VALERIE P. (that-girl) from ATLANTA, GA Reviewed on 11/19/2007...
Classic, early music from one of the seminal bands of the 1980s new wave/alternative scene
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
A nice but lacking collection
Distant Voyageur | Io | 11/20/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This CD was released in 1985 and DM had only been around for only 5 years at this point and grabs selected tracks off their first five albums from 1981s Speak & Spell to 1984s Some Great Reward. Keep in mind that this is not a 'Best of' CD. It's just a sampler of their earlier tracks and most of them are not even hits. This CD does have some 'New' tracks on here such The ever-so-creepy Shake The Disease and the quirky Flexible. There is also the 1985 version of the disturbing track Fly On The Windscreen which was reworked and improved on the masterpiece Black Celebration. The first three songs are from Depeche Modes cheesier days with charming and brainless fun tracks like Dreaming Of Me, New Life, and Just Can't Get Enough. As the album progresses though, their music got much darker and better with the gloomier tracks like the suicidal Blasphemous Rumors, the BDSM theme Master & Servant, and the eerie Shake The Disease. Then there's the tearful piano ballad Somebody. The version on Some Great Reward is mostly a simple piano ballad. The one on here has some added drum and sound effects that make the song dreamier, and more airy. Shake The Disease is the highlight with it's disturbing intro and alienated atmosphere. This is a decent collection of DMs early material but it's almost unnecessary for most fans anymore as almost all the tracks on here except Flexible, are on the 1999 release, the singles: 81-85. For completists though who are dissapointed at Flexible not being included on the 1999 release, Catching Up With Depeche Mode is a good buy. I'll repeat once more, this is only a sampler, not a 'Best of' CD!"
Worth a listen...
Dave | 06/29/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I don't see why everyone goes and critisizes Depeche Mode for their early 80's songs.Yes, they are somewhat raw, and almost cheesy at times... but let me ask you, what did *you* look like in the early 80's? :) If you were alive in the early 80's, your guilty! But seriously speaking, this compilation has a nice collection of Depeche Mode singles from 81-85. Most Depeche Mode fans (who favour their 1986 (and on) singles) will not find this album of any interest. Although Shake the Disease and Blaspehmous Rumors are great songs that showed thier potential as more than just a pop band. The songs earlier on aren't as deep as anything you'll find on thier later albums, but still showed some origionality (well it was origional for the early 80's)...Although, I can't imagine why on earth they would have neglected other hits like Everything counts (1983), People are People (1984) and others. I figure its because they released another post-Clarke singles complation entitled "People are People" that contains these songs... So you bascially have to buy both compilations for all those songs.Well thats what I did, then they released "The Singles 81-85" (1998) with two other mixes and completely remastered.With the new compilation out, I can't think of a good reason to buy this one. Its not remastered and its missing some key songs in Depeche Mode's early career.The main reason why I'd buy this if I didn't already own it would be for the "Fly on the Windscreen" song. Although, the "final" mix on Black Celebration (1986) is a bit darker and definately worth listening to.All things considered, this compilation is really not worth purchasing since the release of their 81>85 Singles collection."
Good collection of early Mode
Zane | Tempe, AZ | 09/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This has a wide variety of early to mid-80's Depeche Mode tunes. I'm glad they included "Love in Itself"; the keyboard sequence in that song is intoxicating. And I like this version of "Fly on the Windscreen" better than the other one. Check out 101--Live at the Rose Bowl; it's awesome too."
NOT a 'Best of' set.
Joel Kathrens | Cheney, WA USA | 02/23/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's a good thing Vince Clarke left Depeche Mode when he did, because it's unlikely Erasure or indeed Depeche Mode itself would still be around today. The first half of this recording is passable, but they sound like they're trapped in a style of music they're not really suited for. Out of the first five tracks, only 'New Life' and 'Meaning of Love are even worth a listen. The rest of the album shows Depeche Mode were heading in the right direction. Between losing the light pop tunes and David Gahan finding his voice (probably as a result), they finally achieve their style of music. With that said, 'Shake the Disease', 'It's Called A Heart', and 'Fly on the Windscreen' are the best songs here. Having heard only this album and 'Violator', and preferring the latter, I would have to suggest starting with either 'Some Great Reward' or 'Black Celebration'(which is what I'll be buying next) as 'Catching Up..." only serves to show that the best of Depeche Mode was yet to come."
A Decent Compilation
Brian Allen | Kansas, USA | 01/18/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Although it's no longer necessary, this was collection of early DM songs was essential when it was released. Depeche Mode had little exposure in America during the early 80s, and most of their albums were unavailable. After the release of the American only album, People are People became a big sucess, Sire decided to release a compilation of early DM singles, both for the benefit of American fans and to cash in. The result is Catching Up With Depeche Mode, an outdated but fun compilation.
The songs are all pretty great, but that's a given with Depeche Mode. The first three songs, Dreaming of Me, New Life, and Just Can't Get Enough, are vintage Vince Clark synth pop, which can be grating upon first listen, but definitely grow on you upon repeated listens. These songs are noticeably more happy sounding than most of the ones that were written by Martin Gore.
Next we have See You and The Meaning of Love, which were some of Martin's earliest compositions. At this point he was only trying to copy Vince's style, and many people dislike these songs. Personally, I think they're maybe even better than Vince's singles, and certainly on par with them.
At this point in Depeche Mode's career, Martin started to develop his own style, writing moodier songs with deeper lyrics. Love In Itself and Master and Servant are both upbeat songs and very catchy. Blasphemous Rumors is a song about the unfortunate things that happen to people. Somebody is a piano ballad, and possibly my favorite song in DM's catalog.
The last four tracks were single-only releases and showed what was going to come on Black Celebration. First we have Shake the Disease and its b-side Flexible. Shake the Disease is one of the darkest singles DM released, and another favorite of mine. Flexible is a very fun, dancy song. Next we have It's Called A Heart and its b-side Fly on the Windscreen. I'm not a huge fan of It's Called a Heart, but it is kind of catchy. Fly on the Windscreen had several versions, one of which appeared on the aforementioned Black Celebration. It is one of their best songs and is about the fragility of life. I believe it should have been the single instead of It's Called a Heart.
A lot of people complain about the fact that this collection lacks various singles of the era, including Everything Counts and People are People, which are no doubt two of their best songs from the period. However, this was meant to be a companion compilation to People are People. Those two songs, and several other singles, make up the bulk of that album, though, curiously, Love in Itself appears on both compilations.
Since Catching Up was released, The Singles 81-85 was released, which is a bit more comprehensive than this. But if you pair this with People are People, you'll have all the tracks on that compilation and then some. This album is also very cheap, despite being out of print, and some people may prefer the tracklisting. I would probably recommend The Singles 81-85 over this, but if you're on a tight budget, you might get this one instead."