• Record Label: Reprise
  • Release Date: Oct 18, 2005
User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 198 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 5 out of 198

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  1. Feb 9, 2013
    10
    With hindsight being 20-20, and this review being written 7-1/2 years after the released of this album, I can write, without any hesitation, that Playing the Angel is my favorite Depeche Mode album and that is saying a lot because I am a completely devoted fan of the band since I first heard them in 1986. Playing the Angel is a different kind of Depeche Mode album and it would be unfairWith hindsight being 20-20, and this review being written 7-1/2 years after the released of this album, I can write, without any hesitation, that Playing the Angel is my favorite Depeche Mode album and that is saying a lot because I am a completely devoted fan of the band since I first heard them in 1986. Playing the Angel is a different kind of Depeche Mode album and it would be unfair to try and compare it with any other album, except maybe Violator. This album is so good that it has been the staple of my musical diet since the day it was released. What sets this album apart from all others are two secret ingredients never before present in a Depeche Mode album. First is a unique and permeating throbbing that flows from song to song and ties them all together, and secondly David Gahan contributed songs to the album, and not just any songs, a couple of fantastic songs. Individually, nearly every song is excellent beginning with the explosive opening of A 'Pain That I'm Used To' right down to the last note of the last song 'Darkest Star'. This album is far greater though than the sum of its individually outstanding parts, and that is what sets this album apart. 'Suffer Well' is my personal favorite, and this song has replaced 'In Your Room' from 'Songs of Faith and Devotion' as my all-time favorite Depeche Mode song. I find it very ironic that 'Suffer Well' (written by David Gahan) has become my favorite DM song of all time because it is the first song written by anybody but Martin Gore in 25 years, and I have long considered Martin Gore to be among the greatest songwriters of all time. This album excels on all levels and there are six standout tracks that help give this album an unparalleled timelessness and longevity: John the Revelator, Suffer Well, Sinner in Me, Precious, Nothing's Impossible, and Darkest Star. Expand
  2. ludovicf
    Oct 18, 2005
    9
    This is their best work since Music For The Masses !!! I'm not an hysterik fan and i love all kind of music ( rock, electro, pop, trip hop, classic etc...) The futur will be great with Depeche Mode ! Great record !
  3. jothaxej
    Nov 1, 2005
    10
    This is why I still love Depeche Mode after all these years.
  4. heinec
    Nov 6, 2005
    10
    this is just so dm as dm can be. i love the feel and sound. every dm fan will love it, maby even some new listeners here and there..
  5. daved
    Oct 20, 2005
    10
    a classic electrosoul cd. Never boring, never repetitive, lyrically brilliant. album of 2005.
  6. AndyE
    Oct 20, 2005
    10
    great
  7. f_ii
    Jan 30, 2009
    9
    Just cool, amazing album.
  8. PeterS
    Nov 15, 2005
    10
    Mode's new album is nothing short of a masterpiece. Their opening show in Tampa was unbelievable. Tight music with vocals that combine and take you on a journey of sight & sound that is almost unmatched in music today.
  9. RolandoL
    Nov 16, 2005
    9
    Amazing, back to what they stood for. Singing about life's sad side. The truth about what can and will wrong with many people's lives.
  10. EleannaD
    Nov 1, 2005
    9
    a mature evolution of Gore's genius
  11. BrentT
    Nov 6, 2005
    9
    As soon as I heard songs from this new album, I knew it would impress. Despite the fact that Depeche Mode hasn't had a fresh new album in some time, they keep the same catchy and mysterious tunes that can be compared to those older ones that made them famous, such as those on Violator. Their new production techniques make the album sound even more unique.
  12. HenrikA
    Oct 18, 2005
    10
    One of their absolute best
  13. JanR
    Oct 18, 2005
    10
    great album! they are back!
  14. JoeC
    Oct 19, 2005
    10
    My heart stopped when I first heard that DM was working on a new album. My boyfriend Rubin and I are lifelong fans, and just hearing the new material brings back many happy memories (thanks Rubin!)....
  15. DavidH
    Oct 22, 2005
    10
    The addition of Dave's writing into the mix adds inspiration and new life to the band and keeps Martin on his toes. The analog factor is nice and hoping so desperately that some of the analog synths travel on tour with them and get some triggering live. The synthi, arp, jupiter, Juno, moog, oberheim, hoping and hoping that its not all pro tools audio we hear on tour and that its some The addition of Dave's writing into the mix adds inspiration and new life to the band and keeps Martin on his toes. The analog factor is nice and hoping so desperately that some of the analog synths travel on tour with them and get some triggering live. The synthi, arp, jupiter, Juno, moog, oberheim, hoping and hoping that its not all pro tools audio we hear on tour and that its some real gritty live triggering. I feel the presence of Alan Wilder back in the wings, lingering and hoping to step back to do some work with the band. His polish is something that could bring back the Violator days gone by. Great listen. Expand
  16. coryh
    Oct 22, 2005
    10
    rolling stone is such a bunch of want to be emo kids its a embarresment, stick to my chemical romance, this is a powerful cd, and it has some great songs that make you remember why there truly standing the test of time, 25 years .. wow
  17. Jemma
    Oct 24, 2005
    9
    It isn't my favorite Depeche Mode album, but it really refreshed my memory as to why I fell in love with this band in the first place. I can't wait to attend their concert!
  18. mikeT
    Oct 27, 2005
    10
    I think that this album is a lot more akin to their older stuff than exciter was. Both were great albums, but this album kicks major ass! Precious, john the revelator, suffer well, lilian, a pain that i'm used to all kick major booty! Better than all of this saturated rap crap currently playing everywhere.....enough already! Buy this album!
  19. stefanoc
    Oct 31, 2005
    9
    Amazingly fresh, incredible modernization of a classic sound, great vocals, compact album conception, is this a brand new band or what? they are a cult. They are unique legacy. Tthey are a passionate devotion to quality music and intelligent tunes. Fav tune? That shouting feast Jhon the revelator: energetic, classic, modern, succint, powerful. Nothing is impossible with these guys, even Amazingly fresh, incredible modernization of a classic sound, great vocals, compact album conception, is this a brand new band or what? they are a cult. They are unique legacy. Tthey are a passionate devotion to quality music and intelligent tunes. Fav tune? That shouting feast Jhon the revelator: energetic, classic, modern, succint, powerful. Nothing is impossible with these guys, even producing such great music after 25 years. Thank you depeche, u made my day one of hope and pleasure. Expand
  20. elo_rey
    Oct 30, 2005
    10
    DM doing their best again! perfect pop-synth songs, love the sound of these old sinthethizers.
  21. DecepticonPom
    Jan 2, 2006
    9
    Generation i-Pod has too short an attention span to award this album the patience that rewards such an outstanding album.
  22. precious
    Jan 4, 2006
    9
    I bought PTA the day of release, and have not stopped listening to it since (its been 4 months). It is a constant on all my cd players and on my so loved iPod. Not only has the album proven its worth on a million counts, its also shown me why I love DM in the first place. Ever track (aside from Macro--don't like that one at all) is so DM it hurts....Love it. I recently had the chance I bought PTA the day of release, and have not stopped listening to it since (its been 4 months). It is a constant on all my cd players and on my so loved iPod. Not only has the album proven its worth on a million counts, its also shown me why I love DM in the first place. Ever track (aside from Macro--don't like that one at all) is so DM it hurts....Love it. I recently had the chance to see them live in Toronto (for the PTA tour) and it was by far THE best concert I've been too. Dave Gahan is a beautiful, beautiful man. Expand
  23. KurtA
    Jan 6, 2006
    10
    Depeche Mode Rules
  24. JuanR
    Oct 9, 2006
    10
    This album is dark and melodic. Best album since Songs of Faith and Devotion
  25. Fitter
    Mar 23, 2006
    9
    First of all, far far better than Exciter. And this is a big surprise. It seems some competition (two songwriters) greatly contributed to the final result. DM at last deliver a number of good songs and although these won't turn out to be particularly remarkable in their career, I belive the band did all they could at the moment. Standouts: Sinner in me and Suffer Well
  26. MooMants
    Apr 1, 2006
    9
    This is a great album. Classic Mode, but still fresh and addictive listening. Some really cool production touches. I bought it out of loyalty to an all time fave band, but now I can't stop listening to it.
  27. ianb
    Apr 30, 2009
    10
    I hated this and wanted to sell it on ebay, but after a lengthy gap, i returned to it and playing the angel is an amazing album, after several listens it hits you. It is a very modern classical album - it's complex and the songs are built with perfect components- it's dm's equal to radioheads in rainbows, keep listening you will get it.
  28. Gaurav"Doc"M
    Nov 25, 2005
    10
    Though I am a long time fan, in honesty, this is some excllent work in production and writing. Depeche I feel has come in STRONG with this "Playing the Angel!" Well worth the wait for a classic DM album!
  29. ManuelA
    Nov 27, 2005
    9
    Wow, the return to the 80's!. I feef well with them again.
  30. Bulky
    Nov 29, 2005
    10
    PTA is awesome! It's not Violator Part II as some DM fans have lamented but who wants it to be. Had DM kept on doing the same old thing year in year out they would have lost their loyal fan base years ago and they would have ended up becoming a sad parody of the great band they used to be (Yes I'm talking to you Rolling Stones). DM do something fresh, different and rewarding PTA is awesome! It's not Violator Part II as some DM fans have lamented but who wants it to be. Had DM kept on doing the same old thing year in year out they would have lost their loyal fan base years ago and they would have ended up becoming a sad parody of the great band they used to be (Yes I'm talking to you Rolling Stones). DM do something fresh, different and rewarding with each record but yet still manage to sound distinctly like DM. PTA is no different. It might not be their best record but then again it just might be. Time will tell. DM fans, just rejoice because they have released a new album which will hopefully not be their last. New lfans, do yourselves a favour and go back through the DM catalogue and find out what you have been missing out on for the last 25 years. Expand
Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Like the best Depeche Mode, almost everything on the album will make an initial wowing impact while remaining layered enough in subtle details to surprise and thrill with repeated listens.
  2. Revels in dirty guitars and fuzzy distortion while maintaining Depeche Mode's familiar electronic sound. [22 Oct 2005]
  3. 86
    It's got all the allure of classic D-Mode, but there's that lingering hint of taking oneself a tad too seriously. [#17, p.97]