Jump to content

A Broken Frame

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A Broken Frame
Studio album by
Released27 September 1982 (1982-09-27)
RecordedDecember 1981 – July 1982
StudioBlackwing (London)
Depeche Mode chronology
Speak & Spell
A Broken Frame
Construction Time Again
Singles from A Broken Frame
  1. "See You"
    Released: 29 January 1982
  2. "The Meaning of Love"
    Released: 26 April 1982
  3. "Leave in Silence"
    Released: 16 August 1982

A Broken Frame is the second studio album by English electronic music band Depeche Mode, released on 27 September 1982 by Mute Records.[1][2] The album was written entirely by Martin Gore and was recorded as a trio after the departure of Vince Clarke, who had left and formed Yazoo with singer Alison Moyet. Alan Wilder was part of a second band tour in the United Kingdom prior to the release of A Broken Frame, but had not officially joined yet and does not appear on the album.

The album reached number eight on the UK Albums Chart and was promoted by the singles "See You", "The Meaning of Love" and "Leave in Silence".


The album is a transition from the lighter and optimistic sound of Speak & Spell and the more heavy and darker sound that formed on their later albums. Daniel Miller recalled that the process of production was quite different from the previous album, stating, "It was almost like a blank sheet of paper, the songs were recorded in a different way because Vince had a very specific idea of what the song was going to end up sounding like, and Martin didn't really have that. It was more like, 'Here's the words, here's the melody. Let's figure it out.'"[3]

However, Miller also believed that "some of the more experimental elements of the band came out in A Broken Frame, which I enjoyed. They were making pop records, but they, especially Martin, were into experimental music and that started to feed into tracks like 'Monument'."[3]

He also said that the instrumental track "Nothing to Fear" gained its title from Martin, who was "reading some weird book during the making of the record, a book of prophecies or something and he looked up his birthdate and it said, 'Nothing to fear.' So that actually ended up being a track title, and it made him very optimistic about the future." Miller also believes that the album "was a transitional record and while it's not their best record, it's hugely important in terms of how it was made and how it gave everybody confidence. It's when people really started believing in the future of the band."[3]

Critical reception and legacy[edit]

Depeche Mode in 1982. Although a member, Alan Wilder (centre-right) did not appear on the album. His first musical contribution would come with the single "Get the Balance Right!"
Professional ratings
Review scores
The Austin Chronicle[5]
The Philadelphia Inquirer[6]
Record Mirror[9]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[10]
Smash Hits8/10[11]
Spin Alternative Record Guide4/10[12]

Smash Hits wrote that A Broken Frame, in contrast to the group's early post-Clarke singles showed "a lack of purpose", "makes a virtue of their tinkly-bonk whimsy".[11] In contrast, Melody Maker wrote that, although "ambitious and bold", "A Broken Frame – as its name suggests – marks the end of a beautiful dream", a comment on the departure of main songwriter Clarke. Reviewer Steve Sutherland considered the songs "daft aspirations to art", the album's musical and thematic "larcenies" sounding like "puerile infatuations papering over anonymity". At the same time, Sutherland acknowledged that the group's increasing complexity "sounds less the result of exterior persuasion than an understandable, natural development", although he finally concluded that Depeche Mode remain (in contrast to Clarke's new group Yazoo) "essentially vacuous".[14]

The comments of Noise! magazine's "DH" (most likely Noise! contributor Dave Henderson) showed greater prescience. "DH" said that the album "falls together well and shows we can expect a lot more from the clean cut quartet", adding "[a]t times it reaches high points far exceeding their first album."[15]

In a retrospective review for AllMusic, Ned Raggett described A Broken Frame as "a notably more ambitious effort than the pure pop/disco of the band's debut", with much of the album "forsaking earlier sprightliness... for more melancholy reflections about love gone wrong". He added: "More complex arrangements and juxtaposed sounds, such as the sparkle of breaking glass in 'Leave in Silence', help give this underrated album even more of an intriguing, unexpected edge."[4]

In 1990, while promoting their album Violator, songwriter Martin Gore lamented parts of the album, saying, "I regret all that sickly boy-next-door stuff of the early days... musically A Broken Frame was a mish-mash".[16]

Cover image[edit]

Despite being a photograph, the cover artwork is intended to resemble a painting. It depicts a woman cutting grain in an East Anglian field, near Duxford, Cambridgeshire. It was taken by Brian Griffin (who had previously taken the cover photograph for Speak & Spell and press photos for the band) using a mixture of natural and artificial lighting. Griffin cited as inspirations the socialist realism of Soviet Russia, especially the work of Kazimir Malevich, and German Romanticism.[17][18] Griffin has displayed on his website a gallery of alternative images from the same shoot.[19] Later releases of the album on vinyl (2007) and compact disc (2009) feature slightly different takes of the shot. It was also featured on the cover of Life's 1990 edition of "World's Best Photographs 1980–1990".[20]


Promotional poster for the album's release, including tour dates

The tour began in October 1982 in Chippenham, England. The jaunt eventually reached 12 countries, which included the group's first shows in Asia, before wrapping up with a one-off festival appearance in Schüttorf, West Germany, in May 1983. A tour in support of the act's subsequent studio release, Construction Time Again, followed in September.

Selected tracks from the 25 October 1982 show at the Hammersmith Odeon in London have been published on the "Get the Balance Right!", "Everything Counts" and "Love, in Itself" limited-edition 12-inch singles, as well as CD reissues.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Martin Gore. All lead vocals by Dave Gahan, except where noted

Side one
No.TitleLead vocalsLength
1."Leave in Silence" 4:51
2."My Secret Garden" 4:46
3."Monument" 3:15
4."Nothing to Fear"instrumental4:18
5."See You" 4:34
Side two
No.TitleLead vocalsLength
6."Satellite" 4:44
7."The Meaning of Love" 3:06
8."A Photograph of You" 3:04
9."Shouldn't Have Done That"
  • Gahan
  • Gore
10."The Sun & the Rainfall" 5:02
Total length:40:52
North American edition
1."Leave in Silence"6:28
2."My Secret Garden"4:46
4."Nothing to Fear"4:18
5."See You"4:34
7."The Meaning of Love"3:06
8."Further Excerpts From: My Secret Garden"4:20
9."A Photograph of You"3:04
10."Shouldn't Have Done That"3:12
11."The Sun & the Rainfall"5:02
Total length:46:49
  • Some original US CD copies of the album tacked the intro of "The Sun & the Rainfall" onto the end of "Shouldn't Have Done That", making the duration of "The Sun & the Rainfall" 4:54.
  • Dave Gahan sings lead vocals on all songs except "Shouldn't Have Done That" which is a duet with Gore. "Nothing to Fear" and "Further Excerpts From: My Secret Garden" are instrumental.

2006 Collectors Edition (CD + DVD)[edit]

  • Disc one is a hybrid SACD/CD with a multi-channel SACD layer. The track listing is identical to the 1982 UK release, except "Satellite" which is 4:43 long and contains a slight edit, or error, at the beginning of the track.
  • Disc two is a DVD which includes A Broken Frame in DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 and PCM Stereo plus bonus material.
Bonus tracks (in DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1, PCM Stereo)
11."My Secret Garden" (live at the Hammersmith Odeon, 25 October 1982)7:28
12."See You" (live at the Hammersmith Odeon, 25 October 1982)4:11
13."Satellite" (live at the Hammersmith Odeon, 25 October 1982)4:28
14."Nothing to Fear" (live at the Hammersmith Odeon, 25 October 1982)4:28
15."The Meaning of Love" (live at the Hammersmith Odeon, 25 October 1982)3:14
16."A Photograph of You" (live at the Hammersmith Odeon, 25 October 1982)3:21
Bonus tracks (in PCM Stereo)
17."Now, This Is Fun"3:27
18."Oberkorn (It's a Small Town)"4:07
19."Excerpt From: My Secret Garden"3:14

Additional material

  1. "Depeche Mode: 1982 (The Beginning of Their So-Called Dark Phase)" (27-minute video)


Credits adapted from the liner notes of A Broken Frame.[21]

Depeche Mode[edit]



  • Brian Griffin – photography
  • Martyn Atkins – design
  • Ching Ching Lee – calligraphy


1982–1983 chart performance for A Broken Frame
Chart (1982–1983) Peak
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[22] 56
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[23] 43
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[24] 22
UK Albums (OCC)[25] 8
UK Independent Albums (MRIB)[26] 1
US Billboard 200[27] 177
2006 chart performance for A Broken Frame
Chart (2006) Peak
French Albums (SNEP)[28] 194
Italian Albums (FIMI)[29] 88


Certifications for A Broken Frame
Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[30] Gold 100,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Marsheaux cover version[edit]

A Broken Frame
Studio album by
Released18 January 2015 (2015-01-18)
Marsheaux chronology
A Broken Frame
Professional ratings
Review scores
Release Magazine[31]

In 2015, Greek synth-pop duo Marsheaux released a complete cover version of A Broken Frame on Undo Records. Release Magazine wrote that this version was not "anything essential" but well done.[31] The Electricity Club found influences of And One in the cover of "The Sun & the Rainfall" and concluded that Marsheaux had "used unconventional sounds and vocals to make this record their own".[32] Reviews from Germany noted that Marsheaux had elaborated on the assets and downsides of the original release. According to Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, the kitschy sides of the early Depeche Mode album were deliberately uncovered in tracks like "The Meaning of Love", while the Sonic Seducer lauded Marsheaux's darker and slower interpretation of this song.[33][34]


  1. ^ "Depeche frame up" (PDF). Record Mirror. 18 September 1982. p. 8. ISSN 0144-5804 – via World Radio History.
  2. ^ "A Broken Frame". DM Archives. Retrieved 27 September 2022.
  3. ^ a b c Blanning, Lisa (26 March 2013). ""It's almost too personal": Daniel Miller contemplates the Depeche Mode catalogue". Electronic Beats. Retrieved 1 July 2023.
  4. ^ a b Raggett, Ned. "A Broken Frame – Depeche Mode". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  5. ^ Gray, Christopher (15 December 2006). "Depeche Mode: Reissues". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  6. ^ Lloyd, Jack (14 January 1983). "Albums". The Philadelphia Inquirer. ISSN 0885-6613.
  7. ^ Bergstrom, John (8 November 2006). "A Sleek, Sporty European Roadster: Reconsidering Depeche Mode". PopMatters. Archived from the original on 13 November 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  8. ^ Sutcliffe, Phil (March 1997). "Personal? Jesus!". Q. No. 126. London. p. 69. ISSN 0955-4955.
  9. ^ Reid, Jim (25 September 1982). "Frozen frame". Record Mirror. London. p. 23. ISSN 0144-5804.
  10. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "Depeche Mode". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster. pp. 229–30. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  11. ^ a b Silverton, Peter (30 September – 13 October 1982). "Depeche Mode: A Broken Frame". Smash Hits. Vol. 4, no. 20. London. p. 25. ISSN 0260-3004. Retrieved 14 August 2017 – via Depeche Mode Press File.
  12. ^ Sheffield, Rob (1995). "Depeche Mode". In Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig (eds.). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. pp. 108–09. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  13. ^ Dalton, Stephen (May 2001). "Enjoy the Silence: 20 Years of Depeche Mode Albums". Uncut. No. 48. London. p. 66. ISSN 1368-0722.
  14. ^ Sutherland, Steve (25 September 1982). "Depeche Mode: A Broken Frame". Melody Maker. London. ISSN 0025-9012.
  15. ^ DH (14–27 October 1982). "Depeche Mode: A Broken Frame". Noise!.
  16. ^ Maconie, Stuart (17 February 1990). "Sin Machine". NME. London. pp. 34–35. ISSN 0028-6362. Archived from the original on 4 January 2009. Retrieved 22 October 2011 – via Sacred DM.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  17. ^ Burrows, Tim (27 September 2012). "A Broken Frame at 30". The Quietus. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
  18. ^ Ming Lai, Chi (7 May 2014). "TEC003 Preview: A Short Conversation with Brian Griffin". Electricity Club. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
  19. ^ Griffin, Brian. "Album covers: Depeche Mode". Brian Griffin Photography. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
  20. ^ "Featured Album Cover Artist Portfolio – Brian Griffin". Album Cover Hall of Fame. 27 June 2013.
  21. ^ A Broken Frame (liner notes). Depeche Mode. Mute Records. 1982. STUMM 9.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  22. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Depeche Mode – A Broken Frame" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  23. ^ "Charts.nz – Depeche Mode – A Broken Frame". Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  24. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Depeche Mode – A Broken Frame". Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  25. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  26. ^ Lazell, Barry (1997). "Depeche Mode". Indie Hits 1980–1989: The Complete U.K. Independent Charts (Singles & Albums). Cherry Red Books. ISBN 0-95172-069-4. Archived from the original on 5 February 2009. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  27. ^ "Depeche Mode Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  28. ^ "Lescharts.com – Depeche Mode – A Broken Frame". Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  29. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Depeche Mode – A Broken Frame". Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
  30. ^ "British album certifications – Depeche Mode – A Broken Frame". British Phonographic Industry. 30 August 1983. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  31. ^ a b Carlsson, Johan (28 February 2015). "Marsheaux – A Broken Frame". Release Magazine. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  32. ^ Goss, Monika Izabela (29 January 2015). "Marsheaux A Broken Frame". The Electricity Club. Archived from the original on 9 November 2016. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  33. ^ Reinke, Stefan (10 February 2015). "Marsheaux verpassen Depeche Mode eine Frischzellenkur". Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). Archived from the original on 26 March 2015. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  34. ^ Karstedt, Jörn. "Marsheaux 'A Broken Frame'". Sonic Seducer (in German). Archived from the original on 23 July 2018. Retrieved 3 May 2022.

External links[edit]