Depeche Mode honors their late keyboardist in their creative new album

Depeche Mode’s latest album “Memento Mori” was released March 24, 2023 and recorded during the Covid-19 pandemic. The album consists of 12 new songs, with each time length ranging from three to five minutes. The music featured in the album is mostly written by Martin Gore, as well as David Gahan on some others. Before the album was initially recorded, it was announced that keyboardist Andy Fletcher had unfortunately passed away due to health issues, which did not have any noticeable impact on the album’s production. But any listener of the album will start to notice a common theme in some of the songs played in the album. In light of this misfortune, the music expressed in the fresh new album brings some new lyrical remarks to the table. Here are a couple of songs from the album, and observations that have come with them.

Martin Gore’s “My Cosmos is Mine” gives off a completely different vibe when compared to a majority of Depeche Mode’s more mainstream music. Morbid lyrical messages and forbidding instrumentals are the first couple things some would notice about this song. Martin Gore has clearly attempted to diversify the music using various sounds and themes, which got many people talking. This song in particular doesn’t rely on lyrics to convey a change in tone, as the droning instrumentals are more audible than Martin’s voice. The sound of synth pop still resonates in this song, which in some ways breaks your attention away from the meaning of the song.

“Soul With Me” follows the same criteria that the last song I discussed met, with the exception of more singing. I believe the overall dark and slow theme that this song possesses applies to a majority of the songs featured in this album. The absence of over-the-top synthwave instrumentals in this song quickly shifts the listener’s attention from the melody, to the lyrics. The lyrics in this song seem to symbolize death, and even the afterlife. The song is a tribute to Andy Fletcher. For instance, Martin sings “I see the beauty as the leaves start falling … Follow the light towards the voices calling … I’m going where the angels fly.”

The Memento Mori album from Depeche Mode has completely exceeded most people’s expectations. Not to mention how big of a jump the theme is from the traditional synth pop that is considered their claim to fame. The album was definitely affected by Fletcher’s passing, but that didn’t stop Martin and David from figuring out a way to move forward with the production, and experimenting with new sounds. Writing music that reflects the afterlife, death, and other existential matters is pretty difficult, especially if it’s under short notice. Given that Fletcher’s passing was announced during the middle of the album’s production. Memento Mori is an excellent example of creativity – using different sounds, messages and cues to convey something meaningful.