4.7 10
by Depeche Mode

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Unlike 1997's Ultra, which signaled Depeche Mode's comeback after lead singer David Gahan's drug rehabilitation and featured the radio-friendly songs "Home" and "Barrel of a Gun," the excitement on Exciter is buried a little deeper. Fueled by lines like "to the soul's desires the body listens/what the flesh requires keeps the heart


Unlike 1997's Ultra, which signaled Depeche Mode's comeback after lead singer David Gahan's drug rehabilitation and featured the radio-friendly songs "Home" and "Barrel of a Gun," the excitement on Exciter is buried a little deeper. Fueled by lines like "to the soul's desires the body listens/what the flesh requires keeps the heart imprisoned," the lush, synth-and-string-filled "When the Body Speaks" showcases Gahan's renewed vocal strength and Martin Gore's beautifully twisted songwriting, which is in equal parts spiritually attuned and gloriously kinky. The group revisits the downward spiral caused by drug addiction -- a theme they expertly tackled on the 1987 single "Never Let Me Down Again" -- with the acoustic-driven "Dream On," on which Gahan gravely groans: "It sucks you in/It drags you down/To where there is no hallowed ground." Like their previous discs, Exciter offers a sparse, slow-building standout track, in this case "Freelove": "No hidden catch/No strings attached/Just free love," pines Gahan. Perhaps that sentiment sums up the overall mood of Exciter, which is suffused with Gahan's plaintive voice breathing world-weary life into Gore's guilt-ridden, existential wordplay. Depeche's quieter musical direction -- courtesy of Björk producer Mark Bell -- may not get you groovin' as hard as you did with classics such as "People Are People" and "Strangelove." But like a bloodthirsty vampire, these angst-ridden Brits still leave you wanting more.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ned Raggett
It's rare to find bands capable of keeping their own best qualities to the fore while trying something new each time out, but Depeche Mode demonstrate that balance in full on the marvelous Exciter. Arguably the first album made by the group as a cohesive unit since Violator (and bearing some resemblance to that record in overall title and song names -- compare "The Sweetest Condition" with "The Sweetest Perfection"), Exciter finds the trio again balancing pop catchiness with experimental depths. As with Ultra, an outside producer helps focus the end results in new, intriguing directions -- in this case, said producer is Mark Bell, known for his work with Björk but also as part of Warp Records' flagship act LFO, which always acknowledged their own debut to Depeche. Bell's ear for minimal, crisp beats and quick, subtle arrangements and changes suit Martin Gore's songs beautifully. If there are few storming arena-shaking numbers this time out, the exquisite delicacy throughout is addicting, with Gore's guitar providing slippery and stinging leads to the smoky, romantic flow of Exciter. "When the Body Speaks" is a particular winner, his gentle work and a backing string section combining just right. David Gahan's voice, already audibly benefiting from lessons on Ultra, is even more supple and passionate than before, ranging from the fuller delivery on the snaky charm of "Shine" to the haunting album-closer, "Goodnight Lovers," a romantic lullaby with perfect counterpoint backing vocals. Gore's own singing remains equally fine, as does his lyrical obsessions on, well, obsession -- "Breathe," which quotes more Bible names per verse than most preachers, makes for a good example on both fronts. When the band fully crank it up, the results work there too -- "The Dead of Night" makes for a far superior nod to Gore's glam roots and Depeche's own industrial dance descendants than Songs of Faith and Devotion's "Rush" did.

Product Details

Release Date:
Warner Bros Mod Afw

Related Subjects


  1. Dream On
  2. Shine
  3. The Sweetest Condition
  4. When the Body Speaks
  5. The Dead of Night
  6. Lovetheme
  7. Freelove
  8. Comatose
  9. I Feel Loved
  10. Breathe
  11. Easy Tiger
  12. I Am You
  13. Goodnight Lovers

Album Credits

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Exciter 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Excellent addition to DM's lineup. Dave's voice at it's best. You'll be reminded of other favorites in the music, but new lyrics are good. Best recorded are: Freelove, Shine, and Sweetest Condition. If you can find it, DON'T GET THERE (B track) is the BEST song recorded for the album that didn't make it. Martin on vocals, it is the best song I've heard from DM in a while.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great album from the greatest band of all time!! Favorite tracks are SHINE, SWEETEST CONDITION, and I AM YOU. Lyrics are amazing and passionate. Dave's voice sounds great as always!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The first time that I listened to this cd I was disappointed. However, after I listened closely the second time to each track I was impressed. Although I still favor ULTRA, this is one of DM's better works.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I feel like a little girl again, listening to my fave band's new album over & over! Martin Gore has the transcending lyrics, Dave Gahan has the masterful voice, and Andrew Fletcher has the mix of it all. This album is truly a God-sent. It has so much depth, truth, and honesty from the artists. ''DREAM ON'' is a catchy beatful hit. It makes you feel like you're driving through a lost city. ''FREELOVE'' is honestly beautiful. Martin Gore belts lyrics so close to humanity and love. ''BREATHE'' makes you return to the days of ''he said, she said''. Lyrics:'' I heard it from Peter, Who heard it from Paul, Who heard it from someone, I don't know at all''. EXCITER truly excites the soul and ears. I know this will replace my ''86-98 Hits'' tape in my car.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album breaks away from the Depeche Mode ''norm'' - heralding in subversive guitars and counterbalancing with subdued synths. Not an album to take superficially - but to take in - at best - at 4am, alone and with half a bottle of vodka coursing throuogh your veins. This is an album that challenges and invigorates within the constraints of a plastic world of pop. Listen and enjoy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dream On is 'the' best song on this album. Dave's voice is as smooth as ever! The band evolves in their 'mode' and delivery but their mark is unmistakable as they ask us ''can you feeeeel a little love?''! and we nod enthusiastically saying ''yes Dave! We feel it! We feel it!''
Guest More than 1 year ago
Eagerly awaited because DM is so far superior in musicianship to their peers, I was somewhat surprised and amazed by the shift in the tenor of this album. Given that my favorite DM song is ''In your Room,'' this album has become a new favorite. It contains similar existential lyrics accompanied by music that exactly fits the lyrics. ''Dream On,'' ''Free Love,'' and ''I Feel Loved (with an interesting, almost disco beat)'' are particularly well-crafted. ''Comatose'' and ''Breathe'' require the right mood to enjoy compared to the other songs. Of particular note is the excellent sequencing of the songs. Taken as a whole, the album takes the listener through a wonderful roller coaster ride of emotion and texture. Even the ''musical interludes'' serve the purpose well. Just as the emotion becomes overwhelming, the instrumentals provide the listener with a needed intermission.
Guest More than 1 year ago
All tracks on Exciter cd is totally awesome!!My favorite is Dead of Night, with its deep dark lyrics. It will leave you wondering just where is this zombie room!! My second track is Breathe. Martin's melodic breathy words will put you in a trance. And when he sings ''tell me that you love me, bofore you say good-bye'', will have you close to tears!!(sniff-sniff).
Guest More than 1 year ago
Depeche Mode outshine themselves on this cd. I expecially enjoyed Dead of Night. And if you watched it on PPV you'll agree with me when you see Dave strutting his stuff on stage, and of course Martin's super guitar playing. I also like and one of my all time favs is Breathe...again Martin just took center stage...he's magnificant!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago