Paper Monsters

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Paper Monsters
Studio album by
Released2 June 2003
StudioElectric Lady (New York City)
ProducerKen Thomas
Dave Gahan chronology
Paper Monsters
Singles from Paper Monsters
  1. "Dirty Sticky Floors"
    Released: 26 May 2003
  2. "I Need You"
    Released: 18 August 2003
  3. "Bottle Living" / "Hold On"
    Released: 27 October 2003

Paper Monsters is the debut solo studio album by English singer Dave Gahan. It was released on 2 June 2003 in the United Kingdom by Mute Records and the following day in North America by Reprise Records.

Background and release[edit]

The album was produced by Ken Thomas, known for his work with Icelandic band Sigur Rós. Upon its debut, critical reception was generally mixed; while many complimented the album's personal subject matter, others described it as lacking depth. Paper Monsters debuted at number 36 on the UK Albums Chart, while reaching the top 10 in Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. In North America, the album was released on 3 June 2003. In March 2004, Gahan released the live video album Live Monsters, containing footage from his concert on 5 July 2003 at the Olympia in Paris.

Gahan first played with the idea of releasing a solo album after the release of Depeche Mode's Exciter in 2001, but approached the project slowly. It was not until he began writing music with friend and musician Knox Chandler that he gained the self-confidence he needed to begin to consider working on an album of his own material.


The album spawned three singles. "Dirty Sticky Floors", the lead single from the album, became Gahan's most successful solo release, reaching number 18 on the UK Singles Chart and the top 10 in Germany and Italy. Its remixes were also promoted in US dance clubs, and peaked within the top five of the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart.

The second single, "I Need You", was a ballad based around a synth and drum arrangement, which reached number 27 in the UK and number five on the US dance chart.

The third and final single was "Bottle Living" / "Hold On", a double A-side, meaning that two songs were released on the same single. The single continued the album's string of top-40 singles, reaching number 36 in the UK.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
BBC MusicPositive[3]
The Guardian[7][8]
Slant Magazine[10]

Paper Monsters received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 79, based on nine reviews.[2]

In a review for BBC Music, Kate Lawrence called Paper Monsters "an assured debut" with "surprising depth". She was impressed by Gahan's vocals on the track "Hidden Houses", which she called "deliciously devilish and angelic in equal measure" and said that it "demonstrates a vocal range rarely seen in the Mode back catalogue".[3] Slant Magazine echoed Lawrence's review for BBC Music, calling the album a "competent solo debut" with "murky rock grooves and throaty vocals".[10]

However, Pitchfork reviewer Michael Idov was less impressed with the album and wrote that its personal subject matter made for a "faintly embarrassing listen". Idov criticised Gahan's lyrics stating that his "vocal can still elevate the dumbest lyric to the level of a cathartic mantra, a skill that comes handy in the absence of Martin Gore".[9] AllMusic reviewer Don Kline called Paper Monsters "a mix of swampy blues-injected rock, slick urban electronica, and atmospheric balladry" and gave it three out of five stars. He also stated that "although it doesn't stray too far from the Depeche mould, Gahan does manage to put his own stamp on the songs".[1]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Dave Gahan and Knox Chandler

1."Dirty Sticky Floors"3:32
2."Hold On"4:17
3."A Little Piece"5:10
4."Bottle Living"3:31
5."Black and Blue Again"5:41
7."I Need You"4:45
8."Bitter Apple"5:59
9."Hidden Houses"5:01

Limited edition bonus DVD[edit]

  1. A Short Film
  2. "Dirty Sticky Floors" music video
  3. Exclusive B-roll footage from the "Dirty Sticky Floors" video shoot
  4. "Hold On" (exclusive New York acoustic performance)
  5. "A Little Piece" (exclusive New York acoustic performance)
  6. Exclusive B-roll footage from the New York acoustic performance
  7. Photo gallery


Credits adapted from the liner notes of Paper Monsters.[11]



  • Ken Thomas – production, mixing
  • Jonathan Adler – recording engineering
  • Jack Clark – mix engineering
  • Mike Marsh – mastering


  • Anton Corbijn – photography, art direction
  • Four5One Creative – design


Certifications and sales[edit]

Certifications and sales for Paper Monsters
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Germany 100,000[32]
Russia (NFPF)[33] Gold 10,000*
United States 39,000[34]
Worldwide 350,000[32]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.

Release history[edit]

Release history for Paper Monsters
Region Date Edition Label Catalogue
United Kingdom 2 June 2003 Standard Mute CDSTUMM216
Limited (CD+DVD) LCDSTUMM 216
North America 3 June 2003 Standard Reprise 48471
Limited (CD+DVD) 48492


  1. ^ a b c Kline, Don. "Paper Monsters – Dave Gahan". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  2. ^ a b c "Paper Monsters by Dave Gahan Reviews and Tracks". Metacritic. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  3. ^ a b Lawrence, Kate (3 June 2003). "BBC Review of Dave Gahan – Paper Monsters". BBC Music. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  4. ^ Blender review[dead link]
  5. ^ Shaeffer, Rowan. "Dave Gahan: Paper Monsters". Counterculture. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  6. ^ "Dave Gahan – Paper Monsters". Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  7. ^ Sweeting, Adam (30 May 2003). "Dave Gahan: Paper Monsters". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  8. ^ Schuh, Michael. "Sanfte Solo-Vorstellung des Depeche Mode-Sängers" (in German). Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  9. ^ a b Idov, Michael (24 July 2003). "Dave Gahan: Paper Monsters album review". Pitchfork. Retrieved 10 May 2003.
  10. ^ a b Blanford, Roxanne (9 August 2003). "Dave Gahan: Paper Monsters music review". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  11. ^ Paper Monsters (liner notes). Dave Gahan. Mute Records. 2003. CDSTUMM216.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  12. ^ " – Dave Gahan – Paper Monsters" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  13. ^ " – Dave Gahan – Paper Monsters" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  14. ^ " – Dave Gahan – Paper Monsters" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  15. ^ "Oficiální česká hitparáda IFPI ČR – 24. týden 2003". Marketing & Media (in Czech). 13 June 2003. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  16. ^ " – Dave Gahan – Paper Monsters". Hung Medien. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  17. ^ "European Top 100 Albums" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 21, no. 27. 28 June 2003. p. 13. OCLC 29800226 – via World Radio History.
  18. ^ "Dave Gahan: Paper Monsters" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  19. ^ " – Dave Gahan – Paper Monsters". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  20. ^ " – Dave Gahan – Paper Monsters" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  21. ^ "Top 50 Ξένων Άλμπουμ" [Top 50 Foreign Albums] (in Greek). IFPI Greece. 14–21 July 2003. Archived from the original on 6 August 2003. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  22. ^ "Album Top 40 slágerlista – 2003. 25. hét" (in Hungarian). MAHASZ. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  23. ^ " – Dave Gahan – Paper Monsters". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  24. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLiS - Official Retail Sales Chart". OLiS. Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  25. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  26. ^ Salaverrie, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Madrid: Fundación Autor/SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  27. ^ " – Dave Gahan – Paper Monsters". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  28. ^ " – Dave Gahan – Paper Monsters". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  29. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  30. ^ "Dave Gahan Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  31. ^ "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts – 2003" (in German). Offizielle Deutsche Charts. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  32. ^ a b Sexton, Paul (21 February 2004). "Playing for the World". Billboard. Vol. 116, no. 8. p. 51. ISSN 0006-2510 – via Google Books.
  33. ^ "Russian album certifications – Dave Gahan – Paper Monster" (in Russian). National Federation of Phonogram Producers (NFPF). Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  34. ^ Caulfield, Keith (29 October 2003). "Ask Billboard: Place Your Depeche Bets". Billboard. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2019.

External links[edit]