Re:Collection #002: Violator - Depeche Mode
Good to see that my friend Kevin Helas took up the baton of giving a bit more information about his choices in the album game rather than just the covers. Cheers Kevin! In his 3rd selection (already 1 ahead of me!) he chose The Stone Roses 1989 debut album with the comment "game changer!" which by coincidence was my thoughts about my next selection with came out only a few months later in March 1990.
Depeche Mode's Violator marked a bit of a recovery from a sequence of albums that were generally described by critics as "OK". Single releases generally did pretty well, and in a time when a even top 20 slot required quite a large number of weekly sales, but albums could be a bit so-so even speaking as a fan.
While not quite a niche act Depeche Mode hadn't really crossed over in to widespread appeal despite being well liked and recognised as influential on the burgeoning electronic scenes in Europe and America.
However, even 30 years later Violator is still quite likely to appear in many best album lists.
Violator also marked the transition of lead singer Dave Gahan from slightly awkward looking front man to full on Rock Jesus image - with accompanying drug abuse issues which would culminate in his near death a couple of years later. In fact the band had a party attitude so hard that tour support Primal Scream claimed they couldn’t keep up.
For me, this is always intrinsically linked with the follow up album Songs of Faith and Devotion and marked an important crossover period in my life as the two were released either side of my move from Edinburgh to London. I have very fond if slightly hazy memories of the Devotional Tour gig at Crystal Palace on 31st July 1993.
As a fan of the band from almost the beginning, Violator is still the Depeche Mode album that I return to the most, and it features the single Enjoy The Silence - possibly one of my favourite tracks of all time.
Other notes: Around this time I got my first pair of glasses, so Violator reminds me of rediscovering that trees have actual leaves rather than just green blobby bits on them. Another album I loved at this time was Pretty Hate Machine by Nine Inch Nails - played it to death! Which also leads me to mention my cousin Derek Brien who is largely responsible for my formative musical tastes including first introductions to (among others) Blondie, Duran Duran, Japan, Talk Talk, and the aforementioned Depeche Mode and Nine Inch Nails - some of which I am sure he will be reluctant to take credit for. Nonetheless, without him I wouldn't have the amazing musical taste I have today ;)