Thoughtless thoughts, my friends
We know we’ll be ghosts again
Depeche Mode suffered a tremendous loss last year when Andrew Fletcher suddenly passed of an aortic dissection in May. Martin Gore and Dave Gahan are forging on with the band, however, with Memento Mori, their fifteenth studio album, set to drop on the 17th of March via Columbia Records.
Today, Depeche Mode releases the much-anticipated lead single, “Ghosts Again”, a song that was teased with two countdowns; one for the initial announcement, and another for the premiere date.
In Ingmar Bergman’s classic film The Seventh Seal, a young knight plays chess with Death. The film serves as a metaphor for the role of Death in our lives – for the uninitiated – it can be cruel and frightening; for the embattled, it can be a joke; for the suffering, a welcome friend. We all will play chess with him at some point, but we don’t know how well the game will go. A good match with Death is to simply live well; in Bergman’s film, the staunchness and fear-mongering of organized religion makes for a less satisfying match.
“Is it so cruelly inconceivable to grasp God with the senses? Why should He hide himself in a mist of half-spoken promises and unseen miracles?…What is going to happen to those of us who want to believe but aren’t able to?” asks the knight in the film. Depeche Mode’s poignant song addresses the life cycle – knowing that Death isn’t a harbinger of the end, but rather a guide to the next phase.
Corbijn, who used the striking imagery from the film here, makes a poignant commentary on the state of a modern world constantly immersed in fear of this mortal chess match. This time the roles are played by Dave Gahan and Martin Gore themselves, as they battle their queens and pawns on a city rooftop, then make their way through a cemetery. It’s filmed in his usual black and white, Expressionist style, as Gahan and Gore poignantly send off their love to the other side.
“To me, ‘Ghosts Again’ just captures this perfect balance of melancholy and joy,” said frontman Dave Gahan of the song, with Martin Gore proudly adding: “It’s not often that we record a song that I just don’t get sick of listening to – I’m excited to be able to share it.”
Ghosts Again is a touching encomium to the lost souls of this volatile world, and especially to their recently check-mated bandmate.
Watch the video for “Ghosts Again” below:
The Memento Mori album marks a new chapter for Depeche Mode’s peerless, evolving legacy. Memento Mori originated early in the pandemic during the chaos of uncertainty and global panic; now the grim title also reflects the sombre reality of a Fletch-less future for the band. The album was produced by James Ford, and Marta Salogni.
Dave Gahan noted that although work on ‘Memento Mori’ started before Fletcher’s death, Fletch did not record any material on the album. “He never got to hear any of it,” the singer told NME, “which is really sad to me because there are songs on this record where I know he’d be like, ‘This is the best thing we’ve had in years.’ I can hear his voice,” he said. “I can also hear him saying, ‘Does every song have to be about death?!’”
“After Fletch’s passing, we decided to continue as we’re sure this is what he would have wanted,” says Martin Gore, “and that has really given the project an extra level of meaning.”
Memento Mori will be released on March 24 on double vinyl, CD, cassette, and digital. Check out the full tracklist below.
You can pre-order the album here.
- ‘My Cosmos Is Mine’
- ‘Wagging Tongue’
- ‘Ghosts Again’
- ‘Don’t Say You Love Me’
- ‘My Favourite Stranger’
- ‘Soul With Me’
- ‘Caroline’s Monkey’
- ‘Before We Drown’
- ‘People Are Good’
- ‘Always You’
- ‘Never Let Me Go’
- ‘Speak To Me’
In October of 2022, Depeche Mode announced that they will embark on The Memento Mori Tour to support the album, beginning with a series of North American arena dates starting on the 23rd of March, before the band heads to Europe for their summer stadium tour. They will perform at Madison Square Garden in NYC, Chicago’s United Center, Los Angeles’ Kia Forum, and Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena, among others. The band will then begin their European stadium tour on 16 May, including the Stade de France in Paris, Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, Milan’s San Siro Stadium, and London’s Twickenham Stadium.
Meanwhile, a classic Depeche Mode song was introduced to a new audience recently, not unlike that which happened with the runaway success of Kate Bush’s 1985 single “Running Up That Hill” via the Netflix show Stranger Things.
This time, it was the post-apocalyptic HBO Series The Last of US featuring “Never Let Me Down Again” in the show’s first episode. The use of the single from the band’s 1987 sixth studio album Music for the Masses resulted in the song’s streaming numbers tripling overnight.
Follow Depeche Mode: