By Carl Begai
Depeche Mode – “Blasphemous Rumours”
Album: Some Great Reward
Heavy without the metal. Some Great Reward was released when I was a mere 15 years old and had only just started my musical journey. While my high school peers into Depeche Mode and MuchMusic were going apeshit over “People Are People” and “Master And Servant”, I discovered the bizarre closing track, “Blasphemous Rumours”. It was so different from the music in my primordial music “collection” and what I was being pummelled with via Top 40 rock radio, thus I was drawn in by the song’s epic weirdness. It was unlike anything I had ever heard; I still remember listening to the song through my father’s billion dollar Marantz headphones, feeling the darkness of the track in my bones while the percussive violence made my head swim. Even the song arrangement itself is twisted, casting traditional songwriting structure to the wind.
I loved Dave Gahan’s voice (I still do) and there was something about the way he sang “Blasphemous Rumours” that was hypnotic. And the lyrics….. jeez. The chorus is probably one of the most brutal things I’ve heard if I sit here and think about it, and Gahan’s almost happy delivery is a wonderful contrast to the dark dark dark subject matter. As someone who dabbles in writing lyrics I can only dream of writing something as brilliant as that. I’m convinced that being Depeche Mode fan is one of the reasons I was drawn to the dark / gothic side of metal as I started to branch out from Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, thrash royalty and the hair bands. I also know I’m in good company as far as being a Depeche Mode fan, as many metal fans / artists I’ve spoke to over the years have expressed appreciation for what Gahan / Gore / Fletcher / Wilder accomplished in their early years.
And, like The Cure catalogue, there are certain Depeche Mode songs that should never be covered. “Blasphemous Rumours” is at the very top of that list.
“I don’t want to start any blasphemous rumours
But I think that God’s got a sick sense of humour
And when I die I expect to find him laughing.”