Home > News & Reviews > Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode - Memento Mori (Album Review)

Wednesday, 29 March 2023 Written by Graeme Marsh

Photo: Anton Corbijn

‘Memento Mori’ is Depeche Mode’s 15th studio album, and the first to be released following the sudden death of founding member Andy Fletcher in 2022, at the age of just 60. Coming as a crushing blow to remaining members Dave Gahan and Martin Gore, Fletcher’s loss could easily have spelled the end for the band, but instead we have a record that serves as both a tribute to their friend and an admission to themselves that they too are mortal.

A record that means, literally, ‘remember that you die’ pushes the darker aspects of Depeche Mode’s identity to a new level, and there is little doubt that this is an album influenced by their age as well as Fletcher’s passing. Stadium ready anthems are out, slower paced sorrow is in.

Lead single Ghosts Again stands apart from its 11 companions, offering an excellent introduction to the dominant themes of the LP while also amounting to a very special moment in a purely musical sense.

Gorgeous synths dominate the track—written by Gore and Psychedelic Furs frontman Richard Butler, who also co-wrote several others here—as its lyrics tell us that “time is fleeting”.

Opener My Cosmos Is Mine is daubed in industrial post-punk and crawls menacingly through lines like “don’t knock down my shrines” and “keep out of my world”, but the closer Speak To Me ends up being the most funereal of all. But in-between these two markedly different reference points, there’s little of either repeated again. 

Instead, there’s a combination of different cogs in the overall mechanism. Kraftwerk-like synths adorn both Wagging Tongue and People Are Good, where we are told to “keep fooling yourself”. Slow, dramatic moments such as Don’t Say You Love Me are then contrasted with the scary riffs of My Favourite Stranger, its underlying synth core being of considerable appeal.

Optimism (or appreciation) drives the impressive Always You as words acknowledge how a third party “keeps my spirit breathing” and provides the “light that keeps me from the darkness”. Again, Before We Drown takes the opposite stance on a relationship, this time coming to the realisation that things need to change or else it’s doomed. Whatever the message you interpret from these two stunners, there’s lots to love about both.

Producer James Ford also worked on 2017’s ‘Spirit’ and, perhaps because it was his first album with Depeche Mode, things didn’t appear to click quite as well as they have for ‘Memento Mori’. While the mood is bleak throughout, optimism and energy are usually driven by youth anyway. Keeping their essence was vital and they’ve done that comfortably, it’s just been shifted along the timeline in parallel with their own ageing. For musicians now in their 60s, ‘Memento Mori’ is a remarkable achievement. 

Depeche Mode Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed June 14 2023 - MALAHIDE Malahide Castle & Gardens
Sat June 17 2023 - LONDON Twickenham Stadium

Compare & Buy Depeche Mode Tickets at Stereoboard.com.


We don't run any advertising! Our editorial content is solely funded by lovely people like yourself using Stereoboard's listings when buying tickets for live events. To keep supporting us, next time you're looking for concert, festival, sport or theatre tickets, please search for "Stereoboard". It costs you nothing, you may find a better price than the usual outlets, and save yourself from waiting in an endless queue on Friday mornings as we list ALL available sellers!

Let Us Know Your Thoughts

Related News

No related news to show
< Prev   Next >