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Rock Rewind: Depeche Mode “Personal Jesus”

For many, Depeche Mode epitomizes the sound of 80’s New Wave/electronica—for a great many, it would appear. With over 100 million units sold career-wide, this band is the best-selling electronic music act in history. While the song below, “Personal Jesus,” (off their album Violator) is not officially the biggest hit in their career (“People Are People” and “Enjoy the Silence” both charted higher), the remastering of this tune for their compilation Remixes 2: 82-11 caused it to have a resurgence of radio airplay last year. And considering that the song has been covered by the likes of Johnny Cash and Marilyn Manson, among others, the reappearance of this song on playlists around the world might very well make “Personal Jesus” compete for most-recognized song of this band’s illustrious career.

This song is one of my “personal” favorites of the band, perhaps because I tend to favor a rock vibe over a dance vibe, and this song demonstrates musically how electronic music can rock. Seriously, I could listen to that guitar riff all day long. It also demonstrates how sometimes there are other elements to a song besides the melody that can make it a hit. No one can accuse “Personal Jesus” of having “too much melody”—Dave Gahan pretty much hovers around one note through the entire song. But no one can deny the song is catchy. Enjoy!

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About the Author


Tim Ferrar's interest in pop and rock started as a child, listening to Top-40 radio for hours on end while playing air guitar in his bedroom. Eventually air guitar led to electric guitar, and Tim began playing in bands and writing his own songs. With an admitted weakness for "a great hook or a great guitar riff," Tim's musical tastes are broad and varied, ranging from Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga on the pop side to Bon Jovi and Foo Fighters on the rock side- making him the ideal guy to cover our Rock and Pop categories. By day, Tim is a mild-mannered accountant in Chicago. By night, he rocks out on electric guitar in a cover band in various clubs around town- much to the surprise of some of his clients.

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Posted in: Featured, Rock Music


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