Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Speak & Spell
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
Foreign edition of their 1981 debut album with five bonus tracks not on the U.S.: 'I Sometimes Wish I Was Dead', 'Ice Machine', 'Shout', 'Any Second Now' and 'Just Can't Get Enough' (Schizo Mix). 16 tracks total. Both the ... more »
Foreign edition of their 1981 debut album with five bonus tracks not on the U.S.: 'I Sometimes Wish I Was Dead', 'Ice Machine', 'Shout', 'Any Second Now' and 'Just Can't Get Enough' (Schizo Mix). 16 tracks total. Both the original release & this 1988 reissue are Mute releases.
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Simply the best!
RoHLand | Germany | 05/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, it's a masterpiece. It's just their debut but it already exceeds most of its successors (with the exception of Construction Time Again). I don't know why people always tell things like "Good thing that Vince Clarke left so early" and stuff, when he produced such a jewel of Britsh Synth Pop.
We have these happy-go-lucky pop songs like "Just Can't Get Enough" or "New Life", as well as thoughtful songs in minor key e.g."Puppets". And then, my 6 all time favourites, that are even better then various songs from other DM albums."Any Second Now(Voices)" sounds a bit like Kraftwerk and it represents Vince's sensitive side, letting Martin Gore take vocals and using the Warm Pad Synth in the (instrumental) chorus.
"I Sometimes Wish I Was Dead" (which appears on this album version) might confuse the listener a bit, as the song is not at all as gloomy as the title would suggest. But nevertheless it's great, due to the simplistic cadences (G-D-C), this leading synth melody that reappaers constantly and the march feeling produced by the moog bass synth line and the militant rythm.
Also the b-sides featured on this album version are great. Take "Icemachine". It's not that happy-go-lucky like its A-Side "Dreaming of Me", but, written in minor key, darker and also rhythmically very interesting, using clapping percussion and puff sounds which make it seem quite rebellious.
And then "Shout" is quite dark for Vince's work and not at all naive and happy. It sounds a little bit exotic according to the heavy rythm devices, and this 'evil' bass synths (modified with phaser effect) that dominates this track makes it quite dark so that the atmosphere of this song stands in contrast to its lyrics.
Vince Clarke was a great musician but lyrically he was a little bit abstract. If you're looking for proper lyrics on this album, you'll only find them on "Tora Tora Tora!" which was written by Martin Gore. And this song is also dark and sounds very exotic (Middle Eastern), using various sounds effect and Drum Loops and a peculiar scale.
So it's clear that this song is one of my favourites. It was written by Martin but musically it's still more similar to the true analog synth pop sound of the early eighties which, unfortunately, was resigned by DM after Vince's departure in order to receive a different image. I wish, Martin had written more material with this early unique futuristic synth pop sound because "Tora Tora Tora!" is so great.
It's only exceeded by "Photographic". And this is the biggest killer they ever landed. Pure futuristic techno pop in minor key that surely influenced many artists of the later dance and techno scene. It was written in 1981 but sounds like from 1991 at least, already utilising that hard beat that would be etablished in Techno then.
And, what makes it top, is the Sawtooth Synths in the Chorus and the Brass Synth Solo after the 2nd stanza. So these are my 6 favourites and it would be worth buying this album already for these six masterpieces that even differ from the 'usual' Speak and Spell synth pop sound.
But also the rest fits in and makes it valuable, and there's no track that's annoying like on other albums, even "The Big Muff", an instrumental, is nice, but it would be recommendable to hear it as the intro song. And it would also be reommendable not to listen to the songs in the chronological order but in the order listed below, so that the 2 greatest songs come at the last:1.Bug Muff, 2.Any Second Now(Voices), 3.Just Can't Get Enough, 4.Dreaming of Me, 5.Icemachine, 6.Shout, 7.New Life, 8.I Somethimes Wish I Was Dead, 9.Puppets, 10.Boys Say Go!, 11.Nodisco, 12.What's Your Name, 13.Tora Tora Tora, 14.Photographic
If you take this order, it should be even more convincing and overwhelming.This album's got something to offer for every mood.
It contains bitterness, sometimes more subtle (Just Can't Get Enough), and sometimes obvious (Tora Tora Tora), romanticism (Dreaming of Me; Any Second Now) and teenage rebellion (Icemachine; Boys Say Go!).
Vince harboured a certain intention writing these songs. And his lyrics are not always naive or happy-go-lucky, but also pure parody sometimes. He indirectly criticises the stupid monotonous night life (Nodisco), makes fun of awkward macho behaviour (Boys Say Go!; What's Your Name), devolops ideas of Romanticism (Any Second Now; Dreaming of Me) and Escapism (Shout), is longing for a bit of command (Puppets) and even inserts the feelings of Loneliness, Nostalgia and Paranoia (Photographic; Icemachine).
And Martin's Tora Tora Tora is great anyway, also lyrically, criticising the cultural deprivation in the Middle East due to americanisation (how very current!)
So, for God's sake, buy this album! It's a real masterpiece, totally under-rated. and you'll never anything like that again, neither on Vince's nor on DM's later material. I hope that some artists of the current Synth Pop scene will be inspired to write such songs again, producing equally, if not better."
Depeche Mode, the start of the Music Machine.
Roberto Gomez Torres | México, D.F. Mexico | 02/17/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Depeche Mode's Speak & Spell, their first album. Showing their music roots in the most natural way, without influences, performing the best early synth-pop music from the 80's with songs written by Vince Clarke (which left the band a little later) and Martin L. Gore.Two versions of this CD. This one (the import edition) featuring five extra tracks that the American Edition does not have. "I Sometimes Wish I Was Dead", "Ice Machine", "Shout", "Any Second Now" and the Schizo Mix of "Just Can't Get Enough" are the extra tacks.I have both versions of this Album, and have to say that the import one sounds much better. Maybe the equalization was made from different tape sources.Also, the American version has the song "Puppets" which this import album does not.If you are a Depeche Mode Fan you would like to have that extra tracks on your collection. Songs like "Ice Machine", "Shout" and "I Sometimes Wish I Was Dead" are hard to find on another Album or Single CD.Hope it helps you."
Import version all the way!!
J.A. Smithers | 04/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've had the American release of Speak & Spell forever now, and I've always thought it was an incredible album. What bugged me, though, was that it only had the junk "Schizo Mix" of "Just Can't Get Enough," and not even the original mix, which, IMHO, is much more fun and upbeat.
Then I found this import "+5" version, and I was stunned -- not only are both versions of JCGE on here, but there are also 4 other tracks which don't appear on the American release. And they're all really good -- no filler here! The import "+5" release also has better sound quality across the board.
A warning, though: some of the tracks common to both releases are ever so slightly different between the two, e.g. "New Life." So, die-hard DM collectors would have to buy both releases, I guess. For anyone else, however, I'd say buy the import "+5" and forget about the American release!"