Depeche Mode - ExciterI’ll admit it upfront: Depeche Mode lost me for the longest time. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Violator, though there was stuff to like on that album. But it was the group’s 90s output – especially Ultra – that had me tuning them out. But at the risk of sounding a little too cheesy, I found Exciter much more exciting. This album sees Depeche Mode – and specifically core members David Gahan and Martin Gore – on the rebound from some of the events that helped the group hit that low ebb.

Gore’s songwriting acumen, which seemed to be on the decline, is back in full force with a number of fascinating and listenable tunes. And it helps that Gahan is back in fine form (and even better voice) for the first time since Violator. Normally I point out standout tracks, but the truth is, there’s little on Exciter to not enjoy. My personal favorites, however, have to be the dreamy “Comatose” – replete with the kind of mesmerising chords and structure that haven’t been a mainstay of the pop music landscape for decades, only with an updated sound and some of the best Gahan/Gore vocal harmonies ever – and the bouncy and slightly sarcastic “I Feel Loved”. Other highlights include the slinky Breathe and a thundering anthem to the goth generation, “The Dead Of Night”.

Overall, I’m thrilled with Exciter – this is the best thing Depeche Mode has done in rating: 4 out of 4years. When they started out, they were mavericks on the pop scene, abandoning any sign of traditional instrumentation for the innovative sounds they could coax out of the then-new synths and samplers available in the new wave days. Even though that field’s pretty crowded now, Depeche Mode surprised me with this album, which shows they’re still the innovators they were twenty years ago.

Order this CD

  1. Dream On (4:19)
  2. Shine (5:32)
  3. The Sweetest Condition (3:42)
  4. When The Body Speaks (6:01)
  5. The Dead Of Night (4:50)
  6. Lovetheme (2:02)
  7. Freelove (6:10)
  8. Comatose (3:20)
  9. I Feel Loved (4:20)
  10. Breathe (5:17)
  11. Easy Tiger (2:05)
  12. I Am You (5:10)
  13. Goodnight Lovers (3:48)

Released by: Warner Bros.
Release date: 2001
Total running time: 56:48