KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History…Song #18: Just Like Heaven by The Cure.

This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010, as well as, the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their lists, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. “RS: Song XXX” means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.

KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #18: Just Like Heaven by The Cure.

One of the things that constantly amazes me as this countdown unfolds is how time has stood still for so many of these songs that have made the list. There was a time, early on in the countdown, when I received a few minor complaints that I was favouring newer music over the classic tunes from The Beatles and Elvis and The Rolling Stones. The complaints centred on a small stretch of songs, within the first twenty or so posted, that all seems to focus on Manchester, England in the early 1980s. The funny thing about this is that even those songs from the early 1980s….the ones derided as being “new music” are, in fact, forty years old. The bands and singers who first broke into our musical consciousnesses back then are now all qualifying for the Senior’s discounts in restaurants and at department stores. Yet, their music still sounds fresh and relevant and important. Such is the case with today’s song, “Just Like Heaven” by The Cure.

In my mind, I find myself still reflecting upon the impact that bands like The Cure, Depeche Mode, Joy Division/New Order and The Smiths all had on me and millions of other fans. Between all four bands, they have sold over 150 million albums. All have been inducted into The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. All but The Smiths continue to tour to sold -out audiences. Their music appears in movies and on TV shows to this day. Their songs, like The Cure’s, “Just Like Heaven” continue to play in high rotation on my own personal playlists at home. So, it is not surprising to note that their music finds itself near the top of this countdown list, as well as, sprinkled liberally, all the way through. In fact, if you are a fan of The Smiths, you can read all of their posts here, here, here, here and here. Fans of Depeche Mode can read posts here, here and here. Those interested in Joy Division/New Order can read posts here, here, here, here, here and here. And, as for The Cure, their posts can be read, here, here and, of course, today’s song, “Just Like Heaven”.

“Just Like Heaven”, along with “A Forest”, have been my favourite Cure songs for the better part of my life. “Just Like Heaven” opens with one of my favourite “first verses” ever because, as a much younger man, it describes the type of feelings and emotional reaction I was always hoping that some girl would feel for me one day. In the case of this song, singer Robert Smith must have been a lot like me because he is writing about the young woman who would go on, one day, to become his wife. The song opens with the girl saying to the boy:

“Show me, show me, show me, how you do that trick.

The one that makes me scream!” she said.

“The one that makes me laugh!”, she said.

And she threw her arms around my head.

“Show me how you do it

and I promise you, I promise that

I’ll run away with you.

I’ll run away with you.”

SONY DSC

Those words about falling in love with his future wife occurred at a special spot in England known as Beachy Head. It is a windswept, beautiful location; one which seared itself into Robert Smith’s heart and his mind. This memory took the form of a song that Smith confesses, never would have been written without the presence of his wife in his life. In a world where successful musicians can end up over-indulged and excessively pampered, to the point where they lose their bearings and give way to addictions of one sort or another, Robert Smith always points to the constant presence of his wife, Mary, all throughout his career as being one of the main reasons why The Cure have had a career that has lasted a long as it has and been as successful as it has. At a time like we are experiencing in our society, it is refreshing to see someone like Robert Smith expressing his love for his wife, not through physical actions but, instead, through the words of a song that turned out to be one of the biggest selling songs of all-time. It is certainly a song that makes me smile whenever I hear it and makes me reflect on how lucky I am to have someone who throws her arms around my head, from time to time. Living life with a soulmate is the ultimate blessing. It is what this song always means to me.

So, without further delay, here is Robert Smith and The Cure with one of my all-time favourite songs, “Just Like Heaven”. Enjoy.

The link to the video for the song, “Just Like Heaven” by The Cure, can be found here.

The link to the official website for The Cure, can be found here.

Thanks, as always, to KEXP, for helping to inspire the writing of this post. The link to their wonderful website can be found here.

KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History…Song #152: Enjoy the Silence by Depeche Mode.

This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010, as well as, the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their lists, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. “RS: Song XXX” means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.

KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #152: Enjoy the Silence by Depeche Mode.

If there was something like a “Mount Rushmore” for bands from the 1980s who helped usher in the genre of SynthPop/Alternative/New Wave music then, Depeche Mode would certainly being one of the bands so honoured. With total album sales of over 100 million for their career, Depeche Mode have enjoyed a successful career right from their very first album. Their early hits read like an anthology of some of the very best music of my youth, including “Dreaming Of Me”, “Just Can’t Get Enough”, “Leave in Silence”, “Everything Counts”, “People Are People”, “Master and Servant”, “Blasphemous Rumours”, “Stripped”, “A Question of Lust” and many more. Depeche Mode really broke into the North American mainstream with an album called, “Music For the Masses”, which spawned mega hits, “Strangelove” and “Never Let Me Down Again”. They completed their ascension to the apex of the musical mountain with an album called, “Violator” from which came “Personal Jesus”, “Policy of Truth”, “World In My Eyes” and, today’s song, “Enjoy the Silence”. Depeche Mode were inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2020.

“Enjoy the Silence” was the single of the year in the UK in 1991. It is a song that is noted for the distinctive opening guitar riff as played by Martin Gore. Lead singer, Dave Gahan, often turns the singing duties over to the audience thus, making “Enjoy the SIlence” a crowd-pleasing sing-along song. The song, itself, is based upon the idea that we live in a noisy world that is often, too filled with words and information and that some of our most treasured moments happen in complete silence. There is the possibility of developing a greater sense of peace and intimacy when the only noise between two people is the sound of beating hearts and measured breaths. In the “official” video for “Enjoy the Silence”, Gahan plays the character of a King (based upon the story, “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery) who only manages to find peaceful moments as he walks alone in among mountains and through valleys. However, the band has many live videos that show the joy with which the band plays “Enjoy the Silence” and which the audience eagerly participates. I shall post both videos.

As our countdown draws nearer to the #1 ranking, we are going to be seeing, more and more, videos/songs that rate as the best or, among the best, of their genres. This is certainly the case of “Enjoy the Silence”, which is one of Depeche Mode’s biggest hits, as well as, with the band, itself, who remain one of the most successful and respected bands of their era.

So, without further delay, here is Depeche Mode with “Enjoy the Silence” from their album, “Violator”. Enjoy.

The link to the video for the song, “Enjoy the Silence” by Depeche Mode, can be found here.

The link to the official website for Depeche Mode, can be found here.

Thanks, as always, to KEXP, for helping to inspire the writing of this post. The link to their website can be found here.

KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History…Song #80: Just Can’t Get Enough by Depeche Mode.

This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010, as well as, the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their lists, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. “RS: Song XXX” means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.

KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #80: Just Can’t Get Enough by Depeche Mode.

“Just Can’t Get Enough” by Depeche Mode was a song that was written by, then band member Vince Clarke, even before Depeche Mode released their first album. The funny thing about “Just Can’t Get Enough” is that my wife, who is eight and a half years from retirement, was only five years old when this song hit the airwaves. Yet, “Just Can’t Get Enough” is a song that still sounds fresh and vital, even today. It just goes to prove how the right song can come to define an entire era of music and stand the test of time; always bringing us, as listeners, right back to those days when we wore our hair in weird and wonderful ways, too.

In 1981 when “Just Can’t Get Enough” was released, it was done so as a single. In fact, Depeche Mode released their first three songs as singles. In those days, they still considered themselves more of a punk band than the Synth-Pop behemoths they were to become. As part of their Punk mindset, they operated on a shoestring budget and only developed music one song at a time. However, keyboardist and chief songwriter, Vince Clarke, had begun working as a part-time DJ in clubs and, in doing so, he became familiar with and enamoured by some of the synthesizer-driven dance music he was playing. Thus, he begun to experiment on his own and, in doing so, came up with the main melody for “Just Can’t Get Enough”. When they released this song as a single, it was met with much acclaim, setting Depeche Mode on a course that would, in time, take them all the way to The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame; selling over 100 million albums worldwide along the way.

Vince Clarke stayed with Depeche Mode for their first album but then, left to strike out on his own. As noted in earlier posts that you can read here and here, Clarke found fame and good fortune first, with singer Alison Moyet in Yaz and then, with Andy Bell in Erasure. The remaining members of Depeche Mode: Dave Gahan on vocals, Martin Gore, who took up the songwriting duties in place of Vince Clarke, as well as, playing guitar, keyboardist, Andy Fletcher on bass guitar and keyboards and, finally, Alan Wilder on keyboards, too, had a long career that still has life in it, even today. Along the way, they have endured health issues, drug addictions, changes in the music industry with regard to the popularity of Synth-Pop and so on but, they have emerged in the end intact. Depeche Mode have been recognized as being one of the bands that “changed the world of music” and, as such, they are now accorded the type of respect that is given to elder statesmen who have left an indelible stamp on the world.

In the video that you are about to see, note how young they all look. They are not much older than The Beatles were when they first started out with “Love Me Do” and “Please, Please Me”. This video for “Just Can’t Get Enough” helped the band earn their first Top Ten hit in the UK and opened the door for success in the rest of the world. It is the only official video that shows Vince Clarke as a member of the band. So, without further delay, here is Depeche Mode, as they were when it all began, with one of Synth_pop’s greatest anthems, “Just Can’t Get Enough”. Enjoy.

The link to the video for the song, “Just Can’t Get Enough” by Depeche Mode, can be found here.

The link to the official website for Depeche Mode, can be found here.

Thanks, as always, to KEXP, for playing the best music of all-time. The link to their wonderful website can be found here.

KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History…Song #290: Never Let Me Down Again by Depeche Mode.

This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.

KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.

Song #290: Never Let Me Down Again by Depeche Mode.

Depeche Mode hail from England but don’t present as an “English band”. They do present as a “Synth-Rock/Pop, Alternative band” and, as such, they have an international reach that few bands have managed to achieve. In fact, since they formed in 1980, Depeche Mode have sold over 100 million albums worldwide, they have charted with 54(!) songs, they have been certified Gold and Platinum multiple times as 17 of their albums have reached the Top Ten and they were inducted into The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2020. Depeche Mode have enjoyed as much success, touring and with record sales, in North America, as they have in the UK and Europe. In essence, Depeche Mode are global ambassadors for a style of music that is, at once, familiar but, at the same time, a sound that is uniquely theirs.

The story of Depeche Mode began in 1980. The original lineup included lead singer, Dave Gahan, guitarist, Martin Gore, Vince Clarke and Andy Fletcher on keyboards. Vince Clarke left after the band’s first album was released and teamed up with Alison Moyet to form Yazoo and then, on to form Erasure with Andy Bell. In the meantime, Clarke was replaced by Alan Wilder. The lineup of Gahan, Gore, Fletcher and Wilder have stayed intact throughout almost the entirety of the band’s four-decade long career. In that time, Depeche Mode have released scores of hits including, “Dreaming of Me”, “Just Can’t Get Enough”, Everything Counts”, People are People”, “Master and Servant”, Blasphemous Rumours”, “Stripped”, “Question of Lust”, “Strangelove”, “Personal Jesus”, “Never Let Me Down Again” and many more.

Martin Gore writes most of the lyrics to their songs, while Dave Gahan is the person who brings the attitude and swagger to the audience. There is pressure to both jobs. In fact, there was a time during the middle of the band’s career, when it all looked like it was ending. This was due to a drug addiction suffered by Gahan that resulted, at one point, in him lapsing into a seizure and being declared “clinically dead” for several minutes. He was revived and claims that the experience sent a shock wave through him. It did the same to his friend, Martin Gore. The song, “Never Let Me Down Again” was written by Gore about drug addiction and about how easy it is to think that you are in charge of the highs you are feeling when, in fact, the drug use clearly ends up controlling whole aspects of your life. “Never Let Me Down Again” is the song that often closes out live shows by Depeche Mode and is meant to reinforce the notion that, as a band and as friends, they are all lucky to be alive and together and that they are grateful for every day, every show and every song they get to play as a band.

Depeche Mode are one of the most successful of all of the Synth-Pop/Rock bands to have formed in the 1980s. They are still performing today. If you ever get a chance to see them then, you should go because their live shows are always well-received. So, without further delay, here is Depeche Mode with a song that has special meaning to them and their fans, “Never Let Me Down Again”. Enjoy.

The link to the video for the song, “Never Let Me Down Again” by Depeche Mode, can be found here.

The link to the official website for Depeche Mode, can be found here.

Thanks, as always, to KEXP for helping to inspire the writing of this post. The link to their wonderful website can be found here.