Depeche Mode Songs | Todd’s Picks vs. Listener Best Songs

depeche mode songs

Echoes of Electronica: Ranking the Best Depeche Mode Songs w/ Todd & Fans

2023 was a huge year for Depeche Mode. They came back onto the scene with a vengeance after experiencing a period of amazing highs and devasting lows. They were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 2020. As they were preparing to begin the recording process for the Memento Mori album, the sudden and unexpected death of founding member Andy Fletcher left Martin Gore and Dave Gahan in limbo. Would the band be able to continue after such a loss? As it turned out, music was the healing process that they needed, and they forged ahead by finishing the album and launching a massive world tour. If you were at the Delta Center on November 18, 2023, you saw one of the best performances of their career. The new album and tour brought them to the top of their game, and they delivered as if they had something to prove. Since it is no secret that they are my favorite band ever, I thought exploring my favorite top 10 Depeche Mode songs with the X96 listeners’ best Depeche Mode songs would be fun.


Synth and Soul: Todd Nuke’em’s Depeche Mode Song Selections


10. “Stripped”

Black Celebration, 1986.

This song was one of the first I heard from this album. I discovered the band in 1984, and this was the next album that they released. I was 16 when it came out, and you just can’t experience a new song like you do when you’re a teenager. They played it in their last concert, and it was spectacular!

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9. “Ghosts Again”

Memento Mori, 2023

This song hit hard for me personally, as it explores our mortality. While it was written before Andy Fletcher’s death, it perfectly related to that event. Also, in 2023, I experienced my father’s declining health and eventual passing. This song helped me through a lot.

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8. “Shake the Disease”

Single, 1985

It wasn’t on an album, but the lyrics and melody showcase the brilliant talent of Martin Gore. When X96 signed on the air back in February of 1992, this was the first song we played. The rest is history!

7. “Home”

Ultra, 1997

This album came out during the most tumultuous period in the band’s history. Longtime member Alan Wilder had left the band, frontman Dave Gahan was struggling with heroin addiction, and Depeche Mode came dangerously close to dissolving. Martin Gore performs the vocals on this track, and the lyrics are haunting.


6. “Photographic”

Speak & Spell, 1981

This was the album that started it all! It was written by Vince Clarke, who departed the band immediately after the album’s release out to move on to other bands like Yaz, and Erasure. You can hear the influence of pioneering synth-based bands like The Human League, Kraftwerk, and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark on this song.




5. “A Question of Lust”

Black Celebration, 1986

Another one with vocals performed by Martin Gore explores a troubled relationship. His voice is angelic, and the depth of the song will captivate you.


4. “Waiting for the Night”

Violator, 1990

This is my favorite album by far, and most Depeche Mode fans will agree that it is their best. Martin Gore and Dave Gahan harmonize the vocals throughout the song. It was never released as a single, but is one of the best songs ever.


3. “Blasphemous Rumours”

Some Great Reward, 1984

I was a teenager when I heard this song, and it was one of my favorite tracks from the album. It is definitely a downer; when I was a kid, I was sure that I’d burn in hell for guiltily loving this song!


2. “People Are People”

Some Great Reward, 1984

This was the first song from Depeche Mode I ever heard. I saw the music video on a daily syndicated TV show on KSTU (which was channel 20 at the time) called “Hot.” It was a 30-minute program that aired in the afternoons and played music videos. I lived in Hooper, and we didn’t have the luxury of cable of MTV out in the sticks like the cool kids in Roy. Anyway, I loved the video, the song, the powerful message, and the totally new sound from the band. It blew my mind, and I was a fan immediately.


1. “Enjoy the Silence”

Violator, 1990

Many would argue between this song and “Personal Jesus” as their best song ever. For me, there is no contest. The song’s lyrics, beat, and arrangement propel it to the top of my list. It was originally intended to be a slow ballad sung by Martin Gore. It had minimal arrangements and no drums on the original demo. Alan Wilder and producer Flood rearranged the song in the studio to create this gem. It is a show-stopper when they play it live.


Echoes of the Masses: The People’s Depeche Mode Anthems

And now, your list. This is based on listener feedback and the various music surveys we have conducted throughout history. For the record, I love all of these songs as well.


10. “Somebody”

Some Great Reward, 1984.

This is a classic piano ballad with Martin Gore on vocals. According to the band, Martin Gore performed the vocals in the nude while recording the song. He did this to capture the vulnerable mood and lyrics. So, there’s a mental image for you the next time you hear the song!


9. “Walking in My Shoes”

Songs of Faith and Devotion, 1993.

This almost made it on my list. I think the lyrics on this song show remarkable depth in Martin Gore’s songwriting talents.


8. “People Are People”

Some Great Reward, 1984.

This was their first commercial success in America, making it onto alternative and top 40 radio. It peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100. One of the vital Depeche Mode songs.

7. “Strangelove”

Music for The Masses, 1987.

Another amazing song that enjoyed a little bit of commercial success, even though the song is basically about bondage.


6. “Shake the Disease”

Single, 1985.

A non-album track that most of us first heard on the 1985 compilation Catching Up with Depeche Mode. This album gave many fans a glimpse of the band’s work from the first half of the decade and established them as one of the greats in alternative music.


5. “Policy of Truth”

Violator, 1990.

This album launched the band to massive international stardom. Another example of Martin Gore’s brilliant songwriting.


4. “Just Can’t Get Enough”

Speak & Spell, 1980.

A pop classic from their debut album that was written by Vince Clarke. You can hear the different songwriting styles between Clarke, who preferred songs that were much more pop sounding, and Martin Gore, who has a darker approach. They still play this song live, and the crowd loves it!


3. “Never Let Me Down Again”

Music For The Masses, 1987.

I love this song! Maybe I should add it to my list. So many great songs! This track experienced a resurgence in January 2023, when HBO featured it in two episodes of The Last of Us. When the episodes aired, the sales and streams of the song tripled. This accidentally set the stage for the band’s new single “Ghosts Again” and the album Memento Mori later in the year.


2. “Enjoy the Silence”

Violator, 1990.

Let’s face it. This is a classic Depeche Mode song with dark lyrics, and you can dance to it!


1. “Personal Jesus”

Violator, 1990.

In 1989 their record company sent out a white-label 12-inch single (which was promotional only) to a few radio stations. We were all working at KJQ (the alternative station where Kerry, Bill, Gina, and I worked prior to X96) and were surprised to have a studio demo acoustic guitar song from synth band Depeche Mode called “Personal Jesus.” It was a departure for sure, and I’m not positive that the band and label expected much from an acoustic track. We liked the song, and we threw it on the air. The response was overwhelming. People loved it! We played the acoustic version on the air for months until the final studio version was released in August of that year. The studio version featured more guitar on a Depeche Mode song than they had ever done. The blues riff is catchy, and became one of the best songs of all time.


Check out our picks for the best 2023 alternative rock vinyl releases 

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