Depeche Mode and the BBC Concert Orchestra

The synth-pop legends deliver a trio of beautiful orchestral renditions, including a Scott Walker cover.

Depeche Mode recently ventured into the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios to record a trio of songs with the BBC Concert Orchestra. The resulting collaboration is truly excellent, with Martin Gore calling it one of the best things they’ve ever done.

The set’s first song is a rendition of “Walking in My Shoes” from 1993’s Songs of Faith and Devotion. The pairing of David Gahan’s baritone and Martin Gore’s guitar licks with the BBC orchestra’s lush string arrangements is perfection.

The second song is “Ghosts Again,” the lead single from Memento Mori and one of my favorite songs of 2023 so far. This version, sans electronics, is more sedate than the album version, with trilling flutes replacing the synth arpeggios, but it’s still beautifully solemn in its own way.

The final song is a cover of “Sundown,” which was originally written by Gordon Lightfoot and famously sung by Scott Walker on 1974’s We Had It All. This selection seems entirely apropos to me, given that orchestral Depeche Mode bears more than a passing similarity to orchestral Scott Walker. (The song was performed as a tribute to Mark Lanegan.)

The “Sundown” performance wasn’t released onto YouTube, but you can watch it via the BBC’s iPlayer (if you live in the UK) or listen to it here alongside some interview segments with Gary Davies.

Depeche Mode is currently touring in support of Memento Mori, their fifteenth studio album, which was released last month.

Enjoy reading Opus? Want to support my writing? Become a subscriber for just $5/month or $50/year.
Subscribe Today
Return to the Opus homepage