|Studio album by Depeche Mode|
|Released||19 March 1990|
|Recorded||May 1989–January 1990
Puk Studios, Denmark
Logic Studios, Milan
|Genre||Alternative dance, synthpop, New Wave|
|Label||Mute (Europe) and Sire/Reprise (North America)|
|Producer||Depeche Mode and Flood|
|Depeche Mode chronology|
|Singles from Violator|
Preceded by the hit singles "Personal Jesus" and "Enjoy the Silence" (a Top 10 hit in both the UK and US), Violator propelled the band into international stardom. The album yielded two further hit singles, "Policy of Truth" and "World in My Eyes". This album is the first of the band to achieve the Top 10 on the Billboard 200—reaching No. 7—and staying 74 weeks in the chart. It was supported by the World Violation Tour.
Album and song development
Compared to previous efforts, the band decided to try a new approach to recording. Said Alan Wilder, "Usually we begin the making of a record by having extensive pre-production meetings where we decide what the record will actually sound like, then go into a programming studio. This time we decided to keep all pre-production work to a minimum. We were beginning to have a problem with boredom in that we felt we'd reached a certain level of achievement in doing things a certain way." Martin Gore elaborated, "Over the last five years I think we'd perfected a formula; my demos, a month in a programming studio, etc. etc. We decided that our first record of the '90s ought to be different."
With co-producer Mark "Flood" Ellis, Wilder began a complementary working relationship, with Flood able to provide the technical know-how and Wilder working on the arrangements and song textures. "That's how we made the group work at that time," clarified Wilder, "by accepting that we all had different roles and not actually all trying to do the same thing. So we ended up with this unwritten agreement in the band, where we'd all throw together a few ideas at the beginning of a track. Then Fletch and Mart would go away, and they'd come back after we'd worked on it for a while to give an opinion."
There was also a notable change in Gore's demos. After the rigid, limiting effects of almost-finished demos for Music for the Masses, Gore, heeding to Wilder's request, kept them less complete this time around. Several of the basic recordings consisted of vocals over simple guitar or organ part, with the odd percussion loop but less sequenced material. The sparse demos allowed the band to take creative liberties with the songs. For instance, "Enjoy the Silence" started out as a slow ballad, but at Wilder's suggestion became a pulsating, up-tempo track.
The band convened to work on the record with Flood at Mute's WorldWide programming room in London for three weeks after which they flew to Milan for the new sessions at Logic studios. According to Flood, they didn't do substantial amount of work in Milan, except for the song "Personal Jesus", which was crucial in setting the tone and spirit of the album. "Everybody was feeling each other out, because they wanted to try working in a different way. The idea was to work hard and party hard and we all enjoyed ourselves to the full." After Milan the band relocated to Puk studios in northern Denmark, where most of the album was recorded.
Martin called the track "World in My Eyes" a very positive song. "It's saying that love and sex and pleasure are positive things." The song "Blue Dress," which Gore called "pervy," is simply about "watching a girl dress and realising that this is 'what makes the world turn.'" With "Halo," Gore said "I'm saying 'let's give in to this' but there's also a real feeling of wrongfulness. ... I suppose my songs do seem to advocate immorality but if you listen there's always a sense of guilt."
As for the album name itself, Martin said "We called it Violator as a joke. We wanted to come up with the most extreme, ridiculously Heavy Metal title that we could. I'll be surprised if people will get the joke."
As part of Mute's 2006 reissue schedule, Violator was re-released as a hybrid Super Audio CD + DVD-Video package on 3 April 2006 which included two-channel and 5.1 surround mixes of the album. The six B-sides to the Violator singles—"Dangerous", "Memphisto", "Sibeling", "Kaleid", "Happiest Girl", and "Sea of Sin"—also appear, albeit without the surround sound treatment. The reissue didn't reach the US till 6 June 2006. The US version lacked the hybrid SACD and instead just had a CD, but the DVD was included, and was identical to the European DVD but in NTSC format instead of PAL. The lack of SACD is due to the titles being distributed in North America by Warner, who do not support the SACD format.
A 32-minute short film entitled Depeche Mode 1989–90 (If You Wanna Use Guitars, Use Guitars) and featured interviews with the band Daniel Miller, Flood, François Kevorkian (who mixed the album), Anton Corbijn (who directed the music videos and did the album's photography/cover), and others. It also includes news footage from the infamous "riot" in Los Angeles which gave the band media publicity the day before Violator came out. The band were scheduled to do autographs in an LA music store, and the line reached into the 20,000's. The event had to be canceled shortly after it began due to problems keeping the line in order. There is also footage from Strange Too, notably clips from the music videos for "Halo" and "Clean".
The remastered album was released on "deluxe" vinyl 2 March 2007, in Germany and 5 March 2007, internationally.
As a sign of their rising success and popularity when Violator was released, a signing party for fans at a Wherehouse record store in Los Angeles that was expected to draw only a few thousand fans ended up drawing around 15,000. The band were forced to withdraw from the event due to security concerns, and their failure to appear nearly caused a riot.
Violator was the first Depeche Mode album to sell a million copies in the United States. As of 2010, Violator had sold more than 15 million copies, and remains the band's best selling album worldwide. Violator reached number 17 on the Billboard Year-End chart in 1990. It is also their only album to have all their four singles charted on the Billboard hot 100, and all their single charted in the UK Top 20 since Black Celebration.
In a contemporary review for Melody Maker, music critic Paul Lester called Violator the group's "most arresting work to date." Tim Nicholson of Record Mirror was enthused by the stripped-down quality of the songs and called the album a "compromise between pop music and something a little more sinister. There are no noises out of place in this perfectly formed void". Ian Cranna of Q magazine found the music subtly clever and called it "a fine record which may not set the world on fire but deserves to singe it a bit." In a less enthusiastic review, Robert Christgau said that Depeche Mode conceded to fickle teenage demographics on Violator. Rolling Stone magazine's Chuck Eddy said that, despite its "ambient charm", Gahan sounds "slimy and self-involved", and in their attempt to make listeners dance, Depeche Mode "revert to morose pop psychology and then never tell you how come they're so sad."
In 2003, the album was ranked number 342 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It is included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Violator is also featured on lists of the greatest albums of all time made by magazines like Q and Spin.
All tracks written by Martin L. Gore:
- "World in My Eyes" – 4:26
- "Sweetest Perfection" – 4:43
- "Personal Jesus" – 4:56
- "Halo" – 4:30
- "Waiting for the Night" – 6:07
- "Enjoy the Silence" – 6:12
- "Interlude #2 – Crucified" – 1:52 (hidden song starting at 4:21)
- "Policy of Truth" – 4:55
- "Blue Dress" – 5:41
- "Interlude #3" – 1:23 (hidden song starting at 4:18)
- "Clean" – 5:32
According to the band's web site the original title for "Waiting for the Night" was "Waiting for the Night to Fall" and the rest of the title was omitted due to a printing error.
Both the original US and the original UK vinyl editions have a shorter version of "Personal Jesus".
2006 Collectors Edition: Mute / DM CD 7 (CD/SACD + DVD)
- Disc 1 is a hybrid SACD/CD with a multi-channel SACD layer, with the same track listing as the 1990 release. Bonus tracks are in PCM Stereo [48 kHz/16bit].
- Disc 2 is a DVD which includes the documentary Depeche Mode 1989–90 (If You Wanna Use Guitars, Use Guitars), Violator in DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 and PCM Stereo [48 kHz/24bit] plus the following bonus tracks:
- "Dangerous" – 4:22
- "Memphisto" – 4:03
- "Sibeling" – 3:18
- "Kaleid" – 4:18
- "Happiest Girl" (Jack Mix) – 4:58
- "Sea of Sin" (Tonal Mix) – 4:46
Dave Gahan sings lead vocals on all songs except "Sweetest Perfection" (Gahan can also be heard singing in the last chorus) and "Blue Dress", which Martin Gore sings.
Violator (Japan Limited Edition)
This is the rare 1st Japan press of Depeche Mode's Violator 2XCD set. It comes in a fat double CD jewel case with the 12-page lyric inlay booklet, 16-page Japanese insert, "Enjoy the Silence" insert and 40-page 1991 picture calendar. The second edition double CD was fixed and included "Enjoy the Silence (Hands and Feet Mix)" instead the edited Ecstatic Dub Mix.
- "Enjoy the Silence (Single Version)" – 4:17
- "Enjoy the Silence (Ecstatic Dub)" – 5:54
- "Enjoy the Silence (Ecstatic Dub Edit)" – 5:45
- "Sibeling (Single Version)" – 3:13
- "Enjoy the Silence (Bass Line)" – 7:42
- "Enjoy the Silence (Harmonium)" – 2:42
- "Enjoy the Silence (Ricki Tik Tik Mix)" – 5:28
- "Memphisto (Single Version)" – 4:01
- Depeche Mode
- Martin Gore – guitar, keyboards, backing vocals, lead vocals on "Sweetest Perfection" and "Blue Dress"
- Alan Wilder – keyboards, bass guitar on "Clean", programming, drums on "Clean", backing vocals
- Dave Gahan – lead vocals, backing vocals on "Sweetest Perfection", guitar on "Interlude 2 - Crucified"
- Andy Fletcher – vocoder on "Interlude 2 - Crucified"
- Guest musicians
- Nils Tuxen – pedal steel guitar on "Clean"
- Mark "Flood" Ellis – production, mixing on "Enjoy the Silence"
- François Kevorkian – mixing, except "Enjoy the Silence"
- Daniel Miller – mixing on "Enjoy the Silence"
- Pino Pischetola, Peter Iversen, Steve Lyon, Goh Hotoda, Alan Gregorie, Dennis Mitchell, Phil Legg – engineering
- Daryl Bamonte, Dick Meaney, David Browne, Mark Flannery – assistance
|Australian ARIA Albums Chart||42|
|Austrian Albums Chart||4|
|Canadian RPM 100 Albums||5|
|Dutch Mega Album Top 100||15|
|French SNEP Albums Chart||1|
|German Album Top 100||2|
|Hungarian Albums Chart||27|
|Italian FIMI Albums Chart||2|
|Norwegian VG-Lista Albums Chart||12|
|Spanish PROMUSICAE Albums Chart||93|
|Swedish Topplistan Albums Top 60||6|
|Swiss Albums Chart||2|
|UK Albums (OCC)||2|
|US Billboard 200||7|
|Austria (IFPI Austria)||Gold||25,000x|
|Canada (Music Canada)||2× Platinum||200,000^|
|Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)||Platinum||50,000x|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||100,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||3× Platinum||3,000,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
- Cranna, Ian (April 1990), "Insidious", Q magazine: 77
- Maconie, Stuart (17 February 1990). "Sin Machine". NME: pp 34 & 35. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
- Malins, p. 143
- Malins, pp. 143-144
- Malins, pp. 144-145
- Giles, Jeff (12–26 July 1990), "Depeche Mode Interview", Rolling Stone magazine (582/583): 60–65
- Year-end Albums - The Billboard 200 - 1990[dead link]
- Raggett, Ned. Violator (album) at AllMusic. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
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- Lester, Paul (10 March 1990). "Life Support Machine [Violator album review]". Melody Maker.
- Nicholson, Tim (17 March 1990). "Violator album review". Record Mirror.
- "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone (Straight Arrow) (Special Issue). 342) Violator. November 2003. ISSN 0035-791X. Archived from the original on 24 April 2009. Retrieved 12 August 2011.
- "2003 Q Magazine Readers' 100 Greatest Albums Ever". Q (Bauer Media) (198). January 2003. ISSN 0955-4955. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
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- "British album certifications – Depeche Mode – Violator". British Phonographic Industry. Enter Violator 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 – Violator". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
- Malins, Steve. Depeche Mode : A Biography. Andre Deutsch, 2001. ISBN 978-0-233-99430-7