There has been a sea-change in politics recently: Britain is leaving the EU, right-wing ‘populist’ parties have been gaining support across Europe and America has an inward-looking, protectionist president. All the economics experts said Britain will be worse off if it leaves the EU but the people feared immigrants were stealing their jobs and destroying the British way of life. Similar sentiments have boosted the profiles of far right politicians such as Marine Le Pen in France and Geert Wilders in the Netherlands. And, as for Trump, he only has to tweet the blame on Muslims, Mexicans or spy agencies to bolster support for his conservative administration; no evidence, it seems, is required to back up his claims.
This seismic shift to the right doesn’t please everyone. It doesn’t please Crotchety Man and it doesn’t please Depeche Mode if their current single, Where’s the Revolution, is anything to go by. Why are we so ready to blame the other guy for our problems? Are ‘they’ really at fault? Wouldn’t we do the same in their situation? Sometimes I want to stand up and shout to the electorate, “No, you fools, you’re wrong”. I hope that many others share my frustration and despair. I hope that together we will soon rise up and drown out the voices of ignorance and hatred. I dream of an unstoppable tide of inclusiveness and friendship that will sweep away the selfishness that I see all around me. But the revolution doesn’t come.
Come on, people, you’re letting me down.
Martin Gore’s lyrics express my feelings perfectly. The sombre tones of Dave Gahan’s voice put the message across with a reflective Angostura bitterness. The dual keyboards of Andy Fletcher and Martin Gore pulse threateningly, driving the point home beat by electronic beat. Those three preachers are tapping into an underground well of opposition to the new world order. And the waters are rising fast.
Depeche Mode were one of the defining bands of the synth pop and new wave era in the eighties. But their star did not fade when the music-buying public moved on to rap and house music. The band released 13 studio albums between 1981 and 2013, all of them reaching the top 10 in the UK album chart. Where’s the Revolution is a single taken from their fourteenth album, Spirit, which was released just two days ago. The album as a whole is quite dark – positively gloomy in places – but there are plenty of bright sparks to keep the listener interested and the single has made an immediate impact on the radio over here in the UK. There’s a full review of the album here on Pitchfork.
So, readers, are you with us? Shall we answer the question that Depeche Mode have posed? I say the revolution is just around the corner and it lies in the hearts and minds of all who think for themselves and love humanity. Its soldiers are those who get their news from reliable sources and reject ‘alternative facts’. Its armies are those who see all nations as our brothers, sisters and friends, not our enemies. Its impetus comes from those who keep pushing on the revolving door of political opinion. It just needs to turn one more revolution. Words are our only weapons; it’s time to speak up and be counted.
Come on, people, we can do better than this. Stop letting me down; join the liberal revolution. Together we can turn the tide again.