Depeche Mode - Music For The Masses (Record Mirror, 1987) |

Depeche Mode Music For The Masses (Record Mirror, 1987)


Well-known member
Music For The Masses
[Record Mirror, 3rd October 1987, Words: Eleanor Levy.]
" t may well be the beginning of the end of the common misconsception that they are a ‘girly synthesiser’ band. "

An exceptionally astute and well-written review of Music For The Masses. The writer manages to stay level-headed in her praise of the album and picks up on Depeche Mode's development; and judging by the chart-savvy comments that open it, she may as well have had a crystal ball in front of her too.
DEPECHE MODE ‘Music For The Masses’ (Mute STUMM 47)

With the relative failure of ‘Never Let Me Down Again’ in the singles chart, some may be ready finally to bury the last nail in the Depeche Mode coffin. Yet common consensus among all, bar the record buying public, would have it that this latest D Mode 45 is perhaps the best thing they have ever done. The fact is that this dark, sensual track is probably far too disturbing for the Rick Astley fans among us and though it points to a more mature Depeche Mode, it may well be the beginning of the end of the common misconsception that they are a ‘girly synthesiser’ band. Features in ‘serious’ music papers may have come and gone, but only stark chart failure will finally secure one of the most consistent bands of the last few years a place in the hall of ‘credible chart’ fame.

‘Music For The Masses’ is, therefore, a contradictory title. It is far from that at this moment in time, for it contains an overall feeling of dissatisfaction, paranoia and vulnerability, far too warm and intelligent for that yardstick of what the masses want (ie: the charts). Instead, you find yourself once more entering into the Martin Gore vulnerability landscape, none more so than in the poignant ‘The Things You Said’ or ‘I Want You Now’ which features a monastic chant over which Gore sings what amounts to a homage to getting your end away. The act of shagging elevated to religious proportions, ending on the most basic of human obsessions, a full coital groan.

Tracks like ‘To Have And To Hold’ may verge on the dirgy, ‘Little 15’ may remind you of a curious Eighties Brechtian drama, but Depeche Mode still manage to make the cold warm and the electronic human.

Martin Gore’s presence seems even more to the fore on this album; his voice becoming richer and more forceful, while Dave Gahan’s vocals descend ever downward and butchward into Iggy Pop territory. One reason why ‘Music For The Masses’ is possibly the most accomplished and sexy Mode album to date. The masses may not be willing, but the flesh is certainly weak… * * * *