Sunday, August 25, 2013

Depeche Mode - Construction Time Again

This week marks the thirtieth anniversary of Construction Time Again, the third studio album from the British new-wave band Depeche Mode. Joining Dave Gahan, Martin Gore and Andy Fletcher was keyboardist Alan Wilder. This one charted at number 201 in the US, number 44 in New Zealand, number 34 in the Netherlands, number 21 in Switzerland, number 16 in France, number 12 in Sweden, number 7 in Germany and number 6 in the UK.

Side one opens with “Love, In Itself”. As the second single, it reached number 28 in Germany, number 27 in Ireland, and number 21 in the UK. The introduction synths set a tense mood for the song, setting up the conflict that rises from a change in a relationship.

“More Than a Party” keeps things on the edge with a dark, urgent rhythm. Lyrically, I believe the party referred to is a political one as the band references broken promises. I like how it speeds up even more near the very end of the song as it spirals out of control.

“Pipeline” starts with a jackhammer sound, followed by an oriental musical riff. It moves back to a heavy, dirge like vocals backed by a simple percussion as the lyrics tell of men working underground on a huge fuel delivery system. Just listening to it, I get so involved that I start to anticipate something going horribly wrong. The album’s title comes from the second line of this song.

“Everything Counts”, whose lyrics focused on corporate greed and corruption (a big topic in the early 80‘s), was released as the first single. It charted at number 50 in the Netherlands, number 24 in Italy, number 23 in Germany, number 18 in Sweden, number 17 on the US Billboard Dance chart, number 15 in Ireland, number 8 in Switzerland, and number 6 in the UK. I remember this one playing a lot at campus parties and on the college radio station back in the day.

Side two begins with “Two Minute Warning”, a song that alludes to the ever-present threat of nuclear Armageddon.

“Shame” takes a very critical and resigned view on how some people turn a blind eye to world problems. I hear some Eastern influences woven through the music on this one.

The band next addresses environmental issues with “The Landscape Is Changing”.

“Told You So”, with its teasing/taunting rumba-like rhythm, is next.

The oriental influenced percussion returns with “And Then…”, a song that calls for a complete reboot of world societies, starting over fresh. The belief is that a new generation could not make things turn out any worse than they were already.

The final track differed slightly between the UK and the US releases. In the UK, it was a hidden track with a short one minute long “Everything Counts (Reprise)”. On the US, fans were treated to a seven-plus minute “Everything Counts (Long Version)”.

Are you in the mood for some more of the Mode? Look no further than these reviews I have done of their other albums.

Construction Time Again served as a transition album for Depeche Mode as their sound moved more towards the pure synth-pop dance sound that they were known for in the later part of the 80’s.

- For 1980’s Speak & Spell, click here.

- For 1982’s A Broken Frame, click here.

- For 1987’s Music for the Masses, click here.

1 comment:

HERC said...

This one continued the streak of me liking each DM album better than the last.

Love the four songs that made up Side One of the vinyl album - the two weakest songs were on Side Two and were written by Alan Wilder, the newest member of the group at the time. True to form, I would like the next Depeche Mode album (Some Great Reward) better than I liked Construction Time Again.