|1. New Life|
|3. Dreaming Of Me|
|4. Boys Say Go!|
|6. What's Your Name?|
|8. Tora! Tora! Tora!|
|9. Big Muff|
|10. Any Second Now (Voices)|
|11. Just Can't Get Enough|
Compared to DM's later efforts, the lyrical content and melodies here are pretty fluffy. But the underlying ideas here are great: Daniel Miller and the band went into the studio with the idea of creating an electronic pop album with a highly minimal Kraftwerkian aesthetic, but also with a poppy sweetness which had never been married to this style of music before. Today the album sounds equally dated and relevant; in other words, great art that not only evokes the time in which it was made but also occupies its own irreplacable spot in this history of this band and perhaps in that of music as a whole.
Some may call me crazy, but I love this album for its classic electronic minimalism a la Kraftwerk, its almost total lack of pretense, and also just for the fact that its a blast to listen to. But I would not recommend this as an introduction to the band for a first time listener as it, while certainly being very good, is neither their best nor a broad overview of Depeche Mode; instead purchase "The Singles 81-85" (which has the three singles released concurrently with "Speak & Spell"), become further acquainted with the band and only then get this album and see it in the context of their later work (and that of other innovative electronic acts of the time like Kraftwerk).
"Any Second Now(Voices)" sounds a bit like Kraftwerk and it represents Vince's sensitive side, letting Martin Gore take vocals and using the Warm Pad Synth in the (instrumental) chorus.
"I Sometimes Wish I Was Dead" (which appears on this album version) might confuse the listener a bit, as the song is not at all as gloomy as the title would suggest. But nevertheless it's great, due to the simplistic cadences (G-D-C), this leading synth melody that reappaers constantly and the march feeling produced by the moog bass synth line and the militant rythm.
Also the b-sides featured on this album version are great. Take "Icemachine". It's not that happy-go-lucky like its A-Side "Dreaming of Me", but, written in minor key, darker and also rhythmically very interesting, using clapping percussion and puff sounds which make it seem quite rebellious.
And then "Shout" is quite dark for Vince's work and not at all naive and happy. It sounds a little bit exotic according to the heavy rythm devices, and this 'evil' bass synths (modified with phaser effect) that dominates this track makes it quite dark so that the atmosphere of this song stands in contrast to its lyrics.
It's sparks art. How can you deny this listeners?