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Music for the Masses

4.5 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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58th Annual GRAMMY Awards
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Nov. 19 1987)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sire-Wbr
  • ASIN: B000002LCI
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #14,362 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Never Let Me Down Again
2. The Things You Said
3. Strangelove
4. Sacred
5. Little 15
6. Behind The Wheel
7. I Want You Now
8. To Have And To Hold
9. Nothing
10. Pimpf
11. Agent Orange
12. Never Let Me Down Again (Aggro Mix)
13. To Have And To Hold (Spanish Taster)
14. Pleasure, Little Treasure

Product Description


This album is a culmination of Depeche Mode's middle-period experimentation. More informed by Goth than techno, it is still anchored by plenty of the larger-than-life-baritone melodrama so distinctive of David Gahan's vocals. The most experimental track is "Pimpf"--a song that heave-hoes along with the synthesized emulation of a Russian men's choir. Although nowhere near fast enough to be danceable, the commanding "Never Let Me Down" ranks as the best single on the track, with the most hummable "Strangelove" coming in at a close second. Each song is a praiseworthy accomplishment, but the singles here set off the experimental tracks, making the album seem thematically schizophrenic. --Beth Bessmer

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I was in my early teens when my home city went crazy about Depeche Mode, and this particular album. However, I was a true metalhead at that time, and anything lighter than Slayer was absolutely out of my sphere of interest. It was much later, through revolutionary "One Second" by Paradise Lost, through Depeche Mode's guitar-driven "Ultra", that I came to appreciate "Music for the Masses" like this album fully deserved.
No matter what some say, to me this is one of those perfect albums in my collection. It's perfect because it doesn't have a single weak track in it. The songwriting is excellent, and every song has its distinctive mood and melody, that will sound in your head for hours. This music is a blend of gothic depressed darkness and melodic accessibility and imaginative rhythming of synth-pop. But it never gets repetitive, because the variety of the songs is so good. From a danceable "Never Let Me Down Again", to grandiose "Sacred", to melodic melancholy of "Little 15", to disturbing instrumental piece "Pimpf", this record has got it all. The band demonstrates imaginative use of synthesizers, and David Gahan's voice strikes with depth and sensuality. This album is not actually dancing music, but rather is intended to be appreciated through thought. Intellectual electronic music, if you wish.
I think that through these years "Music for the Masses" managed to keep its appeal and beauty, and unless you hate this particular genre, you'll like it, just like I did eventually.
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Format: Audio CD
When initially released a couple of decades ago, I found MFTM being a rather bleak album. Even the singles were somewhat low-key arrangements of what I still thought were great tunes. The reason I bought this re-mastered version is that I have been enjoying other re-mastered DM releases and thought that maybe it was worth giving MFTM another try.

Hearing this album again proves that giving it a second chance was well worth my time. The sound of many bands from the 80s has aged poorly; one can often almost pin point which year such and such album was released given the production sound that was currently in vogue. MFTM has, however, a timeless production. This could actually be released today and by tagging another artist name to the music this could most certainly appeal to today's masses. The songs are built upon minimalist sound bites and layered with various sound effects. This may have sounded bleak in the mid 80s but today this sounds remarkably fresh.

Listening to the album in 5.1 surround sound gives even more value to the production. The low-key beats driving the songs flow in a perfect tandem with the instruments flowing all around the listener. Actually, I hardly bother listening to this any other way.

Also included is a very interesting documentary about the making of the album, the making of its cover and the subsequent promotional tour. A highlight is the final concert which certainly put them on the map in the US. One senses how much pride DM still feel of MFTM.

I have one final note. Having bought other DM re-releases from the US, I initially simply forgot that the CD version from the UK is a hybrid SACD. I thus listened first to the dts surround sound the first few times, and was impressed.
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Format: Audio CD
MTV had been already established as mainstream, the BOSS was getting soft in the Tunnel of Love, BON JOVI were more about the hair than ever - and the British invented Alternative music. Two such post-punk groups, THE CURE and DEPECHE MODE, better than most others, were able to grasp the decade's vibrations and broadcast them back as UNBELIEVABLE MUSIC. Whereas the CURE were mostly edges, the DEPECHE MODE were mostly technopoetry.

This was the first album I ever bought as a CD - and I remember bringing it home to my new JVC HiFi, anxious to listen to the "crisp, digital sound" (little did I know that, only some years later, we would come to miss the fullness and richness of the old vinyl records). I was right to be anxious though: this was ONE OF THE GREATEST ALBUMS - EVER!

MUSIC FOR THE MASSES is one of those rare albums that can be listened to from start to finish. No filler material here. The voices are atavisticly haunting; the keys persistently penetrating; and the lyrics stay with you for ever.

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Format: Audio CD
Sandwiched chronologically between the epic gothdom of Black Celebration and the massive popular appeal of Violator, Music For The Masses sometimes gets lost in the shuffle of Depeche Mode albums. It didn't have any major stateside hits, and is not as instantly catchy as some of DM's other work. But it is no less a flawless Depeche Mode album, best appreciated by those who know the band's work intimately.
The experimental sounds DM had been flirting with throughout the eighties all show up in force on Music For The Masses. And as with Some Great Reward and Black Celebration, these songs continue to sound more organic and less like they were pounded out on your mom's Casio keyboard. (One need only compare a song as complex and hypnotizing as "Pimpf" with, for example, the twittering and bleeping "New Life." DM are a totally different band in a short span of years.) Entire songs here are created using samples -- from a choir, a guitar(!), and maybe a spoon against a glass, in addition to a few piano riffs. As with Black Celebration, frequently the songs here meld and morph into each other so that you only know where the tracks separate from one another because the CD player tells you where. The end result is an album that frequently seems more at home in the nineties than in the eighties. Much of this album seems like a predecessor to Enigma's MCMXC a.d. or The Orb's Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld, albums whose composers no doubt would point to DM as inspiration for their work.
What I have grown to like best on M4tM are the songs that actually did not become singles. While "Never Let Me Down Again" soars high and pleases crowds, "Things You Said" quietly sinks into your skin like frostbite with Martin's chilling vocal delivery and the somber meandering of a few icy synth notes.
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