Heroes of their Degeneration

Posted in General at 7 pm

From Heroes of their degeneration in the London Times:

“…but we’re still a bunch of nerds. We’re the guys who got beat up in Basildon. But, you know, revenge has been sweet.”

So Depeche Mode’s new album, Playing The Angel is out. It’s been a long time since I’ve been excited about music, but on the flip side, it’s been a long time since I’ve really had the chance to listen to music.

With my new 90 minute communte via public transit, I’ve had more of a chance to listen to music, but I have yet to switch to listening to music intentionally. Since I had previously only mlisten to my iPod (in a consistnet fashion) while going back and forth from Hot Pepper (a ridiculously short distance) I only ever had the ‘pod on Shuffle. Now with upwards of 90 minutes at my displosal, the idea of listening to a whole album becomes a possibility.

to that end I’ve spent a time or two with PtA and I’ve been surprised, delighted and disappointed. Suprised: Depeche Mode using… synths? Yes, i know Mode has often been called a synthpop band, but they’ve barely used synthesisers since their original two studio albums. Virtually everything since then has been from the use of samplers witch have a sound far removed from the the oscillating whines of your synth keyboards. It feels totally old school and it feels great.

Delighted? Finally we’ve got some good songs that push your ears, getting underneath your mind and move your forward sometimes like a bulldozer, sometimes like a Tu-114. With Exciter, all we had was Dead of Night. On Ultra, only the remixes of It’s No Good had the kind of beat that brings a listener along for the ride and sets them up to listen and appreciate the slower songs.

The disappointment comes from the lyrics. Some of it is great, but when it’s bad… it stinks. So some stuff (like Macro) is wonderful and unique. But other pieces are just uncooked. Put out without the benefit of critical revision, time to develop, time to evoolve intot a wonderful lyric.

That said, it may get better and better. It’s already surpased the last two albums, let’s see how far it can rise.

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