Saturday, March 25, 2017
Depeche Mode Spirit Review
As an overall, Spirit is an excellent album, both melodically and lyrically.
When you listen the entire album from track 1 to 12, you keep the idea that it's a really powerful album, but you can't choose the best songs, or the best singles (except from Where's The Revolution). So, basically, Spirit really works as an album, it doesn't work so good as separate songs, however, I think the most important thing is right that, the sequence of the songs, of the lyrics is very tied up, very natural, you imagine it as a testimonial, not as a mix of songs.
Instrumentally, the sound is very particular to Depeche Mode, the alternative electronic rock music. At their age, and at their position in life, I think the band can't reinvent themselves anymore (like they did with Songs of Faith And Devotion) and that's good for us. The sound is again, very personal, there aren't so many bands doing anything like that around. In my view, the band, since Playing The Angel, found their musically place, and there's no need to get too much away from that. The sounds is still fresh and different from anyone else. Of course each album has it own way of flowing and Spirit is a more aggressive one, more dirty, less danceable, more desperate, which reflects perfect with the lyric content.
Now, talking about the lyrical part of the album, there a huge and different improvement. As Dave Gahan once said, Depeche Mode's songs are all about pain, suffering and death, well, not anymore. A big part of the album (specially Martin Gore's songs) are about the political state in the world. Brexit, Trump, refugees, racism, they are all there. The band,actually felt really affected by the last people's choices all over the world and were shocked by it. That's where songs like Going Backwars, Where's The Revolution or Fail came.
The production, was on the duty of James Ford, world-famous for his work with Arctic Monkeys' AM album. Well, Depeche Mode is such a studio machine that his influence is kinda difficult to see. The electronic sound is in the same line as the last album but, as I said, it's much more aggressive. The songs where you can a bigger influence from Ford would be The Worst Crime and No More (This Is The last Time).
Also, I need to have a special work for Gahan's songs on this album. I am a huge fan of Martin Gore, for me, he will be forever, the soul and main part of Depeche Mode. However, Dave's songs are excellent, Poison Heart and No More are among the best moments of the entire album. Actually, as separated songs, I think Gahan's songs call more your attention than Martin's ones. However the climax of the album is, without a doubt, the first single Where's The Revolution,
Going Backwards is a great starting, Martin's backing voices are great, and talks about how mankind has shown less solidarity with each other. Where's the Revolution is the key track of the album. The Worst Crime and Cover Me are great ballads, with amazing guitars on it. Poison Heart is the typical painfully Depeche Mode song, So Much Love looks too much like Soft Touch / Raw Nerve from Delta Machine. You Move is the seducing song of the album (first album track by Gore and Gahan). Scum is not easy to listen at first but then appears as a powerful, very aggressive song, the keyboards lines from the chorus turns the song fabulous. Poorman is Martin under influence of blues and No More (This Is The Last Song) is a really easy-going song, really relaxing.
Martin sings Eternal, probably, the best and most beautiful song sung by him since Home. Just has a huge problem: it's too short. His vocals on this one are perfect, really shows the best side of the artist.
The album ends with Fail. It's not one of my favourites, I think almost all of their previous albums finish in a better way, however, what really matters on Fail are the lyrics. The song works as a break down, as that the resume of the album is that mankind failed and that we're fucked. It's like a message to everyone, saying that we reached the lowest level of humanity. Instrumentally is not a outstanding song, but lyrically is very strong. Also, it's the fist time that a song sung by Martin closes the album.
The album is amazing, and Depeche Mode can't make bad music. Lyrically, there's an improvement comparing to their catalogue, and melodically is more aggressive, the message that the world is fucked, is passed very well to the songs.
Hoping that it reaches the top albums and gets a worldwide recognition, the band really deserve it.