Black Celebration

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Black Celebration
Depeche Mode - Black Celebration.png
Studio album by
Released17 March 1986 (1986-03-17)
RecordedNovember 1985 – January 1986
Depeche Mode chronology
Some Great Reward
Black Celebration
Music for the Masses
Singles from Black Celebration
  1. "Stripped"
    Released: 10 February 1986
  2. "A Question of Lust"
    Released: 14 April 1986
  3. "A Question of Time"
    Released: 11 August 1986
  4. "But Not Tonight"
    Released: 22 October 1986

Black Celebration is the fifth studio album by English electronic music band Depeche Mode. It was released on 17 March 1986 by Mute Records; the album further cemented the darkening sound created by Alan Wilder, which the band later used for their subsequent albums Music for the Masses, Violator, and Songs of Faith and Devotion, a sound that was initially hinted towards on their albums Construction Time Again and Some Great Reward.

Black Celebration reached number four on the UK Albums Chart, and has been cited as one of the most influential albums of the 1980s.[2] To promote the album, the band embarked on the Black Celebration Tour. Three years after its release, Spin ranked it at number fifteen on its list of the "25 Greatest Albums of All Time".[3]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[4]
The Austin Chronicle4.5/5 stars[5]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music3/5 stars[6]
Q3/5 stars[9]
Record Mirror4/5 stars[10]
Rolling Stone4.5/5 stars[11]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4.5/5 stars[12]
Spin Alternative Record Guide7/10[13]

Contemporary reviews for Black Celebration in the British press were mixed. Melody Maker's Steve Sutherland lambasted the album and wrote that Depeche Mode came off as "pussycats desperate to appear perverted as an escape from the superficiality of teen stardom",[14] and Sounds published a similar scathing review.[15] While criticizing chief songwriter Martin Gore's "adolescent fragments of despair", Sean O'Hagan of NME nonetheless praised Black Celebration's "perfectly constructed jigsaw melodies" and concluded, "When the songs address topics other than the composer's state of mind – as on the evocative exploration of loneliness that is 'World Full of Nothing' – Depeche Mode sound like a lot more than just a high tech, low-life melodrama".[16] Betty Page of Record Mirror felt that the band should be admired for their "refusal to follow anything but their own fashion" and "unswerving ability to come up with great, fresh melodies".[10]

Black Celebration has since been reappraised in retrospective reviews. In 2007, Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone referred to the album as an "instant classic for the band's fans" that at the time of its release had seemingly been "utterly ignored by everybody else".[11]


In 2007, Black Celebration was re-released with a bonus DVD, it was released on 20 March 2007 in the United States, on 26 March in the United Kingdom and on 2 April in the rest of Europe, as a part of the third wave of re-issues (along with Construction Time Again). The first CD was remastered and (except in the US) released on a CD/SACD hybrid; the bonus DVD includes the B-sides in addition to the singles and B-sides for "Shake the Disease" and "It's Called a Heart", two songs that were recorded shortly before the album and were released too early to be put on the album. There are also several live versions of some of the songs from Black Celebration; the album is released the way it was originally intended and ends with "New Dress" (not "Black Day" or "But Not Tonight").

Like the other reissues, the DVD includes a documentary on the album; the title—The Songs Aren't Good Enough, There Aren't Any Singles and It'll Never Get Played on the Radio—is Gore paraphrasing Daniel Miller about his demos for Black Celebration in the film. The double-documentary discusses both The Singles 81→85 and Black Celebration, its more challenging commercial success (especially the song "Stripped") and all five related singles, it also includes a plethora of behind-the-scenes footage of the making of Black Celebration and the ensuing tour. Highlights include the band meeting The Cure, and behind the scenes footage of several of the music videos; the documentary is nearly an hour long.

The remastered album was released on vinyl on 2 April 2007 in Europe and on 11 September 2007 in the United States.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Martin L. Gore, except where noted.

Side one
1."Black Celebration"4:55
2."Fly on the Windscreen – Final"5:18
3."A Question of Lust"4:20
5."It Doesn't Matter Two"2:50
Side two
6."A Question of Time"4:10
8."Here Is the House"4:15
9."World Full of Nothing"2:50
10."Dressed in Black"2:32
11."New Dress"3:42
Total length:41:01

2006 Collectors Edition CD + DVD[edit]

A short film
1."Depeche Mode: 1985–86: (The Songs Aren't Good Enough, There Aren't Any Singles and It'll Never Get Played on the Radio)" (written and produced by Roland Brown; directed by Ross Hallard and Phil Michael Lane)57:40

All tracks written by Martin L. Gore, except where noted.

Black Celebration (DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 and PCM Stereo)
2."Black Celebration"4:55
3."Fly on the Windscreen – Final"5:18
4."A Question of Lust"4:20
6."It Doesn't Matter Two"2:50
7."A Question of Time"4:10
9."Here Is the House"4:15
10."World Full of Nothing"2:50
11."Dressed in Black"2:32
12."New Dress"3:42
Live in Birmingham, April 1986 (DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 and PCM Stereo)
13."Black Celebration"6:11
14."A Question of Time"4:37
Additional tracks (PCM Stereo)
16."Shake the Disease"4:52
18."It's Called a Heart"3:51
19."Fly on the Windscreen"5:07
20."But Not Tonight"4:19
21."Breathing in Fumes"6:08
22."Black Day" (writers: Gore, Wilder, Miller)2:39
23."Christmas Island" (writers: Gore, Wilder)3:50


Credits adapted from the liner notes of Black Celebration.[17]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
France (SNEP)[36] Gold 100,000*
Germany (BVMI)[37] Platinum 500,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[38] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[39] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Zaleski, Annie (26 February 2015). "Where to start with '80s U.K. synth-pop". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 24 January 2019. A late-night record alternating between brittle ballads and industrial-sounding synth-pop—a poignant tug of war between man and machine.
  2. ^ "Xfm launches '25' series for influential albums". 31 January 2011. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
  3. ^ Acclaimed Music - Black Celebration
  4. ^ Raggett, Ned. "Black Celebration – Depeche Mode". AllMusic. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  5. ^ Gray, Christopher (15 June 2007). "Reissues". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  6. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  7. ^ "Depeche Mode: Black Celebration". NME. London. 1 July 1995. p. 50. ISSN 0028-6362.
  8. ^ Keefe, Michael (9 May 2007). "Depeche Mode: Black Celebration / Construction Time Again". PopMatters. Archived from the original on 13 November 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  9. ^ "Depeche Mode: Black Celebration". Q. No. 106. London. July 1995. p. 139. ISSN 0955-4955.
  10. ^ a b Page, Betty (15 March 1986). "Depeche Mode: Black Celebration". Record Mirror. London. ISSN 0144-5804.
  11. ^ a b Sheffield, Rob (April 2007). "Into the Mode". Rolling Stone. New York. p. 66. ISSN 0035-791X.
  12. ^ Sheffield, Rob (2004). "Depeche Mode". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 229–30. ISBN 0-743-20169-8. Retrieved 24 January 2019 – via Google Books.
  13. ^ Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig, eds. (1995). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  14. ^ Sutherland, Steve (15 March 1986). "Black In The Night". Melody Maker. London. ISSN 0025-9012.
  15. ^ Murphy, Kevin (15 March 1986). "Comic Strip". Sounds. London.
  16. ^ O'Hagan, Sean (15 March 1986). "Nipple Erectors". NME. London. ISSN 0028-6362.
  17. ^ Black Celebration (liner notes). Depeche Mode. Mute Records. 1986. STCD 46026.CS1 maint: others (link)
  18. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. p. 88. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  19. ^ " – Depeche Mode – Black Celebration" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  20. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 0681". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  21. ^ " – Depeche Mode – Black Celebration" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  22. ^ "European Top 100 Albums" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 3 no. 17. 3 May 1986. p. 8. OCLC 29800226. Retrieved 24 January 2019 – via American Radio History.
  23. ^ Pennanen, Timo (2006). Sisältää hitin – levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1972 (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava. ISBN 978-951-1-21053-5.
  24. ^ "Le Détail des Albums de chaque Artiste" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved 24 January 2019. Select "DEPECHE MODE" from the drop-down menu and click "OK".
  25. ^ " – Depeche Mode – Black Celebration" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  26. ^ " – Depeche Mode – Black Celebration". Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  27. ^ " – Depeche Mode – Black Celebration". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  28. ^ " – Depeche Mode – Black Celebration". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  29. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  30. ^ "Depeche Mode Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  31. ^ "Top 40 album DVD és válogatáslemez-lista – 2013. 21. hét" (in Hungarian). MAHASZ. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  32. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLiS - Official Retail Sales Chart". OLiS. Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  33. ^ "Hot 100 of the Year 1986 – European Top 100 Albums" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 3 no. 51/52. 27 December 1986. p. 35. OCLC 29800226. Retrieved 24 January 2019 – via American Radio History.
  34. ^ "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts – 1986" (in German). Offizielle Deutsche Charts. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  35. ^ "Swiss Year-End Charts 1986". Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  36. ^ "Les Albums Or" (in French). InfoDisc. Archived from the original on 2 November 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  37. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Depeche Mode; 'Black Celebration')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  38. ^ "British album certifications – Depeche Mode – Black Celebration". British Phonographic Industry. 21 March 1986. Select albums in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Black Celebration in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  39. ^ "American album certifications – Depeche Mode – Black Celebration". Recording Industry Association of America. 11 August 1989. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.