Where’s The Revolution

With just one day in the books, Depeche Mode’s new song, Where’s the Revolution, is already stirring criticism from people.

 

I’ve heard comments to the effect of “Why’d they have to go political and socially charged with this song?” and “Why can’t they just stick to making music instead of expressing opinions?”

Obviously, these aren’t life-long fans of Depeche Mode.

Their songwriter Martin L. Gore, has always written explosively powerful lyrics, whether he is writing a tender love song or a socially charged anthem for the ages.

 

You’ve been kept down
You’ve been pushed ’round
You’ve been lied to
You’ve been fed truths
Who’s making your decisions
You or your religion
Your government, your countries
You patriotic junkies

Where’s the revolution
Come on people
You’re letting me down

wheres-the-revolution-depeche-mode

So, let’s rewind for just a moment to the early 1980’s, when Depeche Mode was more synth-pop…

 

Their 1984 album Some Great Reward spawned the religiously criticized, Blasphemous Rumours, the sexually (deviant) suggestive, Master and Servant, as well as the highly popular and still relevant socially charged anthem, People Are People.

 

I can’t understand
What makes a man
Hate another man
Help me understand

 

While doing research for this blog post, I ran across an article from March 1985 in the LA Times about the controversy of Some Great Reward

When asked about the sadomasochistic vibe of the song Master and Servant, (now ex) Depeche Mode member Alan Wilder replied with:

“Strong lyrics are necessary. It doesn’t matter if they bother people. Who wants to hear bland, meaningless lyrics? This band doesn’t do songs like that.”*

Two years after Some Great Reward,  Black Celebration was released, featuring the song New Dress; this was another social and political based song – which sings eerily relevant in these troubled modern times. 

 

You can’t change the world
But you can change the facts
And when you change the facts
You change points of view
If you change points of view
You may change a vote
And when you change a vote
You may change the world

 

The guys did it again in September 1987 with the Music for the Masses single Strangelove, which oozed with more sadomasochistic lyrics. By this time, the guys didn’t need to defend their shocking lyrics anymore, as they were fast becoming one of the most popular synth-pop and electronica bands in the world, helping to form this music style.

 

I’m not trying to say
I’ll have it all my way
I’m always willing to learn
When you’ve got something to teach
And I’ll make it all worthwhile
I’ll make your heart smile
Pain, will you return it?
I’ll say it again, pain

 

Aside from sex and social/political commentary, another focus of songwriter Martin L. Gore’s lyrics is religion.

From a lack of faith to finding a spiritual connection, a good size of the material Gore has written about is spiritual based, especially on the 1993 album, Songs of Faith and Devotion. From the lead track, I Feel You, to Walking in My Shoes, it is a power-packed religious and sexually charged album.

 

But I promise now, my judge and jurors
My intentions couldn’t have been purer
My case is easy to see
I’m not looking for a clearer conscience
Peace of mind after what I’ve been through
And before we talk of any repentance
Try walking in my shoes

 

Thirty-seven years in, Depeche Mode still offers no apologies for the music they make.

 

Bringing it back to the most anticipated follow-up to 2013’s Delta Machine, just drawing from the first early release of the single Where’s the Revolution, I believe the guys are going back to their roots of controversy and passion, as well as their sound, with Spirit.

Where’s the Revolution employs their signature industrial electronica sound, reminscient of their Music for the Masse, with powerful social and politically relevant lyrics. 

Perhaps Gore is a bit of a psychic, as undoubtedly the single was written long before the dawning of the Trump administration and rampant unrest in our world today.

 

You’ve been pissed on
For too long
Your rights abused
Your views refused
They manipulate and threaten
With terror as a weapon
Scare you till you’re stupefied
Wear you down until you’re on their side

Where’s the revolution
Come on people
You’re letting me down

The train is coming
So get on board

 

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, frontman Dave Gahan tells Kory Grow his feelings on Spirit:

“I wouldn’t call this a political album because I don’t listen to music in a political way. But it’s definitely about humanity, and our place in that.”*

I am excited to hear the rest of the Spirit album come March 17, as the lead single Where’s the Revolution will go down in history as another memorable song like People are People; I believe it is bound to become a new anthem for the people with all the social and political injustices going on.

I’m ready to get on board. Are you?

 


depeche-mode-then-now

 

  1. Where’s the Revolution
  2. People are People
  3. New Dress
  4. Blasphemous Rumours
  5. Master and Servant
  6. Strangelove
  7. Walking in My Shoes