|Depeche Mode - Spirit
The general feel is this is a good album. There are elements that, a producer and artist, would take out. I am talking about the overuse of distortion and auto tune. Depeche Mode has been around for thirty six years...well before distortion and well before auto tune. They do not need it, they should not need it. This is the first time working with producer James Ford.
As with my review of Delta Machine, I will go track by track, writing as I am listening. Tracks written by Martin Gore, unless noted. Here we go.
1. Going Backwards - This is a good intro song. It draws you in with a great beat and lyrics. Although, it took me a few listens to figure out that the first like is "We are not there yet", as there is a little too much distortion on the track. I thought Dave Gahan was signing "We-anna-bey-yah"...I seriously thought it was a different language. 8/10
2. Wheres the Revolution - It is pretty easy to see why they chose this as their first single. After listening to this track a few more times, I think this is great. It has a familiar 'Mode-feel'. The only part I am not a fan of is the "The train is coming...The engine's humming" part. I think it sounds like a nursery rhyme, a case of lazy song writing....or what I call "copy/paste song writing". Some people mistake "repetitive" as "catchy". Strong track. 8/10
3. The Worst Crime - This is the best track on the album. It has that Condemnation feel to it great lyrics and Dave's voice it euphoric. For those that think the boys have lost it, they should listen to this track. 10/10
4. Scum - Way too much distortion and manipulation of Dave's voice. Scum is an average song with below average arrangement. This track suffers from being overproduced...sounds like Michael Bay produced this song. Luckily, it is short. 4/10
5. You Move - Again, a little too much on the auto tune, here. The lyrics are fine, but gets repetitive. "I like the way you move, I like the way you move tonight..." Yeah, I get it. Track written by Gore and Gahan. 5/10
6. Cover Me - Another 'slow' track. Dave's voice works well on this one. Not your typical Depeche Mode track, it sounds different...in a good way, and a relief from the last two tracks. The end drags out a bit too long, but I am okay with it, as it has an 'updated 80's sound'. Track written by Gahan, Peter Gordeno, Christian Eigner. 8/10
7. Eternal - First track with Martin on vocals. Meh, it just sounds like an interlude it is the shortest track at just over two minutes. It feels that they put it in here, at the half way mark, to say, "hey, Martin sings, too". Average track that is overproduced. 4/10
8. Poison Heart - Well, this one rocks! One of my favourite tracks off the album. Another great vocal performance from Dave. Track written by Gahan, Gordeno, Eigner. 9/10
9. So Much Love - First thing you notice is there is so much distortion in Dave's voice. This would be so much better if it was auto tuned down. Great song, just ruined by auto tune and distortion...like a exotic car with a shitty paint job. My ears ring from the noise after this track. 6/10
10. Poorman - Love the lyrics to this track. But, again...it suffers from too much post production. If not for that, it could be a candidate for a single. Oh, I hope it becomes a single so it and be remixed...or better yet, unmixed into something less distorted. Ugh, you can almost hear Dave's voice trying to escape the grabbing hands of the auto tune machine. 7/10
11. No More (This Is the Last Time) - Not sure what to think about this one. Kinda average throughout, but has its moments where you think it can pick up, but falls back down. Not the best, not the worst. Probably better as a B-side. Track written by Gahan and Kurt Uenala. 5/10
12. Fail - Vocals by Martin. They say you want to end with a bang, not sure it this one fulfills that criteria. I believe this is the first ever DM song with profanity in it, as Martin sings, "we're fucked". Still, not a strong track to end the album...fail, indeed. 4/10
If you are like me and got the Deluxe Edition, you will be treated to five remixes. I am not going to get into these, but they are your typical remixes. Oddly, some of the remixed are less 'remixed' than the album track themselves.
Overall the album is slightly above average with a score of 6.5/10. There are some great tracks in the beginning of the album that really hit. But unfortunately, there are some tracks at the end that weighed down the rest of the album. Most of the damage to the album falls on the overuse of auto tune and distortion...being overproduced. I would love to hear a clean version of this...or even the 'naked' remixes...which would have been an awesome second disc, instead.
Hoping more of this album will grow on my as I listen to it more. Maybe these track will sound better live.