Playing The Angel

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

Universal acclaim- based on 205 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 5 out of 205

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  1. Apr 13, 2013
    9
    An awesome comeback, after a few "meh" albums, Depeche creates kind of a Violator 2; a modern masterpiece, sure, its has flaws; but which album doesnt?
  2. 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
  3. Nov 29, 2012
    10
    While most recognize that DM began to ascend around Black Celebration and peaked somewhere between Violator and SoFaD, this is the blip in the flat line that makes you think there still may be some life left in them. Suffer Well, Nothing's Impossible, Precious...all brilliant. Even the b-sides from this album's singles rock. Get everything you can related to this album! Singles, TourWhile most recognize that DM began to ascend around Black Celebration and peaked somewhere between Violator and SoFaD, this is the blip in the flat line that makes you think there still may be some life left in them. Suffer Well, Nothing's Impossible, Precious...all brilliant. Even the b-sides from this album's singles rock. Get everything you can related to this album! Singles, Tour DVDs, remixes... Collapse
  4. Nov 13, 2011
    8
    Good album but overall sound quality is not so great-the sound is unbelievably loud and distorted but also kind of flat,with no natural dynamic range.
  5. DexStud
    Jul 29, 2009
    9
    Stellar entry from synth-pop's greatest guys. Covers many genres including: alt rock, dance, and, pop. Once again proves Depeche Mode as one of the greatest bands of all time.
  6. 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.
  7. f_ii
    Jan 30, 2009
    9
    Just cool, amazing album.
  8. time
    Oct 26, 2007
    0
    I freaking hate this band and any other of those goofy synth rock Richard Blade douche bags that passed around nothing but crap in the 80s. Thank God for Sonic Youth, the Pixies and the Mary Chain. This genre should have never made a comeback. Fortunately it was so obnoxious that the 90s is making an early comeback. Shoegaze killed synth and that's why it's my favorite genre. I freaking hate this band and any other of those goofy synth rock Richard Blade douche bags that passed around nothing but crap in the 80s. Thank God for Sonic Youth, the Pixies and the Mary Chain. This genre should have never made a comeback. Fortunately it was so obnoxious that the 90s is making an early comeback. Shoegaze killed synth and that's why it's my favorite genre. This was glorified garbage and nobody took it seriously. If they're so dark and gloomy they should have ended it all in their heyday and given up on this bullshit that passes of as music. Expand
  9. LouiseS
    Aug 25, 2007
    4
    I'm really dissapointed. sounds like adults trying to tell what it's like being a teenager, they've simply lost it.
  10. BrookeO.
    Aug 14, 2007
    4
    Overrated! "Precious" is there best track in a long time, but, past that, not much else on here to enjoy. I wish they would either hook back up w Alan or call it quits. DM are no longer relevent to anything or anyone, save themselves and their bank account.
  11. OskarS
    Nov 21, 2006
    10
    It made me feel emotions that I haven´t felt since 1990. Great collection of addictive songs..
  12. RomascuA
    Nov 9, 2006
    10
    it's very good.
  13. JuanR
    Oct 9, 2006
    10
    This album is dark and melodic. Best album since Songs of Faith and Devotion
  14. AlvinA
    Jul 26, 2006
    10
    Depeche Mode stand as one of the greatest bands in the history of contemporary alternative pop music. Being my number 1 band, I must say that I am indeed impressed by the simple, yet well-layered beauty of each track. This sounds like Depeche Mode at their best, doing what they know: producing good rhythms, lyrics, vocals, and a collective pattern of sonic bliss. They still sound like Depeche Mode stand as one of the greatest bands in the history of contemporary alternative pop music. Being my number 1 band, I must say that I am indeed impressed by the simple, yet well-layered beauty of each track. This sounds like Depeche Mode at their best, doing what they know: producing good rhythms, lyrics, vocals, and a collective pattern of sonic bliss. They still sound like Depeche Mode, with the analog synths, but also more evolved, with more sophistacted electronic effects, and addictive guitar hooks. Way-2-Go! :) The best thing next to Some Great Reward and Violator. In some ways, even better! Stand out tracks: A Pain that I'm Used To John the Revelator Suffer Well The Sinner In Me Precious Nothing's Impossible The Darkest Star Expand
  15. LiliM
    Jun 27, 2006
    10
    dm are consistent with producing classic albums one after the other. its music with meaning and is original and inspiring. you can listen to the alibum over and over again and each time you discover another sound, another part which relates to your life in some way. they are just like no other.
  16. JOSEG
    May 24, 2006
    8
    Excelent, to the top of Depeche Mode CD's.
  17. 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.
  18. 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
  19. jg
    Feb 21, 2006
    10
    some of DM's best stuff!!!!!!
  20. RichS
    Feb 15, 2006
    8
    This is a very good album. After two pretty poor efforts (Ultra and exciter) Playing the Angel is up with the best depeche albums of all time. Tracks are beautifully put together with melody opon melody layered deep within the songs. Standout tracks include the Gahan penned Suffer Well (probably the best thing on the album) and I want it All (probably the second best thing on the album). This is a very good album. After two pretty poor efforts (Ultra and exciter) Playing the Angel is up with the best depeche albums of all time. Tracks are beautifully put together with melody opon melody layered deep within the songs. Standout tracks include the Gahan penned Suffer Well (probably the best thing on the album) and I want it All (probably the second best thing on the album). If you were dissapointed by exciter, get hold of this album, it sort of serves as an apology in the best possible way. Expand
  21. FuzikéaK
    Feb 12, 2006
    9
    The first listen got me hooked, and I must say that it just gets better the more I listen to it. PTA fully converted me to Depeche Mode. Only flaw: Please, please, please, don't pay attention to "Macro"...
  22. BjörnL
    Jan 25, 2006
    10
    Best DM Album since Violator and I wouldnt be suprised if I will rank it as number 1 in a couple of years
  23. ozumgroup
    Jan 11, 2006
    10
    it is the best music group...
  24. KurtA
    Jan 6, 2006
    10
    Depeche Mode Rules
  25. 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
  26. 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.
  27. DroneStudios
    Dec 30, 2005
    2
    I have been a Depeche Mode fan since Some Great Reward (1984) and own every DM album. Being with the majority, I feel Violator is their strongest album. I am in the minority here when I say Playing The Angel is their absolute worst album. I believe what set DM apart from their contemporaries (and this spans 3 decades) was their ability to write catchy, mood-driven songs with much emotion. I have been a Depeche Mode fan since Some Great Reward (1984) and own every DM album. Being with the majority, I feel Violator is their strongest album. I am in the minority here when I say Playing The Angel is their absolute worst album. I believe what set DM apart from their contemporaries (and this spans 3 decades) was their ability to write catchy, mood-driven songs with much emotion. This was intertwined with beautiful synth driven sounds...but not only that, DM were experimental in the process and you could not mistake their sound for any other band. Playing the Angel sounds a lot like other bands...mainly Nine Ince Nails. Playing the Angel is definitely not Violator...any comparison to Violator is made for marketing purposes to sell PTA. PTA neither sounds like Violator or has the strong melodies and amazing sounds and production inherent in Violator or any of the other Depeche Mode albums. This is the most monotone DM album. Even Ultra and Exciter have songs that are worth noting. Nothing stands out on this album. Precious is the best song on this album and even then it is lacking in melodic content. The band lists a slew of analog synths they used on this album...namely a rack of ARP 2600s, Minimoog, EMS VCS-3, Voyetra 8, Korg MS-20, Korg 900PS, Roland Juno 106 and a Yamaha CS-5. For synth fans, if you're expecting rounded, warm analog sounds you will be severely disappointed. I would venture to say most of the sounds on PTA came from Native Instruments Reaktor and the NI suite of DSP synths. The back to analog synths statement is all marketing hype to sell this album. So to sum up this review...Playing the Angel contains no strong melodies, just uninteresting feedback-laden synth lines that sound digital rather than analog, monotone basslines and vocals (the songs stay on one minor chord for the duration of the song), no peaks and valleys in the production...everything is in your face, uninspired lyrics from Martin and Dave, and an overall boring album. I'll be kind and give PTA a two rating for the DM effort..only because I once loved Depeche Mode. Perhaps fans of Nine Inch Nails will love and adore this album. True, longtime Depeche Mode fans who crave the sound of DM with Alan Wilder or even Vince Clarke will be disappointed. Heck, Playing the Angel doesn't even compare to Ultra and Exciter. Expand
  28. NankingY
    Dec 28, 2005
    10
    I love this album!!! It's the best they have put out since Violator. I can't wait til their next one.
  29. RobertN
    Dec 28, 2005
    10
    Great album from a great band.
  30. erikam
    Dec 14, 2005
    10
    the best!!!
  31. Matt
    Dec 5, 2005
    7
    Solid, dark lashings of Mode by numbers
  32. SteveJ
    Dec 2, 2005
    10
    A truley incredible album. Like everyone else I agree their best since Violator. Also this is their best concert since world violation tour. I have no doubt that deeche mode is the greatest band ever to see live! I have seen bands like The Rollingstones, Matellica, Korn, Green Day, etc. Depeche Mode blows them away. Also I think that although depeche mode has never really been too A truley incredible album. Like everyone else I agree their best since Violator. Also this is their best concert since world violation tour. I have no doubt that deeche mode is the greatest band ever to see live! I have seen bands like The Rollingstones, Matellica, Korn, Green Day, etc. Depeche Mode blows them away. Also I think that although depeche mode has never really been too comercial and a household name like The Stones, U2, Beatles, Nirvana, etc. I really do pray that this will be their year to be recognized at the Grammys!! Some people say they are the kings of electronic music, I say they are the Beatles of Alternative music, Depeche Mode is truley in my opinion the Greatest Band in our generation!!! Expand
  33. 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
  34. SatanicMajesty
    Nov 28, 2005
    1
    A HUGE, HUGE step forward since their TRULLY ROCKER debut.
  35. ManuelA
    Nov 27, 2005
    9
    Wow, the return to the 80's!. I feef well with them again.
  36. jennifer
    Nov 26, 2005
    10
    doesn't get any better than this....live in san diego was awesome.
  37. LilianW
    Nov 26, 2005
    10
    ...I just cant get enough of Depeche Mode! Im really impressed with their new album...very very Depeche Mode-ish!! Cant express how honoured I felt (and still do -blush blush sigh sigh) seeing they came out with a song called Lilian.....with ONE L, too!! Now thats what I call justice in the world!!!
  38. 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!
  39. LeoMoz
    Nov 23, 2005
    10
    so cool!!!
  40. SaharM.
    Nov 21, 2005
    10
    The greatest album Lilian is the best and also others
  41. AlexJ
    Nov 19, 2005
    10
    After several listens, I found my enjoyment growing and the emotional depths of DM's electronic layering as rich, unique and beautifully bizzare as any previous work of theirs that has endeared me so much to this group. Playing the Angel is full of fresh new sounds, providing an all too familiar sense of awe. How do they do it?
  42. DavidZ
    Nov 18, 2005
    10
    Very enjoyable. A more industrial electronic sound than in recent albums. Martin's lyrics are thoughtful and interesting. I saw the live concert in Vancouver and it was excellent. It makes you realize how many great songs Depeche have written over the years. Best tracks Precious, Suffer Well (Dave Gahan wrote this - now I want to buy Paper Monsters CD) and the Darkest Star.
  43. MyosotisC
    Nov 17, 2005
    9
    This album is absolutely amazing! It's hard, dirty and synthy. The lyrics are awesome as the vocals and the melodies. The only bad thing is the instrumental Introspectre, why do they keep doing instrumental songs? You notice how good the melodies are in teh other songs. Otherwise from the alarm in A pain that I'm used to to the desperation of The darkest star: Enjoy, because it This album is absolutely amazing! It's hard, dirty and synthy. The lyrics are awesome as the vocals and the melodies. The only bad thing is the instrumental Introspectre, why do they keep doing instrumental songs? You notice how good the melodies are in teh other songs. Otherwise from the alarm in A pain that I'm used to to the desperation of The darkest star: Enjoy, because it doesn't get much better than this! Expand
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. TaninoM
    Nov 13, 2005
    10
    A great album by one of the best and most consistent bands in th world. My favourite tracks are Precious, John The Relevator, Nothing is Impossible and Lilian. A great reurn to form !
  47. maxd
    Nov 10, 2005
    8
    What a surprise! Depeche Mode comes out with a very interesting record after the controvesial Exciter. It's probably the darkest stuff they have ever made. Gahan's songs equal the Gore ones in terms of quality. Well done Dave! The general mood - as said above - is dark and gloom with the only exceptions of "PRECIOUS", "LILIAN" and John The revelator" who relate to 90s Depeche What a surprise! Depeche Mode comes out with a very interesting record after the controvesial Exciter. It's probably the darkest stuff they have ever made. Gahan's songs equal the Gore ones in terms of quality. Well done Dave! The general mood - as said above - is dark and gloom with the only exceptions of "PRECIOUS", "LILIAN" and John The revelator" who relate to 90s Depeche Mode. "The darkest star", "a Pain I'm used to", and "nothig is impossible" are my favourite tracks. Expand
  48. John
    Nov 9, 2005
    9
    DM is inventive once again meshing violator on to form " Playing the Angel."
  49. 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.
  50. 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..
  51. Jo
    Nov 5, 2005
    10
    Amazing how they can combine experience with authenticity. Fresh but mature, brand new but drawing on the best DM stuff of the late 80s, it's definitely music for sophisticated masses.
  52. PalP
    Nov 4, 2005
    9
    It is a great CD. Of course the times of Violator or Songs of Faith and the 80's will never be back, but this is a great return. It is far superior than Ultra and that the dissapointing Exciter. With songs like Nothing's Impossible or Suffer Well they took me fifteen years ago to the good times of techno-goth heaven.
  53. josem
    Nov 3, 2005
    10
    muy buen material
  54. GarethL
    Nov 2, 2005
    8
    After the largely disappointing Exciter, this is a great return to form. I have to agree with the critics in saying this is their best effort since Violator. Go buy it!
  55. WilliamL
    Nov 1, 2005
    8
    I've read a few comments about playing the angel and most lof you are still in "violator" & "ultra" bubbles. I, as a true fan have listened and then listened again at the boys. Iike you I have fell in morbid love with each and every track. My favourate---"ultra" has heped me through countless hours playing resident evil. Try it guys it works!. Anyhoooo stop comparing and bloody I've read a few comments about playing the angel and most lof you are still in "violator" & "ultra" bubbles. I, as a true fan have listened and then listened again at the boys. Iike you I have fell in morbid love with each and every track. My favourate---"ultra" has heped me through countless hours playing resident evil. Try it guys it works!. Anyhoooo stop comparing and bloody listen, it's proper moody and I'm not past 5. Expand
  56. jothaxej
    Nov 1, 2005
    10
    This is why I still love Depeche Mode after all these years.
  57. EleannaD
    Nov 1, 2005
    9
    a mature evolution of Gore's genius
  58. 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
  59. slawekk
    Oct 30, 2005
    5
    rather a dissapointment - yes there are a few great songs, but still we could have expected a much better album. after a great "exciter" this one is simply uneven...
  60. elo_rey
    Oct 30, 2005
    10
    DM doing their best again! perfect pop-synth songs, love the sound of these old sinthethizers.
  61. Vail
    Oct 29, 2005
    8
    Being a fan since 85, I was a worried after listening to Exciter; by far my least favorite Dmode collection. Thank God for this inspired and edgy sounding CD. Since the departure of Wilder, it seems the band is in the midst of rediscovering itself. PTA is a very strong effort. The components that make Dmode great are all here. Precious is probably one of the most personnel pieces Mart has Being a fan since 85, I was a worried after listening to Exciter; by far my least favorite Dmode collection. Thank God for this inspired and edgy sounding CD. Since the departure of Wilder, it seems the band is in the midst of rediscovering itself. PTA is a very strong effort. The components that make Dmode great are all here. Precious is probably one of the most personnel pieces Mart has written in years. The first few listens really grabbed me. I think the lyrics speak for itself. There has been a lot of talk about Suffer Well as being a standout track. I don't know. It comes across somewhat bland to me. Nothing's Impossible is by far the best out of the three tracks from Dave. The Sinner in Me strikes me as a true to form Dmode track; very nicely layered with a superb soundscape. All in all this effort is winning and shows if anything, Dmode is still an exciting and creative force. Expand
  62. alexisd
    Oct 29, 2005
    6
    Everytime I listen to it it gets better. i have been a huge depeche mode fan for about 14 years and have to say that i got a little lost with ultra, but definitely ended up understanding with a few listens. Next comes exciter, and it just never caught with me, i liked select songs, but it felt so forced to me. With Playing the Angel I am enjoying them again to the fullest. What I like Everytime I listen to it it gets better. i have been a huge depeche mode fan for about 14 years and have to say that i got a little lost with ultra, but definitely ended up understanding with a few listens. Next comes exciter, and it just never caught with me, i liked select songs, but it felt so forced to me. With Playing the Angel I am enjoying them again to the fullest. What I like most is the return to layered lush sounding production which with each listen so much more is discovered. Favorite songs on the cd...jeez its so hard to pick because the cd as a whole flows so well. I love the bombastic John the Revelator...a great mix of glam, gospel and an almost eighties hook that just makes me want to play it over and over. I Want It All, also a favorite, a sweet song with interesting melodies. Anyone who is into passive music that doesnt take too much to understand will not like this. This is an intelligent listen. And my favorite since Songs of Faith and Devotion Expand
  63. BroderickH
    Oct 29, 2005
    9
    A band who have been recording for 25 years produce an album which is only bettered by their best, the absolute classics "...Masses" and "Violator". Not even Bowie, Ferry or Dylan can hold a candle to this.
  64. SteveB
    Oct 29, 2005
    8
    I bought Speak & Spell back in 1981 when I was 11 years old and was immediately hooked on Depeche Mode - although in recent years I don't listen to them as much any more. However, I still look forward to a new release and go out and buy it. SOFAD was, IMHO, the last consistently good album they released. Ultra had some good moments, Exciter was pretty dire with perhaps one or two I bought Speak & Spell back in 1981 when I was 11 years old and was immediately hooked on Depeche Mode - although in recent years I don't listen to them as much any more. However, I still look forward to a new release and go out and buy it. SOFAD was, IMHO, the last consistently good album they released. Ultra had some good moments, Exciter was pretty dire with perhaps one or two good moments. I was a bit apprehensive that this album would spell the end altogether. On first listen I was a bit nonplussed - quite a different sound for them - I don't really know where all the Violator comparisons are coming from; to me this album sounds a lot sparser and harsher than Violator. On repeated listens though, this one has grown on me. I think the strongest track is "The Darkest Star", similar vibe to "Clean" and it's the closing track too. "Suffer Well" is a great track and "Sinner in me", "Nothing's Impossible" and "Precious" make the grade, but I think the rest of the album falls short. Martin's singing just grates on me these days - wish he would come up with some material on par with earlier tracks like "Somebody", for example. The old "pain and suffering" schtick is getting pretty old too, to be honest. DM have said they don't want to repeat themselves, and stylistically they've managed to avoid that for the most part. But how about a little thematic change, fellas? ;-) Anyway, decent album overall, gives hope to a long-time fan that they still have a few tricks up their sleeves... p.s. Ray M, are you sure you hear a Crystal Method sample? I've never known Depeche Mode to sample other people's stuff, so I'm curious as to what track you think it samples... Expand
  65. SeanW
    Oct 28, 2005
    8
    Bam! Bam! Bam! The first three tracks kick ass. Very good album overall.
  66. BrianE
    Oct 28, 2005
    9
    Back to basics and a much better offering than Exiter, which didn't exite me at all needless to say (save for 2 good tracks). Strong vocals by Gahan on "John the Revelator", and gotta love the 80's feel of "Lillian" and "A Pain that I'm Used To". I can't stand people comparing this album to violator in a negative way because it not about trying to re-capture Violator. Back to basics and a much better offering than Exiter, which didn't exite me at all needless to say (save for 2 good tracks). Strong vocals by Gahan on "John the Revelator", and gotta love the 80's feel of "Lillian" and "A Pain that I'm Used To". I can't stand people comparing this album to violator in a negative way because it not about trying to re-capture Violator. It's simply an album that shows Mode can still produce great music midway through their second decade. Martin has a lot of music left in him, and Dave ain't too shabby either. All in all a refreshing and potent addition to the DM catalog. Expand
  67. RayM
    Oct 28, 2005
    4
    The first half of this CD works for me but after track 5 I just lose interest. Not great, but not bad either. My one pet peeve with this record is that my favorite track, the sinner in me, is based totally on a Crystal Method sample.....oh well maybe I'm just getting old and expected something a little closer to Violator....
  68. 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!
  69. MarkA
    Oct 27, 2005
    7
    Easily the best album since Faith and Devotion (but that's not saying much since there's been only 2 others, not including the "best of's"). The first 5 tracks really stand out. Great album for DM fans though.
  70. Bryan
    Oct 27, 2005
    9
    Theres something Wilder added that has been missing the past couple of albums. However PTA has brought back about 80% of that feeling I got when I was a teenager. And the best part is, as I was ready to give it thumbs down on the first couple of listens, now I'm beginning to think its pure genius. Everyone is talking about "suffer well" and its comparison to "behind the wheel", I Theres something Wilder added that has been missing the past couple of albums. However PTA has brought back about 80% of that feeling I got when I was a teenager. And the best part is, as I was ready to give it thumbs down on the first couple of listens, now I'm beginning to think its pure genius. Everyone is talking about "suffer well" and its comparison to "behind the wheel", I think its pure "Question Of Time" ingredients. Best tracks by far(not in any order) : John Revelator (Faith Devotion like track) :Suffer Well (Question of Time like) :Sinner in Me (Rocks) very (Violator "Clean" meets Music Masses) Nothing Impossible (Kicks ass, delivered chills) Damaged People: Awesome ("World Full of Nothing"/"Home" Gore Track..however "macro" sucks By the way, Precious sucks, doesnt even fit in this album..Wanna be "Enjoy the Silence" And it comes nothing close to the brillance of that track. Lillian couldve been better..but props up to Darkest Star..Weird track but haunted depeche like construction time days was half the reason I got into them. 9/10 Rating Expand
  71. NicolaiP
    Oct 27, 2005
    4
    Only 3 quality tracks, and the mastering is HARSH. Louder and harsher doesn't mean edgier!
  72. AshleeS
    Oct 26, 2005
    10
    First two singles are amazing. Sure the songs sound dated compared to the nasal banter of what the disney channel force feeds to young kids! Hats off to DM for keeping the faith. Reward Ashlee Simpson with endless media play and dump DM to the back of that rag of a magazine. I won't mind not hearing or seeing DM anywhere but my ipod.
  73. skyew
    Oct 26, 2005
    10
    Ive really enjoyed this album and i just cant get enough!
  74. MarkC
    Oct 26, 2005
    5
    I must say i have been to depeche modes concerts twice now (EXCITER and SOFAD) and they were both amazing and i couldnt wait to go there next concert for Playing the Angel but i am changing my mind now i loved the song precious. But when i heard the Build up i though that it would be like violator as precious definately doe's sound like a birth from Enjoy the Silence. But when i I must say i have been to depeche modes concerts twice now (EXCITER and SOFAD) and they were both amazing and i couldnt wait to go there next concert for Playing the Angel but i am changing my mind now i loved the song precious. But when i heard the Build up i though that it would be like violator as precious definately doe's sound like a birth from Enjoy the Silence. But when i heard it iit usually takes a while for me to get into the album and even then i could not understand alot of the songs i am a massive depeche mode fan and i just felt like the songs were thrown together in one big mess the melodys didn't come together the lyrics were meaningless. Of the albums that didn't get good reviews which was ULTRA turned out to be there best for 10 years Now that was a quality album. But this !!!!!!!! I just thing Depeche have lost the edge..... IUm sorry boys but ever go back to basics or give up its better to Burn out than to Fade away. And i don't want DM to fade away. If you want a good album which gets fuck all reviews buy New Orders Waiting for the sirens call 10 out of 10 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Expand
  75. JohnD
    Oct 25, 2005
    8
    Any band that can make the same song for 20 years and still make it sound great deserves at least a 7.
  76. YossiR
    Oct 25, 2005
    8
    Generally, a good album. It lacks the energy DM lost after "Songs of faith and devotion", but it's not as dead as "Exciter". Some songs there do remind the classic sound of DM ("Lillian" could be a track on Music for the masses and you wouldn't know). Somehow the melodies in this album are not as they were before, and the singing is a little too screamish; but all in all it isa Generally, a good album. It lacks the energy DM lost after "Songs of faith and devotion", but it's not as dead as "Exciter". Some songs there do remind the classic sound of DM ("Lillian" could be a track on Music for the masses and you wouldn't know). Somehow the melodies in this album are not as they were before, and the singing is a little too screamish; but all in all it isa new Depeche Mode album, and it sounds like one as well. Expand
  77. VinceC
    Oct 24, 2005
    7
    PTA does not rank among the best DM albums, but it is their best album since the departure of Alan Wilder over ten years ago. That said, there's nothing particularly groundbreaking on it, there's some filler (such as the pointless instrumental Introspectre), and the second half of the album fades a bit after a strong start. On the plus side, Gahan proves he can write a good tune PTA does not rank among the best DM albums, but it is their best album since the departure of Alan Wilder over ten years ago. That said, there's nothing particularly groundbreaking on it, there's some filler (such as the pointless instrumental Introspectre), and the second half of the album fades a bit after a strong start. On the plus side, Gahan proves he can write a good tune (albeit with a couple of co-songwriters), Gore proves he can continue to write good ones, and Fletch is Fletch. This album is NOT a 10, but most long-time DM fans won't be disappointed. Expand
  78. DaniilK
    Oct 24, 2005
    10
    The Best.......Rolling Stones are jealous s... some real views at life!!!
  79. 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!
  80. BrianK
    Oct 23, 2005
    6
    The first half of the cd is spectacular. Truly the best DM since Violator. Then, it goes awry in a wash of down-tempo pretentiousness. Bad down-tempo pretentiousness. Thank god for Moenia, who have released the best 'Depeche Mode-style' albums of the last 8 years and in Spanish, no less!
  81. craigm
    Oct 22, 2005
    9
    What was Rolling Stone thinking? They interview Dave Gahan in the same issue as Bono, with the latter's face taking up the entire front cover, then they trash the Depeche cd in the 30th review of the issue.This cd does loads more for me than Morrissey , Echo, R.E.M. AND U2's latest--their only worthy contemporaries still around (and I adore all 4 of the aforementioned) But this What was Rolling Stone thinking? They interview Dave Gahan in the same issue as Bono, with the latter's face taking up the entire front cover, then they trash the Depeche cd in the 30th review of the issue.This cd does loads more for me than Morrissey , Echo, R.E.M. AND U2's latest--their only worthy contemporaries still around (and I adore all 4 of the aforementioned) But this is surely one of their Depeche's albums in a very long time and to see it get dismissed by America's "premier" musical reviewer and be thrown in the issue as sidenote is a terrible disgrace. God bless these guys-25 yrs and still counting! Expand
  82. Endorphine
    Oct 22, 2005
    10
    Very vibrant and deeply layered music, that takes hold of your brain. Good to see a varied mix of songs this time, and more upbeat.
  83. CalvinW
    Oct 22, 2005
    4
    I feel that this album gives listeners 4 songs at best that are listenable. "A Pian That I'm Used To", "Macro", and "Precious" are basic DM materials referenced from stuff we have heard before. "Damaged People" is really the only true songwriting tid bit that gives DM fans anything new to hear. Overall, like "Exciter", there is decent production; however, I fail to see any strength I feel that this album gives listeners 4 songs at best that are listenable. "A Pian That I'm Used To", "Macro", and "Precious" are basic DM materials referenced from stuff we have heard before. "Damaged People" is really the only true songwriting tid bit that gives DM fans anything new to hear. Overall, like "Exciter", there is decent production; however, I fail to see any strength in songwriting and timeless tunes.Let's face reality, and realize that they NEED Adam Wilder back. He tends to lend DM great masterpieces that pushed Gore and Gahan further. I try not to live in the past, but I defy anyone to say that "Exciter" or "Playing The Angels" best three songs on either album even match up or compare to half as great of melodies we heard on "Violater" or "Music for the Masses". My Breakdown. "John The Revelator", "Lilian" and "Nothing's Impossible" are all disposable DM works. I don't have a clue as to what type of songwriting or lyrics were going on in those tracks. They just seemed packaged as if to tell the world, here is some songs to passify you until the next batch of songs. I really enjoy DM, but they really need to stop being lazy and start focusing on good sound songwriting. Songs 3, 4, and 12 are okay, but I can honestly say that I wouldn't miss these tracks if I never heard them again. I expect more from these guys... Rolling Stones is being generous on their score as far as I'm concerned. "They're milking us!!! They're milking us!!!" Expand
  84. RicardoC
    Oct 22, 2005
    10
    Almost 25 years have passed since Depeche Mode recorded their first album, Speak and Spell. They became the best and most influential band in the electronic scene, and also one of the biggest and most important acts in the world. Obviously, all of these achievements force them to give their best in every new album they release. And this is what we find in Playing the Angel. The album starts with
  85. 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
  86. Karen
    Oct 22, 2005
    10
    As a fan of Depeche Mode's since I was 13, I have never faltered from them being the best out there. Their music ages well. Now with this album, they aren't slowing down. I would say it ranks up there with Music for the Masses, Violator and Songs of Faith and Devotion.
  87. 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
  88. RAYV
    Oct 21, 2005
    9
    One Of Depeche Mode s Great Albums Very Good As Always
  89. igor
    Oct 21, 2005
    9
    well ... first impession was ... disturbed, crushed and fooled around again. After several rounds of listening - it's %^@#&^ great! I love it.
  90. StephenI
    Oct 21, 2005
    10
    As usual, Depeche Mode manage to come out with an album that surprises, yet satisfies. At first listen I would have rated it a 7 1/2. But given a chance, the songs grow like a spark to a flame. Could have maybe tweaked a few things, but overall the album scores!
  91. DavidC.
    Oct 21, 2005
    10
    Freakin' A!!!! I love everything about this album; the music, the lyrics, Dave's voice... It'll stick in my heavy song rotation for a long while. Depeche Mode have just proven their staying power and that they're not done yet.
  92. GermanC
    Oct 21, 2005
    8
    Muy buen cd.... todavia no pueden superar "musica para las masas" o "violador", pero estan arriba de "sonidos de fe y devocion" y de "ultra." La primera mitad del cd es increible... la segunda mitad baja el ritmo, mucho segun mi gusto, pero en general le doy 8 puntos. todavia siguen vivos y dando guerra.... aun son lo mejores del genero por lejos. Gerdmode
  93. nats
    Oct 21, 2005
    10
    Amazing!!! They're back:)
  94. BenjitheGreat
    Oct 21, 2005
    10
    Rolling Stone can kiss my freakin ass, this album is better than sex.
  95. richardh
    Oct 21, 2005
    9
    We have stepped back to the outstanding anthems of Violator and SoFaD. Truly outstanding. Manchester 30th March cannot come soon enough!!
  96. ADAMB
    Oct 21, 2005
    10
    Up there with violator + music for the masses - April can't come around quick enough!!
  97. AndyE
    Oct 20, 2005
    10
    great
  98. daved
    Oct 20, 2005
    10
    a classic electrosoul cd. Never boring, never repetitive, lyrically brilliant. album of 2005.
  99. Mairac
    Oct 20, 2005
    9
    Just amazing!
  100. CubeLuke
    Oct 20, 2005
    10
    I love DM since 1989 and my three best albums are MFTM, Violator and now also Playing the angel. Thank you Depeche Mode for this amazing album. I'm enjoying it all the time x-times a day and still discover new and new forms of live. DM FOREVER ;)
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. Billboard
    80
    Revels in dirty guitars and fuzzy distortion while maintaining Depeche Mode's familiar electronic sound. [22 Oct 2005]
  3. Filter
    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]