Mechanical heart within half human half skeleton body.

Depeche Mode ~ Stripped [1986]

Martin Gore famously paraphrased co-producer Daniel Miller’s shellacking of his demo tape, stating, “The songs aren’t good enough, there aren’t any singles and it’ll never get played on the radio.” That demo tape would later be the basis of Depeche Mode’s fifth studio album Black Celebration. Lead single, “Stripped”, would be described as an “ominous and intriguing pop song”, reaching the top ten in five European countries (Finland, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, West Germany) and climbing to number one on the UK Indie chart.

“Come with me, into the trees
We’ll lay on the grass, and let the hours pass
Take my hand, come back to the land
Let’s get away, just for one day”

Depeche Mode has been previously featured here, with single “Wrong“, following the death of long-time band member Andrew Fletcher. Shared, Fletcher, “The idea of ‘Stripped’ is to get away from technology and civilization for a day and get back to basics in the country. It’s about two people stripping down to their bare emotions. In the video, we’re seen demolishing a car and taking a TV apart… it’s a bit, er, symbolic.” Lead singer David Gahan would further clarify, “It’s not about sex. It’s to do with having nothing except yourself.


It may seem ironic that a track ostensibly about a “nostalgia for nature” could not have been made without extensive use of electronic musical instruments, primarily synthesizers and samplers, the bread and butter of early Depeche Mode. The beginning of the song samples the sound of the ignition of Gahan’s personal Porsche automobile, while the underlying undulating beat is the sound of an idling motorcycle engine distorted and slowed. The ending even cleverly incorporates the crackling of exploding fireworks, a perhaps instentioally subliminal celebratory final gesture. []

Metropolis, has nothing on this
You’re breathing in fumes, I taste when we kiss
Take my hand, come back to the land
Where everything’s ours, for a few hours

In the midst of future-facing synth-pop, Depeche Mode’s constant bleak pessimism looks back to romantic-era poets on “Stripped”, a song lamenting that modern society has taken us away from nature, simplicity, and truth.

~ notagrgu on

Depeche Mode would be one of the first groups to integrate industrial noise and sounds into their music in such a manner that attempted to blend with or accentuate the emotion in their sound. Combined with distrustful (at times morose) lyrics, their audio art would punctuate and resonate with those of us more cynical of life at the time. Trent Reznor, of Nine Inch Nails, would later cite Black Celebration as one of the most influential albums in the creation of his premier release, Pretty Hate Machine.

Let me see you stripped down to the bone
(Let me hear you crying just for me)


Depeche Mode’s

Cover Art “security” © 2023 – disturbedByVoices – All Rights Reserved

16 thoughts on “Depeche Mode ~ Stripped [1986]

  1. Great song. And we need it now more than ever, with people chained to their phones. Another genius song with a similar concept is “Television” by Japan.

      1. Yes, Dali’s Car is amazing. I love Peter Murphy too. I saw him perform solo so many times over the years, and also the Bauhaus reunion. He, and Mick Karn are my favorites.

  2. We were (well, I was) watching a recent episode of “The Last of Us” and at the end a song started playing and my wife, who had previously been paying no attention to the “fungus zombies”, looked up and said, “That’s Depeche Mode.” As it turned out it was in fact a piano cover of Depeche Mode’s “Never Let Me Down Again” (with a female vocalist). My normally cover-hating wife pronounced it all right because it was so different from the original, but she sill made me find and play the official video on YouTube afterwards.

    1. I tried watching that show — “fungus zombies”, lol! Like her, I feel that all convers need to improve upon the original in some manner. If they do that, they’re good with me. In fact, Rammstein did a cover for the song ‘Stripped’. I like some Rammstein, but didn’t care much for their take this time: Thanks for sharing, James. 💀

  3. Another group and song I haven t heard of. Both good, but you know me—the lyrics are where the gold is for me. 🖤

      1. I don’t doubt you will. I’ve listened to very few new artists for probably 20 years, maybe more. Pop music became (and for the most part, still is) a blah landscape—you’ve heard one song, you’ve heard them all.

    1. I was hooked after being introduced to Some Great Reward and even explored their back catalog then, enjoyed it, and subsequently Erasure and Yaz too. The dark cynical romanticism really resonated with me, and it sounds like you too. Thank you for sharing, Jeff. 💀

  4. YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!! I am a diehard Mode fan and am at a loss for words where we’re at right now. Glad to see you mentioned “Wrong” from Songs of the Universe. I go back and forth as to my favorite Mode album, Black Celebration or Songs of Faith and Devotion. I mean, Music From the Masses will always have a special place in my heart, as I made love constantly to the album with the girl who first introduced me to it, then the same with the girlfriend thereafter. Yet Black Celebration, just, ahhhh….so confrontational, so on-the-dime.

    Songs of Faith and Devotion is the best written and performed Depeche Mode album introducing live drums and more of Martin’s guitars at the forefront and it has my all-time favorite Mode song, “In Your Room,” but damn, so happy to see you pull “Stripped” for your blog. I used to sing this with my head halfway out the car window while driving in my college years. Yes, I took it in a sexual context in my 20s, but re-evaluated it later in life to what Gore said it is.


    1. Yep, loved Songs of Faith and Devotion (SOFAD), also Violator, but first loves were Some Great Reward and Black Celebration (especially so). SOFAD really broadened their sound by building on it with more non-electronic instrumentation at the forefront (as you stated), and I think Gahan’s drug addiction proved to amp a repressed frustration that made the final mix positively pulse with energy — in 1996 he overdosed on heroin and died for two minutes having an out-of-body experience ( “In Your Room” is one of my favorites too, but SOFAD is simply bursting with great music. Thank you for sharing, Ray. 💀

      1. Yeah, I always think of how desperate and sultry Gahan sounds on that album, also on Ultra, since he had to battle through his demons. At least he won. He has sounded invigorated on Sounds of the Universe, Delta Machine, Playing the Angel and Spirit. e Martin Gore hit such heights on “One Caress” from SOFAD, telling the tale of what was going on in the group then. I crank the whole album while driving, but plant “One Caress” higher so I can sing with Martin. The chamber fugue slashing behind him on that one, Jesus wept…we’re all blessed with that performance. Violator is as much as masterpiece as anything they did and obviously the height of the commercial appeal, but yeah, man, I even like listening to the simplicity of Construction Time Again and Speak and Spell. They got a lot of mileage out of what technology they had to construct with. Same as Kraftwerk, building on a foundation to a greater sound.

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