Follow TV Tropes


Music / Depeche Mode

Go To
The current line-up: Martin Gore (left) and Dave Gahan.

"You just can't argue with Depeche Mode. I've tried. You just can't do it."
Sage, Radio X

Depeche Mode are a British group formed in 1980 in Basildon, Essex. Initially a bouncy Synth-Pop group, their songs later took on a darker, more sexual tone as they developed, with their evolution turning them into one of the trope codifiers of Alternative Dance alongside New Order.

Like New Order, Depeche Mode were one of the first alternative dance bands to crack mainstream markets on both sides of the Pond, with their gothic aesthetic and innovative synth work later bringing them to worldwide fame in 1990 with the release of Violator. Then they reached their creative peak with Songs of Faith and Devotion in 1993. They've also been frequently cited as a key influence by Industrial Metal bands, including Nine Inch Nails. After two consecutive nominations in 2017 and 2018, Depeche Mode finally got into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2020, though their induction ceremony was pushed back due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The band's line-up consists of vocalist Dave Gahan and vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Martin Gore (1980-present), who serves as the band's main songwriter; both were founding members of the band. Past members include keyboardist/songwriter Vince Clarke (1980-81, later of Yazoo and Erasure), keyboardist/arranger/drummer Alan Wilder (1982-1995), and keyboardist Andy Fletcher (1980-2022), who suddenly passed away in 2022 from an aortic dissection.

Members (Founding members in bold, current members in italic)

Current Members

  • Dave Gahan - lead vocals (1980-present)
  • Martin Gore - keyboards, guitar, lead and backing vocals (1980-present)

Former Members

  • Vince Clarke - keyboards, lead and backing vocals, guitar (1980-81)
  • Andy Fletcher - keyboards, bass note  (1980-2022; died 2022)
  • Alan Wilder - keyboards, piano, drums note , backing vocals (1982-95, one-off appearance in 2010)

Touring Members

  • Daryl Bamonte note  - keyboards (1994)
  • Christian Eigner - drums (1997-present)
  • Peter Gordeno - keyboards, piano, bass, backing vocals (1998-present)

Studio Discography

Depeche Mode

Dave Gahan

  • Paper Monsters (2003)
  • Hourglass (2007)
  • Angels & Ghosts (2014)

I just can't trope enough; I just can't trope enough:

  • '80s Hair: In The '80s, the whole band, but Martin's blond "halfro" (which he still has, toned down a little) has to be seen to be believed.
    • Dave's dye job in the mid-'80s is probably the second worst.
  • Adaptation Expansion: What they did to their singles from the previous albums in 1993. As their manner drastically changed on Songs of Faith and Devotion, they performed older songs in the same manner as the new ones.
  • Album Title Drop: Construction Time Again is from the second line in "Pipeline", and Some Great Reward comes from the end of "Lie to Me". Also Playing the Angel is a line from "The Darkest Star".
  • Alternate Album Cover: The standard cover art for Memento Mori, featured on the digisleeve CD, digital, and double-LP releases, depicts two angel wing-shaped bouquets atop a wooden backdrop with the band name and album title above. The digibook CD and cassette releases only depict one bouquet due to the smaller size of the packaging, with the digibook CD additionally being a Textless Album Cover; the logotypes are instead included on a shrinkwrap sticker.
  • Alternative Dance: Trope Codifier along with New Order, and probably one of the genre's best-known and most influential artists (up there with Erasure, Pet Shop Boys, Saint Etienne and Garbage.)
  • Alternative Rock: Depeche Mode turned to this trope on Songs of Faith and Devotion and Ultra. Playing The Angel too after the purely electronic Exciter.
  • Angst: A very frequent trope for them, bordering on the omnipresent.
  • The Anti-Nihilist: This seems to be the idea in "World Full Of Nothing": a young couple are both losing their virginity, complete with Tears of Joy, and while the song makes clear it isn't a case of true love, it's still valuable as it adds a bit of happiness to an otherwise grim and meaningless world.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Played for Drama on "New Dress."
  • Audience Participation Song: "Everything Counts" is their longest-standing. Dave Gahan also loves to get concert crowds to sing the choruses to the band's other songs.
    • Also several other songs qualify, such as "Enjoy the Silence", "Personal Jesus", and of course, the handwaving motion in "Never Let Me Down Again", popularized by the "101" film.
  • Author Appeal: There sure are a lot of dominant women and BDSM overtones in the lyrics and videos.
  • Author Tract: "The Landscape is Changing" is Alan Wilder being an environmentalist.
  • Auto Erotica: "Behind the Wheel" is sort of about cars, but it's more about having a dominant partner.
  • Blasphemous Boast: "Personal Jesus", as the name implies, compares the narrator's skills as a romantic partner to, well, Jesus.
  • Blond, Brunette, Redhead: Martin Gore and Andy Fletcher (blond), Dave Gahan (brown/brunettenote ) and Alan Wilder (auburn/redhead in the beginning and eventually brown).
  • Break Up Song: "No More" and "Poison Heart" are directly break-up songs. "You Move" fits into two categories while simultaneously being about Sex with the Ex.
  • Broken Ace: Gahan and Fletch. This was most true in the early '90s when Gahan's drug problem culminated in him nearly dying of an overdose, and Fletch's continuing problems with clinical depression resulted in a full-fledged nervous breakdown. Dave seems better adjusted and happier these days, as did Fletch at the time of his death.
    • This can also be said for Alan around the Songs of Faith and Devotion era: Feeling underappreciated by the rest of the band despite doing the arranging and playing the majority of keyboard parts for both the album and subsequent tour, plus not getting on with anyone except then drug-addict Dave, he felt like he had enough and left after the end of the Devotional Tour.
  • Butt-Monkey: Fletch.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The far the more, arguably they became the darkest on Songs of Faith and Devotion.
  • Cool Shades: often the whole of the band.
    • Their Playing The Angel promotional photos featured them on each band member.
  • Cover Version: "Route 66" (first recorded by Nat "King" Cole and by MANY artists since), The Stooges' "Dirt".
  • Darker and Edgier: Their first album, written almost entirely by Vince Clarke, was full of happy, bouncy pop love songs he would continue to be known for. Fast forward three years later and the band is writing songs about bondage, corruption, and God having a sick sense of humour, and things would only escalate from there.
    • Pushed up to eleven with Songs of Faith and Devotion which was rocky and gloomy to the extreme.
    • Ultra must be mentioned here as well: the whole album has a particularly pessimistic and industrial sound, a direct consequence of everything that happened in the years before the album (Alan Wilder leaving and Dave almost dying).
  • Dark Is Not Evil: "Waiting For The Night To Fall".
    I'm waiting for the night to fall
    I know that it will save us all
    When everything's dark
    Keeps us from the stark reality
    • "One Caress" counts as well: the protagonist meets an unusual Manic Pixie Dream Girl, who's implied to some kind of goth or even a Dominatrix. He still says he thinks she's loving enough to forgive all the bad things he's done in the past, and even says he hopes she can bring him "eternal darkness". Many interpret the "girl" as actually being an Anthropomorphic Personification of death or the like.
  • Dark Wave: Straddling the intersection between this, New Wave Music, and Synth-Pop by today's standards, but they were one of the earliest bands to dabble in this genre.
  • Declaration of Protection: "A Question of Time". Could also overlap with Jail Bait Wait.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The band's primary photographer and video director, Anton Corbijn, loves this trope. All 5 of 1987's videos were monochrome.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The band's first two albums, 1981's Speak & Spell and 1982's A Broken Frame, are much bubblier, upbeat, and more traditional Synth-Pop as opposed to the Alternative Dance sound they would delve increasingly far into from 1983's Construction Time Again onward. This contrast is primarily owed to the fact that the band's initial direction was helmed by Vincent Clarke, for whom upbeat synth-driven love songs is a huge source of Author Appeal (as demonstrated on his later work with Yazoo and Erasure). While Clarke left the band in 1982, A Broken Frame attempts to retread the ground he first walked, and as a result sounds more like a continuation of Speak & Spell than anything in-line with their later work. The band have attempted to rectify this via 2009's Sounds of the Universe, which features some of the same synths used on Speak & Spell and more upbeat sounds (such as with "Fragile Tension").
  • Everything Is an Instrument: A massive number of their videos feature the band hitting stuff with hammers in time to the drum beat.
    • Not just the videos: From Construction Time Again (ESPECIALLY for "Pipeline") through Black Celebration, much of the sounds on those albums are samples of things being hit or dropped, as well as heavily manipulated voice samples.
    • "Stripped" doesn't just have the band hitting car wrecks with sledgehammers in a junkyard in time with the drums, but the chugging percussive rhythm that goes through the entire track is actually a motorcycle engine running in neutral slowed down on a sampler.
    • The beat to "Personal Jesus" was created by jumping on their instrument cases. Then there's the infamous breathing breakdown (sampled from Kate Bush's "The Dreaming")...
  • Fanservice: "Master and Servant"'s video was loaded with leather and chains.
    • YMMV if the woman in "In Your Room" who dresses up in various costumes seen in previous videos (including Dave's "I Feel You" suit) qualifies.
  • For Want of a Nail: This seems to be the meaning of "Shouldn't Have Done That". It starts with the lines "Plans made in the nursery can change the course of history. Remember that", and then goes on to describe a boy who grows up to be a powerful politician. While the subject of the song is ambiguous, the most common guess is he's Adolf Hitler.
  • Flower Motifs: A recurring theme with the band's album covers: Black Celebration includes a visible bed of tulips at the foot of the skyscraper on the cover, Violator features a high-contrast image of a red rose on a black background (with the "Enjoy the Silence" single using a white silhouette of the rose against a blue background), Exciter features a photograph of a foxtail bud, and The Best of Depeche Mode Volume 1 uses a white rose (with the single for "Martyr" using a negative of the same).
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Dave Gahan is sanguine, Andy Fletcher was choleric, Alan Wilder was melancholic and Martin Gore is phlegmatic.
  • Frankenslation: The 1984 North American-oriented compilation People Are People packages the hit single with various B-sides, non-album singles, and cuts from A Broken Frame and Construction Time Again; one of these, "Everything Counts", additionally uses the 12" remix rather than the album or 7" versions.
  • Freudian Trio: In the 1995-2022 trio Martin Gore can be considered a superego, David Gahan - id, while Andrew Fletcher was the middleman between two extremes, an ego.
  • Genki Girl: The girl described in "Happiest Girl".
  • Genre Mashup: They're sort of industrial-dance-pop-rock-electro-goth, if we're taking their oeuvre as a whole. As of Sounds of the Universe, they're leaning more towards industrial-electro-rock.
  • Green Aesop: "The Landscape is Changing".
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: "When the Body Speaks", "Somebody" (though not in the album version).
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: The whole band, and many of the ladies in their music videos. Alan Wilder does look damn fine in a good bike jacket.
  • Hidden Track: Ultra has a track that's technically part of Insight (the final track) that's called "Junior Painkiller" as it's a shortened remix of the track "Painkiller" (found on the Barrel Of A Gun single). As there's nothing in the album notes about it, some people assume it doesn't have a name, and just list it as "Untitled."
  • I Am the Band: Invoked here, in the end mostly subverted.
    • The Vince Clarke incarnation of the band plays this relatively straight; on Speak & Spell, all but two songs are written by Clarke, and even then the songs not penned by him (those being Martin Gore's work) are oriented to be in the style of the ones he did write. Clarke also was the band's primary keyboardist and shared vocal duties with Dave Gahan, and once he left Depeche Mode he continued this trope by being the dominant musical force of both Yazoo and Erasure (much to Alison Moyet's irritation in the former case).
    • Between 1983 and 1995, this trope does not have any chance, as both Martin Gore and Alan Wilder contribute to the music of the band and David Gahan is its face.
    • After 1995 with the departure of Wilder now Martin Gore remains the only songwriter and neither of the two remaining bandmembers is an arrangement expert. Still as David Gahan sings the bulk of the material he remains the face. However, some share of the fandom might consider Martin the core of the band.
    • Totally subverted since 2005 when David Gahan assures that three songs of his authorship were put on Playing The Angel. Since then every album contains three tracks penned by him. Or four - on 2017's Spirit.
    • However David Gahan always composes his songs with regular collaborators, he does not have an exclusive credit to any of the tracks credited to him as opposed to Martin. That might imply that he is not up to writing songs on the level of Martin on his own.
    • However, it must be noted that Wilder actually thought this applied to him in his last few years with the band, as he did everything: he arranged the songs, played almost everything both in-studio and live, recreated the live arrangements and on top of that, was seen by Martin and Fletch as trying to take over the band, with his only ally (Dave) coked out of his mind most of the time. No wonder he left after the SOFAD tour ended.
  • Important Haircut: Inverted with Dave Gahan for Songs of Faith and Devotion. The previously clean-cut frontman sported long hair and a beard to go along with the rawer guitar-oriented sound of the album. The Jesus-like appearance was also appropriate for the album's religious lyrical themes. Played completely straight when he reverted to his previous appearance after cleaning up.
  • Intimate Healing: A possible meaning of "Black Celebration".
  • Intercourse with You: Many of their songs.
  • Jail Bait Wait: Implied in both "A Question Of Time" and "Little 15", where the protagonist is in love with a girl who's only 15 (the implication is that he isn't much older, maybe 20 or so.) In the first song, however, he also wants the protect the girl from other guys who may take advantage of her.
  • Large Ham: Dave Gahan. Dear god, Dave Gahan. Whether it's through studio recording or live plays, he'll put in all his chaotic energy.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Depeche Mode present self-awareness for how obvious their narratives are and how transparent they are as people in "The Dead of Night" and "Rush."
  • Last Note Nightmare: "Enjoy the Silence" fades out completely to silence... only for Dave Gahan to sing the song's title out loud. The effect is heightened in the Alternate Version music video, where the scene fades out as the song does, only to fade in on a shot of Gahan singing the title, followed by a shot of him placing his finger to his lips as if to "shush" the audience.
  • Lesser Star: According to Fletch himself, he didn't really do anything and was still there just because he was friends with Dave and Martin.
    Fletch: My job is to keep everyone together, really. Martin is the songwriter, Alan is the good musician, Dave is the vocalist, and I bum around.
    • Believed to be a factor in Alan Wilder quitting the band. Wilder did the arranging, the re-mixing / arranging for live shows, the most live keyboard playing, and some backing vocals. On top of not getting the credit he should have (to casual fans, he was essentially the handsomer background keyboard player), he was being paid only slightly more (since he did write a few songs) than Fletch. For the rest of his life, Fletch had animosity towards Wilder for something and claimed that he refused to make another album with him after the volatile Songs of Faith and Devotion sessions. Gahan (always a supporter) and Wilder are still friends, and Gore has acknowledged that Wilder was underappreciated, but Fletch always seemed to do verbal gymnastics to avoid praising him.
    • When the band was on hiatus (feared by some to be permanent) after the Exciter Tour, Gahan, promoting his first solo album, constantly took shots at Fletch. In the past, it was in good humor, like the jokes about getting him a fax machine so he had something to do onstage, but Gahan was relentless during this period.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: The band name comes from the title of a French fashion magazine. They translated the name to "Fast Fashion," but it means something closer to "fashion report."
  • Long-Runner Line-up: Had two of these:
    • After Vince Clarke's departure in 1981, Clarke's touring replacement Alan Wilder joined as an official member in 1982, and the lineup of Wilder, Dave Gahan, Martin Gore, and Andy Fletcher remained until Wilder's departure in 1995.
    • After Wilder's departure, the group remained a trio of Gahan, Gore, and Fletcher, plus touring members Peter Gordeno and Christian Eigner, until Fletcher's death in 2022.
  • Loudness War:
    • Playing the Angel actually maxes out in places, used more egregiously at the very start of "A Pain That I'm Used To", which is the first song of the album. Yeah. Their earlier records are much more subdued in volume.
    • Songs of Faith and Devotion is their last safe album. Starting with Ultra they've all been mastered like this. Ultra and Exciter at least have some semblance of dynamics though.
    • Sounds of the Universe marked a brief respite from this trend. While it's definitely mastered louder than their old stuff, the dynamic range is still quite intact. Even "Wrong" has a relatively conservative mix, considering the intentionally harsh sound of the song.
    • Memento Mori goes back to the band's old habits and then some; at DR4, it features the lowest dynamic range of any of their albums. The vinyl release is less crunched at DR9.
  • Love Is a Drug: Likely the meaning of "Sweetest Perfection". While it superficially seems to be an Ode to Intoxication, it's likely about drugs as a metaphor for love.
  • Love Is Like Religion:
    • "Personal Jesus". According to Word of God here:
      "It's a song about being a Jesus for somebody else, someone to give you hope and care. It's about how Elvis Presley was [Priscilla Presley's] man and her mentor and how often that happens in love relationships; how everybody's heart is like a god in some way, and that's not a very balanced view of someone, is it?"
    • "Martyr":
      I've been a martyr for love
      Nailed up on the cross.
  • Love Martyr: Paying attention to the lyrics to "Martyr" is like reading the trope page.
  • Made of Iron: They don't call Dave "The Cat" for nothing, as he's survived a heart attack, a suicide attempt, a tumor and clinically died for two minutes due to taking a speedball. He still performs to this day.
  • Money Song: "Everything Counts".
  • Mr. Fanservice: A shirtless Dave strutting around stage in tight black trousers certainly qualifies as this. He's jokingly referred to himself as an "overpaid stripper".
    • While perhaps not as obvious a sex symbol, Martin Gore posed shirtless for the cover of The Singles '81-'85 (Catching Up with Depeche Mode in the U.S.) and in the '80s often appeared partially or totally bare-chested in promo shots. And he insisted on recording "Somebody" in the nude.
  • Murder Ballad: Left ambiguous, but "Stripped" is at the least playing off the parallels between backroad Auto Erotica and a Stalker with a Crush kidnapping someone in their trunk and taking them to a private spot in the woods.
  • Nerd Glasses: Fletch, big time. He went through several over the years: 1990, circa 2000, and until his death.
  • New Sound Album: A lot of them.
    • A Broken Frame — First album without Vince, no Alan, comparatively moody.
    • Construction Time Again — Alan comes on board, Gareth Jones recruited as engineer. Lots of samples since label head/co-producer Daniel Miller dropped $40,000 on a Synclavier and Martin saw an Einstürzende Neubauten concert. Sets the tone for the next three albums, especially Black Celebration.
    • Black Celebration — The band shifts to Alternative Dance, mixing their Synth-Pop sound with Goth Rock and industrial influences; carries over into and is further refined with Music for the Masses.
    • Violator — Martin starts using guitars more often, the rest of the guys work in stronger dance beats, Mark "Flood" Ellis co-produces, and François Kervorkian engineers. Closer to the dance-rock style of Alternative Rock that groups like New Order and Big Audio Dynamite popularised.
    • Songs of Faith and Devotion — Straight-up Alternative Rock, with lots of guitars but enough synths, electronics, and industrial rock influences to keep it distinctly Depeche Mode.
    • Ultra — Most of what applies to Songs of Faith and Devotion applies here, though Ultra leans more on an Industrial Metal influence that makes parts of it sound like a Nine Inch Nails album.
    • Exciter — Mark Bell note  co-produces, giving it a mellow and experimental sound with glitchy influences.
    • Playing the Angel — Ben Hillier replaces Mark Bell; the sound is full of callbacks to their early 90s era, but with the anger and harshness toned down.
    • Sounds of the Universe — The band returns to using the old-school analog synths from Speak & Spell, mixing their early Synth-Pop sound with their current gothic Alternative Dance sound, creating a middle ground between their early and later material.
    • Delta Machine — The old-school synths from the last album are present, but the overall sound is bluesier and reminiscent of their early '90s records with Dubstep and Noise elements.
    • Spirit — Similar to Delta Machine, but with a harder, more overtly political bent.
    • Memento Mori — A softer, more reflective sounding album than recent works, largely informed by Fletch's untimely passing.
  • New Wave Music: Depeche Mode were one of the main bands of the '80s New Wave going from the cheesiest (Speak & Spell) to the darkest (Music for the Masses) edge of New Wave in the course of that decade.
  • Nobody Loves the Bassist: While Depeche Mode doesn't have a bass player, Fletch did play most of the basslines with his keyboards, not to mention being the bassist in the band's earliest, pre-synth incarnations, and was the Butt-Monkey of the band, so he fits this trope.
  • Non-Appearing Title: "I Sometimes Wish I Was Dead," which is actually a Silly Love Song.
    • "Enjoy the Silence" is a weird one: If you only know the much-played and much-compiled radio version, you would think it was a non-appearing title. The original version from Violator has the song fade out for a bit, and after a short silence, Dave sings the title, followed by a synth bell sound, and a hidden interlude track. Most re-mixes incorporate it into the main body of the song.
    • Vince Clarke dropped a shitload of these, on the first album alone ("I Sometimes Wish I Was Dead," "Ice Machine," "Shout!," "Any Second Now," and "Puppets."), but Martin Gore, in comparison, is incredibly averse to the practice. The only true nonappearing song title he put out, out of eleven albums, was "Blue Dress."
      • Slightly averted in Ice Machine as the earliest demos of it drop the title in the lyrics.
  • Obligatory Bondage Song: First appeared in "Master and Servant," later becoming a staple of their lyrical style.
  • Obsession Song: "It's No Good."
  • Pelvic Thrust: David Gahan likes it.
  • Precision F-Strike: On "Fail" Martin sings:
    Our souls are corrupt
    Our minds are messed up
    Our consciences bankrupt
    Oh, we're fucked
  • Poke the Poodle: In "Happiest Girl", there's a line about a time he pinched the girl in question, just to see if he could get her to stop smiling for once.
  • Production Throwback: The band like to reprise elements of earlier songs quite a bit. Among other examples...
    • "Stripped" reprises the structure and the chorus melody of "Love, in Itself".
    • "Behind the Wheel" quotes portions of "Nothing to Fear".
    • "Little 15" carries over the melody of "A Question of Time" (to which it is a Sequel Song).
    • The Glitter Mix of "Pleasure, Little Treasure" features a harder-tinged version of the backing track for "Dreaming of Me".
  • Protest Song: This trope is invoked in their 2017 album Spirit. The first single is named "Where's the Revolution."
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Dave Gahan, especially in his younger years.
  • Rearrange the Song: As with fellow Alternative Dance band New Order, the single versions tend to be substantially different from the album versions, without taking into account the numerous remixes on the B-sides.
  • Redemption Equals Death: "Blasphemous Rumours," the story of a girl who fails a suicide attempt, then converts to Christianity, only to be hit by a car and die.
  • Redemption in the Rain: "But Not Tonight."
  • Remix Album: DMBX1/2/3/4/5/6, Remixes 81>04, Remixes 2: 81-11, Ghosts Again (Remixes). Additionally, Hourglass Remixes from Dave. Also, any single release is guaranteed to include at least one to five remixes. All of the remixes in question add a more traditional Electronic Dance Music sound to the songs they're based on, while keeping Depeche Mode's Alternative Rock-style darkness.
  • Retraux: Sounds of the Universe. Martin bought up a bunch of old analog synths on eBay, some of which had been used on the first two albums. The result pretty much sounds like Speak and Spell on PCP.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Show, Don't Tell: The message behind "Enjoy the Silence," which can pretty much be summed up as: "Actions speak louder than words."
  • Siamese Twin Songs: Alternative stations usually played "Behind the Wheel" and "Route 66" together via a remix by Nile Rodgers that combined both songs.
  • Signature Style: Many of Anton Corbijn's videos for the band feature Deliberate Monochrome, desert imagery, and fast film grain.
    • One notable exception to the Corbijn's signature style is the deliberately kitschy video for "It's No Good", which looks like a '70s porno movie.
  • Silly Love Songs: "Somebody" is something of a tongue-in-cheek version of such. For those not in on the joke at first, the ending lines of the song make it obvious.
  • Singing Voice Dissonance: Dave and Martin generally have a speaking voice matching their singing voice (Dave retaining his resonating baritone, Martin retaining his sharpness), but all of their studio recordings depict them with a smooth richness that their harsher, more casual speaking voices don't capture. Even their live voices sound completely different.
  • Sixth Ranger: Anton Corbijn. He's not a member of the band, let alone a musician, but he's been directing their music videos since Black Celebration as well as creating their album art, and at this point, he and the band are more or less synonymous with each other.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Vince and Alan tracks are, usually, towards the idealism end (Vince moreso), while Martin tracks are, almost always, firmly on the cynicism end.
    • It should be noted that Martin is, on the Myers-Briggs personality test, an INFP. The nickname for this group is Idealist.
    • Another interesting note is that Alan himself has proclaimed to be very cynical.
  • Solo Side Project: Gahannote , Gorenote , and Wildernote  have been involved in personal projects, with their voices adding Depeche Mode's signature sound to the songs they create. There's also Gahan and Gore's various collaborations with others, like Kurt Uenala (who has worked with Dave since 2007), Junkie XL, and even Goldfrapp, plus some rarer names like HUMANIST, MOTOR, etc.
  • The Smart Guy: Fletch and Alan.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: While Dave is the band's primary vocalist, Martin usually sings lead on one song per album (occasionally that song even becomes the single — see "A Question of Lust" and "Home"), but on Black Celebration he sings about half the album. He also recorded "Somebody"... In the nude.
  • Stoic Spectacles: Fletch was the epitome of this, though perhaps most of all, with the style of eyeglasses he wore, around the time of Violator.
  • Strawman News Media: "New Dress" presents the news media as shoving aside horrifying tragedies in favor of falling all over Princess Diana's latest dress.
  • Surreal Music Video:
    • "Wrong."
    • "Barrel of a Gun" is pretty whacked out, too.
    • "Walking in My Shoes" gives us circus freaks and the bird lady.
    • Whatever "Hole to Feed" is supposed to be. It was directed by Eric Wareheim, after all.
  • Tenor Boy: Martin Gore, especially when he was more boyish, which provides an audible contrast to Dave Gahan's baritone vocals.
  • Title-Only Chorus: "Get Right With Me", "Lilian", and "Wrong".
  • Unreplaced Departed: The band continued as a trio after Alan Wilder's departure in 1995 and as a duo after Andrew Fletcher's death in 2022, though the band has hired extra members for tours.
  • Vocal Tag Team: Dave Gahan and Martin Gore, with the latter getting at least one Step Up to the Microphone moment per album and both singers sharing lead vocals on a few songs.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Dave Gahan in many concerts.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: "The Meaning of Love."
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The protagonist in "Satellite" The song is about how a bunch of bad events have let him become a "satellite of hate"
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Most of Vince's stuff on Speak and Spell.
  • Worst News Judgment Ever: "New Dress" accuses the British press of invoking this, to nefarious ends.

Statler: You know, I really do relate to "Enjoy the Silence".
Waldorf: What do you mean by that?
Statler: I enjoy silence much more than this noise!
Both: Do-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho!