As an artist, when do you know you’ve created your defining work? 

When you’re actually in the midst of working on it, do you know deep down? Does a voice somewhere inside of you whisper I’ve nailed this. They’ll love this. 
Does a defining work come from sales? Or from reviews and accolades? Or does it come in time when the work is compared to the artist’s complete body of work? 
It’s hard to know, but this one thing I do know: Violator is Depeche Mode’s defining work. It’s when everything came together. The right songs paired with the right producer made with the right sounds promoted with the right marketing. Everything fell into place and they created a landmark album that follow-ups will forever be compared to. 
As an artist who is still searching and longing for a breakout work, I find solace in the fact that the best is still in front of me. When authors have a massive critical and commercial success, they will forever live in that work’s shadow. 
Violator was Depeche Mode’s seventh album. Most people still think of DM in terms of this release. Here are nuggets of the brilliance:
“Personal Jesus”–one of the catchiest songs Gore has ever written with the memorable line “Reach out and touch faith.” Always a favorite live. 
“Enjoy The Silence”–probably their best song ever. The video is maybe one of the best ever made. Strange video that doesn’t really fit or make sense? Sure. But memorable. 
Opening with the seductive “World In My Eyes” and closing with the haunting “Clean.” 
The song “Waiting For The Night To Fall” is beautiful and hypnotic. 
Even the album cover seems perfect to me. 
A part of me thought they could never top this, but . . . 

1 Comment

  1. I’m not sure when that defining moment actually comes. Sometimes after you write something, you feel this is “the one”. Other times, it’s not. Most of the time when you write something new…it now becomes “the one”. I’m not sure how people judge what the best work from an artist is. I do agree about Violator…awesome album.

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