on October 1, 2003
To all but their fans (a very large and devout bunch, granted), until this album, many regarded Depeche Mode as a 'one hit wonder' (at least in the US). Sad, but true, most people only remembered the band for their mid 80's hit 'People Are People', which, while a very subversive pop track, was not even the best track off of the stellar "Some Great Reward" album. The doubters and neighsayers must've been truly surprised when this album was released and went on to spawn several hit singles, not the least of which was "Personal Jesus", which holds the record for the best selling CD single of all time.
While certainly not the band's best work, it's hard to fault this album as a pop album. Sure, the band flirted a little bit more with mainstream sensibilities, but never without sounding like themselves, and ultimately, not without losing the dark edge that appealed to so many of their fans. This combination turned out to be a winning one for the band, as it went on to become their best selling album.
If you're a newbie trying to break in to the world of Depeche Mode, this might be a good place to start... but regardless, it is in all ways essential and will not disappoint.
on August 30, 2003
No doubt Depeche Mode's most popular album, this one has got some serious legs and deservedly so. I don't know what you would call Depeche Mode sound. It's kind of a mixture between dance, electronica, and pop. Depeche Mode has their own sound which many assocaitate with an 80's tinge and thus has developed their own unique fan base. This is the album that was able to transcend that fan base and is really a gem as it is still great ten+ years later.
Where to start? Well first the album is short (about 45 minutes) but that works because this kind of music has about a 45 min max for me before I've had enough. Its pretty intense as the theme is the only reason keeping this from being a five star CD in my mind. It is dark and bleak and examines personal demons and feelings of loneliness, despair and neediness. Heavy stuff that is usally only found in the everyday rotation of the clinically insane and depressed unless you are really in the mood. Thankfully the beats and groove trancsend the atmosphere to produce likeable and singable head boppin ditties.
Four of the songs were radio hits (Personal Jesus, Enjoy the Silence, Policy Of Truth, World in My Eyes) and these are the heart and soul of the album. DM really got in a zone with these songs as they all work extremely well at pleasing and never annoying. The rest of the songs are for the most part slower paced and intersect the radio hits well. The Sweetest Perfection and Clean are the best of the rest. The only blemish on the album is Waiting For The Night. This song reminded me a precursor of what was to come on Songs Of Faith And Devotion: i.e. slow, preachy and boring.
Bottom Line: An amazing CD that people who are fans of songs like Strangelove and People are People will probably enjoy. Fans of 80's music will probably enjoy this as well.
on September 3, 2002
The above title doesn't imply that I think Depeche Mode sold out with this album. No doubt, this record deservedly went multiplatinum and evelated them to a household name in British pop. And while it doesn't quite match the heights of landmark albums like "Music for the Masses," "Violator" is one fun ride. The opener, "World in My Eyes," is what we've come to expect from the Mode: hook-heavy yet moody synth pop with a danceable edge. "Personal Jesus" (which, strangely, everybody seems to misintrepret as an inspirational song) makes good use of its guitar twang, while "Enjoy the Silence" (their biggest American hit) has a nice house-y feel. The non-single cut "Sweetest Perfection," is a seductive, slow-moving number that features songwriter Martin Gore taking lead vocals. Producer Flood really takes the group to a new direction on this record, which fails to bore the listener. "Violator" isn't their best record, but it ranks high on my list of favorite albums from the Mode.
on January 16, 2002
Violator is not only Depeche Mode's last 80s album (it was actually released in 1990) but it's also their last GOOD album. Beginning with "Songs Of Faith And Devotion" -when Depeche jettisoned their keyboards in favor of the Alt. Rock scene- D.M. began a creativity decline from which they never recovered. It's too bad that they didn't retire after Violoator, their last good album and maybe their best, also.
Violator follows in the footsteps of the formulaic mid '80s Depeche Mode releases with very dark, gothic lyrics and music and a perfect combination of upbeat, dancy songs and slower ones. Violator is probably, in fact, the darkest, most gothic D.M. album of all. The synthesizer tones are extremely heavy and stark and sometimes eldritch as they mimic human growls and breathing. Although the array of synth tones employed in songs is a little more spartan and minimalistic, the end result is that most the songs are among the best that Depeche Mode has ever developed. Alan Wilder's keyboard arrangements are stellar. My favorite songs are "World In My Eyes," and "Policy Of Truth."
Violator would've been near perfect had it included the B-side: "Happiest Girl," which is one of the darkest and best D.M. songs I've ever heard. As it stands, Violator is probably the second best album after "101." It's too bad that 101 wasn't released directly after Violator was -so that it could have included the best hits from Violator as well as the best of D.M. from '81-'87.
on September 4, 2000
doesn't mean it's any more or less "them" than any others, but looking at the track selection makes it way 2 see why. i would say that 4 the first time in their careers they were able 2 make the drum machines more natural-making things sound more crisp and there4 not so mechanical. the riffs are also funkier, due 2 the influence of r&b,rockabilly, and country that they began listening 2 at this time. all this makes it natural 2 get moving 2 this. lyrically, the best is 'policy of truth': i always thought of this song as political, something that our leaders should think of when promising things ("read my lips-no new taxes") and not delivering. 'waiting 4 the night' is the only non-single i like; it's a very spare, darker-kraftwerk martin gore effort that sounds great in its minimalist ambience. although released at the dawn of manchester rave, the cd sounds fantastic. one more note: somehow it's not as loud, meaning u will have 2 have your stereo volume up 4 it 2 sound good. maybe a better mixing job on future printings is needed.
on January 25, 2004
Dark, atmospheric and insanely melodic? Thats the best way that you can describe Dephece Mode.
"Violater", probably the Mode's most popular record, is an excellent look at the synth pop movement because it hasn't dated at all. Where many bands who played a simiular style sound so very eighties(I'm not critizing, because the eighties were a pretty good decade), Depehce Mode stil sound current. Just listen to the excellent hit single "Personal Jesus". A bluesy guitar riff surrounded by synths and Dave Gahan going full out on the vocals. Or my favorite song on the record, "The Policy of Truth", where three synth parts rival for melody of the year, with Gahan preaching to the converted. What's not to like here?
There are only nine songs here, which is actually a really good thing. Instead of bogging the record down with filler, the Mode put nine excellent songs on here, and you never get bored with it. I severly doubt that you will regret buying "Violater".
on June 3, 2000
The most consistent non-compilation album in Depeche Mode's discography, Violator contains a little bit of everything. There are some perfect synth pop songs ("Enjoy the Silence," "Policy of Truth"), a couple of beautiful and relaxing Gore penned ballads ("Waiting for the Night," "Blue Dress"), and even a bluesy (albeit, with a very simple riff) rock and roll number ("Personal Jesus"). And with its melodic, climactic chorus, "Halo" could easily have been the album's fifth single. There really isn't one worthless song in the bunch, although the hypocritical sounding redemptive message in "Clean" (considering the lyrical content of the cohabitating "World in My Eyes" and "Policy of Truth"), makes it come close.
on February 8, 1999
This is the only Depeche Mode music I have heard. A friend who owns this CD happened to comment that my favourite band, Erasure, reminded her quite a bit of Depeche Mode. I borrowed the CD and on the basis of this comparison, I was a little disappointed at first, but came to enjoy this CD in it's own right. By far, my favourite song is 'Enjoy the Silence', except it should have ended with the fade out before they sing the words "Enjoy the Silence". Of the others, I mostly enjoy 'Personal Jesus' and 'Halo'. I actually dislike the last two songs though. I was interested to find out that Vince Clarke (of Erasure) used to be a part of Depeche Mode in it's earlier days, and have ordered "Catching Up..." which apparantly includes three of his songs.
on March 8, 2004
Their album prior to this may have been called "Music For The Masses", but this is the one that really made them huge. It's easily their most popular, and probably their best. It's a near perfect mix of alt-rock, goth, and electronica. This includes the hits "Personal Jesus", "Policy Of Truth", and the excellent "Enjoy The Silence". But other tracks like "World In My Eyes", "Clean", and "Waiting For The Night" are just as good. They have many other great albums, but none of them are so short on filler. I think the better name for this might have been "Sweetest Perfection". Almost half of these songs are on "The Singles 86-98" as well.
on December 19, 2001
If you own one DM album, it probably should be this. It isn't the best (I'd give that honor to Black Celebration) but 1) It's very close and 2) It's the most accessible. You can easily come from pop, dance, industrial, or rock music and enjoy this album. The songs are deep and thought-provoking without being too dark, while being catchy and memorable without having too much of a sell-out sound. The big singles from this album ("Enjoy the Silence" and "Personal Jesus") are the best songs on the album, but the rest ain't too shabby either.
Like this album? Want to get more? I suggest "Music For the Masses" - not as good but similar in sound.