Depeche Mode

It's No Good

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A sweeping, romantic-yet-threatening number, "It's No Good" made for a great second single from Ultra, showcasing both the band's musical work and, especially, Gahan's new vocal control. The singing lessons he took before the album paid off in spades on this track, with his voice able to hit higher registers without straining as much as before, adding a newer, subtler emotion to his usual full-bodied efforts. Mixed with the ominous, evocative guitar drones from Gore and a shuddering central rhythm, not to mention the edgy feeling of Gore's lyric, it's something else. Three separate remixes accompany the track itself, with interestingly disparate results. German acid/breaks outfit Hardfloor does the honors on the first mix; the result doesn't sound too far off from their Da Damn Phreak Noize Phunk album, with Gahan's vocal being almost the only thing otherwise little changed from the original. The combination of older string synths and new rhythms goes together very well. Techno figure Speedy J does the next mix, starting off quiet before pumping up a big, quick rhythm attack. In context, it's as radical a remix as Underworld's "Hard" mix for "Barrel of a Gun," and just as fine. Dom T's "Bass Bounce" mix concludes the disc, with his own big hip-hop break to the fore mixing with overdubs of Gahan singing and a huge bass groove to boot. One otherwise unavailable number completes the disc -- "Slowblow," an instrumental. Living up to its name, it is indeed a slower number, very much sonically a cousin to "Barrel of a Gun" in its beat (if not the volume) and some of the high tones in the mix. With some fine guitar to recommend it, it's a good enough mood piece.

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