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Playing the Angel

4.0 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

Price: CDN$ 11.99
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Oct. 18 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Bros
  • ASIN: B000B2YQX4
  • In-Print Editions: Audio CD  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #45,042 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. A Pain That I'm Used To (Album Version)
2. John The Revelator (Album Version)
3. Suffer Well (Album Version)
4. The Sinner In Me (Album Version)
5. Precious (Album Version)
6. Macro (Album Version)
7. I Want It All (Album Version)
8. Nothing's Impossible (Album Version)
9. Introspectre (Album Version)
10. Damaged People (Album Version)
11. Lilian (Album Version)
12. The Darkest Star (Album Version)

Product Description

Product Description

The first new album from Depeche Mode in four years, its first since 2001's gold and Top 10 Exciter, Playing the Angel is quintessential Depeche Mode-hi-tech electronic pop with enormous hooks-and yet faster paced, more urgent than recent albums. The band has sold upward of 50 million records worldwide during its 25 years, but Playing the Angel sounds as fresh and exciting as any in Depeche Mode's glorious history. Warner. 2005.

The blasphemous opinions surrounding Depeche Mode's 2001 release Exciter were well warranted. Exciter didn't supply Depeche Mode diehards much in the way of dance tunes, and the experimental sounds drummed up by Bjork producer Mark Bell strayed from the industrial standard in an overly delicate, less than welcoming way. True fans, luckily, forgive and forget and as well they should, given Playing the Angel's return to dark, brooding greatness. The first single "Precious" is an emotionally loaded, characteristically long faced, distortion-pocked masterwork - a "Personal Jesus" level accomplishment. Also on that order are "Suffer Well;" the droning, lovely and altogether danceable "Lillian"; "I Want it All," whose muffled beats and blasts of suck-you-in static recall the industrial glory days; and the simple, synthy exercise in hyper-intelligent pop that is "John the Revelator." Those songs make it easy to salute the band for parting the sea of imitators and returning to its roots, but an obvious stain prevents Playing the Angel from being a perfect album. Two tracks are the problem: Martin Gore may be a brilliant lyricist, he wrote every song on Playing the Angel, but pull David Gahan away from the mike and pretentiousness prevails. Some will find "Macrovision" lovely, but it's arguable that there's no room for trilling on a Depeche Mode disc. The same goes for "Damaged People," a dangerous, show-tune-ish flirtation. A couple of clunkers don't spoil the lot, though, and this return to form will alienate few. All hail the 80s. --Tammy La Gorce

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I have to admit, I was getting worried after Exciter was released. The album was a major disappointment and I'm sure the band was disappointed themselves.
Last week I picked up PTA and I haven't stopped listening to it since. PTA has the darkness that old DM fans have always loved as well as the "pop" infectious sound of Violator. What makes this album truly remarkable is the off-tune sounds that seemingly work well. Also...after listening to all of the tracks you notice the sounds from many of their previous better albums, as well as some new ones. My personal favourites in order are:
1. I Want It All - This is a slower balad but it gives you shivers when you listen to the chorus, perfect use of echo effect.
2. Darkest Star - This song is darker, sounds like a track that could fit on the Black Celebration album. The sampling and guitar brings it forward though....nice job!
3. Suffer Well - This is really upbeat, sounds very Violator. Dave sounds incredible in the chorus with Martins backup and the keyboards.
4. Sinner in Me - Hello Songs of Faith and Devotion!
5. John the Revelator - A powerful song with great lyrics, this will be song by the fans at the concert.
I wasn't big on Martin's songs, they were to far away from the rest of the tracks. Lilian and is great too.
The other songs that didn't do it for me:
1. A Pain That I'm Used To - The melody is just not catchy, it's doesn't move enough.
2. Nothing's Impossible - Older Depeche Mode fans may like this, but it's very flat.
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Format: Audio CD
I was a huge fan of DM ten years ago. I had all their albums, from "Speak and Spell" to "Songs of Faith and Devotion". I was really disappointed with "Ultra" and "Exciter". But David (Gahan) has had the time since then to rethink his life and clear his head (get 'clean'); PTA seemed quite promising.

The latest effort from DM offers us some awesome songs... and some that are unfortunately less than ordinary. Great songs include the opening piece "A Pain That I'm Used To", "Suffer Well" (both future singles", the already well-known "Precious", "Sinner in Me" (a personnal favorite; strikes a chord) and the last track, the gloomy "Darkest Star". "Lilian" is groovy enough, would fit well on the album "Catching Up With DM". Other tracks are so-so, from the cringing voice of Martin Gore on "Macro" (what the???) to the useless fill-in "Introspectre".

Finally, there is a shameful lyrical/historical/theological blunder on the angry "John the Revelator" : 'By claiming God As his only right He's stealing a god From the Israelites Stealing a god From a Muslim, too There is only one god through and through'. That's just stupid writing, Martin. John the Revelator (one of the Apostles btw) didn't steal a god from the Isralelite : he was one!... and he didn't steal from the Muslim... they weren't around until the 7th century... As for one God through and through, the Revelator did say it loud and clear.
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Format: Audio CD
Album is good, solid and a job is very well done. But not as good as if Alan Wilder would be in charge of sound again! We all PRAY for Mr. Wilder to get back to the DM! Alan! DM needs You, They are full of energy, They are clean and sober, They got TONS of a good songs. What they need is just to be re-emerged by You. Very dissapointed with M.L.Gore songs plus the lust one! Boring as hell with all of funny noises at the beginning. Expected a lot more from M.L.Gore classic ballads. Very surprised with Gahan songs! All of them Kiks ASS!!! First half of album is brilliant until we hit "Micro". In future I'll just skip it to the next 2 amazing Dave songs. "Nothing Impossible" is just a classic DMode! Good job Dave Good Really Good JOB! Thank You Mr. Gahan! "Damaged People" ... ah I dunno nothing really special. "Lillian" is good too... No need to explain "Precious", and first 4 songs - a very good opening! So I wouldn't say it is another Violator or SOFAD, but yes, it is NOT another Exciter or Ultra (but they are still decent too). Thnank You DM! But hey! Talk to Wilder and whatever it costs - bring him back! Then You'll be the best on a planet!
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Format: Audio CD
I'm a huge DM fan, so that will probably colour my review despite my best efforts to be impartial. 5/5 is my rating of the CD relative to majority of 2005 CDs, compared to other DM CDs, I'll give it a 3.5/5. It's definitely not as strong as Violator or Songs of Faith and Devotion, but it's probably on par with Ultra and Black Celebration.
Thematically, it's similar to SOFAD with a mixture of religious and secular themes, largely focusing on dismal themes. The line "Pain and Suffering in Various Tempos" on the back of the CD describes it quite well. It is probably the darkest of the DM CDs.
Musically, it tends to favor the more dissonant style of DM songs. If you liked, "I Feel You", "Barrel of a Gun" and "Useless" you'll probably enjoy this CD. With the exception of "Precious", by far the strongest track, there really isn't a song that has a strong melody. This is really my biggest complaint with Playing the Angel. Most of the tracks, in particular those penned by Gahan, rely on the base line to carry the song, unfortunately this applies to the ballads as well, which don't match other DM ballads like "Judas", "Home" or "Question of Lust". The more up tempo tracks, like "A Pain that I'm Used to", "John the Revelator" and "Suffer Well" are pretty solid, and with the exception of "Damaged People", which sounds alot like a song from Jesus Christ Superstar, and the instrumental "Introspectre" there aren't any real misses.

This is a CD that sounds better the more times you listen to it, so you should probably bear that in mind and try to hear the songs a couple of times before making a decision about it.
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