In retrospect Depeche Mode comes off as terribly dated music — let’s not kid ourselves. But with the existing retro synth/eighties trend of the past few years, that works in the Mode’s favor, and none more so than their1987 album Music For The Masses. I came on board as a fan with the it’s follow-up, Violator, which also brought the band mainstream success in the form of a slew of Mtv-ready videos and promo spots. After digesting Violater I worked my way backwards and came to know Music For The Masses, which I received a reissue of a couple of weeks ago (complete with additional notes/photos/packaging//DVD w/ b-sides/etc).How does the album hold up fifteen years after I first heard it? Actually, very well in all it’s painfully awkward glory. I can’t say I didn’t wince re-visiting the lyrics: “make my heart smile(??)” but then again no one ever accused Gahan and company of being master lyricists.The extras, while nice, will mostly appeal to the already converted fan — personally, the big win here is the improved sound which for electro-synth based music is absolutely essential.
Note: Rhino has also released a re-issue of the Violater album which I have yet to hear, but would expect similar results.