Depeche Mode – Black Celebration (1986)

One of the pioneers of Synthpop (barring, of course, the much earlier architects the likes of Can, Kraftwerk, Yellow Magic Orchestra, and Gary Numan), and also a frontliner during the ’80s phase of New Wave music, Depeche Mode was up there as early as when its debut album was unleashed. 1981’s Speak & Spell contained the English group’s first hit singles, “What’s Your Name?”, “New Life,” and “Just Can’t Get Enough.”

Everything that came after was equally exciting if not more successful. However, Depeche Mode’s fifth album, Black Celebration, was the pivotal and most significant one. It may be regarded as the bridge between the band’s Pop-oriented beginnings to its more introspective, darker-themed, and sonically edgier outputs in the decade that followed.

Released in 1986, Black Celebration is Depeche Mode during its Gothic phase. Still synthesizer-dominated, but the band’s aesthetics and the moods and sounds of the songs were certainly no longer all sunshine and poppyfields. Instead, the band explored something claustrophobic, depressing, risky, yet compelling.

Its ’90s phase was what catapulted Depeche Mode to international popularity, breaking through the U.S. market. However, Black Celebration will always be the English lads’ mystical and magical moment.

Recommended tracks are “Stripped,” “A Question of Lust,” and “But Not Tonight.”