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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

Gated Reverb Made An 80s Remix Of “Around The World” By Eivind Husebø

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80s remix
Eivind Husebø
‘s “Around The World” gets a striking 80s remix. Norwegian Producer Plextro aka Gated Reverb offers a unique spin to the original rockish song that is for sure a crowd-pleaser. One way or another, this new version is taking you on a trip to a retrofuturistic atmosphere. Undoubtedly, it’s 100% fun, infectious, and different.

I think the outcome turned out splendidly due to its Synthwave/Electro-Pop elements. The driving synths are an explosion of ecstasy and pleasure to the ears. Here, Eivind is demonstrating how versatile can sound his tracks with such a high-profile collaboration. What’s more, vocals remain untouched as they flow over booming drums daring you to dance. Besides that, its positive message that awakens in you the desire to win the world also prevails. Taking everything into account, it will be only a matter of time until you see him at the top of the game.

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Electro-Pop

A Must-Watch Funny Music Video, “Feels Right” By Roosevelt

‘POLYDANS’ is Roosevelt’s new album that will be released in 2021 and “Feels Right” his fresh single. There are tons of funny music videos out there, but this one plays with your imagination.

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‘POLYDANS’ is Roosevelt‘s new album that will be released on February 26th, 2021, and “Feels Right” his fresh single. To tell the truth, there are tons of funny music videos out there, but this one plays with your imagination. A must-watch clip with a hilarious story that revolves around complications with the creative direction in a shooting set.

Furthermore, this Electro-Pop tune radiates with perfect 80s vibes, which is part of his signature funky style. Nobody will make you want to dance like Roosevelt. The German singer has a voice that stands out so much when the background synths come into action. This is absolutely amazing, and all his fans are already eager to hear the next tracks. He is still signed to Greco-Roman, a record label based in Berlin and London. Enjoy.

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Electro-Pop

Experience Now This Feel-Good Jam Called “Downbeat” By Trynket

Filipino-born singer, songwriter, and filmmaker Trynket is set to make her name in the global Pop scene. What’s particularly jaw-dropping about “Downbeat” is surely its feel-good nature.

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Trynket

Filipino-born singer, songwriter, and filmmaker Trynket is set to make her name in the global Pop scene. What’s particularly jaw-dropping about “Downbeat” is surely its feel-good nature. This jam sounds way different from her emotive ballad “Picture (In My Brain)”, which became her debut single and reached over 40K streams on Spotify in 2019.

Conversely, with “Downbeat” she invites you to dance without shame and move your hips like nobody’s watching. Inspired by Synthpop hits from the 80s, plus, unforgettable R&B cuts from the 90s, I think she’s artistically in the right direction. As a result, this particular blend of genres represents a breath of fresh air that is much needed in today’s saturated music industry.

Believe it or not, for the past two years Trynket has been recording upbeats tracks in Los Angeles. Since early childhood, she proved to be a natural talent. Not to mention, she composed her own songs at the age of five after starting piano lessons. Nowadays, she is blessed with a beautiful voice that fits well in any style. I can guarantee the music video for “Downbeat” is as good as the track itself. If you would like to transport yourself to a much warmer place, then I recommend you to watch it. There’s also a super fun choreography in this clip that could go viral on TikTok. Don’t miss it.

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Electro-Pop

XIMXIA Gives You Witchy Electro-Pop Vibes On New EP

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XIMXIA
‘Anywhere But Here’
is the recent project from XIMXIA (shem-shee-ya). This EP consists of 4 tracks featuring witchy Electro-Pop vibes that will captivate you the entire time. With a pinch of melodrama that appeals to emotions, these songs talk about significant changes. From breaking out with your partner to moving out of town, every tune tells an engaging story. My favorite one is called “Spaces”, I simply admire the extra energy she puts in while performing this number.

Of course, all these songs include haunting sonic elements, seductive vocals, and an irresistible dark atmosphere. Interestingly enough, classical piano pieces served as the raw material of this EP. Consequently, I bet you’ll be listening to it on repeat. Embodying everything loved about popular artists like Annie Lennox, Sinéad O’Connor, and Robyn; XIMXIA is not far behind in topping the Billboard charts. Please show her some love by streaming her brilliant EP down here. I promise she won’t disappoint you at all.

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Electro-Pop

NINA Brings Back The Retro Music Era With “The Calm Before The Storm”

Are you feeling nostalgic today? The retro music era comes to life through NINA’s new video for “The Calm Before The Storm”. Watching the clip’s 80s vibes makes me think this is a trend that will stay for a long time.

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retro music era

Are you feeling nostalgic today? The retro music era comes to life through NINA‘s new video for “The Calm Before The Storm”. Watching the clip’s 80s vibes makes me think this is a trend that will stay for a long time. Artists like The Weeknd, Kylie Minogue, and even Miley Cyrus are taking the same direction.

Actually, NINA is a pioneer of the Synthwave style much before them. This talented lady from Germany sings from the heart and that’s exactly my favorite part. The contagious chorus of this single taken from her last album, ‘Synthian’ does not fail to impress too. A room with coin-operated arcade video games, plus, the retro-styled car could not be absent in the amazing visuals produced by Final Films. Enjoy it.

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Lyrics

You cross the line
In disguise
Now you’re standing all alone

You change your looks
Change your name
You’re still running on your own (You’re still running)

Looking back
It was all too clear like written on the wall

And it’s alright
But you fear the worst is yet to come along
This is…

The calm before the storm
(I surrender)
The calm before the storm
(I surrender)

For every step, every turn,
There are shadows standing tall
Broken promises
Something’s waiting in the sky

Looking back
It was all too clear like written on the wall

And it’s alright
But you fear the worst is yet to come along
This is…

The calm before the storm
(I surrender)
The calm before the storm
(I surrender)

How did it come to this?
 Why am I always on the run from you?
Is this reality?
 We have forever lost the truth of our despair
There is no doubt that we
Should gather strength and be prepared for what’s to come
It seems I’m losing you
And the only place that I can breathe again
Is in in your arms

The calm before the storm
(I surrender)
The calm before the storm
(I surrender)

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