Depeche Mode, one of the defining bands of my youth and later years, just dropped a new single this morning! It’s called “Ghosts Again” and it’s from their upcoming album, the fittingly titled Memento Mori. It’s their fifteenth studio album and their first with just the core of Martin Gore and Dave Gahan (Alan Wilder left in the mid-90s and Andy Fletcher passed away last year) and focuses not just on the pandemic but the passing of their bandmate and friend.
I’ve been a Depeche Mode fan since I first heard “People Are People” in 1984, a full two years before I even knew what college radio and alternative rock or post-punk was. That song was a surprise breakthrough hit for them in the US, making it all the way to number 13 on Billboard’s Top 100 chart. While it took them a few more years to return to such heights here, they’d hit their stride with a trio of albums: 1986’s Black Celebration, 1987’s Music for the Masses, and 1990’s Violator. They never quite hit the same heights after that, even despite strong records, but I don’t think they really needed to at that point: they’d already claimed their spot as a deeply influential and highly creative bands of the era. Many synth bands of the current generation owe a lot to this group.
This new song sounds a lot like their earlier pre-US-fame songs, perhaps something off of Construction Time Again or Some Great Reward, and now I’m curious about what the rest of the album will sound like. It’ll be out on March 24th, and I’m definitely looking forward to it!