Depeche Mode – “Enjoy the Silence”

“Enjoy the Silence” was a hit song back in the 90s, with a groovy, jive beat and techno sound, which made it really special and a great song to get out on the dance floor and move and groove to. In this song, the singer is in a relationship where thoughts and feelings are all that matter. He feels words are unnecessary and can even be harmful, so he prefers to enjoy the relationship in silence. The song was written by the group’s primary songwriter, Martin Gore, with lead vocals by Dave Gahan. Released in 1990 on the album titled “Violator,” the song peaked at # 8 in the US and # 6 in the UK.

At first, this was a ballad played on an organ. Alan Wilder got the idea to speed up the song. The other members didn’t like the idea, but after some time became convinced.

Martin Gore recalled to Mojo magazine September 2012: “The original demo of Enjoy the Silence was very slow and minimal, just me and a harmonium, and Alan (Wilder) had this idea of putting a beat to it. We added the choir chords and (producer) Flood and Alan said, ‘Why don’t you play some guitar over the top?’ That’s when I came up with the riff. I think that’s the only time in our history when we all looked at each other and said, ‘I think this might be a hit.'” 

In the UK this won a 1990 Brit award for best British single.

In 2004, a remix by Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park was released as a single as “Enjoy the Silence ’04.” It was included on their album Remixes ’81-’04.

Lacuna Coil recorded this on their 2006 album Karmacode.

 

In an interview with Q magazine in February 2008, vocalist Dave Gahan looked back at the recording of the Violator album: “We had a sense that we were doing something groundbreaking. “Violator” was a lot of bluesy gospel songs and (New York DJ/mixer) Francois Kevorkian brought this dance thing to it. It was a great combination of people. ‘Enjoy the Silence’ was just Mart (band member Martin Gore) playing the piano and I think he was quite upset that (producer) Flood and Alan (Wilder band member 1982-95) were going to take it in a different direction. It really made the album cross over into another cosmos. It had been a constant climb over the previous 10 years, but I don’t think we were prepared for what was about to come. The album was a worldwide success and suddenly these huge royalty checks started coming in and you were able to do whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted – the velvet rope was always open.”

This was Depeche Mode’s biggest chart hit in the United States.

Singer, model, and former French First Lady Carla Bruni covered this song. It was released as the lead single from her 2017 album French Touch.

“What I like very much about the song is the lyrics,” she said. “They are quite dark, but they’re made stronger because, nowadays, noise is everywhere. We need silence. Silence is healing.”

Dave Gahan explained the meaning of the song’s Anton Corbijn-directed music video to Entertainment Weekly (March 23, 2017): “Anton came to me – he’s Dutch you know – and said [in clipped Dutch accent], ‘So Dave, I have an idea. You’re gonna wear a crown. You’re this king walking everywhere, and you’re gonna carry a deck chair…’ And I didn’t get it at all. But once we started and he showed me the footage I got what he was doing: The man who has everything but really feels nothing. And we were in such remote places – like, five miles up in the Alps walking in the snow, in the Algarve in Portugal on these remote beaches, at Balmoral in Scotland, where we could walk for days and days and not see anyone.”

Gahan on the genesis of the song: “Funny enough, when Martin first came up with a demo for ‘Silence,’ it was kind of half a song. Just a piano and these very slow, ballad-y couple of verses. And Alan [Wilder] and Flood, who was producing the album, had this idea to put a beat to it. They said, ‘Get out of the studio and come back in two days.’ When we came back, Flood said to Martin, ‘I need you to come up with a guitar line,’ so Martin started to play this riff, and that was it. Then he said, ‘Dave, go sing,’ and I did. We literally recorded it in a couple of days. Then we started messing with the song, trying to make it more than it was, and it never needed more. We put it out like that, and I think we knew between us that there was something very special about it, but we had no idea what a huge hit it was going to be.” 

 

Song Lyrics –

Words like violence
Break the silence
Come crashing in
Into my little world
Painful to me
Pierce right through me
Can’t you understand
Oh, my little girl

[Chorus]
All I ever wanted
All I ever needed
Is here
In my arms
Words are very
Unnecessary
They can only do harm

Vows are spoken
To be broken
Feelings are intense
Words are trivial
Pleasures remain
So does the pain
Words are meaningless
And forgettable

[Chorus: x3]

Enjoy the silence [Repeat: x4]

Credit: Songfacts, YouTube & Bing photos/images