Let’s be honest: goth surely would have happened even if there were no Bauhaus, no Edgar Allen Poe, no Nosferatu. But even as memories of The Batcave and Fields of the Nephilim fade into a blurry haze, certain grimly fiendish paradigms remain as exemplary as ever.
Looking back, Depeche Mode, in the course of just six years, went from blippy synth-poppers to one of the most reliably despondent – and blaspheming – pop acts of their generation. The apotheosis, of course, remains to this day 1986’s luridly funereal Black Celebration, surely the most perfectly, thematically realized album of their unstoppable career – and a pivotal goth building block.
Grim times (such as these) certainly call for ideologically and aesthetically corresponding cultural ripostes. And so the timing of the release of Black Celebration: The 12″ Singles (out May 31 via Rhino) could not be more poignant – and veritably answers the query, How does one make all that bleakness even bleaker? (A: Give it an extended remix.)
So we get here the “Highland Mix” of “Stripped,” a lover’s aching plea to escape the poisoned urbanscape for a fleeting sylvan respite; plus the prolonged version of “A Question of Time,” with its ominous mind-control exhortations (“They’ve persuasive ways / And you’ll believe what they say”); and the exalted Flood remixing “A Question of Lust,” as doomful a romantic overture as could ever be imagined.
It’s five vinyl 12″ singles – 27 songs in all – in an obviously visually striking package (would Depeche give you anything less?). And all…just in time…for summer fun. (Or not.)
“To celebrate the fact, that we’ve seen the back, of another black day…”
(N.B. Rhino will also release Music For the Masses: The 12″ Singles on the same day.)