Depeche Mode is, without question, one of the most important rock bands out there. They defined their sound by bridging 80s synthpop with the budding alternative rock, creating a fusion that would cement itself forever. Still rolling as powerfully and anthemically as ever today, Depeche Mode's longevity is here to stay forever. It all had to begin with the classics, though. Depeche Mode carved their own legacy out in Violator, their seventh album that brought them success internationally.
Violator was Depeche Mode's breakthrough performance, released in 1990, just as the new decade had begun. Looking at the biggest hits from the record, it's easy to see why this album did the trick for them. 'Personal Jesus' is punchy and almost industrial, its punchy guitar riff blending perfectly with the dark electronics. It's the perfect representation of the band's music with a poppy edge; not too deep into the oppressive electronic sound and with just enough swagger to give it all the catchiness it needs. 'Enjoy The Silence' is much less industrial and really focuses in on the sensual vibe of Violator, the chorus expressing real love: "All I ever wanted / All I ever needed is here in my arms / Words are very unnecessary / They can only do harm."
The singles aren't the only defining features of Violator, though. The grimy, dark 'World In My Eyes' brings the record in, really setting the tone fo what's to come. It's fairly minimalistic, as is most of the record, but makes due with what it has going on. The background harmonies are almost operatic as they are ghastly. Dave Gahan really sells the sensual aspect of the record on songs like 'Sweetest Perfection,' while the dark and cinematic atmosphere of 'Halo' is bound to grab at you. Closing track 'Clean' takes every aspect of the songs before it makes something huge: it's a slow drama, pounding and damning while maintaining a sort of western vibe, building to massive proportions after starting from little to nothing. A huge way to end out an otherwise barebones - yet effective - album.
Violator may be minimalist, but every note has a clear purpose. It's freeing, sensual, and most notably, its invigorating. It captures you in an atmosphere and it keeps you there in a sort of eidetic oblivion. Depeche Mode carved their own legacy out in Violator, setting a standard for the fusion of electronica and rock to come, all the while cementing their place as legends in music.
Favorite Tracks: Enjoy The Silence, Clean, Personal Jesus
Least Favorite Track: Blue Dress
Rating: 79 / 100
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