Thursday, July 23, 2020

"Strangelove" by Depeche Mode

Song#:  3203
Date:  07/25/1987
Debut:  88
Peak:  76
Weeks:  6
Genre:  Synthpop, Alternative Rock

Pop Bits:  The UK band broke through on the US charts with their fourth album Some Great Reward. It would be a gold seller (later going platinum) thanks to the #13 hit "People Are People." Their follow-up studio LP, Black Celebration, was a bit of a setback only reaching #90 with none of its singles making the US Pop chart (it would eventually go gold by the end of the decade). For their next effort, Music for the Masses, the band decided to change producers and work with David Bascombe, who recorded/engineered two major hit albums, Tears for Fears' Songs from the Big Chair and Peter Gabriel's So. The tone of the album remained dark and didn't pander to commercialism despite the jokey title of being accessible to everyone. Despite that, it ended up being the band's biggest success in the US to-date. This first single was pushed out and it became their first to reach #1 on the Dance chart. It was then able to crossover to Pop, but its stay was short-lived. Thanks to the single and a rabid college campus/radio fan base, the LP got to #35 and it would go gold early in '88 and eventually become a platinum seller.

ReduxReview:  While not as hooky as "People Are People," this was still a solid single for the band. Not only does the chorus grab you, but the keyboard line is even catchier. This single version (see below) has its merits and still works well, but I'm a bit partial to the LP version. It sounds meatier to me and the remix gave the song a chance to breathe. The band was inching their way towards a sound that was distinctly theirs while still pulling in some mainstream sensibilities that would help to gain a bigger audience. It would culminate for them with their next LP, 1990's Violator.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  This is a case where the song heard on the single was different from the one heard on the album. When first recorded, the song had an upbeat pop feel, which seemed appropriate for radio. That version was the one released as a single. However, it just didn't fit with the darker tone set by the other tracks recorded for the album. Instead of trying to force it on the record or even leave it off, a slightly slower, more sparse remix of the tune was created in order for it to gel with the balance of the album. These two version were not the end of the road for this song. In '88, a new remix of the track would be created and released as a single. It would end up doing better on the US Pop chart than the original reaching #50.


1 comment:

  1. 9/10 for me, I find it strange that you posted this on Martin Gore's birthday which is today, I actually prefer the 45 version more than the album version because I thought it flowed better, I am glad they were able to enjoy greater success later on in their careers.