Songs of Faith and Devotion

I’m running a couple of weeks behind on classic albums again. Today I’m catching up by listening to Depeche Mode’s 1993 album Songs of Faith and Devotion.

Some Historical Context

Depeche Mode are very much my era. Their first singles came out in 1980 – when I was eighteen. But while I’ve always really liked them, I’ve only ever considered them a singles band – albeit a great singles band. The only albums I’ve ever owned by them have been compilations.

In the mid-80s I had some friends who were big fans and who played their newest albums incessantly. So Black Celebration and Music for the Masses are probably the only of their albums that I know well.

A little-known Depeche Mode fact for you. There’s a bar dedicated to them in Tallinn where they play their music constantly. If you’re ever in the city, I recommend a visit.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard this album all the way through. But I certainly recognise some of the titles from my compilations.

The rest of this blog post will be written as I listen to the album.

The Songs

1. I Feel You

We start with one that I know well. This must have been a single. It’s pretty standard Depeche Mode fare. But that means it’s really rather good.

2. Walking in My Shoes

Another one that I know well. I like this even more than the last one. This is definitely a band who are at the peak of their game.

3. Condemnation

I think they must be front-loading all the singles on this album as I recognise this too. This is one of their slower numbers. I don’t like it quite as much as the previous two.

4. Mercy in You

This is the first song that is new to me. It’s ok, but I can understand why the previous three would be chosen as singles above this one. Or perhaps it’s just my familiarity with the singles that makes me think they are better.

5. Judas

We’re now a couple of songs away from the comfort of stuff that I know well and I’m starting to get the first niggle that it might all be a bit similar. Not that it’s bad. Or even that it’s dull. I’m just not sure that it will hold my interest for the whole album. Oh, the instrumental bit that runs for the last 90 or so seconds is very nice.

6. In Your Room

And we’re back with the singles. Another one that I know and love. This was a very single-heavy album.

7. Get Right with Me

Another one that I’m hearing for the first time. Nothing that really grabs me here.

8. Rush

This is good. A little more going on than some of the other songs on the album.

9. One Caress

Ooh, strings. We like a bit of strings. Very nice. Yes, that was really good.

10. Higher Love

I like this one too. Pretty typical stuff, but it has a couple of nice little hooks.

In Summary

I said at the start that I always considered Depeche Mode to be a singles band. Listening to a whole album hasn’t really changed that opinion. It’s all good stuff, but the singles are head and shoulders above the other tracks. I can’t see myself rushing out to buy a load of Depeche Mode albums, but I’d definitely consider listening to this one a few more times.

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