So this is where it all began. Speak and Spell certainly has a lot a really good material, mixed with some fairly embarrassing songs. Naggingly tedious tracks like 'Boys Say Go' and 'What's Your Name?', as well as the boys' attire in the 'Just Can't Get Enough' video, gave a (possibly??) misleading impression that Depeche Mode were an openly gay synth group. It must have just been a phase...
Aside from the aforementioned songs, there were elements of the dark edge that Martin Gore would hone when he became chief song writer after Vince Clark's departure. This darker and whispered rendition of 'Photographic' is far more satisfying than the earlier schizo-disco version released on the Some Bizzare compilation album.
'Puppets' is another along the same dark sound, but retains and attractive melody.
Bridging both worlds is the excellent 'Nodisco'.
Some of the the aggressively bouncy tracks have retained appeal over these years, including the big hit 'New Life', as well as the misleadingly titled 'I Sometimes Wish I Was Dead'. That song is full of twee keyboards with no talk of death, and may have been an in-joke contradiction between song and title.
And I have to say that I just CAN get enough of 'Just Can't Get Enough'. I cannot stand this song in any manner, and it's does not deserve the longevity that it has received. Awful, simply awful.
A couple of the best songs from this period were left for B sides, and stuck on the DVD. 'Ice Machine' may be my favorite song from this era, but 'Shout' comes close.
The remastering on this CD is excellent. It is not too loud or compressed, and had not been tweaked in any way that causes unwanted results. An excellent sounding product.