mode albums are usually dark and haunting and this one isn’t any different. But what makes it more complex is there are a lot of other feelings, such as guilt and pleasure involved. There are even some songs that sound pretty positive, but seem to have some darkness hidden beneath. This tone is found most on the closing track “Clean.” It’s a dark, creepy sounding song that begins with haunting chanting before Gahan sings about how clean he is. The way he sings “Now that I’m clean/you know what I mean” makes me think the song is about getting off of drugs, but it could be about getting off of anything that gives you that high feeling. The song sounds positive enough, but when he booms “Sometimes” it makes it seem like there’s something he’s hiding, like he’s not really clean or he doesn’t actually enjoy it.

Another haunting song is “Personal Jesus.” It has this awesome Bluesy guitar riff that plays throughout. It also has this great echo effect on the vocals that adds to the creepy atmosphere. Another thing that adds to this tone is the cryptic line “Reach out and touch faith.” It’s like he’s daring you to do it because he knows you can’t. It’s an awesome song that has gone on to have some great covers (the best being Marilyn Manson’s). The prettiest song on the record has to be “Waiting for the Night.” It has this soft, dreamy, twinkling music. It’s the type of music that you can close your eyes to and let it take you away. It’s a song that’s perfect for driving on an isolated with nothing but the stars to guide you. It seems to be about wanting to escape the troubles of reality through darkness. Though it sounds pretty, it’s haunting at the same time.

“Enjoy the Silence” is still the song that Depeche Mode is known for; it’s a classic. This is another track that has creepy chanting when it starts before the distinctive guitar riff takes over. It also has a great beat that makes the song uptempo. The lyrics themselves are pretty dark,with how they talk about words harming others or making promises that are inevitably going to be broken. By the end, the music fades out and is quiet before Gahan comes back and sings “Enjoy the Silence.” The musical interlude after the track is pretty cool and standard for the band, but the distorted voice that says “Crucified” is really creepy. Nevertheless, it’s one of Depeche Mode’s best tracks by far.

But not all is dark and dreary on the album. The opening track “World in My Eyes” deals with love, sex, and pleasure in a positive manner. To complete the sexy mood, Gahan sounds very sensual as he sings “Let me show you the world in my eyes.” And the higher backing vocals by Gore is very pleasing to the ear. Everything about this song is great from the synth riff to the vocals. While all the songs on the album are fantastic, this is definitely one of the standout ones. Another song that isn’t necessarily dark is “Blue Dress.” It begins with high pitched warped music that sounds like spirits screaming. It’s pretty eerie, but sounds cool at the same time. It’s a sweet sounding song, even though Gore has called it “pervy” because it’s about watching a girl dressing, but with the soft vocals and the pretty piano playing in the background this feeling is easy to miss.

Overall, the album gets 10/10. It’s one of the best albums ever that has stood the test time. It’s sounds great today and is something you want to listen to over and over again. This album has some of the band’s most successful songs and the other songs are some great you won’t need to hit the next button. This is Depeche Mode at their best and while they do have other groundbreaking albums, it’s this one that they will be remembered for.

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