Album Review: Depeche Mode – “Violator”

Depeche Mode released their seventh studio album, Violator, on March 19, 1990. This still ranks as one of my favorite Depeche Mode albums of all-time, and it also includes two of my all-time favorite songs by the band: “Enjoy the Silence” and “Policy of Truth.” Violator was also the first album by Depeche Mode to reach the top ten on the Billboard 200 album chart; it peaked at number seven, and stayed on the chart for 74 weeks.


Violator opens with “World in My Eyes,” which was the fourth and final single released from the album. It’s an uptempo track, and in the song, the speaker is basically trying to seduce a potential lover. The next song on the album is “The Sweetest Perfection.” This is a slower song, and the speaker is very enamored with the person that they’re interested in.

The next song on Violator is “Personal Jesus,” which was the lead-off single for the album. I lived in an area that was considered to be a bit conservative at the time, and when the local Top 40 station played this song, they would announce it as “Reach Out and Touch Faith” instead of by its actual title. “Personal Jesus” is an upbeat song, and the speaker is telling someone that they will be there for them. This is followed by “Halo,” which is another midtempo song. In the song, the speaker is telling someone that they can still come to them and rely on them, no matter how bad the person’s life may seem to be.

Next is “Waiting for the Night,” which is a slow song, and it has a bit more of a “blippy” sound musically when compared to the other songs on the album. In the song, the speaker is talking about how things may seem bad at this point in time, but how even making slight changes can make things seem a little better than they may really be. This is followed by “Enjoy the Silence,” which was the second single from the album; this has also become the most popular song in Depeche Mode’s catalog. The tempo of the album picks back up with this song, and the speaker is talking about how words aren’t always necessary; in fact, there’s the chance that saying the words can cause more damage than not saying them. This segues right into a hidden instrumental interlude titled “Interlude #2 – Crucified.”

After the interlude, the album goes into “Policy of Truth,” which was released as the third single from Violator. This is a midtempo song, and the speaker is questioning another person about their beliefs on what situations they should telling the truth about. The next song on the album is “Blue Dress,” which is a slow song. In the song, the speaker is asking someone to do something simple to make them happy. The album closes with the song “Clean,” which is another slower song. In the lyrics, the speaker is talking about how they finally have a better handle and understanding of their life after making some changes.

All the songs on Violator flow together very well, and the listener can definitely hear a particular sound and several themes that run through the album as a whole. In my opinion, it’s one of the best albums that Depeche Mode has released during their career. If you’re trying to introduce someone to Depeche Mode’s music, especially if that person is more of a pop music listener, I would recommend starting with Violator.

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