Top Five Tuesday :: They’re lighting my way tonight


Top Five Tuesday :: Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode is one of the bands that is immediately wrapped up in memories of my adolescence, of stacks of vinyl albums and cassettes tossing around in my backpack, mix tapes made with care, and falling in unrequited love with that boy I could never have. It is reminiscent of that kind of youthful energy that burned through me, and persisted despite the darkness I was growing up within.

The band’s music came with me for awhile, carried along in concert tickets and music played out of my first car’s speakers, and late nights in Hollywood clubs when I would dance next to some of the band’s members, seeing them as not so different, and as just as lost, as I was. We knew some of the same people, we did some of the same drugs, we hid in some of the same shadows.

Their music was there, too, when I made an error in judgement, falling into the arms of someone who did not belong to me, believing in all his lies even though I think deep down I knew they were lies. He played their songs non-stop when we were together, their lyrics becoming interchangeable with his lies, as he held me close and whispered words of love, then left me to be with someone else, whispering the same words, the same lies. He took their music with him when she and I confronted him, half-drunk, at a New Year’s Eve party. She and I stayed, he left, and so did the songs.

Sometimes music leaves a bad taste and it took some time for me to lose that bitter flavor behind and really listen to their music again, to remember what I once loved about their songs. Eventually we all forgive, even if it is never so easy to forget. I brought their albums, and their songs, back into my life eventually, and have kept them in my arsenal of musical love ever since.

Following are my top five songs:

5. It Doesn’t Matter

If we should meet again,
don’t try to solve the puzzle,
just lay down next to me,
and please don’t move a muscle

Sometimes there are no answers, only unsolvable questions and long lists of reasons to not go on. We can always find excuses to not be happy, to not feel loved, to not keep trying. Sometimes the puzzle cannot be solved and all you can do is hold on tight, to each other, even if only for a moment’s time.

4. Shake the Disease

“I’m not going down on my knees,
begging you to adore me

First memory is always of a high school dance and an unlikely pairing, the two of us together by some kind of default and romantic notion of what we could make of it. We danced to this song, sang-a-long to this song, pulling ourselves together with this song. We did not stick, we were never meant to, and there were few good memories to cling to, but this song was one.

3. Enjoy the Silence (live)

Words are meaningless,
and forgettable

We lost ourselves in the city lights, in darkened rooms, in pounding bass lines and strangers’ eyes. We were tired of explaining, tired of being misunderstood, tired of words with no meaning. We were redefining ourselves, and yes, at times self-destroying, but at other times we were really living.

2. Question of Lust

It’s a question of lust,
it’s a question of trust,
it’s a question of not letting what we’ve built up crumble to dust.
It is all of these things and more,
that keep us together.”

One of my most favorite love songs. It speaks to me in the ways that I have loved, been afraid, and still loved regardless. I feel this song so deeply that it brings tears to my eyes.

1. But Not Tonight

And I haven’t felt so alive in years.”

Not just my favorite Depeche Mode song, but on my forever list of all-time favorite songs. It also comes from one of my favorite movies, Modern Girls, an often overlooked, silly, story in one night film from the ’80’s that I just adore. This song reminds me of my own “story in one night” nights in Hollywood, and the adventures those one night’s held.

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