Saturday, December 24, 2005

My Review of Playing the Angel

1 - A Pain That I'm Used To - I hate when Depeche Mode starts their albums with a really grating noise (See "I Feel You" from Songs of Faith and Devotion) because when people want to hear Depeche Mode and I put in a CD and they hear that, they look at me like I'm insane, which I'm clearly not. The beginning of APTIUT sounds like a deranged elephant. This song is far from musical brilliance; the melody is a little formulaic, but it's catchy, and the music between the choruses is gritty and cool. Martin Gore is a freaking lyrical genius and sometimes it feels like he has a direct line into my brain. Need a line for an angst-ridden letter to an ex? Try "I don't see who/I'm trying to be/Instead of me/But the key/Is a question of control."

2 - John the Revelator - This song is ironic. Extremely danceable, yet blasphemous. Yes, it's about that John the Revelator. It's based on this song. There's a reason why DM isn't found in the gospel section. It's pretty much impossible to listen to this song without bobbing up and down in your seat. The beat kicks all kinds of ass, and this song will be in my head for an annoying length of time. I actually like when Depeche Mode tackles religion, which we saw a lot of on Songs of Faith and Devotion. Need to piss off a fundamentalist? "By claiming God/As his holy right/He's stealing a God/From the Israelites/Stealing a God/From the Muslim too."

3 - Suffer Well - Dave Gahan wrote this song. To me it's reminiscent of their early work. Wake me when it's over, Dave; you're no Martin. Want to mend old wounds? "An angel led me when I was blind/I said take me back I've changed my mind/Now I believe."

4 - The Sinner in Me - I love Dave's voice on this song. This song bored me a little too, but the synth was nice. It's very gritty and moody, and you can read the lyrics to the tune of Mercy In You; I don't know if that was intentional or not. Need to make excuses? "I'm still recovering/Still getting over all the suffering/More known for my anger/Than for any other thing."

5 - Precious - This is the first single, and my early favorite. One of the things I adore about DM is the way that Dave Gahan can sing Martin Gore's lyrics like he wrote them himself. In fact, I was disappointed when I first realized that Dave didn't write the songs because his voice is the sex. The music in this song is more imaginative than some of their others, and it broke my heart. Even though this description makes no sense, the music is simple, yet intricate. Need a line to use when it's time for a much-overdue break-up? How about "Things get damaged/Things get broken/I thought we'd manage/But words left unspoken/Left us so brittle/There was so little left to give."

6 - Macro - The boys definitely went back to SOFAD on this one. The beginning of this song reminds me of "In Your Room" from that album. This song is pretty and mellow. It doesn't excite me, but it's not a skipper. Trying a woo a new-ager? "See the microcosm/In macro vision/Our bodies moving/With pure precision/One universal celebration/One evolution/One creation."

7 - I Want it All - Dave wrote this song, and I don't like it. This is the doozy on the album. Need something to say to the significant other who is walking a fine line? "I see a river/It's oceans that I want/You have to give me everything/But everything's not enough."

8 - Nothing's Impossible - This is the 3rd song Dave wrote, and by far the best. He's still not on Martin's level though. This song has a lot of distortion and creepy music. Trying to make amends? "How did we get to be this far apart/I want to be with you have something to share/I want to be here I'm not there."

9 - Introspectre - This is a quick musical interlude. I'm not quite sure what purpose it serves, other than to tie Nothing's Impossible and Damaged People together, but it's nice.

10 - Damaged People - How haunting! This is another one of my favorites. It reminds me of a mix of "Halo" from Violator and the majority of the songs from Some Great Reward. Since many, myself included, consider Violator to be one of the best DM albums, that's a good thing. This is what DM means to me, and I would rate it as one of their best ballads. Madly in love with a brooder? "When I feel the warmth of your very soul/I forget I'm cold/And crying/When your lips touch mine/And I lose control/I forget I'm old/And dying."

11 - Lilian - One reviewer said that he didn't like that all the ballads were at the end of the album, but this is one of the most danceable songs on it. This is a song about heartbreak, pure and simple. An evil bitch who broke your heart. It isn't as good lyrically as some of the others, but the music is reminiscent of 80s New Wave. Want to say something hateful to an ex? "Oh Lilian/Look what's you've done/You've stripped my heart/Ripped it apart/In the name of fun."

12 - The Darkest Star - I don't like this song, but usually DM's slower tempo songs take longer to grow on me. It's almost too slow, if that's possible. Need to provide reassurance? "I don't want you to change anything you do/I don't want you to be someone else for me."

Listen to repeatedly: 1, 2, 5, 10, 11
Skip: 7, 12

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Blogger katiedid said...

Merry Christmas J!

Haven't heard this whole album yet, but the new single hasn't got me real excited. Maybe it'll grow on me.

12/24/2005 3:50 PM  
Blogger Jenny G said...

Merry Christmas! Yeah, I've found that I rarely like one of their songs the first few times I hear it.

12/25/2005 7:43 AM  

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