Depeche Mode burst onto the scene in the 1980s with a new, synth-driven sound and an appeal to the dark and broody. Decades later, the band's sound remains familiar — but its latest album, Spirit, feels rooted in the present. Singer Dave Gahan says songs like "The Worst Crime" were written as tension mounted worldwide around the 2016 presidential campaign in the US and Brexit in the UK.
"Actually, this is one of my favorite songs on the album: It has a beautiful melody, but lyrically it's pretty slamming," he says. "The way we divide each other — you know, racial divides. [It's] kind of calling out to really question that, to kind of check yourself — me included, everyone else included. Like, where do you really stand, what are the choices you're really making? Do you really love thy neighbor, and are you willing to accept the differences? We just seem to be slipping backwards."
Gahan spoke with NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro about dealing with divisions within his own band, and why he believes Depeche Mode became the preferred music of misfits and outsiders. Hear more of their conversation at the audio link.
Ned Wharton produced the broadcast version of this story.