Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sounds Of The Universe - The New Album

Depeche Mode's latest album was finally released on the 20th of April. 'Sounds Of The Universe', which entered the UK charts at No. 2 and went straight to No.1 in Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Mexico, Sweden, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland with more charts yet to come. I'll have to be honest here, I'm not impressed. The first single ,'Wrong' rubbed me the 'wrong' way when it was released as a prelude to the album. But after a few hearings, I'm beginning to accept it a little more. Then when I received my copy of the album, my heart sank once again. The band seems to have lost its bearings somewhat. Some of the tracks start very promising, but just after the first couple of bars, the character of the song is revealed. And it's downhill from there. Take 'Hole to Feed' for instance, the percussion like intro sounds like the beginning of one of their older haunting sounds. It all crashes down the moment David Gahan starts with the ridiculous 'We are Here, We can Love, We share something. I'm sure that You Mean the World to Me.' Then there's 'In Chains'. That sounds more like something from Erasure. The melody is so babyish! So is 'Peace'. Is Vince Clark back in the band? In a way, those among us who have been with the band since the very beginning expected this to happen eventually. Since 1995, when Alan Wilder left the band, it was inevitable. He was the workhorse of the band. He inspired and introduced powerful sampling formats to the band. Something that was clearly heard throughout their earlier albums (after Vince left). Think Blasphemous Rumours and People are People. Or how about Personal Jesus and I Feel You. Once his departure, you could clearly hear the void left by his absence. In June 1995, Alan Wilder announced that he was leaving Depeche Mode, explaining, "Since joining in 1982, I have continually striven to give total energy, enthusiasm and commitment to the furthering of the group's success and in spite of a consistent imbalance in the distribution of the workload, willingly offered this. Unfortunately, within the group, this level of input never received the respect and acknowledgement that it warrants." Well, that pretty much sums it up. Depeche Mode did OK with Barrel of a Gun and It's No Good from the next album 'Ultra', but that was about it. Hell, don't get me 'Wrong', to me their songs are still way better then most of the crap that's on the radio (that's why I never listen to ANY of the radio stations. Lousy local DJs with that fake accent ). And to me they are still the best band compared to anything else out there. So as long as they keep playing, I'd keep listening. Because I know, somewhere along the way another haunting, dark, deep track with those unbelievably beautiful lyrics will come along and all the DM fans will crawl out of their lairs in the dark of the night to once again create the freakiest storm this world has ever seen.

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