Depeche ModeRenowned for tackling the darker side of the whole sex, drugs and rock n’ roll lifestyle, not to mention themes of religion and death, synth-rock veterans Depeche Mode’s back catalogue is no bundle of joy. But they have arguably surpassed themselves with their 13th studio effort, Delta Machine. Indeed, if you thought that the trio may start to lighten up now that they have all entered their 50s, think again. The iconic England crew’s follow-up to 2009’s Sounds Of The Universe, Delta Machine is steeped in so much doom and gloom that even a super-group consisting of Morrissey, Lou Reed and Leonard Cohen would sound like Carly Rae Jepsen in comparison. Here’s a look at five of its most unremittingly bleak lyrical offerings.


Depeche ModeLet’s hope that Delta Machine isn’t 100% autobiographical. Otherwise, Gahan appears to have been moonlighting as a full-time member of the Samaritans judging by its repeated offers of support for various troubled souls. The crunching gothic electronica of “Alone” focuses on perhaps his most helpless case, an individual who was so tortured that even with the emotional crutch of a multi-tasking ‘father, son, holy ghost and priest,’ couldn’t be saved from the pits of despair: [LISTEN]

I was there when you needed me most
I was there when you wanted me least
I was your father, your son and your holy ghost and priest
Through your failings and success
Through your losses and gains
I didn’t see much happiness or pain

The Child Inside

Depeche ModeThe obligatory Martin Gore-fronted number once again proves just how instrumental Gahan’s brooding tones are to Depeche Mode’s success. But as eternally plodding as this cosmic lullaby is, it still possesses a certain ‘cowering in the corner’ quality thanks to its hugely unsettling and deeply tragic tale of a girl whose innocence was robbed from a young age. Her childhood friends’ puzzlement about why she was never allowed to play outside only adds to the heartbreak: [LISTEN]

Each tear that flows down your face 
Trickles then picks up the pace 
And turns to a river inside 
A river that will not subside 
I can hear that dreadful overflowing sound 
And watching from afar I see a child is drowned 

Should Be Higher

Depeche ModeThe sleazy industrial disco of “Should Be Higher” is one of only two occasions when Delta Machine even attempts to tiptoe onto the dance-floor. But with its themes of shame and guilt and grisly references to infected arms, it’s still pretty unlikely to get the party started. Not exactly the most subtle allusion to Gahan’s near-fatal battle with heroin abuse, even the most naïve could work out that the ‘succumbing to the bliss of a kiss’ line isn’t anything to do with an amorous dance partner: [LISTEN]

Your arms are infected 
They’re holding the truth 
Oh stop all your crying 
This one you’ll lose 

Happens All The Time

Depeche ModeWith its classic acid house riffs and occasional dub wobbles, the most musically intriguing bonus track is also the most lyrically sombre as Gahan, perhaps referencing the big white light he famously witnessed for two minutes in the 90s, questions whether he’s ready to depart to another world. By the time he finishes his speech about the fragility and pointlessness of life, it seems pretty clear which side of the fence he’s sitting on: [LISTEN]

I know I’ve had enough, maybe far too much 
It’s easy to be kind 
And when it’s just me and you 
I know what I have to do 
I know I can leave this world behind

Long Time Lie

Depeche ModePerhaps tired of playing the sympathetic and understanding hero, Gahan instead goes in for some tough love on this sparse slice of industrial electronica, snarling at a judgemental and constantly finger-waggling character. Indeed, you can almost hear the venom being spat out as he gives the unnamed person in question a taste of his own medicine. Considering Gore’s recent tabloid battle with Simon Cowell, perhaps this is a thinly veiled attack at the X-Factor judge? [LISTEN]

I talk to ever look in a mirror
I thought you know it’s so much more
Locked up inside that box behind your door!
All your twisted conversations
When you’re sitting all alone
Just remember we know your secret while you moan!