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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 6 December 2003
It has been a long time coming, but at last Dave Gahan finally has something Depeche Mode fans can look forward to. 'Paper Monsters' is the debut solo album from the Depeche Mode frontman, who for the last 22 years of his life, was singing songs written by Martin Gore and Vince Clarke. In a nutshell, the album is Gahan's own memoir to what has been a rollercoaster ride, battling through his near-fatal drink-drug addiction in the 1990s to the breakdown of his previous relationships. This album sees Dave reborn and ready to unleash his 'monsters' as well as his long-awaited songwriting talents.
The energetic 'Dirty Sticky Floors' opens up this storybook of an album, presenting to us a different side of Dave we have longed to see - a side that has broken free from the wildchild we all knew from Depeche Mode. Indeed, the feelings are ever present in his lyrics - 'Ask me what I want/Easy, that's just more/How long will I wait for you?/Twice as long as I did before' - this presenting his more relaxed and optimistic outlook on companionship and life. Then again, this message is virtually omnipresent throughout the album.
Emotions galore, the album remains a marvel, from the powerful guitar crescendos of 'Bottle Living' to the mystifying and maudlin sounds of 'Stay', 'Goodbye' and 'Black And Blue Again, and finally to the subtle and mellow sounds of 'I Need You' and 'A Little Piece'. The album is a tour de force in its own right artistically as Gahan is able to mobilise his own emotions through song and present an eclectic blend of rock, synth, deep strings and vocal harmonies that bring out the best in a rock artist.
Whereas all other singer/songwriters jump on the commercial bandwagon and write the same type of songs over and over again (Avril Lavigne on teen angst, Ja Rule on justice for rap, So Solid Crew on life in the 'ghetto'), Dave Gahan is streets ahead here. Based on personal experiences, he indulges us to take a look at life as it really is, the importance of friends, the ability to revitalise oneself and basically for him to say (and I quote from an old DM song!) 'Let me show you the world in my eyes.'
A fanstastic songwriting debut, Dave Gahan has clearly done justice. 'Paper Monsters' is out on general release.
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on 19 June 2003
I didnt quite know what to expect from this album - having heard rumours that Gahan was creating this project - I wasnt sure he had it in him !!
WRONG - This for me is a real improvement on Modes last album ..the opener Dirty Sticky Floors is a real stomper - with trace elements of mode's rockier sound in the background. I was surprised at the variety of sounds on this album - quiet mood music - plus some stormers - including the personal jesus style "Bottle Living ". My favs are the mentioned plus Hidden Houses which is fantastic. Overall this album grows with each listen....roll on his follow up !!!
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on 28 September 2003
I've been a Depeche Mode fan for years - always loved the sexual undertones of their lyrics wrapped up in the bed-sheets of their very provocative music...and of course Dave's amazing voice delivers the sensuality that hypnotises the senses.
Of course, like many DM fans I felt obliged to buy this album - to say it's Brilliant is a gross understatement. When I'm not playing the album I have 'I need you', 'bottle living' and 'Dirty Sticky floors' in my head, driving me to distraction.
Dave - I'm addicted, I'm aching for the next album....I NEED MORE!!! Whatever you do, Don't stop - you're too good.
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on 10 June 2003
I bought this last night. Being a fan of Depeche Mode something i felt a little obliged to do. I didn't expect to actually like this album but my expectations were SO wrong!
I tucked my walkman into my pocket, set my earphones and off i went for a midnight walk. I've now listened to the album 3 times over and it's not even 24 hours after buying it!
Gahan really can do it without Depeche Mode, though Mode it may not be, Gahans voice cannot be mistaken for another. It's pretty obvious that he's drawn on personal experience for his lyrics and that adds to the way in which the songs draw you in.
Well done Dave!
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on 18 November 2015
You can tell Dave's spreading his wings here and enjoying the freedom from being confined to a band mentality. Not everything works on this album (and his lyrical twists can't be compared to Martin Gore's) but it has a bold, expansive and at times orchestral feel (and loses the plinky-plonk keyboards of the Mode) and is all the better for it. Exactly the same can be said of the follow-up Hourglass. Me, I've merged the two albums into one on my Playlists for the full effect - so I strongly recommend getting Hourglass, too.
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on 23 April 2014
Big Depeche Mode fan, also a huge death and black metal fan, goes to show tastes can vary doesn't it? Plus of course, when something is good, it simply is, it transcends genres, it's just plain, downright good. And that is Depeche Mode for me.
I bought this on a whim, after all, front man of Depeche Mode has to bring a little of that across and I'm bound to like it aren't I?
Well the answer is yes, but not quite for those reasons.
Yes, it's Dave Gahan, you can't get away from his singing style or the feelings that resonate of Depeche Mode hooks and lines, but this album is more than that. It's his, or feels like it, it doesn't sound like a rehash of the bits he liked in Depeche Mode, it genuinely does feel unique even though it has similarities.
For a start, loads more guitar, and I love guitar, a little crunchy riff now and again never hurt anyone. But at the same time there are tender parts to the album, heartfelt messages that really feel from the heart, pain that has obviously been experienced.
Favourite track is the last one on the album 'Goodbye', it just keeps building and then suddenly those crunching riffs break in and take it to a new level.
For any Depeche Mode fan, this is a must, for any fan of music, likewise, it is just a good album, and hopefully could give you an inroad into his wider catalogue and Depeche Mode themselves. Go on, give it a go, what's the worse that could happen?
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on 16 June 2003
After reading Dave's angry words about the fact that he never gets to be the creative one when it comes to Depeche Mode lyrics I was a little apprehensive about listening to his new solo album. It is however really rather good (getting better all the time) and will not be a disappointment to any hardcore DM fan (me being one!)
The album grows on you each time you hear it and there are several tracks that really show the strength of Dave's awesome voice. There are even some bitter/sweet tracks such as Black and Blue Again and Bottle Living that would not be out of place on a DM album.
And the new single Dirty Stick Floors made top 20, which isn't bad for someone who has just discovered that he can be creative! Come on Martin - give it a go!
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on 12 July 2003
A brave thing to go solo following a long successful career in a band adored by millions - even braver to write/co-write. As a major Depeche fan, I listened with fear and excitment - would it match my expectations? No problems with that!! "Dirty,Sticky Floors" hooks you straight away. The breathy "Hold On" leaves you wondering why Dave never did this earlier, and by the time you reach "Hidden Houses" and "Goodbye", you are hoping that this won't be a one-off. Simple but effective lyrics, and a range of musical styles keep it interesting. Plus Dave pulls it off Live too - just seen the tour, and it is fantastic!! Keep going Dave - you are a star!!
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on 22 July 2006
As a Depeche mode fan, I didn't know what to expect from Dave's solo album, but i have to say "IT'S AMAZING", Dave explores his voice in each song, I almost did not recognise him singing, his songs are hot and sexy, sensitive and sweet, he gave each and every song with his voice special effects, while the music played on obviously many instruments is very rich. Certainely Depeche Mode was for me the best, but not until I listened to Dave's album.

I'm very much looking forward for his next album.
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Some reviewers seem a little confused. This doesn't sound like Depeche Mode because it's not by Depeche Mode. It's a solo album from their vocalist. And a great album it is too. Dirty Sticky Floors is an immense track. Stand out for me has always been Hidden Houses. Dave proved on this and with his tracks on Playing The Angel that he's no longer content to be Martin Gore's mouthpiece.
A great album and for under a fiver you can't go wrong.
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