Monday, January 8, 2007

Reviews:: Depeche Mode Best of Vol. 1 (with DVD)

I’ve seriously been trying to review Depeche Mode Best of Volume (the DVD issue) for about three weeks. It’s really been a challenge on so many levels. First, I’m usually very anti greatest hits. I’m one of those music fans that likes a band and becomes borderline obsessive. I’ll buy anything, so these greatest hits with one new song are simply a way for me to shell out 25 bucks for a single. When I checked the track list, my first thought was that either disc on 101 was better, and when Nic (who is a much bigger DM fan than I am) did the same, she realized some of her favorites were omitted. Second, it's hard to look back on a band's career and try to remember what things were like twenty years ago, so it's really hard to write a fair review.

Then we both took a step back and realized this collection actually has a lot to offer, if simply for the DVD that comes as a part of the nicely packaged set. Twenty-three videos and a short film, many of which have never been compiled on a DVD before (at least 10, and that’s not including the Lincoln Park mix). The cd covers the bands full career and has a new song (Martyr), but any fan of the band probably has every song anyway. That’s why the DVD is so great.

First things first. Looking at the band now, you can’t help but laugh. I mean, Martin Gore rocks that awesome hairdo that makes him like Mugato from Zoolander. They have frosted tips, leather pants, and the cheesy artistic message the band puts into each video is comical. The industrial Blue Man group pipe banging. The hand-help quick cuts from one member to another. They make me laugh, but you then start to think about how old these songs are, and how you still love them. Simple synth riffs. Poppy-goth anthems. It’s remarkable how these songs stand the test of time (and how easily they could be thrown into today's scene for remixes), but you also have to remember that’s what videos were all about.

Maybe it’s because I’m not 19 (and I remember what videos used to be like and how seeing videos was essentially the most awesome thing ever), and sitting around watching music videos is something today's generation will never really get to enjoy. Music stations play like 5 videos a day, and unless Spike Jonze or Michel Gondry direct it, it usually just plays like an episode of Cribs. Did I watch DM videos in the 80s? I’ll go ahead and say no, but sitting down and seeing Duran Duran sail on a catamaran for Rio, or Eric and Parrish keep it real for So Watchcha Sayin' (with the obligatory back up dancer kicking it - YEAH STEEZO!) was awesome. Seeing artists really try to express their artistic vibe on a shoe string budget was great, and as this collection shows, Depeche Mode put their heart and soul into each video. Sadly, videos aren't like that anymore, and you can't throw on Muchmusic and see them whenever you want. You can track down a song in 20 seconds on the Net, but unless you scour youtube for a grainy, lo-fi version of a video taken from someone’s old VHS, you’ll never see a lot of these videos.

There’s not much point going through this track by track. Fans know the songs, and trying to describe videos from the 80’s is completely arbitrary and somewhat pointless. But it’s not pointless to sit and watch them. It’s fun. Depeche Mode changed music. You might not have been into them, but you can’t ignore the people who are.

Are their flaws in this collection? Of course. Its volume one of two, and you can’t put everything on disc one (it’s already hard enough to get people to chuck their duckets at a revamped hits package, let alone make them shell out for two). We both would have loved for them to put the video for See You on here. We both would have liked different songs to have made the cut, but that’s part of the point I guess. Fans of DM are passionate. It’s like going to see a show. You want your favorites to be played because you care that much. The music is a part of you, or it’s a part of your past. Either way, having an easy way to revisit that is never a bad thing, no matter how many people try to say it’s just a way for the band to make loot.

Video:: People are People

Posted at 1:15 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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