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Monday, September 28, 1998 Published at 09:34 GMT 10:34 UK


Entertainment: New Music Releases

Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode - The Singles 86 -98

The secret of eternal youth is alive and well and living in a bottle in Essex.

It's been 17 long years since Depeche Mode released New Life and, after a plethora of trials, tribulations and near-tragedy, they have opened another fresh chapter.


[ image: Depeche Mode: named after a French fashion magazine]
Depeche Mode: named after a French fashion magazine
When the Basildon Boys first came to power (two years after Maggie had used their town to help cement her own position), Mods were on the way out (again), the Spice Girls had just started school and the American president was concerned with the mere trivialities of world peace and the arms race.

And, of course, no-one expected them to last beyond the make-up and glamour of the new romantic era. But they did - and if you examine their latest clean-cut press photos, shorn of the beards and straggly hair of recent years, you'd swear time had stopped still as you examine your own rapidly ageing facade with ever-growing concern.

The Singles 86-98 is a follow-up to the 81-85 version and while the instant poppiness of youth has been devoured in parts by a more sinister beast, the warm feeling of nostalgia is omnipresent.


[ image: Career began in 1986]
Career began in 1986
Stripped dips its toes into the waters of eroticism and individuality, accompanied by the sounds of the Middle East, A Question of Lust loosely follows the blueprint of The Beatles' Do You Want To Know A Secret, while A Question Of Time and Behind The Wheel bizarrely talk about "little girls".

There are parts of this double dose of Depeche that tend to pass you by, unless you're a Mode manic, but there's also some beauties that make it a necessary purchase.

Enjoy The Silence provides the classic line "words are very unncecessary" (Why Don't You's "switch off the TV" request instantly springs to mind) and 1989's Personal Jesus was the in-yer-face return to form their adoring public had been baying for since Master And Servant.


[ image: DM have survived despite line-up changes]
DM have survived despite line-up changes
Another barren spell followed World In My Eyes as Dave Gahan's drug addiction took its toll on all around him and after surviving a near-death experience, he re-lives his "tortured, twisting mess" in Barrel Of A Gun, which later made a big impression on the dancefloor.

Finally, with the fast-growing Only When I Lose Myself, they've enjoyed their 33rd top 30 hit to wrench victory from the very jaws of defeat and despair.

Not bad for a bunch of Essex boys. Chris Charles



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