Import edition of Depeche Mode's outstanding 1986 album featuring two bonus tracks NOT on the U.S., 'Breathing In Fumes' & 'Black Day', plus the extended remix of 'But Not Tonight' instead of the album version that appear... more »s on the American release. 14 tracks total, also featuring the hit singles 'Stripped', 'A Question Of Lust' and 'A Question Of Time'. EMI.« less
Import edition of Depeche Mode's outstanding 1986 album featuring two bonus tracks NOT on the U.S., 'Breathing In Fumes' & 'Black Day', plus the extended remix of 'But Not Tonight' instead of the album version that appears on the American release. 14 tracks total, also featuring the hit singles 'Stripped', 'A Question Of Lust' and 'A Question Of Time'. EMI.
Erik R. Olson | Dublin, CA, United States | 01/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Black Celebration represents many things for Depeche Mode. Sonically, we're looking at an evolution of their synthesized, sampled, semi-industrial pop sound -- a little less tinny than Some Great Reward. Lyrically and thematically, what we have is a full realization of the bleakness DM had been flirting with on songs like "Blasphemous Rumours," "Love, in Itself," and "Shake the Disease." This is important because it is the final, complete break with the cheerier sound associated with early Depeche Mode albums, and a transformation into the greatest band to emerge from the 1980s.The title track sets the tone for the album very effectively, using a thick layer of menacing bass under twinkling melodic keynotes. "Black Celebration" is not quite as dark as most of the other songs on this album; but maybe it's really just that it is a declaration of the need to hang onto whatever happiness we can in the face of all-encompassing misery. A perfect opening to a near-perfect album.The eerie underlying synth of the first track evolves into the backdrop for the second: "Fly on the Windscreen." This is DM at their gloomiest; a pummeling bass underpins the need for human contact as a reminder that there is such a thing as life."A Question of Lust" begins a hat trick of delicate songs sung by Martin Gore. It's an earnest, airy tale of the needless suspicion of jealousy in a relationship that probably won't last. A shimmering, sad ballad in an album of despair, yet a nice bounce-back from "Windscreen.""Sometimes," the next song, is I believe very underrated -- I've seen someone deride it as an ersatz "Somebody," which is really not at all accurate. It employs only Martin's voice, echoed in a strange fashion, over a lazy, very pretty piano piece. A short and sad little number that fits the album without question. The next track is "It Doesn't Matter Two" (to be distinguished from "It Doesn't Matter" on SGW). I like this song for its use of a choral sample, manipulated almost beyond recognition, as its main rhythm. Martin sings of lost sexual innocence here, his voice lending a requisite fragility that Dave Gahan's would not.Dave resumes a lead singing role on "A Question of Time," with a fast synth beat picking up the pace. I did not like this song much at first, but in the concert version, Martin whacks a guitar to replace the kazoo-like effect of the synth found here - a definite improvement. "Stripped" is the centerpiece of BC. Fragile synth keynotes convey a shared, secret sensuality, while a constant backing hum coats everything in sweaty pheromones. The muffled rhythm of a train drives the song from start to finish. Altogether an addictively beautiful song about the search for intimacy in a bleak, black, filthy, distant world.From the escapism without in "Stripped," we turn to escapism within in "Here is the House." Acoustic guitar is used well here against a barely danceable beat, creating one of the more obscure, underappreciated DM songs. Martin's last lead singing role is "World Full of Nothing," an account of loveless sex as told from an omniscient, third-party perspective. Haunting, especially with the repeated "Though it's not love, it means something." "Dressed in Black" is the weakest song on BC. It seems to redeem every tidy cliche about mods that has ever been thrown at them, and consequently feels trite. It should have traded places with one of the B-sides, "Christmas Island."What follows is the pounding, trenchant bass of "New Dress," a political statement about the stupid things society values as important. A very cool song as relevant today as it was in 1986.Black Celebration closes with "But Not Tonight" - as upbeat as any song gets on this album, though it does not feel out of place. It is carried by a fast beat and just a hint of optimism in the darkness. A fitting final chapter in DM's darkest tome. If you like 80s music at all, buy this album. If you like 80s music and were raised on Moby, NIN, or Orbital, DEFINITELY buy this album. You will be glad you did."
Depeche Mode's darkest and most wicked masterpiece!
Distant Voyageur | Io | 03/08/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Depeche Mode's 1986 album "Black Celebration" is considered by many to be their most loved album of their entire musical catalog and it definitely deserves all of the positive reviews that it gets. This album, alongside "Music For The Masses" is easily their masterpiece to this very day. I must say that the album cover definitely depicts the overall mood of the atmosphere. The building showcases the industrial sound, the nighttime sky depicts it's dark, bleak, and mysterious atmosphere, and the flowers showcase its beauty woven into its seemingly sinister and bleak mood. I would even go far as to say that it's better than Violator and Some Great Reward. BLACK CELEBRATION: The dark and nihilistic ride begins with the opening title track, which I must say, is the best opening song of any of Depeche Mode's albums. It starts with a somewhat scary voice effects backed by an ominous droning minor note key, then robotic voice effects come in and then a ticking keyboard effect comes in before becoming a dark, intense, and ominous industrial number that I think is one of the ancestors of the industrial dance revolution that began to take shape a few years after this CD was released. The beats eventually stop and the song goes full circle returning into the ominous minor note key and transitioning into the next song. FLY ON THE WINDSCREEN: This is a reworking of the closing track on the "Catching Up With Depeche Mode" compilation. I personally love the 1986 version on this album better. It starts with the droning minor note of the previous track melting into a new melody and becoming a dark, often scary New Wave industrial song with a futuristic feel to it and dark and sinister lyrics to back up the songs ominous tone. Eventually the song gets more and more intense, more desperate with the "kiss me...NOOWWW!" lyrical line before quietly backing down but the beat continuing and the droning keyboard and guitar sounds continuing and then a barely audible laser sound effect ties "Fly" into the next track. QUESTION OF LUST: The ending of the previous song perfectly fits the beginning of this amazing song. This song is a major note but still as dark and foreboding as the previous two songs. This is a haunting, dark, industrial, and mid-tempo song with a sense of urgency and desperation. Martin Gore's voice is incredible on this track. SOMETIMES: OK, this almost feels like a table scrap version of "Somebody" from their previous album. This song is a nearly two minute track that is very much like "Somebody". The production may not be top-rate but the odd hazy quality though gives this song a strange and mysterious appeal. IT DOESN'T MATTER II: This is not a revamped version of the song of the same name on their previous album but a totally different song altogether. It's a very odd, and somewhat medieval sounding song with very weird voice effects, strange atmosphere, and a somewhat religious tone merely from my perspective with the strange choir voice effects. A weird but wonderful song. QUESTION OF TIME: This song gets my nod as one of the most intense and urgent songs that Depeche Mode have ever written up to this point in their career. A lot of us have already heard it and are familiar with it. This is a very intense song about the increasing angst of increasing sexual tension and the ominous melody and pounding beats definitely portray that. The mechanical drill sound effects at the beginning give a feel of the intense tension that the song expresses. STRIPPED: This is one of the most sinister songs that Depeche Mode has ever written. It starts with an acoustic guitar intro, then a mechanical pulsating sound comes in and the song becomes a very dark, intense song. David Gahan's vocals are incredible on this track. The lyrics are dark and disturbing and fit well with the somewhat terrifying melody too. Definitely one of my favorites.HERE IS THE HOUSE: This is my favorite song off this CD and one of their most overlooked songs. It starts with a ticking watch sound effects and a defined rhythm builds upon that ticking watch effect and the song becomes a marvelous, dark, and danceable industrial number, with some great acoustic guitars too. I have no idea why few like this song much. This song is difficult to explain how it really is but it's an astounding song. The song breaks down with the ticking watch effect continuing after the song itself ends before coming to a complete stop. WORLD FULL OF NOTHING: This is a strange and eerie Depeche Mode ballad and one of the strangest songs that Depeche Mode has ever written. It's another song that's hard to explain how it sounds but it's a gorgeous song. DRESSED IN BLACK: This is a very mysterious sounding song that I think could fit well on "Violator". It's a very odd, and twisted song with a bit of sex appeal to it. Hey, I've always thought women looked great dressed in black. ;;)NEW DRESS: This is a very intense, edgy and frightening song about the possibility of the Apocalypse coming with tales being told of wars, murder, disasters, etc. The song is a dark, ominous, electronic-techno song with a very dark, urban decay kind of mood. BUT NOT TONIGHT: This song wraps up the darkness of BC on a relatively upbeat note. This might be the brightest song on the album but still isn't daytime in mood. It's just has the least sense of bleakness out of all of the songs but still is a dark and relatively spooky number. I can definitely say that Depeche Mode reached near-perfection with this masterpiece which I can easily say is their best album. For me, it's the mysterious, angry, dark, and bleak tone of the record that makes it my favorite album of theirs. Buy it!"
J. Brady | PAWLEYS ISLAND, SC United States | 05/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is my second favourite Depeche Mode album. It is miles ahead of their earlier eighties work, as far as songwriting ( there's not a dud song in the bunch ) and production ( they had by then learned to fully incorporate sampling into their work so that it sounds integrated, and not just a gimmick ). This is so much more than just a synth pop album. The lyrical depth is astounding. But what I like best is the fact that roughly half of these songs feature the lovely, tender and emotional lead vocals of Depeche Mode songwriter Martin Gore. I sense more feeling from his vocals than I do Dave Gahan, who tends to over-emote and often ends up sounding bombastic. In fact when I pick out my favourite songs from this cd, they inevitably are sung by Gore. "Sometimes". "A Question of Lust". The beautiful "It Doesn't Matter Two" and "World Full of Nothing." All in all, an essential Depeche Mode release and a classic not only of the genre but of popular music in general."
One of the Sweetest Perfections
orac_uk | bracknell, berkshire United Kingdom | 04/11/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I remember with maximum clarity when I slipped Black Celebration into the Walkman on the day of it's release way back in early 1986. I had rushed to town during my lunch break from a dead end, soul destroying job, and from the opening refrain of the opening title track, I knew I would love this album. 14 years on and I'm still playing it. It's tough to pick the definitive Mode album, but Black Celebration is on equal terms with later classics Violator and Songs of Faith. As many have said before me, this is the album that defined Depeche and showed them the path forward. It's darker and heavier than the "goth" label given to it. The album also reaps of sexual tension and the banality of normality voiced so clearly on the classic opening track. When I first saw the track listing, I was somewhat alarmed to see the inclusion of Fly on The Windscreen, the superior B-side to the likable It's Called A Heart. My fears however were swiftly laid to rest with a remix that managed to darken the mood of the much loved original even further. Then came the eerie mix into the atmospheric and touching Question of Lust. I kept playing the opening three tracks over and over. I was really convinced that the single Lust would shoot straight in at number 1 (it amazingly faltered at 26 in the UK charts!). A Question of Time sounded a little harsh on that first listen but I soon grew to adore it. The energy and power of the lead synth's on this track is a credit to the pioneering recording techniques used by Daniel Miller and Gareth Jones. Never had Depeche sounded so good. Here Is The House was another fine electro tune with a superb bassline. Mode always seem to find the perfect synth sounds without ever relying on the built in pre-sets that so many artist's fall back on. The group and producers spent many hours wandering around abondoned industrial sites, sampling anything they could hit. All this extra invention and effort in creating sounds was well worth the man hours. Black Celebration still sounds fantastic on headphones. World Full Of Nothing and Dressed In Black would be highlights on any album. So rich in texture, dark and unsettling. All Mode albums finish with a hidden ace and Black Celebration provides New Dress with it's unforgettable drum pattern and great melody. The CD comes with some bonus tracks that were unlisted on the UK release that includes the oddly cheerful But Not Tonight that was more suited to A Broken Frame. It is however an essential Mode track. Shame that Flood's excellent Highland Mix of Stripped wasn't included instead. That aside, Black Celebration easily reaches my own personal top ten along with Propaganda's Secret Wish, Human League's Dare & NIN's Pretty Hate Machine. And it's true...women look so good in black!"
Roots nihilism and/or the Godfathers of emo
James L. Perrotti | earth | 04/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I just got the remastered disc with the dvd and extras. This will be a great purchase for the hardcore DM fan. Too many great reviews already on here to go into song by song specifics but I will add (my opinion anyway) that this album made DM. There is just something so beautiful, honest, bleak, emotional, naked, and truthful about this collection of songs. Sure they had made it big by this time with People are People and could have rested on their laurels and made Some Great Reward again and again (paging the Rolling Stones and bands like them...) but they really pushed themselves to new ground here. As Gareth Jones says on the DVD (he is great on the DVD) that this album was such a far cry from Just Can't Get Enough. I look at this album (and really all DM albums) as the alternative to so many things in society... guitar wanker bands, sappy love song bands (don't we have enough), hedonistic hippie love, boring overplayed top 40 music, etc. These guys have had one of the most inexplicable careers in music history. They sell out stadiums with next to no radio play in the US. Anyway thanks DM and thank you Martin Gore (the true anti-rock star) for the great, courageous music."