After 30 years in the business there isn’t much about electronic music or pop that Vince Clarke and Martin L. Gore don’t know. Both in Depeche Mode’s original 1980 line-up, Clarke left after their first album – which makes news that they’re collaborating again exciting indeed. Combining as VCMG, the pair have recently announced that they are to release a string of EPs followed by a full length album in the spring of next year on Mute Records. The new project is apparently a techno-influenced affair but we’ve gone back to their roots to select five moments of synth pop genius that helped shaped the genre.
Depeche Mode Just Can’t Get Enough
Vince Clark left Depeche Mode after only one album but this, the final song Clarke wrote for the group, is the defining cut from their 1981 debut ‘Speak and Spell’. The stripped back video is fun and a bit flashy, giving us a glimpse into the early 80s synth-pop scene and rightly focusing on the electronic instruments that were so important to the movement.
Yazoo Don’t Go
After he left Depeche Mode, Clarke teamed up with singer Alison Moyet to form the short-lived but popular duo Yazoo. Don’t Go, with Moyet’s blustering vocal over a frantic electronic beat, is simply great. What must also be noted is the fantastic make-up, hair and knitwear in this Top of the Pops performance.
Depeche Mode Somebody
As well as playing the guitar and keyboard Gore was the primary songwriter for the group after Clarke’s departure. However he did occasionally sing himself – like in Somebody, a single off Depeche Mode’s fourth album ‘Some Great Reward’. This ghostly live performance showcases his vocal as well as lyrical talents.
Erasure A Little Respect
Andy Bell collaborated with Clarke for his second, and still standing, duo. This track, however, needs no introduction. Bell’s falsetto and the acoustic guitar alongside yet another flawless example of homegrown synth-pop makes this one a favourite to this day.
Depeche Mode Enjoy the Silence
This 1990 hit, once again written by Gore, is another example of Depeche Mode’s darker and more mature side. Props should also go to the Anton Corbijn-directed video: a saturated and heavily symbolic affair with a scope of vision you don’t get very often today and a representative of some of the great charms of the synth-pop movement.