On Depeche Mode’s “Shake the Disease”

The irony that I can’t shake “Shake the Disease” is not lost on me. I listen to music in little ritournelles, a French-y word for saying that I get stuck in audio ruts as a mode of habit. I listen to tight constellations, but like any constellation, too much gravity tends to muck it all up in the end. I might listen to the same three or five songs over and over again for a week. After that I might never listen to them again.

“Shake the Disease” has lasted for some reason, entering a pantheon with Murder By Death’s “I Came Around” and The Hold Steady’s “Hurricane J.” I don’t quite know what’s grabbed me about this particular Depeche Mode track (although I enjoy the silence as much as the next fella.)

It might have something to with the vulnerability or the recognition that an object of affection might elicit a response so strong that all one can do is deal with the response itself rather than the elicitation. The lyrics are some sort of half-love song, but so many things operate this way; hell, my own response to the song is caught in a similar adaptive loop.

And, y’know, that video is pretty daaaaaaaamn.

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