Depeche Mode

The Singles 86>98

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It took Depeche Mode only four years to assemble their first singles compilation, but 12 to assemble The Singles 86>98. Appropriately, the second set was much more ambitious than The Singles 81>85, spanning two discs and 20 songs, plus a live version of "Everything Counts." The Singles 86>98 was an album that many fans, both casual and hardcore, waited patiently for, and for good reason -- Depeche Mode were always more effective as a singles band than as album artists. That's not to say that the double-disc compilation is perfect. DM's output fluctuated wildly during those 12 years, as the group hit both career highs and lows. It's possible to hear it all on this set, from "Strangelove" and "Never Let Me Down Again," through "Personal Jesus" and "Enjoy the Silence," to "I Feel You" and "Barrel of a Gun." It's possible that some casual listeners will find that the collection meanders a bit too much for their tastes, but the end result is definitive and, along with The Singles 81>85, ranks as Depeche Mode's best, most listenable album.

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