Tuesday, January 11, 2011

342 Violator. The third best version of Personal Jesus I've ever heard.

Album: Violator
Artist: Depeche Mode
Year: 1990
Genre: Electronic Dance


  1. World in My Eyes
  2. Sweetest Perfection
  3. Personal Jesus
  4. Halo
  5. Waiting for the Night
  6. Enjoy the Silence
  7. Policy of Truth
  8. Blue Dress
  9. Clean

Depeche mode are an electronic dance band that rely on synthesizers and processed drum beats to make their music. Any regular readers care to guess where this review is going? That's correct. I find this sort of stuff annoying. I just don't like electro and I never have. If I'm going to enjoy music I have to think it's reasonably hard to to. If I go and see an orchestra perform I'm looking at an entire room full of people doing stuff I can't come close to doing. Even the percussionist at the back who just hits things a few times during the course of a symphony looks good in a tuxedo so he's pulling off a trick I can't. But I think I could reasonably program a machine to make blooping noises. If I want to listen to someone doing something I can do myself I might as well put on a recording of someone being cynical about music. Normally when I take these views I assume I'm on my own. I hated Bat out of Hell but Millions of people disagreed with me enough to buy the album. However I have a suspicion that when I talk about this album I'm not entirely alone because the only track on the album that most people like is the most Un-Depeche Mode-ish.

Violator is predominantly an album of electronic dance music that leaves no impact on me at all. It just falls into the background like a wallpaper pattern which is annoying when you focus on it. There is one exception to this and many of you probably know what I'm talking about. The song is called Personal Jesus and it's a bit of a winner. "Reach out and touch faith! Your own. Personal. Jesus. Someone to hear your prayers, someone to care." It's a brilliant song and anyone talking about this album will always mention it first. It's everyone's pic as the album's highlight and the best thing the band have ever done. And here's the thing- it relies heavily on a guitar riff and a genuine drum beat. There may be few electronic noises over the top but what drives the track are actual musicians (well an actual musician and a drummer). It's a real guitar and a real drum and they combine to lift the song above the rest of the album. Sadly it gets a bit repetitive and falls apart at the end but that opening "Reach out and Touch Faith" line is a great moment in Rock and Roll. Marilyn Manson realised how good it was when he decided to do a cover version for his greatest hits album. It's not often I'll say this about MM but he's done quite a good job and takes everything that was good about the original version and removes all the bad. But he's eclipsed by Johnny Cash whose acoustic guitar rendition is great in every possible way. It takes something that's already good and adds a sheen of pure awesome that only the Man in Black can provide.

Violator is a bit of a tedious plod through some sound effects and uninspired tunes until suddenly Personal Jesus arrives like a musical messiah to save proceedings briefly. Sadly the album doesn't have a John the Baptist track to proceed it or a St Paul to follow.

Influenced by: The need to boogie to computer games
Influenced: Johnny Two-Hats

Highlight: Personal Jesus
Lowlight: Clean

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "This cd takes alot of artistic background in music to really understand the bands innermost thoughts. Obviously the band members are not christians but they are spiratual. When I listen to the songs I like to get candles or incence and be "spiritual" with their music"

-Candles, incense and Depeche Mode- that's a truly original, never-tried-before, idea.

-So do you like any other tracks or is it just Personal Jesus for you as well? Let me know below.

1 comment:

  1. I would like to put my hands up for percussionists everywhere and say that even in jeans and a t-shirt, those musicians at the back of the orchestra playing xylophones and hitting timpani deserve more credit.