In honor of Violator turning 30 on March 19, Billboard spoke with a slew of recording artists from all across the world to take their temperature on Depeche Mode’s goth-blues maneuvers of 1990 inspiring their listening habits and helping shape the sound of music for future generations. Here’s what they had to say.
Grzegorz Kwiatkowski, Trupa Trupa: This whole album and the vocalist’s expression reminds me of The Doors and Jim Morrison. Especially “World in My Eyes.” And the lyrics are also very very similar not in a copy paste sense but in a good sense. This album is full of poetry and full of romanticism. It’s strange because I didn’t see this connection before. Of course I don’t know if Depeche Mode are fans of The Doors. The sound of the whole album is like a factory and from pre-Atari period. Now it sounds almost primitive and I think it is its biggest value nowadays, when it is possible do at home a DIY production of great sounds which are ten times better than on this album. But less is more. Technology is not all. Ideas and spirit are the most important. And this is the key value of Violator. So I am listening to this album after many years of not listening and I can hear a mantra repetitive spiritual high quality stuff. I didn’t expect it. In my teenager mind it was all about entertainment and masses. And now I can hear and see real spiritual world full of poetry, full of Philip Glass repetitive solutions and instrumental minimalism almost in a Krautrock manner. And the lyrics. Very, very poetic lyrics. William Blake and Jim Morrison kind but also full of Biblical allusions. Really great work of art. As I wrote earlier: this album in some way sounds like music from an early computer games era. Cause that was this period. It’s tiny but in same time it’s huge. The spirit is huge. And what are the cons? Cause there are some. I really don’t like “Blue Dress” lyrics which is sexist and macho. This is the tone of a mentor and teacher – the man who teaches women how she should behave. I totally prefer the poetic metaphors like “Personal Jesus” instead of this “Blue Dress” macho spirit. Also the song “Dangerous” has got this macho atmosphere but not as intense as on “Blue Dress.” I guess it was in some way the spirit of the time and the same problem is present in some songs by The Doors.