Depeche Mode's 25-year evolution reads like a young woman's bildungsroman. Over the years, David Gahan, Martin Gore, and company have switched out bubbly, Casio goth for intense, guitar-driven rock. But whatever sound they adopt, they maintain the sort of softly trashy seductiveness that makes a certain type of girl swoon. In honor of DM kicking off its first tour in four years to promote its latest album, Playing the Angel, here is a list of the various songs and the boys who best fit them that have found their way onto my mixtapes.
Song: "The Meaning of Love," A Broken Frame
Boy: Tom, age 12
Depeche Mode performs with The Bravery on Wednesday, November 2, at the BankAtlantic Center, 1 Panther Pkwy, Sunrise. Tickets cost $49.50 and $75. Call 305-358-5885, or visit www.cellardoor.com.
Tom was adorable and was my first crush. With juvenile musings about love, "The Meaning of Love" is the ideal song for those seedlings of lust. Gahan's youthful voice is simply giddy on this synthesizer-and-drum-machine confection. And after spotting Tom in Speedos warming up for the backstroke, I slipped a copy tape into his bag and never said a word.
Song: "A Question of Lust," Black Celebration
Boy: Paul, age 16
With a deep, penetrating bass accented by a nervous tambourine shake, Gore sings of passion and desires: "But I need to drink/More than you seem to think/Before I'm anyone's." I knew our time was fleeting, but Paul was the perfect make-out partner at parties. My "mature" lust was nothing more than hands-on training for future endeavors when something more than shoes finally hit the floor.
Song: "Somebody," 101
Boy: Christopher, age 18
Only somebody you truly, deeply love is deserving of Martin Gore's simply romantic, heartbeat-backed ballad longing for "Somebody who cares/For me passionately/With every thought and with every breath." This is why I waited for the live version (and the prom) to give this song (and my virginity) to the boy I believed was the one.
Song: "Happiest Girl" (B-side), Violator
Boy: Tyler, age 20
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On this album, DM reaches a level of complete confidence in its unique sound. The song that stands out isn't even on the album; it's a B-side to "World in My Eyes." Tyler, the high school boy I played with during my second summer home from college, gave this heavy, pulsating track layered with electronic whirls to me because I was the "Happiest Girl" he ever knew. (That and he "wanted to feel the joy/Flow between our hips.")
Song: "Freelove," Exciter
Boy: Keith, age 30
The ethereal sexiness and comfortable control of Gahan's sultry serenade encourage you to just relax and have fun. I'm older, a bit wiser, and less patient when it comes to romantic love. When "No hidden catch/No strings attached" lovin' is needed, I can call up Keith, my mimbo, and "let go of complicated feelings."