1. My Cosmos Is Mine
A pulsating, fiery prelude - in the chronology of MEMENTO MORI, however, the last piece Martin Gore wrote for the album. To dark electronic sounds, he formulates his world-weariness, in particular the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine with its countless senseless deaths. Gahan succeeds in making the oppression clear with his singing; the piece is both: an indictment of world events, but also a retreat into the inner world. The title is therefore to be understood defiantly: My cosmos belongs to me - this is and remains my little world!
CONCLUSION: Weltschmerz is followed by a longing for isolation - right at the beginning a key song to plunge completely into the album.
2. Wagging Tongue
Originally a folky song, written by Dave Gahan in the style of the
Gahan in the style of the 70s. Gore then turned the demo inside out: At the beginning, analogue-cosmic synths can be heard, like in Kraftwerk, Harmonica and other German electro-krautrock pioneers. When the beat kicks in, the track locates itself in a chart show of the 80s: " Wagging Tongue " is melodious and light-hearted, a reminiscence of the time when Depeche Mode indulged in naive cheerfulness, especially with their singles.
CONCLUSION: Might be Vince Clarke's favourite song on the
on the album - a single worthy of mention!
3. Ghosts Again
The pre-release single, co-written by Martin Gore and Richard Butler, an old acquaintance of Gore, songwriter and singer of the post-punk veterans The Psychedelic Furs. Even when little snippets of the song circulated on the internet during the press conference announcing MEMENTO MORI, the sound of "Ghosts Again" triggered pleasant memories of the melancholic syn-thie hits of the late 80s and early 90s among fans. And in its entirety, the song delivers what it promised back then and thus fuelled the anticipation: After many years, finally a Depeche Mode single that really ignites immediately.
FAZIT: The younger cousin of "Enjoy The Silence".
4. Don't Say You Love Me
E in Sons. which sounds as if the Walker Brothers were going to write a soundtrack
electro-style interpretation of a soundtrack composition by Ennio Morricone, which David Lynch then uses for an upcoming season of "Twin Peaks". Gahan sings sombrely, including one of the strongest lines on the album: "You're the singer, I'm the song". Whereby Martin Gore and Richard Butler, who wrote the song together, of course know who plays which role, whether in music or in love: It's the singer, not the song.
CONCLUSION: This is how blues goes in the year 2023.
5. My Favourite Stranger
In the background, co-producer Marta Salogni
The atmosphere is terrifying. The song consists of a recurring, repetitive, and very loud electronic noise. The song consists of a recurring verse, chorus and resolution? No such thing. The songwriters Gore and Butler put the listener on the rack in a very concrete way, Gahan sings about another, destructive ego: "my imitation". In the end, the blood is on his hands - post-industrial electro-blues with a high paranoia factor!
CONCLUSION: Uncomfortable, cold, highly intense - a Depeche Moment for connoisseurs.
6. Soul With Me
The track with Martin Gore as lead singer. He plays the
crooner - at least in the verse - and sings with a lot of warmth. In the transition to the chorus, one expects a trip into kitschy ballad areas, but Gore breaks with the expectation with a slight grin on his face, sings instead a smart soul refrain with a now slightly brittle voice - and prepares in the lyrics to escape from the "earthly cages" to move where the angels fly: "I'm taking my soul with me." CONCLUSION: A hidden soul song about souls - Joke very much to Gore's taste.
7. Caroline's Monkey
Another collaboration with Richard Butler - and
* probably the least catchy track on MOMENTO MORI. It deals with drugs and addiction, the monkey on Caroline's shoulder stands for the demon of addiction, for the "black elephant* that stands in the room and destroys life with its relationships.
CONCLUSION: Important topic, good lyrics - nevertheless a song that deliberately keeps you at a distance.
8. Before We Drown
Gahan's big ballad on the album, starting with interesting
interesting harmonic arabesques, later a song about the ambivalences of love, about the constant doubts, the rising and falling - and the need to move forward as an individual before you go down together.
CONCLUSION: One of the best twisted love songs Gahan has written for Depeche Mode.
9. People Are Good
Gore never liked "People Are People": the song that made Depeche Mode big in the USA and Germany was lyrically too flat, too clear. Now
"People Are Good" - not a rip-off of his own hit (even if you can sing it on the basic beat), but a contemplation of humanity the way songwriter Martin Gore prefers it: bitterly angry, full of ambivalences.
The phrase "everything will be alright" is followed by the line "keep foolin' yourself* - Gahan knows how to find the right tone for Gore's mockery. For the bluesy tremolo in the verse, Gahan was inspired by the same teachers as Jochen Distelmeyer from Blumfeld.
CONCLUSION: Gore again in joke mode, here between cynicism and fanservice.
10. Always You
The song begins with complex beats and echoes of modern pop, then takes another swing in the direction of 80s synth-wave. Gahan once again shows that his vocals are more influenced by songwriter blues than ever. Gore's lyrics formulate lines for a love song as he imagines it: "My love, there are no more words / Life's too absurd."
CONCLUSION: The title of the song suggests music other than this sombre swan song to warmth and closeness.
11. Never Let Me Go
Classic - and is the "Go" perhaps even a salute to Vince Clarke and his Yazoo hit "Don't Go*? Here, too, the melody of the old song can be sung along to the beat of the new track. But then a very strong, hit-suspicious independent song develops with 80s beats, sparkling electric guitars and very strong harmony vocals by Gahan and Gore.
FAZIT: Here too - single suspicion!
12. Speak To Me
The grand finale of the album that will leave many speechless.
speechless. Dave Gahan has written a beguiling and larger-than-life ballad, about a moment on the floor (very specifically: the floor of a bathroom), about a pleading address to a higher being - and quite obviously about his specific near-death experience.
Like a praying man, he asks someone to guide him, that he will follow this voice. Whether back to life or death?
The piece begins without beats, the strings increase their playing to the climax, when they fade away, a throbbing beat remains, symbolising the heartbeat of a human being. A living person who is aware of his mortality: MEMENTO MORI. One of the most intense listening experiences in Depeche Mode's entire discography!
CONCLUSION: Without words.
OVERALL RATING: MEMENTO MORI: 5/5