Kill Mother Fucking Depeche Mode

Yes, I know that is not really what KMFDM stands for, but this post is not really about them anyway – this post is about Depeche Mode, and how we should decidedly not kill them (we should kill Good Charlotte instead – are they still making music?  I can’t tell you what it is, but something about those guys makes me want to punch them in their mouths).

Depeche Mode is a band I’ve loved for a long time, but as of late mainly for their past work, as I’d all but written them off  in recent years.  Enter Scott, to introduce me to Playing the Angel and Sounds of the Universe, and by Jove, they are damned good albums – perhaps their best bits of work to date.  Erase from your mind what or who you think Depeche Mode are, and go buy these two albums.  I can’t get enough of them.  I’ve woken up with “Precious,” or “A Pain That I’m Used To,” or “Truth Is (You’re Miles Away)” or “Corrupt” in my head every morning for the past two weeks (and this morning I can add another to the list, waking up with “Perfect” – and the song hasn’t left me all day).  And it’s not just catchy hooks and riffs:  they are musically, technically and lyrically very, very good.

I recall my introduction to Depeche Mode, 1990 or so, when my eldest sister brings Violator to my room, and plays first “Personal Jesus,” followed by “Waiting for the Night” (one may argue that part of my particular attachment to Violator is due to sentiment – associating the album with the relationship I had with my departed sister).  Nonetheless, at the time I didn’t really know what to make of it.  “Personal Jesus” was a foreign, but “Waiting for the Night” fascinated.

It would be several years until I really considered myself a fan of the band (I actually have a hard time considering myself a “fan” of any band – but that’s a conversation for another time), but I have since collected a few other albums.  Unfortunately, though they’d done some decent music on the two albums following the near-perfect Violator (I maintain songs four through seven of Violator consist of one of the best mid-album track listings of all time), I never felt Songs of Faith and Devotion or Exciter really captured the, um…goodness (I’m tired and can’t think of an appropriately pretentious word or description) of previous works and I wrote them off as having their best behind them.  Until now.  This has been a reinvention of sorts, which Scott speculates was spurred on by the loss of keyboardist Alan Wilder (among other band problems, not the least of which being Dave Gahan’s heroin addiction and subsequent recovery), who felt that his contributions to the band had been substantially more than the amount respect and credit he received for it.  The process has been long for them, but worth it, in my opinion.  Playing the Angel and Sounds of the Universe, with few exceptions, consist of the things we love about music:   a nice balance of surprise and fulfilled expectation, and a sense of the ineffable come to mind, not to mention being lyrically apropos for my year.

These last two albums are just… good.  Damn.  Good.

P.S.  Please don’t kill Good Charlotte.  No amount of bad music is worth taking a life.

Transitional Phases

My lack of communication (and musical production) can be said, in short, to be on account of yet another transitional phase.  I am currently a bit displaced, having no place of my own to work on music, an appropriate continuation of a year that has thus far has been no less than trying.  In times of great emotional distress, my music suffers.  I wish I could say that I was able to capture the negative energy and turn it into great art, but my mental capacity must be somewhat intact in order to keep it from sounding unsinspired at best, and akin to high school poetry at worst (“The dagger looms above me, I await death,” something like that – any teens out there wishing for a bit of publicity, feel free to submit your work chronicling your agonizing life, as I could use a proper example).  I have gone so far recently as to consider giving up music altogether, but to paraphrase a friend, I don’t dare give it up entirely because it is too much a part of me.  So in spite of it all the album is coming together (at least in my head and in parts actual composition and recording) as a result not only of an emotionally exhausting 2010, but also the sum of experiences over the last several years.  Unfortunately, the earliest I will be able to continue work on Hijacking Your Fiction, and this is hopeful thinking, is November, after my less than triumphant return to the Far East.

Live, or curl up and die on rat-stink kitchen linoleum.

A few changes and notes:

The promised full interview with Culture Shock Lewis will not go up anytime soon, if ever.  At this point it has been over a year and a lot has changed.  I may refer to it on occasion, however, if it suits me to do so, and I may post portions of the interview or restate certain ideas when appropriate.  Although much of what I said remains true, it simply feels dated.  If he feels up to it, perhaps it is time for another go?

I may occasionally post commentary on other musicians, albums and genres as a matter of interest.

I may post production notes, technological bits, software impressions, thoughts on music theory and musicology, and other things I experience or read of audial interest.

More complete album news is coming next, as well as future plans for all things AllThisIsMeaningless.

Address to My Abandoned Fans

Perhaps it is folly to assume I ever had anything of a fanbase to begin with…

Nonetheless, it is time to begin anew.  The last several months have taken their toll (as will be partially explained soon), and as a result I have done little musically, which translates to zero blog time.  Now, however, John (aka MusiM) has somehow pushed me back here and I’ve agreed to a bi-weekly post – monthly being too infrequent, and weekly not giving the perfectionist in me time to be at least moderately satisfied with my words (I have several posts that never got finished which are now irrelevant as a result of obsessive vocabulary and syntax rearrangement symptomatic of a persistent fear of being misunderstood).  I’m hoping that bi-weekly will give me enough time to make each post satisfactory while not giving perfectionism enough time to blossom fully.

Assuming I still have readers and/or listeners, I’ve not abandoned you – I just got a bit lost.  Consider this post one.