"Personal Jesus" primed the pump, but "Enjoy the Silence" completely kicked down the door worldwide. Arguably the group's most well-known song, it's an astonishing number that captures not merely Martin Gore's ear for a melody and lyric and David Gahan's ability to sing, but Alan Wilder and Flood's success as an arranging team. The "harmonium" mix that appears at the end of this release is the original demo, sung and played by Gore as a minimal, mysterious ballad. In Wilder and Flood's hands, the final single and album version became a massive epic, with synth orchestrations, backing vocals, horns, and more on top of a near-perfect beat and Gahan's majestic performance. Besides those two versions, four others appear on this disc, each of which is as strong as the original, but in different ways. François Kevorkian once again helps with some of the mixes, starting with the fantastic 'hands and feet' mix. Arguably even more epic than the single mix, it starts with a mysterious, soaring opening before moving into a big, brute beat behind a loop of Gahan's singing. When everything culminates in a mini-climax toward the end, the effect is jaw-dropping. His other two efforts are the "bassline" mix, which strips things down to a straightforward beat collage and some trippy vocal treatments for Gahan, and the "ecstatic dub," which isn't like dub per se but pulses along with a good groove. Mute boss Daniel Miller contributes a fine mix of his own, the "ricki tik tik" mix, which has a constant build and flow thanks to his abbreviated samples of the main guitar line and extra synth backing. Two instrumentals fill out the release, both of which are mood pieces in the vein of earlier tracks like "St. Jarna" and "Agent Orange," though neither quite have the impact of those songs. "Sibeling" has piano as lead, while guitar feedback and other noises echo from elsewhere deep in the mix, while "Memphisto" similarly has piano for the main melody, but is just incredibly portentous all around, a bit like In the Nursery with no restraint.
Enjoy the Silence Review
by Ned Raggett