Rank the Videos: Depeche Mode 1981-1986 Pt. 1

Depeche Mode are one the of the most legendary and important bands of the 80’s. They paved the way for synth and electronic based music and years later they are still going strong releasing great music. Along with the music came memorable and at times odd music videos. These clips range from extremely cheesy to artistic and beautiful. Since they have so many videos this is part one of their clips ranked from best to worst. Stay tuned for rankings of the rest of their videos.

“Stripped”

Some may disagree with me on this seeing as it’s not one of their notable videos. Not much is going on here, but something about the style made me fall in love with the video and the song even more. Fans know that Depeche Mode looks good in leather and that’s pretty much all they’re wearing here. It makes them look sexy and cool. Aside from that, there is extensive use of a projection that shows each band member with different facial expressions, but what makes it stand out is that they are rapidly sped up so they all blend with one another. The part that sticks out most in my mind is when Alan Wilder and Andy Fletcher walk into the middle of a street carrying a screen with Martin Gore’s face on it. The entire video just looks really cool.

“Shake The Disease”

This was released around the time DM decided it was time to get serious about their videos. Before, their videos were the epitome of terrible 80’s clips as you’ll see later in the countdown. While this one pales in comparison to the videos they would release later on, there’s something about this one that’s still entertaining. It’s shot in a cool way, with clips edited to go along to the beat of the song. One thing that boggles my mind is when they appear to be falling while they are standing still. It’s some sort of camera trick that’s been used numerous times since then, but it still looks awesome decades later. This is also where they start developing their own style that mainly features leather and in Martin Gore’s case S&M wear.

“People are People”

Though it’s not their best video, it’s still ambitious and is pretty memorable. It’s mainly the band in what looks like a war ship pressing copies of their single (subtle marketing). Along with Dave Gahan sporting an unsightly mullet, there are black and white clips taken from riots, rallies, and wars throughout history. It fits with the message the band are trying to get across with this song. It also features some video effects that may have been innovative at the time, yet don’t come across as aged now. Again, check out Gore’s outfit here. One his finest kinky outfits.

“Master and Servant”

Though this clip is high on the list, it’s still pretty cheesy, but in the most enjoyable way. First, we have Dave Gahan doing what I think is supposed to be dancing. DM fans know that he likes dance or rather he likes to spin…a lot. I guess he didn’t have his signature move figured out at this point, so he decided to try out some new moves that Elaine Benes must’ve stole from him. Then there’s Martin Gore. This is when he starts experimenting with the BDSM clothing and he looks like he’s late for the Mr. Leather parade. It doesn’t help that for some reason he and Alan Wilder are hanging on to Dave’s legs while he’s trying to walk. Then things get kinky with flashes of whips and chains. I even think that’s Gore who’s twirling on the floor while his hands are wrapped in chains. I always thought the guys were kinky, but this just proves it.

“Everything Counts”

This is another video that’s pretty cheesy without much going on. There are clips of random people walking around while Gahan flails around in the background. There are some shots of the other members playing instruments, but the part that always makes me laugh is when Gore, Fletcher, and Wilder are standing in an awkward line trying to dance while lip synching. What’s even worse is they look so unsure of themselves while doing it. If anything it kind of looks like a commercial advertising why West Berlin of the 80’s was a great time: there are clips of people walking, eating, and even some of the night life. Either way it’s a great song with a mediocre video.

“Just Can’t Get Enough”

Ah, Depeche Mode’s first video. It’s corny as hell, but compared to some of the ones that came afterward it’s a masterpiece. It’s nothing more than a fresh faced band wiggling around keyboards with girls they obviously hired to dance near them to show they’re bulging with sexuality. It’s also the only video featuring founding member Vince Clarke. He would leave the band shortly after the release of their first album. It’s kind of weird and adorable to see how young the guys look here. You wouldn’t think dorky, adorable Gahan we see here would later turn into a somewhat sex symbol who almost died of a heroin overdose in the 90’s. Even though it’s pretty bad, it’s still not their worst and it’s good to watch for a laugh.

“Blasphemous Rumours”

This is the standard live band music video, but thanks to Gahan’s spinning and dramatic moves it still manages to be somewhat entertaining. I guess it’s supposed to give you the Depeche Mode in concert experience, but it doesn’t really work. In order to really get an idea of what the band is like live you’re better off watching 101. But again if you want to see some of Dave’s hot dance moves, including his infamous spin then this is worth seeing at least once. After all, it does have some cool glass shattering effects. Otherwise, nothing spectacular or notable happens here.

“Love in Itself”

This is where they’re videos got a bit more interesting. If anything it’s just weird. For some reason the guys are in a dripping cave playing the song, while Dave is isolated near some puddle singing. Then there are random close ups of Gore playing acoustic guitar. The best part is when everyone holds up long horns and “plays” the riff. They end up looking like those soldiers or angels with horns that you always see around Christmas. This odd sequence is mixed with clips of running trains and a welding factory. Not really sure what they have to do with the video or the song and they just come out of nowhere. But none of that answers the question of what love has to do with chilling out in a cave.

“It’s Called A Heart”

A more appropriate title for this clip is “The Jungle Adventures of Depeche Mode.” For some reason they’re walking around in a field of tall grass and there are tribesmen who may be hunting them. Then while Gahan is walking the other members are holding robots behind him. There are also random TVs placed throughout this jungle. At one point they stand in a field swinging around some rope looking confused as to why they’re even doing it in the first place. This video can’t decide whether it wants to be an Indiana Jones parody, a secret service video, or a performance clip. This is definitely one of their strangest and most confusing videos yet.

“Get the Balance Right”

This is another weird video that has the band as scientists for half of the video and them getting in trouble at an amusement park for the other half. I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with the song. But the best and worst part of the video is when Alan Wilder starts singing. Why would he sing if Dave Gahan is the singer, you ask. Well, apparently everyone knew Dave was the singer expect the director, which is why Wilder pantomimes the entire song. The band were too embarrass to correct the mistake. Needless to say, they never worked with the director again.

“Somebody”

Martin Gore has always been the one girls swoon over. He did have a baby face and a sweet voice after all. This video is made for those Martin lovers because it’s nothing but him standing in a leather shirt looking at the camera with his puppy dog eyes singing. Occasionally, there are shots of the members walking on the beach mixed in with Gore singing. There’s even a confusing and amusing clip of Gahan skipping through the sand. There is also some footage of children playing in a playground for some reason. It’s like they aimed for a sentimental video, but ended up with this instead.

“But Not Tonight”

Since this song was featured on a movie soundtrack, a forgettable one at that, it’s mainly scenes from the movie. There are shots of the band and they look so unhappy. Gahan appears to be bored while he’s singing and there’s this one shot of Wilder that is absolutely hilarious. It’s like he gave up on trying to look focused and instead looks confused and sickly. Actually, that shot is the best part of the video. Gahan does his best to look interested, but you can tell deep down he wishes they never had to do the forgettable song in the first place.

“See You”

It’s weird how Depeche Mode can look about 25 in their first video and suddenly look 12 in their second. It’s clear the director didn’t exactly understand what the band does because he has them hitting keys at cash registers and on calculators in tune to the melody. Also, they’re trying to act and it’s awful. There’s even a shot of Gore dancing, flailing around with no sense of control. Let that sink in for a moment. Yeah, terrible. The video mainly revolves around a photo booth where all the members seem to be in love with the same chick, because they all have their pictures taken with her. To top off the cheesiness Gahan actually ends the clip with buying the actual single for this song. Again, subtle marketing.

“Leave in Silence”

To fully understand the awfulness of this video you have to see it. It’s like The Kardashians: you know they’re awful and you want to look away, but you can’t. For some reason the guys are colored yellow, green, red, and blue. I have no idea why. They toss around balls, break stuff, and do what are supposed to be gestures suggesting anguish and it’s the most painful thing to watch. For some reason they use various kitchen utensils and TVs as music instruments. It’s no surprise that they intentionally left it off their first video collection.

“The Meaning of Love”

Before you watch this you have to forget everything you know about the band. Forget the darkness, the brooding, and Gahan’s fabulous spins. When you watch this video it’s almost like you’re watching the cheesiest new wave band on the planet. Garish set design, some absurd plot line, and horrible dancing from Gahan. It’s like every part of his body is moving to a different beat that he must be hearing in his head. It’s so bad you can’t believe it was actually the same band who released songs like “Personal Jesus” and “Black Celebration.” Luckily, they changed for the better.

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