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The Covers: XI – “Enjoy The Silence.”

May 15, 2020

Ok.. moving away from classic country, after posts featuring Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash..

Definitely shifting genres..

Tonight’s selection is one of the best known, best loved songs by a group called Depeche Mode.. a band famous in the ’80’s and early ’90’s.

This band is unique in that, for much of their music, they did not use any instruments except synthesizers, the only exception being one of the guys playing a guitar occasionally.

Odd concerts they did.. not like most bands. Dudes standing at keyboards, mostly.

“Enjoy The Silence” is my favorite song of theirs, but a big reason for that is a cover version which I will present after the original.

First though.. a little bit about the band.

When they became popular here in the U.S., I was living in Chicago, and utterly enthralled by Top 40 radio. Back in the ’80’s, Top 40 radio was astonishing in both quality of music and variety.

Depeche Mode’s first big hit was in 1985, and was called “People Are People.” Being a conservative Christian kid, I was troubled by the lyrics, “What makes a man? Takes another man, help me understand.”

I thought it was a woman made a man .. you know, in movies there’s an attractive young woman, and an older man winks at a younger man and says something like, “Yeah, go with her, son, she’ll make a man out of ya.”

And this song was clearly promoting a gay lifestyle. Yeah, I was kinda uncomfortable with that (though I liked the song, otherwise. It had a lot of weird sounds, even for a new wave band) The culture back in the ’80’s, with new wave bands, especially Culture Club, with the obviously, famously gay singer, Boy George, was just starting to be more gay friendly, but not like our culture is today.

Considering the lyrics of “People Are People,” it’s no surprise that when a fellow 6th grader told me one of the band members, Martin Gore, was gay, I just accepted this.

I thought Martin Gore was gay until about an hour ago when I looked up the dude on Wikipedia.. as far as I can tell.. nope.. been married to two women, first marriage ending in a divorce and I think he is still married to second one.

I’ve read a load of Wikipedia articles in the past. A person’s sexual orientation comes up in some way or other in every article.

Can’t blame the kid who gave me the wrong information for being confused though.. gay reference in the lyrics, and Martin Gore’s androgynous image.. But then, who didn’t have an androgynous image back in the ’80’s? The hair metal guys did, especially Stryper, one of my favorite bands from back then, the new wave bands like Depeche Mode and Duran Duran, even Michael Jackson looked effeminate.

Alright so that rumor.. false.

Second thing I was told about the band when I was young.. the word “depeche” is French for “depressed.”

The band has made some.. many.. depressing songs.. but “depeche” meaning “depressed” has also turned out not to be true.

According to Wikipedia, the band liked the name of a certain French magazine, and used the name for their band.

But “depeche” means “dispatch” (which is what I came up with on google translate), or “news report.” And “mode” means something quite different than it does in English. The word, in French means “fashion.” I didn’t know that either..

The band thought the phrase meant “hurried fashion or fashion dispatch.” But according to Wikipedia, the name is best translated as “Fashion News,” or “Fashion Update.”

So… two things I believed about the band are in fact false. I so often learn something about songs and/or bands when I do a bit of research for these posts!

The band did not have another hit in the U.S. for 5 years.

1990 was a very good year for the band.. the year their album “Violator” was released. That album.. broke big.

First single was called “Personal Jesus.” Being an uptight Christian kid, I did not like that one either. Actually, I still don’t.. not because of the lyrics (I’m still uptight, but haven’t been a Christian in decades), I don’t like the music.. just don’t care for the song.

It was a very upbeat tune for Depeche Mode.

Their second single from Violator was much more somber, and I really liked it. That song was “Enjoy the Silence.”

 

If you haven’t heard this one in awhile, your reaction might be.. “hmmm… pretty ’80’s,” even though it was released in 1990. Still a great song though.

Here’s a live version from 1993..

 

.. But I like the cover version sooo much better.

Would I call myself a metalhead?

Yes, and no. I’ve been listening to metal since the ’80’s.. ok.. mostly hair metal back then.. but some Metallica tossed in, and a bit of Iron Maiden, and a whole lot of music by a very heavy (though perhaps not metal) Christian band called Rez, originally called Resurrection Band.. for more on this band, see my first two covers posts..

I still listen to metal. Often.

But.. the vast.. I mean the VAST majority of metal bands I cannot stand. I just have a few favorites.

The band I’m about to introduce to you is one of them.

Lacuna Coil.

Italian band (lyrics written and sung in English), formed in 1994.

“Lacuna” means empty.”

You might have encountered the word “lacuna” in a rather strange film.. “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” One of my favorites. I will put the trailer at the bottom of this post, just for fun.

In the film, Lacuna is the name of a company that creates memory loss.. helping people not remember past traumas and disappointments. An empty space in the mind where the memory had been. Not a bad idea, or maybe..

The band Lacuna Coil thought of the name as meaning “empty spiral.” Why they chose the name, I do not know.

The group features both a female and male vocalist. The woman, Cristina Scabbia, sings more often than the male vocalist. Scabbia is a very good singer and frontwoman. She really impresses me.

There have been many metal bands that have female and male vocalists, such as the American band with the name I can’t spell and had to look up, Evanescence, the Finnish band Nightwish (another favorite of mine), and Amaranthe, from Sweden (yes, it really does seem like practically half of all metal bands come from Sweden). Amaranthe has one female singer and two male singers, but anyway..

I got into Lacuna Coil after reading about them in a guitar magazine. And right away, I bought their album “Karmacode,” released in 2006. Actually.. I first took an interest in the band after hearing an amazing song of theirs, called “Swamped,” on a sampler CD, then read about them..

Karmacode was Lacuna Coil’s third full-length album. I was thrilled to find a cover of “Enjoy the Silence” on that album.

If you want to get into Lacuna Coil, start with their second full-length album, “Comalies,” (the title being a combination of two words, “coma,” and “lies,” the song “Swamped” is the first track on that album) and then move on to “Karmacode.”

They’ve made some albums since, but I haven’t paid attention.

Why? A personality trait I have regarding music.. if I really love a few of a band’s songs, those are the only ones I want to hear, and have serious doubts any new material will sound as good. Pessimistic, I suppose, and I’ve not always been right.

Another reason, I listen to a staggering amount of bands.. but most bands in my various playlists, only one song per band. More variety that way, and also, so many bands seem to only be able to create just one good song.. or at least one song I like.

I’ve got at least six songs by Lacuna Coil in my playlists though, most of them from Karmacode. And “Enjoy the Silence” is the one I listen to the most.

Thanks for being so patient.. you are probably thinking.. play the damn song already!

So here it is, the version I like a lot more than the original.. (With artwork from the single, which is better than the pretty dull but strange album artwork)..

If you want to see what the band looks like.. here’s the video. Why are there cows in the video? I don’t know..

Alright! You were bangin’ your head, weren’t ya?

Not sure what cover tune I’m going to write about next..

Bonus material..

A Rolling Stone magazine article about Depeche Mode, published in 1990: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/depeche-mode-want-your-respect-233038/

And the trailer for “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” Watch this movie!

 

Thanks for reading and listening, friends!

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