Saturday, January 20, 2018

An extremely important musical interlude

Can we talk for a moment about the Depeche Mode song "World Full of Nothing?" The allmusic review characterizes it as "hyper-nihilistic," and given the title, you would probably presume that Martin Gore would agree with this assesment. But...I mean, is it? Really? I feel like the actual song is at odds with the writer's intention. The lyrics are actually rather brief. Here is the first verse:

Skin on skin
Tears are falling
Tears of joy
Her first boy
His first girl
Makes a change

Okay, so far that doesn't seem nihilistic. But the second verse:

She's lonely
And he says
It's for her only
That he lusts
She doesn't trust him
Nothing is true
But he will do

I mean...really? A certain amount of teenage self-deception, and this is "a world full of nothing?" Don't you think you're overdramatizing a little, or a lot? And those are the only verses there are. And then the refrain: "though it's not love/it means something." Seriously, man. That sounds hopeful to me. The song is asserting that regardless of whether this is "love," it's not nothing. I mean, I don't know. Is this whole thing meant to be ironic? It sure doesn't seem very good at it if so. Part of the confusion comes from the fact that the album, Black Celebration, does include a fair few over-the-top grim songs. But I feel like this one just doesn't know what it wants to be. And that is all I have to say about that.


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