Songs of Faith and Devotion (or SoFaDnote ), released on March 23, 1993, is the eighth album by British Alternative Dance band Depeche Mode. Its production and subsequent tour were so troubled that a quartet turned into trio as Alan Wilder left in 1995, thus making this their last album with him.
A brave Genre Shift for the band, it introduced a new, much rockier sound with more prominent guitars, taking after the grunge boom that was at its peak at the time. The first, pre-album single, "I Feel You", which appeared on February 15, has a distinctive alternative rock sound previously thought uncharacteristic for the band. The video featured English actress Lysette Anthony.
Despite managing to climb to the top chart position both in the UK and in the USA, Songs of Faith and Devotion was generally regarded less favourably than its predecessor, Violator. However, it allowed the band to maintain both the strong following that Violator brought and their relevancy in the post-Nevermind age of popular music.
Two tours were arranged after the release of the album, both of them extremely long and chaotic. The first one, the Devotional tour, lasted throughout 1993. The second one, the Exotic tour, lasted for a good half of 1994. Many songs off former albums were subjected to Adaptation Expansion including "Everything Counts" from 10 years ago which was performed in a manner approaching tracks off this album. The latter part of Exotic featured an acclaimed support band in the form of Primal Scream, who were contracted after the success of 1991's Screamadelica (though since then, Primal Scream had already released a new album to very mixed reviews). Also the tours both featured black vocalists Hildia Campbell and Samantha Smith who matched the gospel-y trends of the band. David Gahan sported long hair and a beard and looked like Jesus.
In the course of the tour, the members never ceased to fight, leading many to wonder whether or not the band would break up; while Depeche Mode as a whole stayed intact, in the end Alan Wilder left the band to set up his own project named Recoil. Moreover, in 1994, Andrew Fletcher left the band in the middle of Exotic. Later, of course, he returned.
Anton Corbijn made videos for all four singles, including "I Feel You", "Walking in My Shoes", "Condemnation" and "In Your Room".
- "I Feel You" (4:35)
- "Walking in My Shoes" (5:35)
- "Condemnation" (3:20)
- "Mercy in You" (4:17)
- "Judas" (5:14)
- "In Your Room" (6:26)
- "Get Right With Me" (3:52)note
- "Rush" (4:37)
- "One Caress" (3:32)
- "Higher Love" (5:56)
- Martin Gore - songwriter, keyboard, vocals (leading for "Judas" and "One Caress"), guitar
- David Gahan - vocals
- Alan Wilder - keyboards, programming, drums, bass guitar, backing vocals
- Andrew Fletcher - keyboards
"Now I'm not looking for absolution, forgiveness for the things I trope"
- The '90s: This is where they hit Depeche Mode and Depeche Mode hit them, Violator was still a borderline case, given that January 1990 to September 1991 was a huge cultural gray area that bore greater resemblance to The '80s overall.
- Ac CENT Upon The Wrong Syl LA Ble: In "Higher Love", David Gahan sings the word "infiniTY" with the stress on the last vowel.
- All Deserts Have Cacti: Played straight in the video of "In Your Room".
- All Drummers Are Animals: Subverted by Alan Wilder who plays the drums on this record after drumming on one song off Violator. He was at times the Only Sane Man in the band.
- Alternative Rock: Who would think that Depeche Mode would release an album in this genre (among others)?
- Angst: Loads of.
- Badass Baritone: Dave's voice on this.
- Baroque Pop: "One Caress" sung by Martin Gore.
- Big Guy, Little Guy: A dwarf and a tall man in the video for "Walking In My Shoes".
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: "In Your Room" lyrics:
- Your favourite innocence
Your favourite prize
Your favourite smile
Your favourite slave
Your favourite passion
Your favourite game
Your favourite mirror
Your favourite slave.
- Breather Episode: "Judas" despite its name is curiously this, flanked by much gloomier "Mercy in You" and "In Your Room".
- Broken Record: "If you want my love" is repeated many times in "Judas".
- B-Side: The only one - "My Joy".
- Cerebus Syndrome: Violator is a slick synth-pop album, this one is a gloomy, eerie-sounding cross-over of alt-rock and electronica with strong goth and gospel influence.
- YMMV on whether they remained equally gloomy on Ultra or lightened up. Most probably the latter, though that album is also by no means optimistic (not to mention the Reality Subtext behind much of its content).
- Concept Album: The album is made up of songs that blend religious and romantic subject matter.
- Concert Film: Devotional made by Anton Corbijn.
- Continuity Nod: David Gahan in the video of "In Your Room" is at times playing the same king as in the "Enjoy The Silence" video.
- Also the birds with huge beaks appear in the videos of both "Walking In Your Shoes" and "In Your Room".
- Cool Shades: For the memorable female extra in the video of "In Your Room".
- Darker and Edgier: The album is quite possibly the darkest Depeche Mode had ever been up to that point, largely owing itself to the tense conditions the band were under during production as well as Depeche Mode having already gotten progressively darker with each successive album since Martin Gore joined the band.
- Defiant to the End: "Condemnation":Hand me my sentence
I'll show no repentance
I'll suffer with pride.
- Depraved Dwarf: In the video for the single "Walking In My Shoes" where everyone else is depraved too.
- Did Not Get the Girl: In the video for "Walking In My Shoes", David Gahan (the protagonist of the video). While the other three members are shown with women sitting on their laps in one shot, Gahan is excluded.
- Downer Ending: Zigzagged as "Higher Love", while not the most optimistic song, leaves some hope.
- Drunken Master: The band were notorious for their substance abuse excesses recording and touring this.
- It is played straight with Martin Gore who was addicted not to drugs, which also make it this trope according to its description, but to booze. Also he was the mastermind of the band, though Alan Wilder might disagree.
- Dull Surprise: The actress Lysette Anthony in the video of "I Feel You" does not seem very interested as David Gahan stretches and twists in front of her.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: The girl in the video of "In Your Room".
- End of an Era: This album marked the band's last studio outing with Alan Wilder, and thus indicated the end of Depeche Mode's classic era that had first started with Wilder's appointment just before Construction Time Again in 1983.
- Epic Rocking: "In Your Room" and "Higher Love".
- Everything Is an Instrument: Andrew Fletcher was hitting a a flight case with a pole among other things..
- Exotic Backdrop Setting: During the 1994 Exotic tour, Depeche Mode did not limit themselves to the traditional Europe/North America locations, visiting several countries where they never played before.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: What Dave did for this album and tour, sporting long hair, a beard and a massive heroin addiction.
- Face on the Cover: The first and the only case for Depeche Mode, featuring headshots of the band with purple symbols superimposed on top of them. This is meant to be a Shout-Out to Led Zeppelin's untitled fourth album, mainly the use of symbols to represent the individual band members.
- Fake-Out Fade-Out: "Get Right With Me".
- Fetish: Lots of those. See the video for "In Your Room".
- Floating Head Syndrome: Played straight with three band members.
- Averted with David Gahan whose chest is visible under his head.
- Foil: Primal Scream. Reinforced by the fact that, during their support stint for Depeche Mode on the American gigs of the Exotic tour, Primal Scream too were closer than ever to breakup.
- Forbidden Fruit: In "Walking In My Shoes".The countless feasts laid at my feet
Forbidden fruits for me to eat
- Genre Mashup: Alt-rock/grunge, goth-rock/darkwave, industrial, gospel, chamber pop, and still synth-pop.
- Genre Roulette: From pure synth-pop to alt-rock with goth-rock with gospel with chamber pop on the tracks sung by Martin Gore. Synth-pop is still present here but not very much so.
- God-Is-Love Songs: The album's lyrics involve love songs peppered with religious imagery.
- Gospel Music: "Condemnation". Also "Get Right With Me".
- Goth Rock: "Mercy in You".
- Grunge: Played with. Both in sound and image. Utterly unexpectedly.
- Hell Is That Noise: The intro of the first song is a screeching sound.
- Heroic Sacrifice: On "Higher Love":I surrender heart and soul
Sacrificed to a higher goal
Moved, moved by a higher love
- Hidden Track: "Get Right With Me" sneaks in "My Kingdom Comes", the fourth of Depeche Mode's "Interlude" series of hidden tracks. It was also the last that would appear for quite some time, with the next "Interlude" not appearing until Sounds of the Universe sixteen years later.
- Higher Understanding Through Drugs: It did not last long, but was awesome while it lasted. They sobered by the next album in 1997— at least those who remained in the band.
- Idiosyncratic Cover Art: Played with. The cover for the first, pre-album single "I Feel You" is divided into four abstract representations of the band members. The album cover, meanwhile, would feature a similar concept, but with different arrangements of the quadrilaterals to reflect the portraits of the band members. The covers of the three subsequent singles, meanwhile, would drop the concept entirely.
- I'm Having Soul Pains: The narrator of many songs appears to feel this. It is directly stated in "Mercy in You".You know what I need
When my heart bleeds
I suffer from greed
A longing to feed
On the mercy in you
- Important Haircut: Inverted with Dave Gahan, who grew out his hair and grew a beard for an appropriately Jesus-like appearance for this album.
- Industrial: "Rush".
- In Another Man's Shoes: The narrator of the track "Walking in My Shoes" invites the listener: "But before you come to any conclusions, try walking in my shoes".
- Intercourse with You: Implied in "I Feel You".
- Jump Cut: In the video for "I Feel You" to render it a wacky feeling.
- Jump Scare: The intro of "I Feel You" is pretty sudden.
- Live Album: Songs of Faith and Devotion Live released on December, 6 1993. It contained all the same songs in the same order, only obviously their live versions.
- Looks Like Jesus: David Gahan, extremely so.
- Lampshaded by the "Condemnation" video.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: This album is ranked closer to the scale's harder end than everything previously released by the band.
- New Sound Album: Depeche Mode turn to alternative rock here and actively use guitars as a main feature, having previously relegated them to a background instrument. As a result, the band sounds radically different here than on any previous album.
- Non-Appearing Title: While the songs all include their own titles, none of them include "faith" or "devotion".
- Not Christian Rock: Exactly this. The album contains some Christian references on "Condemnation", not to mention the "Judases and Thomases" reference in "Judas" (to say nothing of the song title). However, the band don't proselytize; it's all about inspiration.
- No-Tell Motel: The Motel in the "In Your Room" video is very much that. Adult movies are shown there 24 hours. Also the letters "o" are missing on the motel signboard which reads "adult m..vies 24 h..urs".
- Obsession Song: "In Your Room" and "One Caress".
- Obligatory Bondage Song: "In Your Room".
- One-Word Title: "Condemnation", "Judas" and "Rush".
- Primal Scream: The supporting band.
- Purple Is Powerful: It reinforces the sleeve too! Previously Depeche Mode never featured purple as a prominent feature on their album art; the closest they ever got was the purple sky in the minuscule photograph on the cover of Music For The Masses.
- Record Producer: Flood, who had previously co-produced Violator three years prior.
- Butch Vig additionally produced the "Zephyr Mix" for "In Your Room".
- Red Sky, Take Warning: In the video for "Walking in My Shoes", the sky is painted red.
- Room 101: "In Your Room":In your room
Where time stands still
Or moves at your will
Will you let the morning come soon
Or will you leave me lying here
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
- First played with by Andrew Fletcher who quit before the beginning of the second leg of the second tour for this album.
- Then played straight by Alan Wilder who left the band for good in 1995.
- Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: This album shifts to the rock genre after the pure synth-pop of Violator, drugs were abundant during both its recording session and the tour which followed. Sex is also not lacking here.
- Shout-Out: The cover of the record is a reference to the untitled fourth album by Led Zeppelin, specifically the album's use of abstract symbols to represent the band members; in this case, the band uses arrangements of purple quadrilaterals as opposed to elaborate lineart. The symbols were first used on the cover of "I Feel You" before being incorporated again on the album cover with considerable modifications.
- Something Completely Different: Depeche Mode embrace grunge and gospel and reintroduce the industrial elements last heard on Music For The Massesnote .
- Special Guest: Lysette Anthony of Husbands and Wives fame appears in the video for the single "In Your Room".
- Stalker with a Crush: The narrator on "One Caress".
- Step Up to the Microphone: Martin Gore sings "Judas" and "One Caress".
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Judas", despite its name.
- Surreal Music Video: "Walking In My Shoes". How about humans in bird costumes with huge beaks?
- Synth-Pop: This album is still partly synth-pop despite the grunge influences.
- Tragic Villain: "Walking In My Shoes" is written in the point of view of one.
- Uncommon Time: "I Feel You" has a compound time signature 6/8.
- The Unapologetic: In "Walking In My Shoes" the narrator doesn't ask for forgiveness:Now I'm not looking for absolution
Forgiveness for the things I do
- Vocal Evolution: David's baritone became noticeably deeper and coarser in 1993.
- We Are as Mayflies: "Get Right With Me":Life is such a short thing
- You Do NOT Want To Know: In "Walking In My Shoes":''I would tell you about the things
They put me through
The pain I've been subjected to
But the lord himself would blush".