26 April 2013

Review of Delta Machine

Delta Machine by Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode's new album, Delta Machine.  It has been out for a little over a month. My intial thoughs of the new album were not postive.  To take a page from This is Spinal Tap, my two word review would have been:  Depeche Meh. 

In the month that it was released, I have only listened to it only five times.  Each time it would grow on me a little.  I took notes the second time, and my intial thoughts pretty much still stands. 

I write this as I am listening to the album, so this is like a live review.  That is like an internet first...and you are a part of it.  Tracks written by Martin Gore, unless noted.  Here is a track-by-track review of Delta Machine. 

1.  Welcome To My World - While the lyrics are good, the music and arangement are horrible.  It sounds like a Michael Bay movie.  Lots of 'Transformer sounds' with the 'WOMMM' distorted robot...or should I say machine, delta machine.  6/10

2. Angel - Again with the distortion.  Perhaps this album should have been named 'Distortion Machine'.  This was the first song that the band played to promo their album and tour at the press conference.  One thing that bothers me is it sounds like there are too many words being crammed into a limited amount of beats.  7/10

3. Heaven - Obvious choice for them to pick this as their first single. Although, I can do without Martin's harmony.  That being said, it is one of the better songs on the this album.  Heck, I would say this is could be in the top ten all time Depeche Mode songs.  9/10

4. Secret To The End - Dave's voice is great on this track.  It has a catchy beat and lyrics.  Unfortunately, it suffers from too many layers in the arrangement.  One might say that it is over produced, which seems like a theme to much of this album.  Track written by Dave Gahan and Kurt Uenala. 7/10

5. My Little Universe - Lyrics are good, but again, the song tends gets lost in the arrangement.  The distorted keyboards really hurt the track, especially towards the end and drowns Dave's soothing voice.  7/10

6. Slow - Heavy blues influence on this track.  Strong track for the album.  Unfortunately, I do not think it would make a good single as I cannot see (hear) radio stations giving this its deserved air time.  Really good track.  8/10

7. Broken - Probably the best track on the album.  Classic Depeche Mode, with great lyrics.  It has a little Joy Division  sound to it as well.  Really well put together, should be a single.  Another great song written by Gahan and Uenala.  Not much to say, other than this track is awesome.  9/10

8. The Child Inside - Not a secret that I am not a fan of Martin's singing.  This is a typical Martin track.  Good, but not great.  Nothing special.  7/10

9. Soft Touch/Raw Nerve - Easily the worst song on the album, one the worst in their catalog.  Horribly written with the copy/paste method of writing.  The first four lines of the song:  "Have I got a soft touch?  Have I got a soft touch?  Is my radar that off?  Is my radar that off?"  Surely one can write better lyrics than that.  The second verse is more of the same.  The chorus is suffers from not having enough words to cover the number of bars.  " Oh brother, Give me a helping haaa-aaa-aaa-aaa-aa-aaand."  Ugh.  3/10

10. Should Be Higher - Relief from the previous track.  Also, this is written by Gahan and Uenala.  I really like Dave's writing.  Dave does some experimenting on this track. In the chorus, his voice does sort of a cracking as it jumps octaves.  It works and it sounds great.  You can hear the raw emotion in Dave's voice.  Though not written by Martin, it has a familiar Depeche Mode sound.  Great track.  8/10

11. Alone - Nothing special.  A lot to live up to after listening to the previous track.  As with most of the album, there is too much going on the the arrangement.  7/10

12. Soothe My Soul - Second single from the album.  Very catchy in a Personal Jesus kind of way.  The intro even has a "Reach out and touch faith" feel with touch of I Feel You.  The only part I have a problem with is the chorus, as it repeats a little too much, even for a chorus.  7/10

13. Goodbye - Actually, this one has more of that I Feel You rift, but with a bluesy twist.  It almost sounds like a cover song by Depeche Mode.  I like the way the beats comes in stronger as the song progresses, then goes back down...and up...and down, again.  Not a bad track, not a great track.  6/10

Bonus Disc

1. Long Time Lie - Poorly written lyrics, with lines like "It's been a long long long long long long time, It's been a long long long long long long time, A long time lie".  More copying and pasting.  No wonder this is on a bonus disc.  5/10

2. Happens All The Time - Nothing special, just an average song usually made as filler for a album.  While it stars out good, it again gets drowned out by over producing.  This is the best track on the bonus disc.  I would have preferred that this track replaced Soft Touch/Raw Nerve on the main album.  6/10

3. Always - NEVER!  2/10

4. All That's Mine - Again nothing special.  This track is also the B-Side to Heaven.  Just your average song that has its moments.  Perfect for a B-Side track.  5/10

Overall, the album is good, with an average score of 7/10.  I did not include the bonus disc, since it would really hurt the overall score.  I wished they would have included their 'naked' mixes on the bonus disc instead.  Delta Machine is worth a listen to.  I think for most Depeche Mode fans, it takes a little getting used to.  I know I expected something totally different than what was presented.  Some of it works for me, some not.

I plan on listening to the album a lot more as I need to 'study it' before the concert in late September.  I will have a review of the concert...better pencil that in, just in case. 

No comments: