18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Get The US CD Instead,
This review is from: Black Celebration (Audio CD)
Black Celebration is one of the finest Depeche Mode albums ever to have been released (Second only to Violator in my opinion). But one of the biggest debates is which version is better? The original UK LP ends with "New Dress", a very dark and bleak song that takes stabs at societies vanities as well as the many sick and twisted shortcomings we evoke amongst ourselves (i.e. murder, famine, ect.).
After listening to the entire album and having it end with this song, you can't help but fall into a state of melancholy (or "depressed mode" as it were), which is fine if that's where you want to go. But the US version of Black Celebration offers a different solution. Unlike the UK version, the US release ends with "But Not Tonight", a song about hope and redemption. Purists will of course scoff that it was never intended to become the final track on the album, and was only recorded as the b-side to Stripped. Many also view it as too "positive" a song, that doesn't fit with the rest of the album ideology (kind of like the theatrical cut of Blade Runner with the tacked on happy ending).
While we're all entitled to our own opinions, I gotta say that there is merit in having this track included at the end. It really comes down to how you want to feel after you've listened to the whole album. For me, "But Not Tonight" is like a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. While life may seem hopeless and out of control at times, there is still some good in this world to look forward to. When you listen to that song after experiencing all of the darkness and pain that comes before it, you can't help but feel a sense of calming relief. A sense of hope for the future. Pessimists will dismiss all of this to be sure, but it still won't change the fact that this is a very strong and powerful song that many still admire to this day.
Now the UK CD of Black Celebration does include some bonus tracks, including the Extended Remix of "But Not Tonight". This version doesn't quite have the same impact the version on the US CD has, which is along the lines of the original 7" single mix, but with a cleaner, thinner sound & less reverb. Those simple changes make all the difference in the world and are worth having, plus, aside from Canada, Mexico, Brazil & South Africa, the US is the only place you can find it recorded this way officially (If you really want a version that has no bonus tracks and ends with "New Dress", seek out the CD from Italy CDOR 9212). Other subtle differences include the loud "click" at the beginning of "Stripped", which is not heard on the US version, & the opening riff from "A Question Of Time" is played twice instead of just once like on the UK edition.
Again, it all comes down to your own personal tastes. Black Celebration is still a tremendous and powerful experience nonetheless. It's just up to you to decide whether the journey ends on a positive note...or a dark one.
Black Celebration - A Masterpiece.
"A Brief...Period...Of Rejoicing" - Daniel Miller