By March 17th, 1986, it has been more than two years since Depeche Mode had gone to Berlin, ironically stopped trying to be marketable teen idols— exploring territory that was unquestionably very dark, and invariably earning them the nickname “Depress Mode”. So with the release of Basildon band’s fifth studio album it’s hard to come up with a fitting title that represents the ideas, imagery, and lyrical content of the record more so than Black Celebration.
Commercially, Black Celebration wasn’t as much of a success than Some Great Reward, as despite being their best charted record ever in Europe and the UK, it failed to match the previous records success in the US.
Artistically, as Some Great Reward was an album that began to stray from its more docile predecessors, Martin Gore, Dave Gahan, Alan Wilder and Andy Fletcher began to drift into far more experimental territory on Black Celebration.
Guided by Wilder, Depeche Mode embraced more industrial and dark wave sounds than on their previous record while still combining it with their irresistible pop appeal. This was exemplified further explorations in eroticism and s&m imagery personified in photo shoots and live performances from Martin Gore.
“A Question of Lust”
The singles “A Question of Time”, “A Question of Lust” and “Stripped” are still fan favorites and classics—taken from an album which can now easily be considered one of the most influential one of the 80s—with songs compositions that a definite progression from the early days of their staccato “Just Can’t Get Enough” to complex melodies composed via samples and computers. Indeed, this album started to establish the band’s reputation as one of the best and most successful musical acts ever with the release of Black Celebration, and they were only just getting started…
“A Question of Time”