Depeche Mode: 10 Tracks Worth A Revisit

depeche mode

Depeche Mode are survivors. They’ve survived the departure of not one, but two keyboard players, before weathering the death of Andrew Fletcher in 2022. In every iteration, Depeche Mode has shown their commitment to the fans, and those grand hooks and choruses.

Interestingly, they’ve been very British about their predicaments, taking every blow on the chin, regardless of the effects it had on their persons. And in a sense, the band has curated a catalog that’s as expressive, and almost as impressive, as U2’s. March 2023 will exhibit another element of their character, as Memento Mori will demonstrate the band as a duo. Before that comes out, here’s a list of highlights from the act.

“Just Can’t Get Enough”

From the infectious hook to the chord changes that billow across the backdrop like a painter adding pathos and detail to his grand painting, this track grabs the attention with great ease. An indie bar favorite, ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ crosses genres, and remains Vince Clarke’s finest moment with the band. It was a triumphant work, but Clarke felt uncomfortable with the success. “We were really young, and we did quite well very quickly, and it all became too much,” he conceded. “That started happening before that first album even came out—three singles came out before the album. Two of us were actually on the dole [unemployment benefits] when we started—and then we’re suddenly playing shows in Paris.”

“Dreaming of Me”

Before forming Erasure, Vince Clarke served as chief writer for Depeche Mode. His work was more accessible than his bandmates, which might explain why his songs were suffused with melody and atmosphere. Strangely, ‘Dreaming of Me’ could be mistaken as one of the charming compositions Tony Banks wrote for Genesis in the 1980s, and could be mistaken as an outtake from either Abacab or Invisible Touch.

“The Meaning of Love”

Clarke had left the band, leading guitarist Martin Gore to write their sophomore album entirely alone. He hadn’t formed his identity at this time, but there were snippets of greatness, not least on “The Meaning of Love,” perhaps the most sincere song the band had yet penned. The track features a strangely vulnerable vocal from David Gahan, who is still acting as their frontman forty-plus years later.

“Shouldn’t Have Done That”

Gore wrote the band’s second album, so it was only fair that he got to sing one of the tracks himself. His voice has character, although it’s less refined than Gahan’s.

“Shake The Disease”

Considering that the band boasts a sizeable LGBT fanbase, it would be safe to assume that this could be seen as an ode to those dying from HIV and AIDS. As it happens, it’s merely a love story, but what a love story it is, detailing the failings and fears of love. Indeed, it’s a deeply sophisticated affair from the synthpop band and one that hasn’t dated over the years.

“Personal Jesus”

The band is going country on this jaunty little track, although it’s doubtful John Wayne would have enjoyed it. Such is the power of the vocal, it bursts across the stratosphere. Strangely, Johnny Cash elected to cover the track, adding his unvarnished truth onto the pounding, piercing backdrop.

“Enjoy The Silence”

A tasty, no-frills rocker that hints at an interesting duology. The anthem welcomes the sanctity of silence but does it through a dozen deafening hooks. And for all the introspection, the song is strangely anthemic, barrelling along like a hook searching for a guitar to be strummed.


Depeche Mode wasn’t the first band to write about the most infamous of the Disciples – Andrew Lloyd Webber beat them to the punch by two decades – but the band nonetheless shows a man struck by the severity of his cause. It’s the band at its most visceral, capturing a man manacled in the eyes of the Catholic and Protestant churches. The song is fittingly liturgical.

“Secret To The End”

The band was maturing by 2013, and Gahan – no longer a novice – was willing to bring his truths to the forefront. “[Getting cancer] certainly did affect what I wrote,” he admitted. “When that phrase came out, ‘I can feel the presence of God’ [from The Light The Dead See’s “Presence Of God”] I’m thinking, I can’t sing that! And ‘Secret To The End’ for Delta Machine, every verse ending with, ‘Is this the end? Should this be the end?’ It was seeing myself for the first time. Then wondering ‘Why, why, why? What’s it all about?’ I’m going to do something useful with it, try to be the best father and husband I can be… and the best musician. I wrote myself back into life.” Music has long been a therapeutic act for songwriters and musicians alike, and this vocal stands as one of his most strident.

“Where’s The Revolution?”

This is the hardest to objectively review, largely because it’s the most recent single to make the list, and also because it feels like the workings of a different band entirely. It’s less Depeche, more Mode, and this is a fashionable exercise in rock. Written as a form of protest to the Syrian war, the band let havoc commence, curating a fiery track laced from head to toe in anger and acidity.

-Eoghan Lyng

Photo: Dave Gahan (Getty Images)

Other Posts You Might Like

12 comments on “Depeche Mode: 10 Tracks Worth A Revisit

  1. Norman Normous

    I just can’t get enough of this band..

    • I love love them since early 80’s and am so sad they are not coming to Houston this tour.🥲

  2. I once sang Enjoy The Silence at a karaoke bar. To my surprise, everyone leapt up and started dancing. Not very many bands can be both super catchy and deeply reflective.

  3. “Almost as impressive as U2” I would say more impressive and more diverse.

    • Ce groupe est une merveille de la pop rock électronique je pense sincèrement qu’il n’a pas d’égal dans l’histoire musicale et oui pour moi ils ont plus de mérite que U2

    • Dan Reilly

      U2? U2? U2?

  4. Tracey Watson

    What a band one of the best from the 80s without a doubt.Enjoy the silence was a masterpiece I never tire of listening to it.

  5. How dare they compare Depeche Mode to U2 and say nearly as good? Has the journalist got no taste?! Ecen as a proud Irish woman, all I can say is that U2 is a monotonous bunch of rubbish and DM is infinitely better than they will ever be

  6. 2 completly different bands ..Both brilliant .

  7. Why does DM keep getting compared to U2? They’re not even in the same class! (Depeche being WAY superior!) I also think there are songs that deserve a lot more attention than what’s on this list. Martyr, Here Is The House and Clean to name a few!

  8. Valeria Keegan

    Personally, I prefer U2.

  9. Personal Jesus isn’t “country” and Enjoy the Silence isn’t a “rocker”. Bizarre song descriptions

Leave a Reply (and please be kind!)