100 Greatest Songs of the 90’s #33 Depeche Mode – Enjoy The Silence

Released : 1990

Few bands personified the ongoing transformation of the 1980’s more faithfully than Depeche Mode; from their cherubic early Top of The Pops appearances to the black leather and bondage gear, here was quartet of what at it’s outset were innocent young men savaged by a decade of increasing excess and the all-smothering narcissism of MTV.

Having signed off their previous world tour playing to an audience of 75,000 in California, for their next album Violator, following the rule of not fixing something that wasn’t broken may have seemed a temptation. Instead however the process of arriving in the studio with a bagful full of largely complete ideas was dispensed with. Some artists wilt under the pressure of inventing in the studio, but as Violator‘s first single Personal Jesus proved, Martin Gore had perceptively turned inward from the mirror’s out.

Enjoy The Silence was a further example of how the different approach worked; initially at a much more sombre tempo, it was eventually reworked into a song on the cusp of danceability, with synths in the middle distance, muted, New Order-esque guitars and Dave Gahan’s vocals delivered from behind the curtain. The eighties changed anyone who lived through them forever, including Depeche Mode. But for those still around an equal and opposite musical reaction was now just over the hill.