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Paper Monsters

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Album Review

As the lead vocalist for Depeche Mode, Dave Gahan appeared to be far removed from the common trappings of rock & roll stardom. Although the group often flirted with gloomy overtones throughout their career, they maintained a largely squeaky-clean image. By the early '90s, however, Gahan had moved to L.A., gotten hooked on heroin and booze, and immersed himself in the grunge scene. When Depeche Mode regrouped to record Songs of Faith & Devotion, Gahan had transformed himself into the perennial junkie. As his addictions worsened, Gahan lost his friends, lost himself, and for a few short minutes, lost his life before paramedics revived him after an all-night drug binge. Following Gahan's journey through both physical and mental rehabilitation, Paper Monsters is what many would expect — a collection of material culled from his addictions, failed relationships, and spiritual rebirth. While the lyrics on Paper Monsters lack some of the depth and clever irony associated with those of bandmate Martin Gore, Gahan masters innuendo, often hiding the true identities of his subjects. As the titles suggest, "Dirty Sticky Floors" and "Bottle Living" are glam-induced snapshots of Gahan's days spent at rock-bottom. "Hold On" and "A Little Piece" each offer a glimpse into Gahan's reconciliations with a higher power, while "Bitter Apple," "Black and Blue Again," and "Goodbye" shed light on his relationships, both bad and good. On "I Need You" and "Hidden Houses," Gahan sounds as though he could be addressing all of his subjects at once. Additionally, "Hidden Houses" offers his most naked moment on the album: "Inside each man is a frightened lamb who hides beneath the sheets/Waiting for a chance to just be free." Having toyed with the idea of releasing a solo album ever since Depeche Mode released Exciter, Gahan approached the project slowly. Initially shy and even a bit scared, it wasn't until he began jamming with friend and multi-instrumentalist Knox Chandler that he gained the confidence he needed to get serious about releasing an album of his own material. They, along with producer Ken Thomas (Sigur Rós), began shaping Gahan's ideas into a mix of swampy blues-injected rock, slick urban electronica, and atmospheric balladry. Paper Monsters is a competent solo debut, and although it doesn't stray too far from the Depeche mold, Gahan does manage to put his own stamp on the songs. While it doesn't shy away from recalling his past demons, Paper Monsters ultimately points toward his optimism for the future.

Customer Reviews

absolutely phenominal!!

This is a great piece of work!! Everything you would expect from this exceptional artist. Great listening through and through. Worth every penny and I hope he gets it all too!! Expect a new release in October of 2007. I can't wait for it. Follow up tour as well I hear. I will be flying somewhere for that one since Edmonton is not a popular stop for the greats.

Awesome debut from Mr Gahan

Love this record! Every song is awesome!

Biography

Born: May 09, 1962 in Epping, Essex, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Synth pop wasn't intended to have a soul. Pioneered by German techno wizards Kraftwerk in the '70s, electronic pop music became a haven for chilly detachment. Without the hollow baritone of vocalist David Gahan, there wouldn't be much fire in the synthetic grooves of Depeche Mode. When Gahan joined Depeche Mode in 1980, he was the group's missing puzzle piece, a charismatic, stylish singer. In the beginning, Gahan sang in an icy yet upbeat fashion, milking the hooks from early Depeche Mode hits such...
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Paper Monsters, Dave Gahan
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