Now that I’ve posted a barnstorming blast of techno intensity, I’m going to knock things down a notch with a more subdued break-up boiler by Depeche Mode, titled “It’s No Good.” This one wields a restrained potency, slightly bitter, never sweet, and down and dirty in the grit and grime of grudge-based electronica. And it’s over 20 years old, which practically makes it a classic.
Depeche Mode’s long been regarded as tech trendsetters for the synthed and sequenced generation, pioneering the electronic sound for close to four decades. That places “It’s No Good” roughly in the middle of their ongoing years, which in and of itself, is quite an accomplishment.
It’s also worth noting that Depeche Mode’s never submitted to any of the subsequent offshoots of electronica they helped shape, before or after this particular track’s inception. They’ve instead continued to influence their peers through sheer determination and rigorous reinvention. They’re an intense act, but functioning on a different level than unbridled BMP’s and aggressive bass drops … although those factors have proven effective as well.
“It’s No Good” is a prime example, possessing a backhanded urgency that slithers in shades of melancholic moodiness, sharp in its severity, yet passive in its emotional peaks. It stays the course, focused forwards, making its point through deliberate repetition rather than rollercoaster rhythms. And Depeche Mode have always been masters of that particular craft, seizing the moodiest of melodies and forging it into a constructive case of percussive persistence.
Fortunately, this one stops short of becoming a harbinger for doomed relationships. It’s bitter and harsh, and equally angry, yet still tuned and toned for ear-catching empathy rather than off-putting apathy … another trait that Depeche Mode excels at.
Curiously, I’ve been sitting on this post for a few weeks, ever since being reminded of it from the Xmas comic blockbuster “Aquaman,” where it’s featured in a villainous montage. Funny where these gems from the past wind up in today’s world. And now it’s here as my second post of the day. Fitting enough, it seems.
I do love Depeche Mode, and I’m sure there’s plenty more to say about this track, and the countless others they’ve penned over the years. And I’m sure I will … at some point down the long road ahead. But for today, let’s leave it at “It’s No Good.” Enjoy!
“It’s No Good” from the 1997 album “Ultra.”
And to demonstrate that Depeche Mode do have a sense of humor, here’s their official music video with the band as cheesy lounge act. Kind of puts a different spin on the whole affair. And sort of undoes everything I’ve written previously. But I still stand by my thoughts and impressions.
Besides, in the grand scheme of things, it’s ultimately better to end on a high humorous note, rather than succumb to the doom and gloom … don’t you think?