Friday Night Videos

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Depeche Mode and I got off on the wrong foot. Freshman year at Mizzou, I was dating a lovely Stephens College girl (no jokes, please — I’ve heard them all) who introduced me to them with what is easily the band’s Worst. Song. Ever. I’ve kept myself ruthlessly ignorant of the name of the song in the intervening 26 (???) years. What I do remember is that it was a guy whining and droning about what a good boyfriend he could be, if only he weren’t so whiny and droning. It goes a little like this:

Blah blah blah BLAH blah BLAH BLAH
Blah blah blah BLAH blah BLAH BLAH

The only thing that tops it for unrelenting tedium is Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away.”

She meant well, she really did. The song was important to her and so she needed me to hear it. Nice girl, and I even remember her name, though I refuse to remember the name of the song. But it was aimed way more at sensitive women’s college sophomores than it was at horny male frosh.*

A couple years later I found myself working mornings at KXGO in Arcata, California when Depeche Mode released “Personal Jesus” off the album Violator. Over the next few months, we played the heck out of the four radio single releases, including tonight’s selection, “World In My Eyes.” The video is overdone, but what else do you expect from Depeche Mode?

I took DJ Privilege with Violator, and liberated one of our promotional copies from the prize bin behind the receptionist’s desk. The stuff in the bin is supposed to be reserved for listener contest giveaways, but low-wage small-town jox always seem to end up with private collections of free CDs and concert t-shirts. (I suspect that’s also true of the high-wage big-city jox.) So I brought Violator home to the Spooky Chick and it immediately joined our regular rotation of The Cure’s Disintegration and Peter Murphy’s Deep. Good times, good tunes.

Over the next decade or so I went through the band’s back catalog, and found they’d actually recorded quite a few quality singles I really enjoy. But the only complete album of theirs I ever liked is Violator, even though about half the songs are really just filler. So maybe it was the music, maybe it was just the times, but this one stuck with me.

*I saw Horny Male Frosh open for Fishbone at The Blue Note in ’86.