Depeche Mode are, in the eyes of many including myself, not only one of the best bands to come out of the 80′s music scene but simply one of the best bands of all time. They are the most successful electronic group in music history and have 48 eight of their singles reach the UK charts. That is singles alone! Never mind the many other album tracks which their fans have come to know and love.
With the exception of the first Depeche Mode album, the vast majority of those fantastic songs have been written been the creation of Martin Gore. An amazing combination of his song writing craft and Dave Gahan’s vocal ability has worked time and time again to create classic songs.
Now and then, however, Martin Gore takes centre stage and lends his own voice to his songs. These are my vote for the top six Depeche Mode songs that are sung by Martin Gore. Most all of these clips are in the form of Depeche Mode concert footage. This is because most of the songs sung by Martin Gore are album tracks and so this is they way they get to be heard outside of the album.
Martin Gore’s voice lends a hypnotic quality to the song. The first stanza of the song was used to give a name to their third album, Construction Time Again. It very much feels like it belongs in that 1983 era of Depeche Mode. The way that Martin Gore uses a monotone voice to sound as if his own voice is one of the industrial instruments being used works so well to give an atmosphere to the song.
A truly stunning love song for somebody that hasn’t even entered your life yet. In this song Martin Gore has managed to simultaneously capture the emotions of longing, loneliness and falling in love. It also stands out so much in a normal Depeche Mode song list because of the stripped back nature of the song. A band which normally has the most intense production becomes one man, his song and a piano. Yet, it works just as beautifully as ever before.
From their 1997 album, Ultra, this was only the third Depeche Mode single to have Martin Gore as the lead vocal. It has since become a real fan favourite and is always stunning live. At each show, there is at least one point in the show where Dave Gahan leaves the stage and Martin Gore does his own songs. To me, Home could be the follow up song to Somebody. As if he has finally found that person that he was looking for and the relief is being poured out in song. Martin Gore does lyrics of a longing soul better than just about anybody ever has done.
3. Damaged People
A relatively new addition to the Depeche Mode catalogue, Damaged People is from the band’s 2005 album called Playing The Angel. An album that anybody that enjoys Depeche Mode should purchase. It really was ‘up to scratch’ and then some.
Damaged People is one of the few Depeche Mode songs that Martin Gore sings where I can actually imagine Dave Gahan singing. Usually, the songs that Martin Gore takes lead on sound as if they could only really work with him giving voice to those words. However, with Damaged People I could easily hear Dave Gahan doing a slightly more charged version of the song. Yet, the decision to have it go to Martin feels correct.
Once again, he shows something he first demonstrate way back with Pipeline. That is his ability to use a largely singular tone to his voice and match the instruments around him to make that voice add to the intense atmosphere of the song. Search out the studio version of this song with the added production and see why it has made my number two slot.
2. A Question Of Lust
Released in the United States as part of a double A side single along with A Question Of Time, A Question Of Lust had first been released in the UK as a stand alone single in 1986. It sits at the top of my list of the best Depeche Mode songs sung by Martin Gore because it feels like the the time when everything clicked perfectly. His vocals were good, the production was perfect for the tone of the song and the lyrics were powerful. To this day when he sings it live it is a show stopper.
In fact, I saw them just a few weeks ago and it was the song of the night for me. The very best of Depeche Mode will always remain Martin Gore penning the words that Dave Gahan bring to our ears. Yet, every now and then it is a pure joy to hear the man behind the words take to the mic and bring with him the true emotions that went into writing the song.
If there is a song that better portrays the concept of fully giving yourself to somebody and being truly devoted to them, then I haven’t heard it. Martin’s lyrics often put him in a submissive position but in Judas he is in charge. We want his love and we are willing to something..anything…about it.