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4.4 out of 5 stars 108 customer reviews

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58th Annual GRAMMY Awards
Discover this year's nominees on CD and Vinyl, including Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, Best New Artist of the Year, and more. Learn more

Frequently Bought Together

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Total price: CDN$ 47.94
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 15 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Reprise
  • ASIN: B000000WZ4
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 108 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #37,353 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Barrel Of A Gun
2. The Love Thieves
3. Home
4. It's No Good
5. Uselink
6. Useless
7. Sister Of Night
8. Jazz Thieves
9. Freestate
10. The Bottom Line
11. Insight
12. Untitled

Product Description

In the bestselling DM canon, this is one of their very best--mature, Euro-elegant, smartly contemporary (thanks to producer Tim "Bomb the Bass" Simenon), honest ("Insight"), edgy ("Barrel of a Gun"), and armed with at least one killer single in "It's No Good." --Jeff Bateman

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Ultra is the album that made me revisit Depeche Mode after a hiatus of more than 10 years not listening to their music AT ALL. I used to be a HUGE fan back in the 80s and own every record they released from 1981 to 1990. But after Violator I lost touch with the band; I wasn't too thrilled with Songs of Faith and Devotion back in 1993, and I began listening to other stuff instead... Until I somehow came across Ultra. Am I glad that I did!
In Ultra I find again all the elements that made me a Depeche Mode fan back in the 80s: their ability to touch me with the lyrics and the atmospheres created throughout the album, Dave's fantastic voice and interpretation, the beautiful melodies that stick to your head and don't let you go, the musical style so unique to Depeche Mode... There is nothing quite like these guys out there (there never was) and in Ultra they manage to be themselves, but to reinvent themselves so as to not sound the same.
I was not aware of all the problems the band went through during the 90s, but knowing now, I am truly amazed that they could pick themselves up and create this beautiful piece of music. As a reviewer said before me, there's not one song that I don't like in this record. And that is something that had never been the case before: even in masterpieces like Black Celebration or Violator there were tracks that didn't do it for me (although that didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the records). This doesn't happen in Ultra.
It can be argued endlessly about this album not being Violator or Black Celebration. Why expect a Violator clone from a band that has always succeeded in sounding different with each album?
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Format: Audio CD
After four years of patient waiting and two of patient making, this is another controversial album, although as critics liked to point out: a miracle it ever saw the light. You see, this is the period when Dave became a drug addict, and as has often been hinted, the other members had a few problems themselves. Stability wasn't the thing that came out from the Songs Of Faith And Devotion album and tour. Nowadays they even remember those two years as the worst in their lives.
Anyway, they made it. And it is true that it is almost enough. Ultra is much, much better than the band splitting. But as the all-new album after four years of silence, it could have been better.
I think, and this fans could argue for hours, that it doesn't reach the previous album's height. But it still offers some really good songs. Let's see.
Barrel Of A Gun, the first single (released a few months before the album) is a great forerunner. The conflict, the emptiness, a sense of obscurity taking over, and finally, not redemption (as in Songs...) but resignation. Dave's rough vocals and the heaviest guitar sounds they have ever recorded find their way over some synthesiser layers, and programmed drums that sound like what The Cure is up to these days (they even recorded a cover of World In My Eyes for the tribute album Various Artists For The Masses). On a side note, the song's video, directed by Anton Corbijn as usual, is a true masterpiece.
Home, the third single is another Martin Gore vocals great standard. A critic once labelled it the best DM single of all time. I don't think that is necessarily true, but we are still left with a beautiful song.
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Format: Audio CD
Quite simply, this is one of the best albums ever made. You'd have to be crazy to love Depeche Mode and not think this album is one of the pinnacles of their career. This album is as good in every way as Violator - if not better. There isn't one bad track. As with all their albums, there is such a plethora of moods and sounds throughout, yet it all contains a subtle dark quality that no one pulls off quite like DM. This has remained one of my favorite all-time CDs since its release. Three of the absolute best songs ever made appear here: "Home," "Useless," and the much underrated "Freestate." "Home" is one of the most beautiful songs ever written, giving me tingles still today with its breathtaking chorus, and is Martin's best vocal performance to date. "Useless" is just brilliant, with trippy synths, great guitar work, and great lyrics. "Freestate" is one of the most unique DM songs ever, using slide guitar, a sweeping intro that induces images of a lonely desert highway, a kickin' electronic beat, and some of the best lyrics to ever grace a song (I could almost swear it was written just for me). If you can't get past the lack of Alan Wilder or the goth look Dave was sporting during this album, then you truly are missing out on a true masterpiece. This album has helped me convert many many friends into DM fans. I couldn't live without it.
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Format: Audio CD
'ULTRA' is, like all of Depeche Mode albums, very diverse in its sound - one reason for this diversity is linked to the various session musicians used throughout. In my mind, the album came very close to topping 'Violator,' maybe the only reason it didn't is the lack of an outstanding song/single...
...though this should not be taken in the wrong way - every song IS unique and meaningful, especially 'Home' and 'Useless' (the album's third [double a-side] single) which are possibly the best examples of the album's diversity.
'Useless' is, in my mind, one of DM's most hard-edged themes - even more so than most of the songs of 'Songs Of Faith And Devotion.' It comes about from the song's indescribable honesty and inspiration. As a result, it's one of my favorite songs from 'ULTRA'. 'Barrel Of A Gun' is also a classic song of the same vein.
'Home' is a slower-paced affair that is just as, if not more, inspiring partly due to Martin Gore's unforgettable riff at the climax of the song. 'Freestate' is just as emotionally uplifting.
As I said before, every song (including the two b-side instrumental tracks) are fantastic. I'll forgo commenting on the actual sound of the album (as I typically do) and refer the reader to the title of the review.
Some have criticized this album on several grounds: the main criticism concerning the quality of the album. I think it's extremely unfortunate that most do not realize ALL of the troubles of the band over the last 7 or 8 years (circa 1992 and onward). The fact that core of the group managed to stay together and produce an album of such an outstanding quality as 'ULTRA' is an inspiration in itself.
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