Exciter (album)

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Exciter
Depeche Mode - Exciter.png
Studio album by
Released14 May 2001 (2001-05-14)
RecordedJune 2000 – February 2001
Studio
Length56:40
LabelMute
ProducerMark Bell
Depeche Mode chronology
Ultra
(1997)
Exciter
(2001)
Playing the Angel
(2005)
Singles from Exciter
  1. "Dream On"
    Released: 23 April 2001
  2. "I Feel Loved"
    Released: 30 July 2001
  3. "Freelove"
    Released: 11 November 2001
  4. "Goodnight Lovers"
    Released: 11 February 2002
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic65/100[1]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[2]
Alternative Press4/5[3]
Entertainment WeeklyB−[4]
The Guardian4/5 stars[5]
NME8/10[6]
Pitchfork5.5/10[7]
Q2/5 stars[8]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[9]
Spin5/10[10]
USA Today3.5/4 stars[11]

Exciter is the tenth studio album by English electronic music band Depeche Mode. It was first released on 14 May 2001 in the United Kingdom by Mute Records and a day later in the United States by Reprise Records. The album was produced by Mark Bell, and was supported by the Exciter Tour, one of the band's most successful tours.

Exciter debuted at number nine on the UK Albums Chart and number eight on the Billboard 200, selling 115,000 copies in its first week in the United States.[12] It was the only Depeche Mode album to debut higher in the United States than in the United Kingdom. As of April 2006, Exciter had sold over 426,000 copies in the US,[13] and has been certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA);[14] it has also been certified gold in Canada for shipments of 50,000 units.[15]

The plant that appears on the cover is the Agave attenuata, a species of agave sometimes known as the "lion's tail", "swan's neck", or "foxtail" for its development of a curved stem, unusual among agaves.

Background and composition[edit]

Lyrically, the album covers many different subjects. Martin Gore said that "The Dead of Night" was inspired by a club in London where there were a lot of drugs and mayhem. Gore told MTV Europe that "I Feel Loved" is about when you "feel absolutely like shit, and you feel the worst you've ever felt in your life. Then somehow you think: 'the universe must like me, for making me feel like this'".[16]

Musically, Exciter can be described as a very atmospheric and electronic album. Gore had stated that he had been listening to more abstract electronic music in the lead up to recording Exciter, which could have influenced some of the more experimental soundscapes on the album. The group also often cited producer Mark Bell as a major inspiration in the making of Exciter as Gahan states that Mark Bell helped make him a more confident vocalist.[17] On top of the electronic soundscapes, Depeche Mode also added elements of traditional blues, retro funk, progressive rock, and orchestral pop to its arrangements.[18] Bell told Keyboard Magazine that they treated the acoustic and electronic sounds on the track "Dream On" the same. Gore felt that many songs of the album including "When The Body Speaks" have a 50s or 60s sound to them. "Comatose" was massively stripped down from the original demo since the band wanted a more minimalistic arrangement. "Freelove" was one of the final tracks to be completed on the album.

Reception[edit]

Exciter received generally positive reviews. While many critics praised the album's experimental and digital soundscapes, many felt it was one of the weakest Depeche Mode albums.

In a positive review, NME wrote that "Not many long-running groups could make an album this fresh and confident in their 20th year, never mind one which bridges timeless soulman crooning and underground techno". Rolling Stone also complimented the album's minimal arrangements comparing them to early Kraftwerk. The A.V. Club also complimented Mark Bell's production on the album stating that "Bell's subtle, inventive knob-twiddling pairs perfectly with Martin Gore's new batch of somber, subdued songs".

In contrast, Q Magazine was much more negative in their interpretation of the project writing that "This time it's Martin Gore who's out of puff. No amount of fashionable tweaking can hide the flimsiness of his offerings".

Despite some mixed reviews, Exciter still appeared on several EOY 2001 lists such as Magic, MusikExpress, Rocksound, Rumba, Visions, and Woxy.

Accolades[edit]

Publication Accolade Year Rank
Magic Top Albums of 2001 2001 10[19]
Musikexpress Top Albums of 2001 2001 32[20]
Rocksound Top 50 Albums of 2001 2001 47[21]
Rumba Top Albums of 2001 2001 19[22]
Visions Top Albums of 2001 2001 15[23]
Woxy Top Albums of 2001 2001 34[24]

Re-release[edit]

On 2 October 2007 (3 October in North America), Exciter was re-released as a two-disc set, along with Ultra, in the fourth and final set of Depeche Mode reissues. The first disc was a remastered version of the original, on an SACD/CD hybrid (only a CD in the US). The second disc is a DVD which features the album in DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 and PCM Stereo. The B-sides from Exciter as well as the single version of "Freelove" are included. There are also audio versions of all the live Exciter tracks played during the One Night in Paris film.

Like the other reissues, there is a documentary on the making of Exciter titled Depeche Mode 1999–2001 (Presenting the Intimate and Delicate Side of Depeche Mode). The documentary begins with the talks of Gore's writer's block and what they did about it. It also discusses the first three singles, the recording, the cover art and the Exciter tour (including one of the opening acts, Fad Gadget). The documentary is around 30 minutes long. The three members of the band are interviewed along with Daniel Miller, Christian Eigner, Peter Gordeno, Anton Corbijn, and Mute label representatives. The documentary ends with a "To Be Continued..."

Producer Mark Bell does not appear, and although they discuss the fact that the band decided not to have Corbijn direct Exciter's music videos, they do not interview the two who did direct them. However, John Hillcoat, who directed "I Feel Loved", "Freelove" and "Goodnight Lovers", is mentioned in passing.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Martin L. Gore.

No.TitleLength
1."Dream On"4:19
2."Shine"5:32
3."The Sweetest Condition"3:42
4."When the Body Speaks"6:01
5."The Dead of Night"4:50
6."Lovetheme"2:02
7."Freelove"6:10
8."Comatose"3:24
9."I Feel Loved"4:20
10."Breathe"5:17
11."Easy Tiger"2:05
12."I Am You"5:10
13."Goodnight Lovers"3:48
Total length:56:40

2007 Collectors Edition CD + DVD[edit]

  • Disc one is a hybrid SACD/CD with a multi-channel SACD layer.
  • Disc two is a DVD which includes "Exciter" in DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 and PCM Stereo plus bonus material
  1. "Dream On" – 4:19
  2. "Shine" – 5:32
  3. "The Sweetest Condition" – 3:42
  4. "When the Body Speaks" – 6:01
  5. "The Dead of Night" – 4:50
  6. "Lovetheme" – 2:02
  7. "Freelove" – 6:10
  8. "Comatose" – 3:24
  9. "I Feel Loved" – 4:20
  10. "Breathe" – 5:17
  11. "Easy Tiger" – 2:05
  12. "I Am You" – 5:10
  13. "Goodnight Lovers" – 3:48

Live in Paris, October 2001 (in DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1, PCM Stereo):

  1. "The Dead of Night"
  2. "The Sweetest Condition"
  3. "Dream On"
  4. "When the Body Speaks"
  5. "Breathe"
  6. "Freelove"

Bonus tracks (in PCM Stereo):

  1. "Easy Tiger" (Full Version)
  2. "Dirt" (cover of a song written and performed by The Stooges)
  3. "Freelove" (Flood Mix) [not listed on the back cover]
  4. "Zenstation"
  5. "When the Body Speaks" (Acoustic)

Additional material:

  1. Depeche Mode 1999–2001 (Presenting the Intimate and Delicate Side of Depeche Mode) – 30:00
  2. End Credits – 2:23

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Exciter.[25]

Depeche Mode[edit]

Additional musicians[edit]

Technical[edit]

  • Mark Bell – production
  • Gareth Jones – engineering, pre-production, additional production
  • Paul Freegard – pre-production, additional production
  • Steve Fitzmaurice – mixing
  • Boris Aldridge – engineering assistance
  • Andrew Davies – engineering assistance
  • Andrew Griffiths – engineering assistance
  • Nick Sevilla – engineering assistance
  • Lisa Butterworth – engineering assistance
  • Jonathan Adler – engineering assistance
  • Alissa Myhowich – engineering assistance
  • James Chang – engineering assistance
  • Mike Marsh – mastering

Artwork[edit]

  • Anton Corbijn – photography, cover art, art direction
  • Form – design

Charts[edit]

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Austria (IFPI Austria)[59] Gold 20,000*
Belgium (BEA)[60] Gold 25,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[15] Gold 50,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[61] Gold 15,450[61]
France (SNEP)[62] Gold 100,000*
Germany (BVMI)[63] Platinum 300,000^
Italy 150,000[64]
Poland (ZPAV)[65] Gold 50,000*
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[66] Gold 50,000^
Sweden (GLF)[67] Gold 40,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[68] Gold 20,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[69] Gold 100,000*
United States (RIAA)[14] Gold 500,000^
Summaries
Europe (IFPI)[70] Platinum 1,000,000*
Worldwide 3,000,000[64]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  4. ^ Morgan, Laura (8 July 2001). "Exciter". Entertainment Weekly. No. 599. New York. Archived from the original on 15 April 2019. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
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External links[edit]