Depeche Mode: Andrew Fletcher, David Gahan, Alan Wilder, Martin Gore.
Engineers include: Peter Iversen, Pino Pischetola, Goh Hotoda.
Recorded at Logic Studios, Milan, Italy; Puk Studios, Denmark; The Church and Master Rock Studios, London, England; Axis, New York, New York.
Depeche Mode's American career took the British synthpop band from hipster curios to cult artists to teenage heroes to, with 1989's VIOLATOR, genuine alternative-rock superstardom. It's a majestic album that reflects the buildup of angst over a decade of playing; it stays true to the outfit's basic form while exploring new aural worlds.
The album contains three massive MTV hits, the unusually guitar-oriented "Personal Jesus," the more typical but still obtuse "Enjoy the Silence," and the off-kilter and emphatic "Policy of Truth." Martin Gore's songs explore his usual themes of sex ("Blue Dress"), redemption ("Clean"), and desperation ("Waiting for the Night"), but the arrangements are more detailed and lush than on the band's spartan early albums; it's a new style that suits Dave Gahan's deepening voice well. VIOLATOR's commercial success may have brought turmoil to Depeche Mode's career and lives, but it remains one of the band's finest and (unlikely enough) truest albums. With VIOLATOR, the band pulls off the not unremarkable feat of becoming a household name without losing much of its soul.
Rolling Stone (p.74) - 4.5 stars out of 5 -- "[With] heavier hooks, cinematic arrangements and sleek sonic detail."
Spin (p.58) - Ranked #9 in Spin's "The 10 Best Reissues of 2006" -- "[T]his was an emotional bloodletting, complete with dark drone..."
Q (p.129) - Ranked #6 in Q Magazine's "10 Essential Reissues Of 2006."
Q - 4 Stars - Excellent - Included in Q's list of the Fifty Best Albums of 1990.
CMJ (1/6/03, p.15) - Included in CMJ's list of "Top 25 College Radio Albums of All Time"