"I'll never be a saint / That's not a picture that your memory paints / Not renowned for my patience / I'm not renowned for my restraint / But you're always around / You can always be found / To pick me up when I'm on the ground" — from "The Sinner in Me"

When thinking of iconic, stadium-sized '80s music with a religious bent, U2 certainly comes to mind. But Depeche Mode? The English trio otherwise known as poster children of synth- and electro-pop, styles oft-associated with the club circuit, some Gothic spheres, and excessive eye makeup? Indeed.

Let's not shortchange their impact. Like other '80s new wavers, Depeche Mode was initially a happy-go-lucky dance-pop outfit emphasizing fashion more than substance. In time, the band grew progressively darker in image, sound, and poetry, ironically becoming more popular in the U.S. the bleaker they got. Since first surfacing over 25 years ago, DM went on to sell nearly 50 million records, embarked on a string of wildly successful mega tours, and scored over a dozen radio hits.

All along, a point of contention has always been the band's constant religious references. Whether in the form of sarcasm, supplication, or scathing commentary, vocalist David Gahan—who has kicked a drug addiction and survived a 1995 suicide attempt—and chief songwriter Martin Gore have often hinted at a spiritual search. Ever since 1984's glum single "Blasphemous Rumours," every album has had something to say about God, faith, human nature, or organized religion, with most songs remaining open to interpretation.

The band's greatest hit remains "Personal Jesus," the first single off the now-classic 1990 effort Violator. The song was a country twang-flavored synth-pop anthem, a fist-pumping ...

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