A Review of Depeche Mode's 'Sounds of the Universe'

Album Cover: The Future

"The maestro says it's Mozart, but it sounds like bubble gum."
Leonard Cohen / Waiting For The Miracle

Posted on May 01, 2009 11:53 PM in Music
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

'Sounds of the Universe' Album Cover Maybe posting a positive review of Depeche Mode's latest album, Sounds of the Universe, after only two minutes of listening was a bit hasty. But that's what Twitter is for, right? :)

Now that I've had more time to digest the band's twelfth full-length album, I really shouldn't have been so quick to judge. Though the album starts strong with "In Chains" and its excellent wah-wah effects, similar gems are too few and far between on the album. If you're one of those types who buys songs individually rather than the entire album, here are the essential tracks from the album:

  • 01 - In Chains
  • 04 - Fragile Tension
  • 06 - In Sympathy
  • 07 - Peace
  • 08 - Come Back
  • 10 - Perfect
  • 13 - Corrupt

Even that list of tracks is generous. "Peace" doesn't immediately strike me as a great Depeche Mode song, but when I picture the big crowd at Lollapalooza this year singing along, it actually makes sense. It's one of those singalong anthem kind of tracks. Furthermore, any weaknesses of the song are more than made up for by the insane high note Dave Gahan hits at the tail end of the "I'm going to light up the world" lyric...twice. Plus, I love the lyric "There is a radar in my heart I should have trusted from the start."

Despite whatever song from the aforementioned list you or I might think is the best on the album, there is no doubt that any of them would have made a better first single than 'Wrong'. In fact, the title of that song is pretty descriptive of that choice. "Come Back" had such a familiar feel to it that I could have sworn it was a cover, but it turns out it's an original. Either that or "In Chains" would have been my choice for the first single.

In the end, it's clear that Sounds of the Universe is a better album than Exciter could have ever dreamed of being. It doesn't have an obvious hit like Playing the Angel's "Precious," and doesn't hold a candle to Ultra, but it's got a decent selection of solid Depeche Mode songs that make the album worth buying despite its weaknesses.

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jhuovepa on May 15, 2017 at 5:23 AM:

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