Friday, 26 October 2012

Depeche Mode - Behind The Wheel

I love this song, easily one of my favourite songs from the 80's and probably of all time! Behind The Wheel is the third single from their album Music For The Masses. Before I heard this song, I have to admit I was struggling to get really into Depeche Mode. I had loved some of their songs but most of them took some time to grow on me. I heard Behind The Wheel on their well known 101 documentary (which was also seminal in finally making me a fan). The song was remixed for single release by Daniel Miller. In all honestly, I do prefer the album version by a substantial margin to the single version. I just think the single version has nearly too much going on in its arrangement, I think the extra synths are just a bit surplus to requirements really. What I really love about the album version is the musical symbolism that's very prevalent. The arrangement of the song is very simplistic and doesn't alter very much at all during the course of the track. Very appropriately, the beat merely keeps driving on, conjuring up images of driving down a highway for me at least. It goes perfectly with the driving metaphor that is the focal point of the lyrics. The lyrics of the song tell the story of  someone completing submitting themselves to their partner. In terms of theme, it implicitly reminds me of another well known Depeche Mode song, Never Let Me Down Again (also from Music For The Masses), as Never Let Me Down Again is again about submission, but in that song its about submission to drugs. I also love the B-side for Behind The Wheel, a cover version of the well known Bobby Troup composition Route 66. Usually I don't mention a B-side in a post that covers the A-side but for Behind The Wheel/Route 66 I make a special exception. It was the perfect B-side choice for Behind The Wheel I think as it maintains the driving theme of it's A-side counterpart. Route 66 even incorporates some of Behind The Wheel in its arrangement which ties the two even further. In any case, great song by a great band!

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