On February 5, 2013, Depeche Mode released “Heaven,” the lead-off single for their album, Delta Machine, in North America. There were two pressings of the single released on this date: a two-track CD and a maxi CD. This review focuses on the maxi CD pressing of the single.
The first track is the original version of “Heaven.” This is a slower song in tempo, and I can hear a slight similarity to “Condemnation.” However, the focus of the instrumentation between “Heaven” and “Condemnation” are significantly different. In addition to the original version of “Heaven,” there are four remixes of the song included on the maxi CD pressing of the single.
The first remix is the Owlle Remix, and it’s the shortest mix on the CD. This remix raises the tempo of the song somewhat, so it’s a slow-to-midtempo track instead of a slow song. The guitar has been removed from the mix, but very little is added to make up for the guitar being gone. The verses of the mix sound rather flat, while the percussion added to the chorus makes the chorus sound a little more interesting. To me, this mix wasn’t as strong as it could have been. In some respects, it felt like it wanted to be a faster remix, but that the remixer was restraining the mix to keep it more midtempo. Even with its faults, this was probably the strongest remix on this disc.
Next is the Steps to Heaven RMX, and it’s the longest remix of the disc. Once again, the guitar was stripped out of the mix; however, some percussion was added, and some new elements were added to the bassline. Unfortunately, the changes this mix made to the song didn’t really add much in the long run. The length of the mix also works against it; personally, I was bored before it reached the halfway point. It also doesn’t help that the ending drags on for too long. This mix might have been a little better if it had been shortened.
This is followed by the Blawan Remix. Overall, it felt like this mix was jumping all over the place musically, and that there wasn’t much cohesion to the overall remix. While this mix took some more chances musically than the previous two mixes, it wasn’t enough to make this remix interesting. This is another remix that bored me when I listened to it.
The final track is the Matthew Dear vs. Audion Vocal Mix. At first, it sounds like this remix is going to be taking some chances musically that the others didn’t; unfortunately, by the time the vocals kick in, the potential I heard disappeared. Overall, I thought this mix sounded rather monotonous.
The one thing I thought was missing on this disc was a dance-friendly remix of “Heaven”; having an upbeat dance mix could have potentially helped to get this song noticed in the dance clubs and bring more attention to the Delta Machine album to the dance club audience.
My biggest issue with this remix disc is the fact that I thought the remixers were playing it “too safe” with the remixes. By the time I finished listening to this disc, I could truly say that none of these remixes stood out to me, and that I’m really in no rush to listen to these remixes of “Heaven” again.
Personally, I would only recommend the maxi-single of “Heaven” to the die-hard Depeche Mode fans who want to own every version of every Depeche Mode song that exists.
I wrote this review after listening to a copy of the “Heaven” maxi-single that my husband and I purchased.