Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Black Celebration on a Green Day.

25 years ago today, Mute records released Depeche Mode's 5th album. It was aptly titled 'Black Celebration' for it's dark and haunting sound. Collectively different from their other pre-poppy sounding stuff. Yet, in terms of pop music, the only cross over song that had any radio play in the early eighties was People are People. When you heard Celebration for the first time, one of two things happened. You either instantly connected with it, or you hated it. It was just that simple.

So, as one of the most devoted Devotees on the planet, I am going to tell you that I hated it. Yup. This die hard Moder could not connect at first. My best friend back then, was really into them. More so than I was at the time. I gravitated more towards disco and a happier, dancier new wave sound. I had really liked DM's stuff up until that point.

The first time my friend played it (on cassette), we were driving down to Seaside Heights. It was about a 2 hour drive on the Parkway. Loading up the music for the drive down was very important, if not the most important next to a full tank of gas. We had every band of the 80's era packed up & ready to make the trip with us.

When you listen to the opening track, Black Celebration, it is a drawn out keyboard melody that risks putting one to sleep. When it eventually picks up, it continues to sound tragic. The lyrics are confusing, yet deep. The song tracks run into each other, and that dark sound continues throughout the entire record.

Listen to it over & over, to see what happens. You become engrossed in the lyrics, enamored with the sound and dancing to it at a slower pace. You fall in love with this record, starting with the cover, the intro, all the way to the last song, But Not Tonight. Can you ask for a more beautiful, melodic song to close such a dark record with?

I don't know what these guys were thinking at the time of recording, but, it worked. BC has sold 4,400,000 times & still counting. It defined their future sound and solidified their place in the world of 'new' music.

Needless to say, Black Celebration became and remains my all time favorite DM album of all time. I have followed them for over 25 years and my love for them remains the same. Talk to any fan of Depeche Mode & you will feel the passion come through. Talk to me & I will show you my music collection, my license plates, t-shirts & tattoo. Yes, folks. For me it is that serious.

In closing, the lesson learned was to give everything a fair chance. You just never know who or what will sweep you off your feet.

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