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Depeche Mode – Enjoy the Silence (90s – 52)

December 18, 2013

In Armidale there is a tree in a field. We used to call it the Perfect Tree. It stood alone in a field of sheep. In the late afternoon of Spring the light, coming from over our shoulders, would strike the field. The greens of the grass and leaves were vivid, almost supernatural. The sheep, if present, were like clouds. It is the only time I have seen such colour panoramas similar to pictures seen in Twitter accounts like Earth Pics. Australia, by and large, does not do vivid and bright. It does dulled and textured. This field seemed so alien.

That image has stayed with me, and it responsible for liking, for instance, the cover and booklet photos of Jah Wobble’s Heaven and Earth album – those dilapidated sheds in a tundra-like field. It’s why I like pictures of beach huts, glowing against the sands. And it is why I like Depeche Mode’s video of Enjoy The Silence. It remains one of my favourite videos of the Nineties.

I came to the song via the video and I came to the video years late when I was backtracking through the music of the early Nineites to see what I had missed in my cultural backwater of a home town.

When I heard this track I knew of Depeche Mode, especially the ever-present Just Can’t Get Enough, but despite hearing one of their mid-Eighties album in High School (thanks to the town library) it never registered. I can’t remember my reaction. I still can’t say I am a huge fan though this is more to do with never getting around to hearing their discography. Later Exciter was released when I was at the radio station, and I did enjoyed it but never followed the band up further.

Despite this Enjoy the Silence is one of my favourite songs. The idea of words like violence spoke to a kid with fresh memories of spending a lot of time alone during his teen years. And the those wide, sweeping shots of landscapes not only spoke to my sense of light and colour but also to being alone. Like the crown-clad narrator my twenty-something self also had a few places around Armidale where I just went and sat, looked out, lost in my thoughts.

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