Anybody who’s anybody knows who Depeche Mode is! This is a band that not only has a cult following (me included) but enough staying power to have lasted over three decades. Over those three decades they have produced incredible and iconic songs which include “Personal Jesus” and “Strangelove” to name a very, very few.
With the popularity of Depeche Mode being as immense as it is, it was only inevitable that other bands would eventually do cover songs. These cover songs range from rock ballads to electrictropop dance and even death metal grinders. Some of these remakes are very good in their own right doing justice to an already great song. However, there are some, many in fact, that fall a little flat. As a matter of fact, they offend hard-core Depeche Mode fans, such as myself, to a point where a jagged knife and a cup of lemon juice cannot take my mind off the sheer pain that some of these bands have caused me over the years.
Here is a short list of some of the best and worst Depeche Mode songs that have ever been covered. These are my opinions and my opinions only so please be gentle dear commenters. I have been a Depeche Mode fan my entire life and I have reserved the right to these opinions.
This quintessential Depeche Mode song was released in 1989 as the first single to their Violator album. If you know no other Depeche Mode song then this is the song that you should know. As a matter fact, this is the most covered song from Depeche Mode that resulted in positive feedback. The first popular cover was done by none other than famed shock rocker, Marilyn Manson. His high-intensity cover is one of the best I have ever heard. He sticks with the original beat and tempo and emphasizes an already spectacular drumbeat.
From one extreme to another, the next Personal Jesus cover is performed by the legendary Johnny Cash. Though I’m not entirely sure Johnny understood the meaning of the song ,what is unique about Johnny’s version is that he gave it his own personal meaning making the song feel completely different. And though Depeche Mode made many remakes for their singles including an acoustic version of this song, I believe that Johnny Cash’s version is by far one of the best. Who else can turn a synth pop song around and make it sound country? Fans of both are not disappointed with this one.
Sounds naughty doesn’t it? However, that was not the band’s intentions at all. Though the song appears to be very erotic, it is actually speaking about mental shedding and instead of stripping your clothes, it is supposed to be stripping away your mind. Even with this explanation, many bands who perform covers of this song usually accentuate the sensual lyrics. One band that does this is Rammstein, a popular German band who appeared early on in The Matrix soundtrack with “Du Hast”. Using their own explosive sound, they turned “Stripped” into a pumped up, head banger! For the purposes of this post, I had to use the concert version since the original video is a bit… fleshy.
Enjoy the Silence
Depeche Mode’s Violator album has produced such great tracks that almost all of them have been covered at least once….and I’ve heard a lot of them. The Italian goth band Lacuna Coil covered this great Violator song for their album Karmacode in 2006. I like the fact that even though the song is more punked out, the lyrics are still sung very beautifully making sure to keep with the quality of the original.
For those of you who are Susan Boyle fans..I’m sorry for this next one. I am open-minded and I think she has a great voice, but even this song is far too slow for “Enjoy the Silence”. I never imagined it to be easy-listening before and I do not want to really.
One of my all time favorite songs! “Strangelove” has been remade numerous times and the audio track has been borrowed for many pop songs such as Infernal’s “I Won’t Be Crying”. It is sometimes hard to differentiate between good covers and bad ones since some either completely redo the original or they don’t even come close to it. Bat For Lashes did one such song that remains faithful to the original, but it’s hard for me to like it personally. It was done for a Gucci ad and..well…here it is.
For some reason, there are a lot of Depeche Mode fans in the heavy metal scene. Nevergreen’s version is heavy but keeps the same tone as the original. To be honest, I actually like this version a little because it doesn’t deviate from the tune of the original but the vocals do not thrill me as much as they could.
Well, I think I have educated you enough for one blog. I do intend to continue with this since there are SO many Depeche Mode covers that sometimes it overwhelms me…or makes me vomit. Either way, this could get even more entertaining!