ENJOY THE SILENCE / DEPECHE MODE
Updated: Nov 13, 2018
UK Chart Position: 6
I’ve got a theory that there are two types of great pop single. One pulls up a chair next to you, takes you in their confidence, makes you believe them and tells you a story that’s about them (but could be about you). The second type takes one really good sonic idea, hones it and perfects it, and basically repeats it until you succumb. “Enjoy the Silence” is the second type, a song that circles around you, doesn’t really go anywhere, but wears you down with its icy perfection until you’re powerless.
Now I’ll put it out there I’m not actually a huge Depeche fan. I like my electro-indie Mancunian, difficult, dour and New-Ordery (of which more later). And there’s always been some sniffiness about Depeche Mode from proper music writers. It’s probably a very British thing to dismiss their evolution from Essex bedroom boys wondering “what does this button do”, to all conquering stadium gods bending much of Europe to their will. They appear to be strangely unlovable in the UK, despite ticking a lot of boxes we love in our pop stars (an ear for a electronic melody, a hint of kinky perversion, a troubled spiral into drug induced hell.) But I’m sure they don’t care. Because they’ve written “Enjoy the Silence” and so they are assured of pop deity.
“Enjoy the Silence” is like some kind of “I-Robot” dystopian future, the sound of machines being taught how to have human emotions. It’s strange, circular repetitiveness makes me feel like I’m driving round a ring road in Dusseldorf in a Kraftwerk odyssey, looking for the exit that can never be found. The whole effect is enhanced by that stern sounding vocal which feels like the listener is being told off for some 1984-like crime they didn’t commit.
And Su Bo covered it. The ultimate passing of the torch from one pop deity to the next….
The Moment: There are no “bits” to this song. Words are very – unnecessary.
In a word: Vorsprung durch Technik