Friday, May 20, 2011

90's Jams #6: Depeche Mode "Enjoy The Silence" (1990)

From Wikipedia: 4′33″ (pronounced Four, thirty-three) is a three-movement composition by American experimental composer John Cage (1912–1992). It was composed in 1952 for any instrument (or combination of instruments), and the score instructs the performer not to play the instrument during the entire duration of the piece throughout the three movements. It is commonly perceived as "four minutes thirty-three seconds of silence." In a 1982 interview, and on numerous other occasions, Cage stated that 4′33″ was, in his opinion, his most important work.

4'33 seems to be a celebration of all Earthly sounds, no matter how quiet. And when Dave Gahan sings "All I ever needed is here in my arms" and starts denouncing all spoken words, it seems like the "silence" he explains is "absence of words" and not necessarily "absence of all sound." In either case, there IS sound. In "The Sounds Of Silence," Simon & Garfunkel sang about moments within the "silence," which were the sounds that were heard in 4'33. So Gahan wants us to embrace (or enjoy) those sounds (the silence). And if you're gonna sing about embracing the silence, your synths better sound like a cathedral and your guitars better sound like riding on horses in the desert - in other words, a lonely experience, since the inevitable words like violence will break the silence and come crashing in, ultimately putting an end to what's there in his arms... It's a weighty message, and one that could ironically only really be told the best way through a gorgeous pop song.

Never knew this existed until a few minutes ago, but here's an alternate version of the video shot from the roof of the World Trade Center in 1990:

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