• Record Label: EMI
  • Release Date: Apr 21, 2009
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 88 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 72 out of 88
  2. Negative: 9 out of 88

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  1. ChaseP
    Apr 21, 2009
    10
    Its a great album and it deserves a great score. Who cares if they dont have that new sound or that old sound. They are Depeche Mode, and they do something different on every album. And Sounds of the Universe is one of their best.
  2. DanA
    Apr 21, 2009
    10
    Always cutting edge and fresh Depeche Mode have done it again. Pushing the envelope, perfectly ok with saying away from commercial trends. Like all DM CD's you need to listen to it several times to take it all in. It will really grow to be a favorite.
  3. JonasY.
    May 30, 2009
    10
    WOW! GREAT ALBUM .. BEST PURCHASE EVER.. I agree absolute with the title sounds of the UNIVERSE.. it defines it unfiltered a true crowdpleaser , heavenly... pick this badboy up today.
  4. davide
    Apr 21, 2009
    10
    SOTU is DM at their best. A sonically lush and expansive album, vocally Dave and Martin have never sounded better, and a perfect balance of soulfull beats, distinct melodies and a few surprise turns. Their best album in 20 years.
  5. FelipeP
    Apr 21, 2009
    10
    Fantastic album, one of the best albums of Depeche Mode, I love it!
  6. MikeR
    Apr 23, 2009
    10
    Solid album, each song is fresh and well crafted. DM pushes the envelope and sets a new pace! A+.
  7. Jun 19, 2011
    10
    Depeche Mode has made a huge change in sound since exciter. That said Sounds of the Universe is a great disc with some of the best of what they can offer: Great vocals, wonderful lyrics and amazing music with a dark and grim tone.
  8. Brandon
    Apr 23, 2009
    9
    it's a great album. On repeated listens, one will understand the great harmonies and overall great songwriting this album contains.
  9. IgorA
    Apr 27, 2009
    9
    Not better then "playing the angel" but strong and nice album, excellent singing.
  10. LinoG.
    May 4, 2009
    9
    Any Depeche Mode follower would be foolish to pass on this wonderful album. From second one to the the album's close, this is a great listening experience. This is Depeche Mode at their best, and I'm thrilled to have embarked on this, their latest journey.
  11. CarlosO.
    Apr 23, 2009
    9
    This album is almost perfect, taking count its a 30 year old band, you would never expect something so fresh and full of variety, it`s a bit too long thou , to me if you cut out ` In Sympathy` and `Perfect` out, that lay on the dissonant fillers category , you get a perfect tight Album in the vein of Songs Of Faith and Devotion.
  12. BitBurn
    May 4, 2009
    8
    Okay so it's not Violator but it's a darn good effort nonetheless. It sounds like the DM we love, lots of synth, great vocals, dark, catchy, modern. My favorite track are "Come Back", "In Sympathy" and "Fragile Tension".
  13. RobertG.
    May 6, 2009
    8
    I'm very happy with this album and prefer it to Playing the Angel, which i felt was too noisy and industrial. Jezebel and the interlude are pretty bad. Everything else is very solid and varied in feel and tone. My favorite album since Ultra which I preferred to SOFAD. Exciter was horrendous.
  14. BertE.
    Jul 8, 2009
    8
    I like the return to the analog synths and the return of melody to the songs. Playing the Angel was a little cold in that respect.
  15. ariang
    Apr 23, 2009
    8
    Very good cd. Defenitely not flawless. Not all the tracks work perfectly but all and all very good. This comes from a person that has been following them since 1982.
  16. JohnB
    Apr 29, 2009
    8
    Well I didn't expect to enjoy this half as much as I am. After the last so-so 'return to form' album I was afraid they'd just churn out more retro stadium electro-rock - and for the most part they haven't. It's fizzing, burbling, often restrained, atmospheric, sometimes beautiful, synth music and I'm really glad I took a chance on buying it. It may not Well I didn't expect to enjoy this half as much as I am. After the last so-so 'return to form' album I was afraid they'd just churn out more retro stadium electro-rock - and for the most part they haven't. It's fizzing, burbling, often restrained, atmospheric, sometimes beautiful, synth music and I'm really glad I took a chance on buying it. It may not be instant for many people, and there's no obvious 'classics', but there's an addictive depth to it. They'd end up as has-beens if they kept trying to do 'another Violator' or more electro-rock and I'm delighted they've gone this route (or I'd be an ex-fan now). Expand
  17. NickW.
    Apr 21, 2009
    8
    I love the album. I didn't realize the universe sounded like my subwoofer exploding though. I like bass in music, a lot, but there's so much and it's so deep it's hard to hear the songs under it. When I have to turn the sub volume down 2-3 notches compared to every other CD I own, something's messed up. Aside from that, great album ;)
  18. AV
    Apr 25, 2009
    8
    What do you expect from a band that helped to invent a genre, carried it to the masses, went off and grew up and had families, and is still writing and performing? While more a return to form than a revolution, DM has enough fans to pack arenas and stadiums and this will certainly satisfy those people. It sounds more like Violator than anything else they've released recently and one What do you expect from a band that helped to invent a genre, carried it to the masses, went off and grew up and had families, and is still writing and performing? While more a return to form than a revolution, DM has enough fans to pack arenas and stadiums and this will certainly satisfy those people. It sounds more like Violator than anything else they've released recently and one has to ask is that a bad thing? Most would agree that no, it is not. Expand
  19. DexStud
    Jul 29, 2009
    8
    Very strong, solid album from a classic band. After listening to singles: Wrong and Peace proves how infinitely creative Depeche Mode can be.
  20. MattA
    Apr 21, 2009
    8
    Great Album, marred only by its lack of ambition. There are definitely great tracks to be heard on this album. It is very reminiscent of exciter, however, does evoke some late 80's mode on certain tracks. I can see how it can turn off some hardcore depeche mode fans, but it still holds strong against many other contemporary bands of today.
  21. JosephA.
    May 16, 2009
    8
    Grower, not a shower. A couple of listens reveals that the album is pretty much solid straight through. Nice sound collages, beats, lyrics, production and performances. It's well paced as well. I agree, as most people mention, that it's a return to pre-"Songs Of Faith & Devotion" form, but the band seems to utilize what they've learned post "Violator" to enhance that Grower, not a shower. A couple of listens reveals that the album is pretty much solid straight through. Nice sound collages, beats, lyrics, production and performances. It's well paced as well. I agree, as most people mention, that it's a return to pre-"Songs Of Faith & Devotion" form, but the band seems to utilize what they've learned post "Violator" to enhance that return, creating something reminiscent but at the same time very new. In no way is it as heavy as "Playing The Angel" or as ambient as "Exciter", indeed, it's a well crafted and open minded approach to a career summary. I think it's a great album. Nicely done, I love it. Some personal favorites: In Chains Wrong Fragile Tension Come Back Perfect Miles Away. Expand
  22. Apr 11, 2012
    8
    This is an intelligent, meaningful electronic music experience that will grow on you and leave you completely satisfied, comparable to Aphex Twin's level of production.
  23. Nov 27, 2013
    8
    It's a a 'gray masterpiece' from Depeche Mode; "Sounds Of The Universe" it's like see the world trough the mirror, and don't understand whats happens. Not so formidable like "Playing The Angel", but show the other side from the religious mind from Dave, Adan and Martin.
  24. Sep 11, 2011
    7
    This one is less darker than PTA, but repeat the same formula (and producer) with some dirty sounds and samplers. After all, with this album Depeche continues alive. Good but not the best so far.
  25. Nov 29, 2012
    7
    A couple of good tracks (Wrong, In Sympathy) with some ok ones (Corrupt, Miles Away/The Truth Is, In Chains) and the rest forgettable. Some say the b-sides are better than the album tracks.
  26. andyg
    Apr 22, 2009
    6
    Not as good as usually, they luck inspiration and the tunes are not to be put in top of DM pantheon, though is better than most of nowadays projects.Always fun of them but i must i;m not as happy as have been with "playing the angel"
  27. JamesM
    Apr 22, 2009
    5
    "Wrong" is classic Depeche Mode but that's where it ends unfortunately. The problem is what many usually sight as the band's stong point, the lyrics. There's something uncomfortable about them singing about the same themes as previous albums but this time it's weak, bland and at times downright cheesy. This doesn't sound like Depeche Mode which is a shame because "Wrong" is classic Depeche Mode but that's where it ends unfortunately. The problem is what many usually sight as the band's stong point, the lyrics. There's something uncomfortable about them singing about the same themes as previous albums but this time it's weak, bland and at times downright cheesy. This doesn't sound like Depeche Mode which is a shame because "Playing The Angel" promised so much as far as the future of the band is concerned. Expand
  28. VerminD
    May 1, 2009
    4
    Of Mode
  29. Mar 25, 2013
    3
    So, this is DM circa 2009. Well, as a DM fan since 1990 and having listened to and re-listend to every CD dozens of times since then I think that I have finally hit a wall. Is it me with the problem? I read so many good reviews of this and I scratch my head. There are almost no hooks here, the song structure is so loose that there is, at times, almost no recognizable pattern to certainSo, this is DM circa 2009. Well, as a DM fan since 1990 and having listened to and re-listend to every CD dozens of times since then I think that I have finally hit a wall. Is it me with the problem? I read so many good reviews of this and I scratch my head. There are almost no hooks here, the song structure is so loose that there is, at times, almost no recognizable pattern to certain songs. I knew that I was in trouble during the first minute as this annoying computer tone drones in your head for no apparent reason then finally leads into In Chains, one of the few decent tracks on the CD. They really should have made the first minute skipable (reminds me of the annoying opening of Freelove). Wrong, the lead single, was picked for obvious reasons, it is the only track with any clout and aformentioned structure, and it completely misleads listeners as to what the rest of the album sound like, as is is completely out of place in the otherwise atmospheric, formless sludge that follows it. After strong albums Exciter and Playing the Angel, this is supremely disapointing. With 4 years between each CD we will unfortunately have to wait quite a while now, with the hopes of a return to form. Expand
  30. ChrisR
    May 1, 2009
    2
    I'm another die-hard DM fan. Loved the last one. This as Nik V said, is VERY boring. Wrong is a great single. the rest a collection b-sides. I feel sick writing this, but it is true.
  31. AlanO
    May 1, 2009
    1
    Very, very poor album...lack of strong songs, thin, underdeveloped sound. Yuck!
  32. NikV.
    Apr 23, 2009
    1
    Being a DM fan for years, I must admit this is a very very boring cd, probably made wit a lot of love but with very little soul and inspiration !
  33. Sep 4, 2012
    1
    I've always been a huge Depeche fan, but it's been pretty hard to enjoy their music since Alan Wilder left. Sure, the songwriting is still decent, but it lacks the polish, detail, and depth of Alan's production standards. Case in point, listen to the album version of "In Chains", and then listen to Alan Wilder's remix. Other than matching the long intro of the original track, it justI've always been a huge Depeche fan, but it's been pretty hard to enjoy their music since Alan Wilder left. Sure, the songwriting is still decent, but it lacks the polish, detail, and depth of Alan's production standards. Case in point, listen to the album version of "In Chains", and then listen to Alan Wilder's remix. Other than matching the long intro of the original track, it just sounds so much better. It's interesting. It's dynamic. It builds. It leaves you wanting to hear more. I was slightly let down by Ultra at the time, but with each new album, I am less and less impressed. I find the B-Sides and demos from the SOTU deluxe box set are far more interesting. To me, this album sounds like a bunch of guys playing around with way too much gear that they don't really know how to operate. If it's true that some of the best albums come from strong differences of personalities and opinion, then it's no wonder that the stuff with Alan Wilder was great, and the stuff with more recent producers (sorry Ben Hillier) is a let down. Hope they can find a way to bring back the depth and high production values, and make it more interesting again. Expand
  34. stephenb
    Apr 23, 2009
    0
    Just awful. I loved Playing The Angel and had high hopes for this cd. There is nothing to like about this album. Definitely DM's worst. Before you dismiss my opinion as a hater, let me say that DM is my favorite band of all time.
Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. The result sounds like a time machine back to the Eighties.
  2. 60
    Sounds of the Universe comes on a bit softer, with less industrial guitar clang and more of chief songwriter Martin Gore's dreamy atmospherics.
  3. A less then stellar return, then, but a welcome one nevertheless.