Thursday, September 07, 2017

Song of the Day: 'See You' by Depeche Mode

As I mentioned yesterday, we got tickets to see Depeche Mode this coming Monday at Madison Square Garden. Although my fandom dates back to their humble beginnings, this is my first time seeing the synthpop legends in concert. (Damian saw them once on the "Exciter" tour, an album he calls a "dud.") Longtime readers will recall that I felt the band's music has been all downhill since Vince Clarke left. While I mostly still feel this way, I realized while cramming for the concert that I'd stayed a deeply loyal fan for quite some time after Clarke left to start Yazoo. In fact, when my brother Bill brought the 12-inch single of "See You" home from college, I thought it was as good or better than anything on "Speak & Spell" -- which is saying a lot. (And b-side "Now, This Is Fun" was great in an entirely different way.) From there, though, it seemed each album got progressively less good. "A Broken Frame" was great but incredibly understated. 

The stopgap single "Get the Balance Right" seemed to do just that. But then "Construction Time Again" -- albeit with some wonderful songs like "Two Minute Warning" -- got colder and more industrial, with "Everything Counts" being the album's warmest and most compelling track. Bill, my friend Greg and I then were lukewarm on the 12-inch import of "People Are People" -- which stunned us when it later became a big U.S. hit -- and were completely turned off by "Master and Servant." And while the finished album ("Some Great Reward') included "Somebody" and "Blasphemous Rumours," it mainly took the cold, industrial feeling of its predecessor to another level ("Something to Do"!), at which point groups like Everything but the Girl, Prefab Sprout, Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, Aztec Camera, the Bangles, the Style Council, 'Til Tuesday and so on began to appeal to me more. "Black Celebration" came along next, and it just seemed to be on the same cold track -- and I haven't bought one of their albums since. Of course, Depeche Mode wound up becoming a stadium-filling juggernaut shortly after I stopped paying attention. And while the hits that continued in the late '80s and throughout the 1990s were inescapable, it's been fun catching up with Depeche Mode in earnest this past week -- all 10 albums I've mi$$ed!

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