Autobiographical Order No. 15: Depeche Mode – A Broken Frame

I took a brief break from my journey back through my bio-discography to spend a few days in the desert and attend a friend’s wedding, but now I’m back, thumbing through vinyl and feeling the memories — however flawed — rush back to me.

I mean, for the most part. Just like the last installment in this series, this one focuses on an album that, at the time — so don’t go telling me how wrong I am just yet — was fairly commonplace in used record racks. Depeche Mode is a band that I’ve listened to for years, having been introduced to me by my brothers way back when I was impressionable and didn’t really understand what “Master and Servant” was really about. Now I’ve come to realize that just about every Depeche Mode song is about sex. Except the ones that are about heroin. But mostly sex. Especially the ones with religious imagery.

A Broken Frame fits into their catalog a little strangely, however. It’s not a great album, necessarily, but it’s an important one, for it was the first album they released after the departure of Vince Clarke, and the first in which Martin Gore became chief songwriter. That being said, it would still be another album or two before they grew more consistently strong in their songwriting abilities. A Broken Frame is an old-school sounding new wave record, not one with the expansive vision they’d come to display on records like Music for the Masses or Violator. But it’s certainly charming, and definitely a fun listen. It’s almost coldwave in its minimal sound, particularly on standout tracks like “Monument.”

Since finding it used at Lou’s way back when, it’s grown on me a bit. In a semi-recent Celebrate the Catalog feature I wrote for Treble, I think I rated the album a bit too low. So I’m giving it a little bit more love this time around.

Rating: 7.7

Sound Quality: Good

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