Music for the Masses
|Music for the Masses|
|Studio album by Depeche Mode|
|Released||28 September 1987|
Studio Guillaume Tell, Paris
Puk Studios, Denmark
|Genre||Electronic, post-punk, synthpop|
|Label||Mute (UK) / Sire (US and Canada)|
|Producer||Depeche Mode and David Bascombe|
|Depeche Mode chronology|
|Singles from Music For The Masses|
Daniel Miller, who had produced Depeche Mode's previous album, voluntarily stepped away from production duties for this album, citing the growing tension in the studio that they had experienced during the recording of Black Celebration. With Miller's approval, the band used producer David Bascombe, who had just finished producing Peter Gabriel's hit album So (1986).
Band members Andy Fletcher and Martin Gore both claimed the album's title was conceived as a joke. Said Fletcher: "The title's ... a bit tongue-in-cheek, really. Everyone is telling us we should make more commercial music, so that's the reason we chose that title." Martin Gore said "[The name] was a joke on the uncommerciality of [the album]. It was anything but music for the masses!"
The megaphone (or its iconic representation) on the album's cover was used during the breadth of the album's release: at press events, on the covers of the album's singles, and during the tour. Alan Wilder gave credit to Martyn Atkins, who had been a long-time Depeche Mode collaborator, for the use of the megaphone. "[Martyn came] up with this idea of a speaker, but, to give the kind of ironic element which the title has, to put this speaker in a setting which wasn't really to do with the masses at all. It was, in fact, the opposite. So you end up with this kind of eerie thing where you get these speakers or megaphones in the middle of a setting that doesn't suit it at all, like a desert or whatever."
An early alternative cover was apparently considered but rejected for the album. The rejected cover was also designed by Martyn Atkins and a test pressing copy was auctioned off by Alan Wilder in 2011.
The album became the band's highest-charting in the US upon its release, reaching #35 on the Billboard 200. It also contained more hit singles than any of their previous releases. While there was no extremely popular single from the album ("People Are People" from Some Great Reward reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100), the three singles that were released all made it onto the Hot 100, a feat that hadn't been achieved by any Depeche Mode single after those from Some Great Reward. Moreover, all three singles achieved modest success on the chart.
The first single from the album, "Strangelove", only reached #76 and spent 6 weeks on the chart upon its initial release. "Never Let Me Down Again" was then issued and hit #63, spending 10 weeks on the chart. Its success was duplicated by "Behind the Wheel" which had a similar chart run. This propelled a re-released "Strangelove" (as "Strangelove '88") to #50, making it the highest-charting single from the album.
The story was similar in the United Kingdom. While no single reached the chart heights of Depeche Mode's early career, "Strangelove" narrowly became the band's second-highest charting single since 1984 when it hit #16. The two follow-up singles charted in the upper 20s. The album was less successful, reaching only #10, though it was a major success throughout Europe. Generally, this album and its extracted singles continued the trend for Depeche Mode's releases to chart higher in Continental Europe than in their home country : "Strangelove" and "Never Let Me Down Again" both hit #2 on the singles chart in what was then West Germany, "Behind The Wheel" hit #6 there, and "Little 15" reached #16. And the album itself was a major success, for example, in France and West Germany.
The Music for the Masses Tour was one of Depeche Mode's biggest, notably because of the sell-out Pasadena Rose Bowl show where the band performed in front of 60,453 fans, cementing their place in United States alternative culture. This made the band question if they had reached the peak of their careers, according to the 101, a documentary on the concert, but put that notion to rest with Violator, which was even more successful.
In 2006, Music For the Masses became one of the first Depeche Mode albums (along with Speak & Spell and Violator) to be released on a special 2-Disc SACD/CD Hybrid + DVD format, in the vein of their 2005 album Playing the Angel, which had a limited edition SACD + DVD release. The format was the same as Playing the Angel's, the first disc had a special digitally remastered version of the album, while the DVD had the album on three formats (PCM Stereo, 5.1 Surround Sound and DTS 5.1) plus bonus tracks, and a documentary on the album. The rerelease preserves the album as it was originally intended. Thus, the four bonus tracks do not appear on the SACD, but appear on the DVD. The DVD also features all B-Sides from the Music for the Masses era, but unlike the album and the bonus tracks, are only available in PCM Stereo.
The documentary, a 37 minute short film called Depeche Mode: 1987-88 (Sometimes You Do Need Some New Jokes) is an extensive look at the album, featuring commentary from a wide variety of people, including the current Depeche Mode, former member Alan Wilder, producer Dave Bascombe, Daniel Miller, Daryl Bamonte, Martyn Atkins (who came up with the loudspeakers idea for the cover), Anton Corbijn, and others. The documentary features new facts on the album, and also an extensive look at the movie 101.
The re-release came out on 3 April 2006 in Europe. The US version was delayed to 2 June 2006 and is only available on a CD + DVD format, with no SACD. The DVD on all the versions are region independent however, so one can simply import the SACD version without worrying about the DVD being incompatible. The re-mastered album was released on "deluxe" vinyl 2 March 2007 in Germany and 5 March 2007 internationally.
|The Austin Chronicle|||
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
|The Village Voice||B+|
According to Slant Magazine's Sal Cinquemani, Music for the Masses showed the gloomier side of the "post-punk synthpop" scene during the 1980s and was a success with both music critics and consumers.
In a contemporary review for Playboy magazine, Robert Christgau complimented the abnormal road symbolism of the lyrics, particularly on "Little 15", and said that, apart from the sadomasochistic metaphors, Depeche Mode succeed in turning "adolescent Weltschmerz into something catchy, sexy and seemingly significant." NME magazine's Jane Solanas said that Gore is "at his obsessive best" on Music for the Masses, particularly on "Never Let Me Down Again", which she called "an intriguing masterpiece, combining homo-eroticism with drug euphoria." In a less enthusiastic review, Paul Mathur of Melody Maker was ambivalent towards the group's more mature, minimalist aesthetic and said that although they have departed from their simpler pop sound, the album is "seamless, fluid, and, once the lights are out, particulary dull."
In a retrospective review, Q magazine found the narratives on the album to be among Depeche Mode's most uncertain and contemplative, and that most of its songs "are real diamonds in the darkness ... this was the point at which Depeche Mode were first taken seriously." Music for the Masses was later included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Slant Magazine listed it at #75 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s".
1987 release: Mute / Stumm 47
- "Never Let Me Down Again" – 4:47
- "The Things You Said" – 4:02
- "Strangelove" – 4:56
- "Sacred" – 4:47
- "Little 15" – 4:18
- "Behind the Wheel" – 5:18
- "I Want You Now" – 3:44
- "To Have and to Hold" – 2:51
- "Nothing" – 4:18
- "Pimpf" – 3:56 (5:25)
"Interlude #1 - Mission Impossible" (hidden instrumental track) – 0:37
Bonus tracks on 1987 CD (CDstumm47) and cassette (Cstumm47) release.
- "Agent Orange" – 5:05
- "Never Let Me Down Again (Aggro Mix)" – 4:55
- "To Have and to Hold (Spanish Taster)" – 2:34
- "Pleasure, Little Treasure (Glitter Mix)" – 5:36
- On the CD, there is a 22 second pause in between Pimpf and Interlude #1, followed by a 30 second pause in between Interlude #1 and Agent Orange.
- On the cassette, the four bonus tracks are on the B side, with the rest of the tape without audio.
Mute: DM CD 6 (CD/SACD + DVD) / CDX STUMM 47 (CD/SACD)
- Disc 1 is a hybrid SACD/CD with a multi-channel SACD layer.
- Disc 2 is a DVD which includes Music for the Masses in DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 and PCM Stereo plus bonus material
- "Never Let Me Down Again" – 4:47
- "The Things You Said" – 3:55
- "Strangelove" – 4:38
- "Sacred" – 5:01
- "Little 15" – 4:14
- "Behind the Wheel" – 5:17
- "I Want You Now" – 3:28
- "To Have and to Hold" – 3:08
- "Nothing" – 4:12
- "Pimpf" – 4:55
Bonus Tracks (in PCM Stereo):
- "Agent Orange" – 5:05
- "Pleasure, Little Treasure" – 2:53
- "Route 66" – 4:11
- "Stjarna" – 4:25
- "Sonata No.14 in C#m (Moonlight Sonata)" – 5:36
Bonus 5.1 Mixes (DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 and PCM Stereo):
- "Agent Orange" – 5:31
- "Never Let Me Down Again (Aggro Mix)" – 4:58
- "To Have And to Hold (Spanish Taster)" – 2:36
- "Pleasure, Little Treasure (Glitter Mix)" – 5:38
- "Depeche Mode 87-88 (Sometimes You Do Need Some New Jokes)" [37 Minute video]
- All songs are written by Martin Gore except "Route 66", which is a cover of the rock classic "(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66" written by Robert W. Troup Jr in 1946, and "Moonlight Sonata", a Beethoven piano piece performed here by Alan Wilder.
- Dave Gahan is the lead singer of all songs except for "The Things You Said" and "I Want You Now" which are sung by Martin Gore. However, Gore's background vocals can be heard throughout the entire album. "Pimpf", "Mission Impossible", "Stjarna", "Sonata No.14" and "Agent Orange" are instrumental.
- Dave Gahan - lead vocals, sampling
- Martin Gore - guitar, keyboards, accordion on "I Want You Now", sampling, backing vocals, lead vocals on "The Things You Said" and "I Want You Now"
- Alan Wilder - keyboards, sampling, piano, programming, backing vocals
- Andy Fletcher - sampling, backing vocals
|Austrian Albums Chart||16|
|French Albums Chart||7|
|German Albums Chart||2|
|Hungarian Albums Chart||36|
|Italy Albums Chart||7|
|Netherlands Albums Chart||37|
|Spanish Albums Chart||1|
|Swedish Albums Chart||4|
|Swiss Albums Chart||4|
|UK Albums (OCC)||10|
|US Billboard 200||35|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Silver||60,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||Platinum||1,000,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
- Studios Guillaume Tell
- "Depeche Mode - Music for the Masses CD Album". CD Universe. Muze. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- Cinquemani, Sal (2 November 2002). "Depeche Mode: Music for the Masses". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- Miller, Jonathan, Stripped: Depeche Mode, Music Sales Group
- Maconie, Stuart (17 February 1990). "Sin Machine". NME: 34–35.
- Omega Auctions: The Alan Wilder / Depeche Mode Collection: DM `MUSIC FOR THE MASSES` ALBUM WITH VERY RARE RECALLED ALBUM SLEEVE, retrieved 15 July 2013
- Raggett, Ned. Music for the Masses at AllMusic. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
- Gray, Christopher (25 August 2006). "Review: Speak & Spell, Music for the Masses, Violator, The Top, The Head on the Door, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Psychocandy, Darklands, Automatic, Honey's Dead, Stoned & Dethroned". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- Abebe, Mitsuh (20 July 2006). "Speak&Spell/Music for the Masses/Violator Album review". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- "Review: Music for the Masses". Q (London): 135. June 1995. "...has its dark, gloomy secrets and layered soundtrack grooves to support some of the groups' most self-conscious and self-questioning storylines ... Most of the songs ... are real diamonds in the darkness ... this was the point at which Depeche Mode were first taken seriously."
- Levy, Eleanor (3 October 1987). "Depeche Mode: Music for the Masses Album review". Record Mirror.
- Rolling Stone Album Guide review
- Wise, Damon (3 October 1987). "Music For The Pop Charts [Music for the Masses - Album review]". Sounds.
- Christgau, Robert (26 January 1988). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice (New York). Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- Christgau, Robert (April 1988). "Playboy Music". Playboy. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- Solanas, Jane (3 October 1987). "Basildon Bondage [Music for Masses -review]". NME. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- Mathur, Paul (3 October 1987). "Rubber Bullets [Music for Masses -review]". Melody Maker. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "Discographie Depeche Mode". AustrianCharts.at. Retrieved 24 February 2009.
- "Suchergebnis". Charts-Surfer.de. Retrieved 24 February 2009. Note: User must define 'neuer suchbegriff' search parameter as "Depeche Mode".
- "Top 40 album-, DVD- és válogatáslemez-lista – 2013. 19. hét" (in Hungarian). MAHASZ. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- "Discography Depeche Mode". SwedishCharts.com. Retrieved 24 February 2009.
- "Discography Depeche Mode". SwissCharts.com. Retrieved 24 February 2009.
- "Depeche Mode | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 7 Sep 2013.
- "Depeche Mode - Charts & Awards - Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Retrieved 24 February 2009.
- "French album certifications – Depeche Mode – Music for the Masses" (in French). InfoDisc. Select DEPECHE MODE and click OK
- "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Depeche Mode; 'Music for the Masses')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
- "British album certifications – DepecheMode – Music for the Masses". British Phonographic Industry. Enter Music for the Masses in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
- "American album certifications – Depeche Mode – Music for the Masses". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
- Freeman, John (25 October 2012). "A Strange Love: Depeche Mode's Music For The Masses Revisited". The Quietus.