A to Z and Back Again Week 7: Dave Gahan


Wow, so two weeks after randomly choosing Erasure, I get another Depeche Mode related album. This time, it’s DM’s primary singer, Dave Gahan. Paper Monsters was Dave’s first solo release after two decades of fronting the Mode. It also marked Dave’s first foray into songwriting, as Depeche’s songs were primarily written by Vince Clark on the first album, and primarily by Martin Gore since then. Ex-member Alan Wilder contributed a couple of tracks over the years, but by and large it’s been Martin’s show. So how did Dave do on his first solo attempt?

My assessment would be, not bad, but not exactly great either. The sound is a little more rock-oriented than DM, and the songs aren’t bad. However, I can honestly say that, if I wasn’t already a fan of him through Depeche Mode, I don’t know that hearing any of the songs on this album would have prompted me to purchase it. Except possibly “Hidden Houses,” which I really quite like. I don’t dislike the rest of the album, but I don’t feel compelled to listed to it that often either. However, as first efforts go, it’s not too bad. And his second album, Hourglass, shows him growing and improving as an artist. (Seriously, “Saw Something” is a great song. His Live in Soho set on iTunes is even better than the studio version.) I did see Dave live while he was touring Paper Monsters and, just like when he’s with DM, he put on a great show, giving these tracks more life than on the album. I have confidence that, if he continues to put out solo releases between Mode releases, he will continue getting better.


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