UK, 1990, synthpop
Depeche Mode – Violator: I’m not a huge fan of Depeche Mode, but they have a special place in my music memory. First of all, when I was a kid, Martin L. Gore’s voice was my first brush with British vocals. I was like, yeah of course there’s music outside America. I’d never really thought about that before since my mom listened to a lot of American stuff (and if there was anything British, they didn’t have such distinctive vocals as Gore). Second, Depeche Mode was an MTV staple back in its heyday, and since I was basically raised on MTV, the band figures prominently in my memory, especially the singles, “Personal Jesus”, “Enjoy the Silence”, and “Policy of Truth”. I’m not actually a big fan of synthpop as a genre, but this album is just brilliant. It’s not “dark synthpop”, but the atmosphere evoked by the music–and even more by the vocals–is dark, not in the macabre sense but in the sense of it being urban and night.