‘The Best Covers Ever’ series counts down our favorite covers of great artists.
Way back in January, we polled our Patreon supporters to see which 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee they wanted to see get the “Best Covers Ever” treatment. Depeche Mode won, so we started planning our schedule to get it ready in advance of the big induction ceremony on March 24.
Tomorrow, many months later, the Rock Hall is finally hosting some sort of ceremony – remotely, of course – and we’ve been honoring each artist all week with covers features: Whitney Houston, Notorious B.I.G., The Doobie Brothers, T. Rex, and Nine Inch Nails. Now, many months after we expected to post it, the grand finale: The 25 Best Depeche Mode Covers Ever.
We had a bit of apprehension about this one. Was it just going to be endless covers of “Enjoy the Silence” and “Personal Jesus”? The Cover Me inbox seems to get a new version of one of those two every other day. I needn’t have worried; the Depeche Mode catalog runs far deeper than their two most ubiquitous songs, and many artists have mined the riches. Dive in below.
25. Nouvelle Vague – Just Can’t Get Enough
Nouvelle Vague’s first release was a head-turner for all the right reasons, making easy listening jams out of post-punk classics. The fact that the name “Nouvelle Vague” translates into both new wave and bossa nova puts them right up there with the Beatles for band-name wordplay. The critical consensus was that this project made for a good album, but the critics couldn’t agree on what the best or worst songs were, and some songs were nominated for both. One was “Just Can’t Get Enough,” whose samba sound was too kitschy for some and sounded like a smile to others. In the end, it gets a solid new stamp, and in the cover song game, that’s what makes a real winner. – Patrick Robbins
24. Daroc ft. Dhalia Di Sandro – Behind the Wheel
This one’s an extremely deep cut. Daroc is a French electronic producer with 500 Facebook likes and Dhalia Di Sandro seems to have no online presence beyond her appearance on this one cover, which appeared on an covers compilation from defunct website Buffet Libre in 2008. Nevertheless, it stands among the best Depeche covers out there, updating the electronics for a more modern club context. – Ray Padgett
23. DMK – Everything Counts
Dicken Schrader and his kids, Milah and Korben, recorded a few Depeche Mode covers for the benefit of their family and friends. It was good fun, so they recorded another one, “Everything Counts,” for that same audience. Little did they dream that the video would go viral, getting them millions of views and Depeche Mode themselves as fans. Deservedly so, too – the kids, aged 8 and 5, and their dad use toy instruments, kitchen gadgets, and earnest vocals that convey the joys of fandom and creativity like nothing else. Whether the moniker DMK stands for Dicken Milah & Korben or Depeche Mode Kids, there’s no question these guys are Definitely Major Kickass. – Patrick Robbins
22. Charlotte Martin – Judas
1993’s Songs of Faith and Devotion introduced to the world to the sonic behemoth that was ROCK Depeche Mode, replete with axe shredding, soul-flaying anthems, and the glorious transformation of Dave Gahan into gothic savior lizard king. The album features several of the band’s absolute finest songs, including the ethereal “Judas.” Martin Gore describes the track as “…an arrogant love song. We are not condoning unsafe sex. It is about wanting one hundred percent of someone in a relationship – the ultimate arrogance.”
Since the late ’90s, singer-songwriter-pianist cult hero Charlotte Martin has released a dozen albums and multiple EPs. Her best known foray into the world of covers was 2007’s Reproductions, which featured an eclectic and cool mix of classic alt-rock, evergreen Anglophile faves and recent indie delights. While it’s a damn fine record, “Judas,” one of Martin’s absolute finest covers, was actually recorded two years prior for a tour EP. The first line of the song asks “is simplicity best?” and the answer Martin offers on her take is an emphatic hell yes. The synthesized swooshes and ominous chords of the original are replaced with solo piano and forthright vocalizing from Martin. The result is exquisite. – Hope Silverman
21. Trapt – Policy of Truth
Trapt of “Headstrong” fame starts with a faithful rendition of this song. However, there is some extra escalation in intensity when they start to sing about the policy of truth itself. Heavier electric guitar moments, including the occasional burst of feedback, contrast with the more chipper synth-pop original. – Sara Stoudt
The list continues on Page 2.