A Broken Frame

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A Broken Frame
A broken frame (Depeche Mode album - cover art).jpg
Studio album by
Released27 September 1982
RecordedDecember 1981–July 1982
StudioBlackwing Studios, 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 band Depeche Mode, released on 27 September 1982 by Mute Records. The album was written entirely by Martin Gore and recorded after the departure of Vince Clarke, who had left to form 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 he had not officially joined yet and does not appear on the album.

Critical reception and legacy[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[1]
The Austin Chronicle2/5 stars[2]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music2/5 stars[3]
Record Mirror3/5 stars[5]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3/5 stars[6]
Smash Hits8/10[7]
Spin Alternative Record Guide4/10[8]

Writing in Smash Hits, Peter Silverton observed that A Broken Frame, in contrast to the group's early post-Vince singles which he thought showed "a lack of purpose", "makes a virtue of their tinkly-bonk whimsy".[9] 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 and electronics genius Vince 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 acknowledges that the group's increasing complexity "sounds less the result of exterior persuasion than an understandable, natural development", although he finally concludes that Depeche Mode remain (in contrast to Clarke's new group Yazoo) "essentially vacuous".[10]

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."[11]

In a retrospective review for Allmusic, Ned Raggett describes 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 adds: "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."[12]

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".[13]

Cover image[edit]

The cover artwork is a photograph, but is intended to resemble a painting. It depicts a woman cutting grain in an East Anglian field, near Duxford in Cambridgeshire. It was taken by Brian Griffin (who had previously made the cover photograph for Speak & Spell and press photos for the band) using a mixture of natural and artificial lighting. Griffin cited as inspirations Ukrainian and Russian art, especially the work of Kazimir Malevich, and German romantic art.[14][15] Griffin has displayed on his website a gallery of alternative images from the same shoot.[16] 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".[17]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Martin Gore.

1982 release: Mute / Stumm 9 (UK)
1."Leave in Silence"4:51
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."A Photograph of You"3:04
9."Shouldn't Have Done That"3:12
10."The Sun & the Rainfall"5:02
1982 release: Sire / 23751 (U.S.)
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
  • 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 re-release[edit]


  • Disc 1 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 2 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]


Selections From A Broken Frame (Vinyl, 12", Promo)
1."Leave In Silence"6:28
2."A Photograph of You"3:04
3."My Secret Garden"4:45
4."Further Excerpts From: My Secret Garden"4:20

All songs were written by Martin Gore.

Charts and certifications[edit]


Depeche Mode

Marsheaux cover version[edit]

A Broken Frame
Marsheaux a broken frame.jpg
Studio album by
Released18 January 2015 (2015-01-18)
LabelUndo Records
Marsheaux chronology
A Broken Frame
Professional ratings
Review scores
Release Magazine6/10 stars[26]

In 2015, the Greek synthpop duo Marsheaux released a complete cover version of A Broken Frame on Undo Records. While the reviewer for Release Magazine wrote that this version was not "anything essential" but well done, other reviews were more detailed.[26] 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".[27] 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.[28][29]


  1. ^ Raggett, Ned. "A Broken Frame – Depeche Mode". AllMusic. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
  2. ^ Gray, Christopher (15 December 2006). "Depeche Mode: Reissues". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  3. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  4. ^ Bergstrom, John (8 November 2006). "A Sleek, Sporty European Roadster: Reconsidering Depeche Mode". PopMatters. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  5. ^ Reid, Jim (25 September 1982). "Frozen frame". Record Mirror. London.
  6. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "Depeche Mode". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 229–30. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  7. ^ Silverton, Peter (30 September 1982). "Depeche Mode: A Broken Frame". Smash Hits. London. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  8. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  9. ^ Silverton, Peter. Smash Hits (30 September 1982).
  10. ^ Sutherland, Steve (25 September 1982). "Depeche Mode: A Broken Frame". Melody Maker
  11. ^ 'DH' (14-27 October 1982). Noise!.
  12. ^ Raggett, Ned. "A Broken Frame - Depeche Mode. Allmusic. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
  13. ^ Maconie, Stuart (17 February 1990). "Sin Machine". NME. pp. 34–35. ISSN 0028-6362. Archived from the original on 4 January 2009. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
  14. ^ Burrows, Tim. "A Broken Frame at 30". The Quietus. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
  15. ^ "Brian Griffin interview". Electricity Club. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
  16. ^ Griffin, Brian. "Album covers: Depeche Mode". Brian Griffin Photography. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
  17. ^ "Featured Album Cover Artist Portfolio – Brian Griffin".
  18. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Depeche Mode – A Broken Frame" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  19. ^ "Discography Depeche Mode". SwedishCharts.com. Retrieved 24 February 2009.
  20. ^ "Depeche Mode | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  21. ^ "Depeche Mode > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 February 2009.
  22. ^ "Discographie Depeche Mode". LesCharts.com. Retrieved 24 February 2009.
  23. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Depeche Mode – A Broken Frame - The 12" Singles" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  24. ^ "Top 100 Albumes – Semana 36: del 31.8.2018 al 6.9.2018" (in Spanish). Productores de Música de España. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  25. ^ "British album certifications – Depeche Mode – A Broken Frame". British Phonographic Industry. Select albums in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type A Broken Frame in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  26. ^ a b Carlsson, Johan. "Marsheaux – A Broken Frame". Release Magazine. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ Reinke, Stefan (10 February 2015). "Marsheaux verpassen Depeche Mode eine Frischzellenkur". Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  29. ^ Karstedt, Jörn. "Marsheaux 'A Broken Frame'". Sonic Seducer. Retrieved 8 November 2016.

External links[edit]