Depeche Mode – “Personal Jesus” – (1990)

This song, which is a great example of Depeche Mode’s signature sound, was their first big hit in the U.S. since 1984. It’s one of their best known songs and, like many of their other songs, it completely rocks. 1990 was not a high watermark for music – yet this album, Violator, tries very hard to convince you otherwise. But the staggering amount of awful pop music from the likes of Sweet Sensation and New Kids on the Block (etc.) overwhelm the awesome stuff like this.

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Depeche Mode – “Enjoy the Silence” – (1990)

We already featured “Policy of Truth” during our Top Rock Songs of the 90s countdown, but it would have just as well fit here. “Enjoy the Silence” was the single released right before “Policy of Truth” and it also has a very 1980s feel. Synthpop was huge during the 80s, and this is a pretty good example of it, yet it was released in 1990. This is one of their best songs and its chart performance reflected it, hitting the top five or top ten in most countries where it was released. The chorus: “All I ever wanted, all I ever needed – is here in my arms. Words are very unnecessary, they can only do harm.”

#43 – Depeche Mode – “Policy of Truth” – (1990)

This is one of Depeche Mode’s best songs. Actually, it might be their best. It’s the only Depeche Mode song to chart higher in the U.S. than in the U.K. (by one position). Do yourself a favor and click that YouTube link above and enjoy the awesomeness that is this song. Depeche Mode is listed on Wikipedia as an “alternative dance, synthpop, and new wave” band. I’ll give them “electronic” but their songs – and this one in particular – sound heavy enough that I’d consider them rock. New Wave was a kind of rock. Then again, it was #1 on the Modern Rock chart. Aha! Vindication!

#48 – Depeche Mode – “Never Let Me Down Again” – (1987)

Depeche Mode started pushing out hits in the early 1980s and, well, they were okay. I think they really hit their stride in 1987 with Music for the Masses, which contains this song. Their next album Violator took their greatness one step further – and they’ve, as recently as 2009, continued to put out solid tracks. This song is somewhat synth-heavy, which is cool, but the lyrics aren’t delivered in any special, outstanding way. I think it’s the 80s-Britishness that really sells this one. It only made it to #63 on the Hot 100, but this is one of the more popular songs at a live show.