[2] Depeche Mode, ‘Personal Jesus’

Depeche Mode

I ditched Smash Hits for Record Mirror in 1986, and had it delivered until its demise in 1991-ish. Nothing ever lived up to it, nothing seemed to cater for me after that. In the late 80s it hooked itself onto the new rock/dance crossovers in its superlative BPM section alongside the usual house and r&b reviews, ahead of the game with early warnings about unexpected remixes and bewildering new directions. ‘Personal Jesus’ was one of these blindside dancefloor monsters.

The pervtastic ‘Mode (© Smash Hits) were big but somehow still niche. I reckon this single – with its swampy swagger, twanging groove and stomping beat – made it “OK” to like them. It topped Record Mirror’s Cool Cuts chart on its white label release, and went on to storm the clubs and excite indie kids and pop kids alike. ‘Blasphemous Rumours’ didn’t quite have the same broad appeal.

I’d been buying their singles for years – a dubious inheritance for Junior – but ‘Personal Jesus’ was the first one that I thought was really great. The tight, pulsating Violator album was pretty special too. They peaked here, I reckon, before Dave Gahan started on all that dying and being resurrected caper. Junior hasn’t got time for all that showing off; she’s only here for the music, and the glam stomp grabbed her right from the off. A leather-skirted hit for the Basildon boys.

OK, viewers, your turn: guess the Number One, choose the next year, suggest a new theme, throw in some bad puns on Martin Gore’s name, slag off the songs so far and gnash teeth at the absence of Technotronic.

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