Classic Albums: Depeche Mode – Violator

In the summer of 1990 I bought Violator from DEPECHE MODE on cassette. And man, am I glad I did. This is the album I purchased  before getting my driver’s license, and it’s the album I had a lot of fun with courtesy of my girlfriend Holly and her hot friends. The songs really leapt off the page and made 17-year old me super-happy. This was a big step forward for DM as far as I was concerned. The songs were darker in tone, yet retained the catchiness of tracks past. David Gahan and Martin Gore gave us vocals like their contract depended on it. I’m sure it didn’t, but still, both guys delivered beautifully. Did I mention my hot girlfriend and her hot friends who were around all the time? Oh yeah, welcome to another episode of Classic Albums, pal.

“World In My Eyes” was/is a perfect way to start this record. The music freely flows like wine, and Gahan’s vocals are as smooth as cream. “Sweetest Perfection” showcases Gore at his finest, and is another arrow in his quiver of fantastic songs, amiright? And then we come to megahit single “Personal Jesus,” not only one of the best songs on this album, but easily a Top Five track from this band, period. I remember being in Mom’s ‘87 LeBaron and playing this song again and again while she drove here and there. I gotta say, Mom was a good sport, because she endured so many of my albums and mixes while we went to and fro. I know she had to hate a lot of it, but she soldiered on. Man, I truly miss her.

“Halo” comes in at just the right time on the record. It’s got a smooth groove, and the hook is rock solid. Gahan shows us once again how flawless his delivery can be with “Waiting For the Night.” I can still remember listening to this one in my Walkman at night while sleep eluded me. Obviously “Enjoy the Silence” comes next, which is still a classic just like “Personal Jesus.” How great is this song, huh? If it comes on the radio I still crank that dial up! I can remember making out with my girl Holly back then with this one playing in the background in either her bedroom or mine, and loving every second of it. Damn, to be young and in love…remember that?

“Policy of Truth” has lyrics that probably stung some people back then, and rightfully so. It is pretty powerful. And then we come to “Blue Dress”, Martin Gore’s masterwork on this record. “Something so simple, something so trivial…” Jeezus, he fucking owns this song. I was blown away and I feel the same way now 30 years later. “Clean” closes the record, and lemme tell you, this is one of my all-time favorite DEPECHE MODE songs. Every note, every nuance makes me feel like I can take on the world, and I have to resist the urge to right hook people who get in my way when I hear it.

Fuck, the summer of 1990 was pretty hot. Not just temperature-wise, but because some of us were young, virile, and ready to go. I am so happy I got to enjoy this record with my girlfriend and her hot friends back then. We made a lot of memories with this album as the soundtrack, especially when Mom went away to Ireland late that summer and left me home for two weeks. What was she thinking? Some of the things that happened aren’t for public consumption, but I will treasure those memories forever. And that is why Violator from DEPECHE MODE will forever be a Classic Album.   ~dc

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