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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A dark celebration indeed
"Black Celebration" is the album where Depeche Mode finally came of age. The innocent synth pop of youth was suddenly engulfed in a dark perverse world of bleak atmospherics and seedy lust. The Basildon boys had given up the friday nights in local Youth Clubs for fetish clubs in Berlin.
Opening with the powerful but doom ladened "Black...
Published on 26 Feb 2002 by

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars NO SACD in this re-edition
Mute Records don't include the SACD version in the re-edition March 16, 2009 despite it has the same reference number (DMCD5) Double CD album.

UPC: 5099969433320

I keep this release becouse Im from Argentina, and is to expensive return it to
Published on 11 Jun 2009 by Juan Mabromata

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the sweetest perfections, 9 April 2002
This review is from: Black Celebration (Audio CD)
I remember with maximum clarity when I slipped Black Celebration into the Walkman on the day of it's release way back in early 1986. I had rushed to town during my lunch break from a dead end, soul destroying job, and from the opening refrain of the opening title track, I knew I would love this album. 14 years on and I'm still playing it. It's tough to pick the definitive Mode album, but Black Celebration is on equal terms with later classics Violator and Songs of Faith. As many have said before me, this is the album that defined Depeche and showed them the path forward. It's darker and heavier than the "goth" label given to it. The album also reaps of sexual tension and the banality of normality voiced so clearly on the classic opening track. When I first saw the track listing, I was somewhat alarmed to see the inclusion of Fly on The Windscreen, the superior B-side to the likable It's Called A Heart. My fears however were swiftly laid to rest with a remix that managed to darken the mood of the much loved original even further. Then came the eerie mix into the atmospheric and touching Question of Lust. I kept playing the opening three tracks over and over. I was really convinced that the single Lust would shoot straight in at number 1 (it amazingly faltered at 26 in the UK charts!). A Question of Time sounded a little harsh on that first listen but I soon grew to adore it. The energy and power of the lead synth's on this track is a credit to the pioneering recording techniques used by Daniel Miller and Gareth Jones. Never had Depeche sounded so good. Here Is The House was another fine electro tune with a superb bassline. Mode always seem to find the perfect synth sounds without ever relying on the built in pre-sets that so many artist's fall back on. The group and producers spent many hours wandering around abondoned industrial sites, sampling anything they could hit. All this extra invention and effort in creating sounds was well worth the man hours. Black Celebration still sounds fantastic on headphones. World Full Of Nothing and Dressed In Black would be highlights on any album. So rich in texture, dark and unsettling. All Mode albums finish with a hidden ace and Black Celebration provides New Dress with it's unforgettable drum pattern and great melody. The CD comes with some bonus tracks that were unlisted on the UK release that includes the oddly cheerful But Not Tonight that was more suited to A Broken Frame. It is however an essential Mode track. Shame that Flood's excellent Highland Mix of Stripped wasn't included instead. That aside, Black Celebration easily reaches my own personal top ten along with Propaganda's Secret Wish, Human League's Dare & NIN's Pretty Hate Machine. And it's true...women look so good in black!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never Bettered - Overlooked Classic #3, 12 Oct 2009
This review is from: Black Celebration (Audio CD)
I was once asked what my favourite album was, and what was the most depressing album I owned? I (perversely?) answered this to both, and it would probably still be included in my top 5 of lists for both headings.

Dark and brooding, filled with Death (Fly on the Windscreen), Sex (A Question of Lust, A Question of Time), Questions (see previous), Love (World Full of Nothing) and manipulation of the masses by the press through how stories are written ("You cant change the world, but you can change the facts....." - New Dress). It's one of those albums where the meaning behind each song appears apparent, but then you talk to someone else, and they have interpreted it a different way.

If you want to own one DM album - buy this one (then go and get Violator [CD + DVD]). If you want to own one "bleak" album in your chest of "cheery pop" - buy this one.

Many of the reviews here concentrate on whether the re-release of the album and the mixing has improved it...taking all of the comments on board, whatever mix you listen to it in, it is still without doubt DMs best, and an essential purchase for anyone with any interest whatsoever in this criminally under rated band or late 80s synth pop.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointed by the mix, 1 May 2009
This review is from: Black Celebration (Audio CD)
I was dissapointed by the 5.1 mix. It sounds like the vocals are underwater...can hardly hear DG on Black Celebration. I now have all the albums with the 5.1 version and I feel this one has the weakest remix of the lot. Obviously this is especially dissapointing since I feel that Black Celebration is DM's best album and was really looking forward to getting the DTS version of the album. I resorted to listening to the CD to get clearer vocals as it is annoying. Be sure to get the other albums as they have very strong remixes. It can't be my system because all the other albums sound absolutely superb!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Dark and often glorious....., 26 Jun 2009
M. B. Wilson "crushtrash" (Bristol) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Black Celebration (Audio CD)
On initial release I found this album a bit too heavy to handle, although I liked a lot of the singles taken from it. As a whole it was just so darned intense! My crackly vinyl went awry many years ago and was only replaced this week with an 'unremastered' CD at budget price.

This album improves with age, and I deliberately chose the version with 3 bonus tracks just to opt for the lighter tail-end (if I wanted). The intensity is still there, and tracks like "New Dress" and "Stripped" still sound dramatic even after all this time. I'd got so used to hearing Razormaid! extended re-edit of the former that I'd forgotten how much tighter the album track is! A pivotal moment for the band, even if a inordinate amount of material is sung by Martin (3 tracks in a row on 'side A'). However I still rate "Question Of Lust" as one of his finest, but "Sometimes" as one of his weakest fillers.

So, what is good and bad about this particular release of the album, with the light-coloured emblems on the front colour and the same cat no as the 1990 release? Firstly, it occasionally distorts, or rather picks upsome distortion on source material, such as the car engine effect loop on "Stripped" on the right hand channel, and the slightly annoying digital sounding click on the left hand channel during the intro of the same. Otherwise the sound is pretty good, if a little top-heavy in places. The copy I've got came with original 11 track booklet, so I don't know if that was always the case or whether the extra tracks were listed on the artwork too.

The 3 bonus tracks are nice extras, the extended mix of "But Not Tonight" is the UK 12" EP mix, not the US remix, and isn't half bad. "Black Day" is a short experimental interpretation of snippets from the title track, which actually works quite well as a closing track, and "Breathing In Fumes" is just awesome. One of the rare decent Mode 'dub' mixes, arguably!

This still isn't a favourite of mine, but it's definitely worth adding to the collection, whether this version or one of the 2006/7 remastered issues.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best DM 5.1 mix !!, 20 Dec 2007
If you are DM fan and never or reluctant to buy one of these remastered series with 5.1 mix then i strongly recommend you to pick this one (Of course, you should play it on SACD player to get the high resolution quality or at least DTS is still far better than Dolby Digital) then you'll be blown away !! The 5.1 mix was superb !! You will get the whole new experience.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first classic Mode album., 12 Nov 2002
Jason Parkes "We're all Frankies'" (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Black Celebration (Audio CD)
It took them a few years to mutate from cheery new romantic types to perves dressed in black- but hey, they did it! As with other albums that signified creative rebirth, this was partly recorded at the famous Hansa studios in (then)West Berlin (the other significant ones are Bowie's Heroes & U2's Achtung Baby).
In 1985 it looked like it was all over for the Mode, rumours of splitting up and sub-standard singles like It's Called a Heart did not bode well for the future (though there had also been the excellent Shake the Disease). Regardless, the finest line-up of the Mode regrouped and made this dark classic with producers Gareth Jones & Daniel Miller (the latter concerned about the bleak sound of the album).
It opens with Black Celebration, that utilises the industrial sampling techniques evident on previous tracks like Pipeline & Something to Do- Gore's songwriting is on peak form here. A Mode classic. Next we have the Final version of Fly on the Windscreen (if you don't count the 1993 version on the In Yr Room single)that compounds the bleak outlook: "death is everywhere/there are flies on the windscreen for a start"- the lyrics remind me of JG Ballard's Crash for some reason...
Martin Gore takes lead vocals on several tracks, the most he's ever sung on an album- single A Question of Lust is one of their finest moments; while Sometimes is a minimal track, a more oblique approach at the territory covered in 1984's classic Somebody. It Doesn't Matter Two (hate that title!) has a scary choral landscape that sounds like Philip Glass scoring an Omen film; a great sequel though...
Gahan returns on A Question of Time, though this version is a bit stodgy compared to the remix released in late 1986- like Something to Do on downers (and with odd Lolitaesque lyrics). The first single Stripped is slightly longer than the single version, though not as epic as the Highland mix. This fades into Here is the House, a gorgeous harpischord driven almost duet between Gahan and Gore- an underrated song in the Mode canon.
Gore returns on World Full of Nothing, which is on his most frequent theme of sex as salvation, very sinister chords are played over a metronomic pulse. Gahan returns on the Mode's most outwardly Brecht/Weil- styled song, Dressed in Black- a low minimal drone and the theme identified by Susan Faludi in Stiffed of submission (Gore would be down on his knees lyrically over the years to come...). New Dress concludes the album in a dark dissection of celebrity culture as reported by the tabloids, juxtaposed with an entropic list of woes across the world (though Gore does get across the validity of voting to a People are People-styled section towards the end!). Sounds very up to the minute, despite Princess Di being deceased- I think the theme of a Big Brother/Heat/celebrity obssessed culture and a backdrop of atrocities to which the majority appear ignorant is timeless stuff...
The extra tracks are Breathing in Fumes, a reworking of Stripped that reminds me of Eric B & Rakim's Lyrics of Fury; the Stripped b-side But Not Tonight- which sounds too like early Mode (even a lyric about 'new life'!) and was disasterously released as a single in America. The bizarre Black Day, written by Gore, Wilder & Miller is up next- sounding like Michael Nyman playing the Wicker Man soundtrack to a blues song. The Mode weren't afraid of going out there!
Black Celebration is an album that I've listened to since it's release in 1986, and along with Violator it is my favourite album of theirs. I know there's the Mode and Soft Cell and Suicide are back, but wouldn't it be nice if a new band blended the perverse with pop?
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sense of urgency tonight..., 27 Dec 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Black Celebration (Audio CD)
First of all: You can't put a finger on any of the Depeche Mode albums, and say that this is the archetype of all their albums! Depeche Mode is not a musicstyle, it is continous evolution and development of ideas and insight into life itself! At least it is to me, because I've grown up with their music.
The first DM tape I had, was a copy of "The Singles 81-85", back in 1985, and I remembered "Just Can't Get Enough", "People are People" and "Master and Servant" from listening to the charts. At the time I was not really a fan of DM, but their first compilation grew on me, with it's odd mix of Vince's early, joyful tunes and then Martin's powerful lyrics and darker works.
But when I bought Black Celebration in 1986, I was completely swept away. Especially the opening title-track is still one of their most powerful tracks ever. The second track, "Fly on the Windscreen", was originally the b-side of "It's Called a Heart", form "The Singles...", but was luckily put on "Black Celebration". This album would have been incomplete without it!
All in all; This album has a unique contrast between its lyrics and its sounds, which I don't think you'll find on any other DM album, or on any other album at all. The only bad thing: On the original casette, the last track was "New Dress". They should have put the CD out, without the bonus-/remix tracks, which seem to ruin this masterpiece.
Enjoy the darkness...
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4.0 out of 5 stars In those days dark music was found with Love and Rockets, 6 Sep 2014
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I bought their first LP fairly soon after its release; I could therefore claim to be a veteran. In those days dark music was found with Love and Rockets, Bauhaus, The Cure, and to some degree John Foxx and a few other synth-oriented groups, like Killing Joke. But DM was not part of that back then, as could already be discovered by looking at their colorful clothes! This disc is their entry to the darker world of rock/electronica, and it is very successful. It will get even better with coming disc, but this is the entry point to their best period. The vinyl stays shut - I play the flac version of my remastered cd sofa, but perhaps one day I will open this one. :-) I probably cannot count on it being worth a whole lot ten or twenty years from now anyway.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Radio 1 Hang Your Head In Shame..., 26 Jan 2006
Stephen Milsom (York) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Black Celebration (Audio CD)
Who the hell was making music like this in 1986?
Not U2, Not Ultravox, Duran, Pet Shop Boys, Human League that's for sure. And nor could they! Any DJ at the time having heard this album must have surely spilt their drink and exclaimed how the hell did Depeche Mode create an Album like this?
But it passed by unnoticed! Only the fans pushing it to Number 4 in the Album Chart gave it a mention.
And what a shame, for here is is the biggest stepping stone in Depeche Modes Music. This is the one that brought about the transition from lightweight to heavyweight. And what an album it is.
Black Celebration - Deliberate, throbbing with menace yet gloriously up lifting. The whole sound of the song grinding rhythmically with the promising lyrics to a heady climax that ebbs away to the almost horrifying Track 2..
...Flies On The Windscreen! The title says so much about how important Depeche Mode are to British Pop History. This is surely one of DM's finest avant garde tracks. Even now it sounds ahead of it's time.
A Question of Lust? Not my cup of tea but there you go - Martin needs his creative space so let's give him this track.
Sometimes - a better platform for Martin - works so well as a sombre introduction to...
It Doesn't Matter Two - a title refers to the first song of that name appearing on Some Great Reward. But this is sublime, and should have been a Single because this marries lyrics and music in a simple yet instantly accessible way - difficult to do with a slow song.
A Question Of Time. My wife's fav track from DM - and she is not a fan! I think its the blaring start and relentless beat that really jumps out in the middle of the Album. It works well, particularly as a foil for...
Stripped! Surely in the Top 5 DM singles? It even appeared on Wogan for gods sake! And who else but Dave Gahn could give it the sincerity and authority it warranted? Excellent.
Here Is The House? I love this song, but its not really a song DM would be proud of! It's a happy song but I like the pace - I think Alan Wilder was having a good day!
World Full Of Nothing? Hmm, open those veins... A Bit too much of a slide to the dark side and one that makes a rod for Depche Modes back...
Dressed In Black? Corking! An absolutely blinding song - and one of my personal favourite all time tracks. Grab a girl and put her in a black dress! You won't regret it!
New Dress? This is exactly what DM do best - and this track demonstrates the only lyrics that touched on the media world around them. A great way to symbolise the failings of our media obsessed culture - and this was in 1986!
I love this album! It IS dark, but then its gloriously uplifting at the same time. A Black Celebration indeed.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gives you the spooky feeling, 2 May 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Black Celebration [VINYL] (Vinyl)
Black celabration is my faviourite track from Black celabration the album and many other depeche modes fans true favourite album. The opening sequence reminds from it's from halloween movie, and gets you bouncing around to the rhythm of the undescribable sounds created by the modes iniative move in black celabration. Daves voice stays in your ears for many weeks after listening to this track fgor the first time.
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Black Celebration
Black Celebration by Depeche Mode (Audio CD - 2009)
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