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Album Review: Depeche Mode – Spirit

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Album Review: Depeche Mode - Spirit
Wherever you stand in the post-Brexit, post-Trump, post-facts era, one thing’s certain: the world hasn’t felt this messed up in decades. But while streets fill with protesters, the airwaves are strangely empty of dissenting voices. Sure, artists are speaking out, but few are putting their voice on record. Depeche Mode, however, are livid, and on their 14th album, they make no secret of it.

Full of rage and bile, its mood as dark as its lyrics, ‘Spirit’ is an album as focussed and incensed as anything they’ve ever done. This was clear from its first single, the rousing Where’s The Revolution”. Greatly pitched at a gentle pace, its bubbling synths nonetheless do little to hide Dave Gahan’s anger. “Who’s making your decisions?” he spits as the first verse closes. “You or your religion? Your government? Your countries? You patriotic junkies…” A colossal chorus then kicks in as he poses a question many have been asking: “Where’s the revolution? Come on people!/ You’re letting me down”. Admittedly this raises the awkward issue of whether a multi-millionaire has the right to lecture people he acknowledges have been “kept down” and “pushed around”, but Gahan’s commitment to his wrath is unquestionable, and it’s evident throughout this empathetic, combative, but carefully measured collection. Indeed, it’s conspicuous, and right from the start. Against menacing piano chords and, later, a siren-like riff, Backwards finds Gahan reasoning “We’re going backwards armed with new technology/ Going backwards to a caveman mentality”.

“Worst Crime” sees him more sparsely accompanied, beating Nick Cave at his own game as he directs us: “There’s a lynching in the square/ You will have to join us”. Then he turns the tables, jabbing his finger at us to reveal the real culprits: “Step up to the gallows/ And act out your penance/ For acting so shallow”. “Scum” is even more accusatory, a bass drum pounding away as Gahan demands “Hey, scum! What have you ever done for anyone?”, before goading his targets to “Pull the trigger!”

Even in Spirit’s mid-section, when attention shifts to relatively apolitical matters, things rarely relent. “You Move” is characterised by an industrial, malevolent rumble, while a swelling tension matches the appealingly fluid “Cover Me” growing despair. On the brief “Eternal”, Gahan faces down an apocalyptic, symphonic climax; “Poison Heart” mood is undermined by metallic creaks and groans; and though “So Much Love” picks up the pace, Gahan’s assurance that “There is so much love in me” seems tragically far-fetched.

Album Review: Depeche Mode - Spirit
Soon, though, as the album approaches its zenith, tempers begin to flare once again. Despite “Poorman” starting out like a crowd-pleasing return to Depeche Mode’s expansive, anthemic strengths, accompanied by growling guitars and an increasingly crushing, militant backing – follows an ever more indignant path from descriptions of begging vagrants to the root cause of their penury: “Corporations get the breaks/ Keeping almost everything they make/ Tell us how long it’s going to take/ For it to trickle down…” To find an Electro Pop star addressing supply-side economics is notable enough, but, more admirably, the song’s tension is never resolved, not even by the comparatively conventional follower “No More”.

Affairs culminate in an apparently even bleaker state, Gahan’s restrained, high- pitched delivery rendering his voice uncommonly wretched. People, he pleads, “Do we call this trying? We’re hopeless!/ Forget the denying!/ Our souls are corrupt/ Our consciences bankrupt”. Then, in no uncertain terms, he concludes, mournfully, “Oh, we’re f***ed…”

But, though this may sound like a concession to defeat rather than a victorious climax, there’s something about the song’s closing 30 seconds that contradicts this. All sparkles and glimmers – somehow reminiscent of the moment in Blade Runner when Rutger Hauer’s Roy Batty conjures up images of “attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion” – it packs the band off on a cautiously optimistic note.

Credit is, of course, due to James Ford for his role in making this one of the most forceful productions of recent years: the Mode have arguably never sounded grittier – nor more vicious, nor vital – than here.

Still, when one thinks about it, this is what Depeche Mode have always been aiming for: a subject to perfectly suit their glistening, ominous, futuristic creations. That they emerged from UKIP stronghold Essex may be no coincidence: ‘Spirit’ addresses some grand themes, but it appears to have emerged from genuine, heartfelt concern at both the state of the world and, more specifically, their country. They may begin by announcing that “We feel nothing inside”, and end with the words “We’ve failed”, but, whatever’s happening elsewhere, this cannot be said of the band. “Fail” was definitely my favorite song.

No question, Depeche Mode have succeeded. They sense what’s happening, they’ve articulated it gloriously, and ‘Spirit’ is a crucial statement, both musically and politically. The fact that they’re one of the first acts to truly encapsulate this mood is the only disappointment.

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Hi, my name is Erick Ycaza. I have a BA in Advertising & Graphic Design. This blog is to provide you with daily music news and share my personal style.

Electro-Pop

Try Not To Cry: Midnight Kids Release Nostalgic Song “Those Were The Days”

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Midnight Kids
People are loving this song from Midnight Kids entitled “Those Were The Days” because it gives them nostalgic feels. Of course, I think it won’t make you cry at all. On the contrary, with a powerful upbeat melody, it is probably this song will get you moving and dancing. Lyrics evoke a retrospection of times gone by and it also serves as a trip back in those memorable days.

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On this occasion, the LA-based duo joined forces with Singer/Songwriter Jared Lee on vocals. Most of their tracks are stories inspired in real life events. In fact, they are becoming Electro-Pop’s best storytellers. Therefore, you might find “Those Were The Days” pretty relatable. Enjoy it right here via Spotify!

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Free Yourself From The Stress Caused By Traffic On The 405 Freeway With This New Track!

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405 freeway
The famous 405 freeway in California inspired Charles Goose to create a jam with warm melodies. The talented hitmaker from LA brings back nostalgic 80s vibes by emulating the sound of timeless classics. Best of all, there’s a loose summery feel to it, which serves as a stress reliever for the freeway’s congestion problems. Just think about it, the next time you’re stuck in traffic, you’ll need feel-good music like the one below. To the surprise of many, the independent Music Producer is taking the music scene by storm without a record label. Definitely, his creativity shines because his productions differ from the rest. I hope you like “405” as much as I do.

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Is This The Best Slow Jam Of 2019? “I Can Treat You Better” By Part Time

The music video for “I Can Treat You Better” by Part Time is striking because of its 80’s aesthetic.

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slow jam

slow jam
The music video for “I Can Treat You Better” by Part Time is striking because of its 80’s aesthetic. On top of this, it is incredible to see that now visuals can easily transport you back to that epic era. So far, this is probably the best slow jam of the year. The vocals from David Loca (lead singer) shines through those vintage-esque synths, not even talking about the killer sax solo… I swear you can play this tune over 50 million times on Spotify and you’ll never get tired of it. On a side note, the band from San Francisco, California joined forces with Ariel Pink on this masterpiece. There’s not one bad song that features Ariel’s falsettos, you can check out his collaboration with SSION on “At Least The Sky Is Blue”, which feels also like a hit.

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You Can Chill Out And Listen To “animal”, The Newest Single From GRASS

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GRASS
Swedish Electro-Pop duo Sam and Sebastian aka GRASS may raise some eyebrows due to the eroticism reflected in their lyrics. Well, with the newest single, “animal”, these guys dare express intimates feelings that relate in some way to sexual energy. This is especially so when it comes to meeting a new lover. Actually, their songwriting talent is pure gold as the verses overcome fiction with detailed descriptions of a moment of passion. Best of all, if you were looking for music with chill vibes, then you’re in the right blog. Clearly, the sound design is all about laidback tones. I’m pretty sure we can find similar tracks on their forthcoming album ‘she’. So, stay tuned below as more information about this material rolls out.

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Projector And Sister Grim Join Forces On “Choral Society” — LISTEN

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Choral Society
A month ago, Max Hahn aka Projector came up with an Electro-Pop tune called “Choral Society”. Likewise, the solo artist from LA combines his talents and teams up with Sister Grim. This is the first time they work together and the result is brilliant! Sincerely, I was expecting choir-like vocals on this track but don’t be fooled by the song’s title.

Quite to the contrary, there’s a seductive chorus over a sensual deep groove that can penetrate to the bone. Listeners will be hypnotized in mere seconds as this is the type of infectious music everyone can enjoy. Essentially, the song talks about losing control due to feeling intense love for someone. Currently, Projector is focused on his debut EP, and I know this going to come as a BIG surprise later this year. Perhaps, more collaborations are on the way, stay tuned.

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