CD singles compilation proto-techno Essex boys
Of the bands to emerge at the dawn of the ‘80s, Depeche Mode are matched only by New Order and U2 in chart terms, with an astonishing strikerate of 42 Top 30 hits in 25 years. This “Best Of” includes 18 of them, ranging from 1981’s “Just Can’t Get Enough” to “Martyr” (left off last year’s “Playing The Angel”), and presents them in non-chronological order, a job effectively done by the previous The “Singles 81-85” and “86-98” sets. Occasionally, they’re lyrically banal, with a tendency towards platitudes and/or predictable quasi-religious love-as-redemption/salvation imagery. They offer, too, a sort of easily digestible Top Shop techno – albeit one that exerted an influence on Detroit’s Juan Atkins and Derrick May. Nevertheless, a rearranged Playlist of these tracks provides an impressive narrative, as they morph from frilly-shirted synthpop kids to S&M-flirting industrial-lite merchants to debauched purveyors of stadium electro-rock.
By Paul Lester