In the 1980s, the influence of Kraftwerk and new wave took the shape of radio-friendly post-punk synth-pop like Depeche Mode. In 1987, the band released Music for the Masses, an album that revealed a darker side of the movement. The album is steeped in high drama, each track spilling into the next like a pop-rock opera. From the sampled radio broadcast of “To Have and to Hold” to the chamber choirs of “Sacred” and “Pimpf,” voices play an integral role in the album’s theatrical aura. With its themes of repentance and redemption, the album wasn’t exactly “for the masses,” but it was a commercial and critical landmark for the band, spawning hits like “Strangelove,” a track that is home to classic Martin Gore lyrics (“Pain, will you return it/I won’t say it again”) and David Gahan’s timeless vocal.
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