Songs of Faith and Devotion

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Songs of Faith and Devotion
Studio album by Depeche Mode
Released 22 March 1993 (1993-03-22)
Recorded February 1992 – January 1993; Chateau du Pape (Hamburg); Madrid[1]
Genre Synthpop, alternative dance, alternative rock, new wave, electronic rock, industrial rock
Length 47:26
Label Mute
Producer Depeche Mode, Flood
Depeche Mode chronology
Violator
(1990)
Songs of Faith and Devotion
(1993)
Ultra
(1997)
Singles from Songs of Faith and Devotion
  1. "I Feel You"
    Released: 15 February 1993
  2. "Walking in My Shoes"
    Released: 26 April 1993
  3. "Condemnation"
    Released: 13 September 1993
  4. "In Your Room"
    Released: 10 January 1994

Songs of Faith and Devotion is the eighth studio album by English electronic music band Depeche Mode, released in the United Kingdom on 22 March 1993 by Mute Records and in the United States and Canada on 23 March by Sire and Reprise Records. The album incorporated a more aggressive, darker rock-oriented tone than its predecessor, Violator (1990), largely influenced by the emerging alternative rock and grunge scenes in the United States.[2]

Upon its release, Songs of Faith and Devotion reached number one in several countries, and became the first ever album to go straight to number one on its release in both the UK and the US. To support the album, Depeche Mode embarked on the fourteen-month long Devotional Tour, the largest tour the band had ever undertaken to that date.

Recording the album and the subsequent tour exacerbated growing tensions and difficulties within the band, prompting Alan Wilder to quit, making this album the final with him as a band member. The ordeal had exhausted their creative output following the enormous success they had enjoyed with Violator, leading to rumours and media speculation that the band would split. Depeche Mode subsequently recovered from the experience, and released Ultra in 1997.

Background and recording[edit]

Techniques and processes[edit]

Songs of Faith and Devotion was recorded over eight months in a rented villa in Madrid during 1992, as well as later sessions in Hamburg and London.[3] Following his work on U2's seventh studio album, Achtung Baby, producer Flood suggested the idea of building their own studio in a rented house where the band would live and work, the same process having yielded huge successes for U2. A studio was set up in the basement of the villa, with two drum kits using different spaces to achieve different sounds. The recordings from the kits could then be processed through synthesizers, such as the large Roland System 700 the band had installed in the studio. The band had become aware of getting caught in easy routines in the studio leading to boredom and thus wanted to change as many aspects to their approach to the recording as possible.[4]

One new approach to recording was performance. Wilder recalled on Violator the band had relied heavily on sequencing; though the album used a great deal of live recorded audio than previous Depeche Mode releases, the audio had been programmed to the exact beats of the bars, resulting in a slick but sequenced feel. For making Songs of Faith and Devotion, the band wanted the sound to be looser and less programmed. Tracks such as I Feel You, included drums performed live by Wilder which were then sampled and sequenced to form drum loops using Cubase, in a different structure to how they were originally performed; keeping all the dynamics and inherent mistakes of a human performance. Embellishments like reversed cymbals were added later at the behest of Wilder, who often suggested such experimentation.[4]

Further techniques used in recording included the reversed piano on the outro to the track Mercy In You. The introduction of the track Judas has uillean pipes recorded with reversed reverberation mixed into the sound, to achieve a haunting, atmospheric feel. Walking In My Shoes included a piano part which was processed through a guitar processor to add distortion. A harpsichord sample was then played and recorded over the top, giving a unique, layered sound to the riff. Early demos for Condemnation included all four band members performing in the same space—Andrew Fletcher bashing a flight case with a pole, producer Flood and Dave Gahan clapping, Alan Wilder playing a drum and Martin Gore playing an organ. The sound produced was very embryonic, however it gave the band a direction as to how the track should sound. Guitars were processed through devices such as Leslie tone cabinets, originally designed for organs, to achieve different sounds.[4]

Recording[edit]

Following the success of Violator and the subsequent tour, the band had taken a long break from each other. Upon returning, they found it difficult to re-integrate as a unit, with several factors contributing to the more difficult atmosphere that the band experienced recording the album. The concept of the band living and working together in the same house meant that they rarely got breaks from each other as opposed to previous albums whereby the band would go to work in a studio, and then return to their respective homes or hotels at the end of each day. Fletcher described the band living together as "claustrophobic", and the lack of a break from each other as a factor in contributing to the stress.[2] Gore felt pressured to write tracks that could live up to the success of the previous album, Violator, despite encouragement from Fletcher that he wrote better under pressure. Gahan had moved to Los Angeles following Violator and had been spending time with up and coming alternative rock bands such as Jane's Addiction, influencing him to present the idea of creating a rock-oriented record, leading to creative differences with the rest of the band. Since then, Gahan had also developed a heroin addiction, which slowed the recording process. The band also began to jam together, something which they had not previously done, only for fun. The lack of success of coming up with musical ideas from such jams led to frustration that the band were not making any progress.[2]

Unlike the previous albums, there was very little pre-production, where the band would listen to demos created by Gore and then suggest ideas to establish a creative framework. Flood recalls the lack of pre-production as a big mistake that adversely affected the early recording sessions. Due to these frustrations, the first recording batch of four weeks was largely unusable, which Wilder described as "a complete fucking waste of time" in a sarcastic toast to Flood at the airport on their way back home. The lack of progress increasingly frustrated recording. Flood compared the collective effort of Violator where the band would contribute as a whole, and while there were disagreements it was in recognition that it was for a greater good, whereas in the making of Songs of Faith and Devotion, the band members were highly adamant of their own individual ideas, leading to considerable tension. Flood described the atmosphere as "like pulling teeth" and emotionally draining. Gore, Gahan, and Daniel Miller shared his sentiments, comparing the party-like atmosphere of creating Violator to the stale atmosphere on Songs of Faith and Devotion. Though Wilder would say the band members had drifted as far apart as they had ever been, the emotional stress contributed to some of Depeche Mode's best tracks, including In Your Room and Walking In My Shoes, which many felt were indicative of Gore's greatest works.[2]

Gahan downplayed his role on the album, stating the only thing he felt he contributed was what he considers his greatest vocal performance for Condemnation. Conversely, Wilder praised his role, stating that on previous releases, Gahan's studio contributions is often only vocal performance and thus did not get in the way much and that he often offered a lot of positive encouragement despite his addiction, and that it was Wilder's creative differences with Gore was the source of the real tension in the band. Flood recalls Wilder and Gore having a very heated argument over the mix to Judas, and that there were constant disagreements throughout the recording process between the members of the band and Flood himself. Despite the feeling the band were realising one of their greatest works, Flood commented that the "little things" of the recording process never ran smoothly, leading to constant, largely non-constructive, arguing. Conditions improved between the band when the recording sessions moved to Hamburg, largely in part as it was a return to normal studio routine, as opposed to living together.[2]

The album was mixed at the Olympic Studios in London by Alan Wilder, Flood and Mark 'Spike' Stent.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[6]
Robert Christgau (dud)[7]
Entertainment Weekly B[8]
The Guardian favourable[9]
The New York Times favourable[10]
NME 8/10[11]
Q 4/5 stars[12]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[13]

Songs of Faith and Devotion became Depeche Mode's first studio album to reach number one on both the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200,[14][15] while peaking at number one in Austria, France, Germany and Switzerland.[16][17] The album received largely positive reviews from critics and peers of Depeche Mode. Band member Alan Wilder stated he felt "In Your Room" and "Walking in My Shoes" as some of the best works the band had ever done, a sentiment agreed upon by producer Flood, who commented that "many people" involved in the project shared such sentiments. Fellow musician Gary Numan also stated that Songs of Faith and Devotion was the album that saved his career, noting; "[after listening to this album] [my] music changed dramatically. It became much darker. At School I was excused from religious instruction because I had no faith and Songs of Faith and Devotion suddenly gave me something to write about and something to be bothered about. [...] I love Depeche Mode, always will."[18] AllMusic stated that "Songs of Faith and Devotion continues the Depeche Mode winning streak."[6] Q also rated the album 4 out of 5 stars and later included it on their list of "In Our Lifetime: Q's 100 Best Albums" along with Violator.[19] The NME awarded the album a score of eight out of ten.[11] A less favourable review came from Rolling Stone, who rated the album three out of five stars.[13]

Tour[edit]

The subsequent Devotional Tour to support the album was the largest Depeche Mode had undertaken to that point. The tour spanned fourteen months, visiting twenty-seven countries and played to over two million people over 158 dates. The tour covered 100,000 miles and required 90 tonnes of equipment.[2] The huge scale of the tour was to cover the sponsoring costs. Anton Corbijn designed the elaborate stage design, the first time he had ever done so. The huge scale of the tour took its toll on the band members. Despite Fletcher's comment that "Dave was loving it [the tour]...he was on a different planet", his heroin addiction had increased, Gore was drinking excessively and had several seizures, Fletcher was suffering from clinical depression to the point where he was replaced by Daryl Bamonte on all dates from April and the grueling nature of touring had taken its toll on Wilder. Gore later commented, "I don't think anyone was ever the same after that tour", highlighting the tense nature of the tour, and Q magazine would later refer to the Devotional Tour as "the most debauched rock tour ever".[20]

Following the tour, the experience of Songs of Faith and Devotion and the subsequent supporting tour had taken too hard a toll on Wilder, who announced his departure from the band on his 36th birthday in 1995, highlighting a highly uneven workload distribution, lack of acknowledgement from his bandmates, creative differences within the band and overall lack of cohesion. Wilder's departure and the internal strife within the band, specifically Gahan's growing heroin addiction led many to speculate that the band was finished. The band managed to recover from the loss of Wilder, releasing Ultra in 1997.

2006 re-release[edit]

In 2006, Songs of Faith and Devotion was re-released with a bonus DVD. It was released as a part of the second wave of reissues—along with A Broken Frame and Some Great Reward. The first CD was remastered and was released on a CD/SACD hybrid except for in the US where the remastered first disc was pressed to standard CD. The bonus DVD includes a 5.1 surround mix of the original album, the B-Side "My Joy" and the Jazz Mix of "Death's Door" (basically an extended mix of the original version), as well as several other remixes.

Also included was a 36-minute documentary on Songs of Faith and Devotion called Depeche Mode 91–94 (We Were Going to Live Together, Record Together And It Was Going to Be Wonderful), named after a quote from Wilder on the potential of living in their Madrid-area recording studio. It features interviews with Depeche Mode (including Wilder, who would leave the band in 1995) and other important DM figures like Daniel Miller, Anton Corbijn and Daryl Bamonte. There is also footage from the film Devotional and the music videos. The documentary mainly focuses on the extreme difficulty of recording the album, and the even more frustrating fourteen-month tour that followed.

It was released on 2 October 2006 in the UK and 3 October 2006 in the US. The remastered album was released on "deluxe" vinyl on 2 March 2007 in Germany and on 5 March 2007 internationally.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Martin L. Gore

No. Title Length
1. "I Feel You"   4:35
2. "Walking in My Shoes"   5:35
3. "Condemnation"   3:20
4. "Mercy in You"   4:17
5. "Judas"   5:14
6. "In Your Room"   6:26
7. "Get Right with Me / Interlude #4"   3:52
8. "Rush"   4:37
9. "One Caress"   3:32
10. "Higher Love"   5:56
2006 remastered re-release bonus tracks
No. Title Length
11. "My Joy"   3:57
12. "Condemnation" (Paris Mix) 3:21
13. "Death's Door" (Jazz Mix) 6:38
14. "In Your Room" (Zephyr Mix) 4:50
15. "I Feel You" (Life's Too Short Mix) 8:35
16. "Walking in My Shoes" (Grungy Gonads Mix) 6:24
17. "My Joy" (Slowslide Mix) 5:11
18. "In Your Room" (Apex Mix) 6:43

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Songs of Faith and Devotion.[1]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Austria (IFPI Austria)[39] Gold 25,000x
Canada (Music Canada)[40] Platinum 100,000^
France (SNEP)[41] 2× Gold 200,000*
Germany (BVMI)[42] Gold 250,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[43] Gold 25,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[44] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[45] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Songs of Faith and Devotion (CD liner notes). Depeche Mode. Mute Records. 1993. CDSTUMM106. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Documentary: Depeche Mode 91–94 "We were all going to live together, record together...and it was going to be wonderful...", from Songs of Faith and Devotion Collector's Edition bonus DVD (2006)
  3. ^ Shaw, William (April 1993). "In The Mode". Details: 90–95, 168. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Doerschuk, Robert L. (July 1993). "Modus Operandi". Sound on Sound. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  5. ^ Malins, p. 179
  6. ^ a b Raggett, Ned. "Songs of Faith and Devotion – Depeche Mode". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 July 2011. 
  7. ^ Christgau, Robert (1993). "CG: Depeche Mode". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 3 July 2011. 
  8. ^ Wyman, Bill (26 March 1993). "Songs of Faith and Devotion Review". Entertainment Weekly (163). Retrieved 1 July 2011. 
  9. ^ Sweeting, Adam (12 March 1993). "Songs of Faith and Devotion Review". The Guardian. 
  10. ^ Pareles, Jon (21 March 1993). "RECORDINGS VIEW; Depeche Mode Escapes the Cathedral". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 November 2011. 
  11. ^ a b Quantick, David (20 March 1993). "That'll Be the Deity". NME. 
  12. ^ Gill, Andy (April 1993). "Purged". Q. 
  13. ^ a b Berger, Arion (15 April 1993). "Songs of Faith and Devotion by Depeche Mode Review". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media. Retrieved 1 July 2011. 
  14. ^ "Depeche Mode" (select "Albums" tab). Official Charts Company. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  15. ^ "Depeche Mode | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  16. ^ a b "Depeche Mode – Songs Of Faith And Devotion". swisscharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  17. ^ a b "Les Albums (CD) de 1993 par InfoDisc" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved 5 May 2009. 
  18. ^ Buckley, David (March 2012). "Last night a record saved my life: Gary Numan". Mojo (220): 29. 
  19. ^ http://www.rocklistmusic.co.uk/qlistspage2.html
  20. ^ Ali, Omer (4 April 2001). "In the Mode for Love". Time Out. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  21. ^ "Depeche Mode – Songs Of Faith And Devotion". australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 April 2009. 
  22. ^ "Depeche Mode – Songs Of Faith And Devotion" (in German). austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 May 2009. 
  23. ^ "Albums (CD's & Cassettes)". RPM 57 (14). 17 April 1993. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  24. ^ "Depeche Mode – Songs Of Faith And Devotion" (in Dutch). dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved 5 May 2009. 
  25. ^ "Hits of the World". Billboard 105 (19): 41. 8 May 1993. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  26. ^ "Depeche Mode | Chartverfolgung | Songs Of Faith And Devotion" (in German). Musicline.de. PHONONET GmbH. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  27. ^ "Archívum › Kereső – előadó/cím szerint" (in Hungarian). MAHASZ. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  28. ^ a b "Gli album più venduti del 1993" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  29. ^ "デペッシュ・モードのアルバム売り上げランキング" [Depeche Mode album sales ranking] (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  30. ^ "Depeche Mode – Songs Of Faith And Devotion". charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  31. ^ "Depeche Mode – Songs Of Faith And Devotion". norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 April 2009. 
  32. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  33. ^ "Depeche Mode – Songs Of Faith And Devotion". swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 16 April 2009. 
  34. ^ "1993 Top 40 Official Albums Chart UK Archive". Official Charts Company. 3 April 1993. Retrieved 3 February 2014. 
  35. ^ "Depeche Mode – Chart history: Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  36. ^ "Jahreshitparade Alben 1993" (in German). austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  37. ^ "The RPM Top 100 Albums of 1993". RPM 58 (23). 18 December 1993. Retrieved 18 April 2014. 
  38. ^ "Depeche Mode – Chart history: Billboard 200 Albums (Year end)". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  39. ^ "Austrian album certifications – Depeche Mode – Songs of Faith and Devotion" (in German). IFPI Austria. 21 April 1993.  Enter Depeche Mode in the field Interpret. Enter Songs of Faith and Devotion in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen
  40. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Depeche Mode – Songs of Faith and Devotion". Music Canada. 21 June 1993. 
  41. ^ "French album certifications – DepecheMode – Songs of Faith and Devotion" (in French). InfoDisc.  Select DEPECHEMODE and click OK
  42. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Depeche Mode; 'Songs of Faith and Devotion')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  43. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Depeche Mode; 'Songs of Faith and Devotion')". Hung Medien. 
  44. ^ "British album certifications – Depeche Mode – Songs of Faith and Devotion". British Phonographic Industry. 1 March 1993.  Enter Songs of Faith and Devotion in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  45. ^ "American album certifications – Depeche Mode – Songs of Faith and Devotion". Recording Industry Association of America. 25 May 1993.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
Bibliography