Here's some advice for you: go and follow Dylan Ettinger on Twitter. Now. Not only because he gives information on his latest releases (which are always interesting, especially if you're into new synthetic music of the lo-fi cosmic/Kraut inclination), but also because the young man from Indiana takes every opportunity he sees to vent his opinion on new music, current affairs and his daily life. And he doesn't sugar-coat his words, either. Thanks to him we know that Cold Cave's new album is crap, that his summer consisted of reading the five volumes of Frank Herbert's “Dune”, that he's a fan of wrestling and the Tour de France and that much of the music he loves is synth-pop made in the eighties. So he must be a big fan of Depeche Mode, we thought. And he is. If you travel to Krakow in October, you'll be able to see him perform at the Unsound festival. And if you don't (your loss), you can at least listen to the greatest hits of DM, whilst reading our man's comments on them (with a bonus final track, dedicated to their worst tracks).
10. “Here Is The House” It was hard for me to pick a favourite track off of “Black Celebration”, because it is such a cohesive album, but this one definitely stands out. The lyrics are everything you want from Depeche Mode: self-obsessed melancholy. Martin and Dave's harmonizing is just awesome. 9. “Master And Servant” Great dance floor track. The panther sound effect they use is classic. The lyrics are blunt almost to the point of absurdity. I sang this at karaoke once and impressed both of the girls that were in attendance. Before you ask, yes, I did sing the panther sound.
8. “Everything Counts” Great use of samples. This is another example of their unique song writing and perfect arrangements. The melodica line near the end is a brilliant touch as well. It may be the first acoustic instrument used in a Depeche Mode song. Bonus points for rhyming “Korea” with “career” in the first verse. 7. “Precious” This song was released in 2005, which is well past the band's prime in my opinion. It is such a nuanced, well written song, I had to include it. These guys may be getting old, but they still have it.
6. “Ice Machine” One of the lesser known songs of the Vince Clarke era. Very analogue and cold, this one has a quality to it like no other Depeche Mode song.
5. “Get The Balance Right” I think this was the first single that Alan Wilder worked on. It shows. This song was leagues ahead of anything on “A Broken Frame”. The video shows the band playing Space Invaders in an arcade, so there's that, too.
4. “New Life” The first song on their first record. There is so much energy and positivity in this one. You can just hear how excited these kids were to go on and change the world. Daniel Miller's ARP 2600 plays a big role on this one, too, great analogue synth sounds.
3. “Enjoy The Silence” An absolute classic. This one was really brought to life by the unsung hero of Depeche Mode, Alan Wilder. I can't say anything about this song that hasn't been said a hundred times before.
2. “Nothing” Dark, catchy, vaguely nihilistic; this track is incredible. I wasn't fully sold on “Music For The Masses” until I heard this one. This is one of those songs that is so good, it makes everything around it sound better. The live version on “101” is also worth checking out.
1. “Shake The Disease” What can I say? This is one of the best pop songs I've ever heard. Brilliant song writing across the board. The FM synth patches sound like nothing else and they interact with each other in this really fascinating way. The chord progression in the chorus really plays with the listeners' expectations, too. Like most great songs through history, the lyrics are probably about heroin abuse. Absolutely perfect.
Worst Depeche Mode Song “Pimpf” This song is terrible. Sounds like a Danny Elfman score to the most insufferable Tim Burton movie ever made. Utter garbage.
Honorable mentions“World In Your Eyes”“Sacred”“Stripped”“The Meaning Of Love”“Halo”“Question Of Time”“Love In Itself”“Black Celebration”“Policy Of Truth”“The Things You Said”
“Just Can't Get Enough” and “Personal Jesus” both suck. Playground is a media partner of Unsound Weird man Dylan Ettinger, maker of turbid synthetic fantasies from his hide-out in the American Mid-West, is an avid fan of electronic pop music. Here he brings you the best and worst songs by Depeche Mode.
Interview: " Eerie, Indiana..."