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Posted by on Oct 1, 2011 in Featured, Music | 12 comments

Susan Boyle Covers Depeche Mode: Words are very unnecessary, they can only do harm

“Enjoy The Silence” is one of Depeche Modes’ most enduring songs. Lyrically it remains a personal favourite. Musically it is timeless, instantly recognisable, pure Depeche Mode.


Since its’ release in 1990 on the album Violator, “Enjoy The Silence” has become a Mode signature song, is regularly played live by the band, and has appeared in a wide range of versions, remixes and reworkings. It has also been covered extensively by a wide range of other artists. Even the original classic Anton Corbijn-directed music video for “Enjoy the Silence” which had lead singer Dave Gahan dressed as a stereotypical king wandering around the hillsides of the Scottish Highlands, the coast of Portugal and the Swiss Alps with a deck chair has had homage paid to it by Coldplay.

The fact of the matter is that the list of “ETS” cover artists is already a fairly lengthy one.

Now we have the questionable pleasure of adding yet another name to that list: one Susan Boyle.

Yes, that Susan Boyle. The sensation who came out of obscurity to earn acclaim and (deserved) fame on Britain’s Got Talent. She provides a stripped down, slowed down, breathy cover of the song on her forthcoming third album Someone to Watch Over Me. Rolling Stone magazine calls it “ethereal”.

“The melody of the song is just beautiful,” Boyle tells Rolling Stone, “but really that lyric sounds like it will touch so many people in the way it touched me.” Boyles’ new album will be out November 1st, but her version of the song has already been released on the internet. Take a listen:

Susan Boyle: Enjoy The Silence (Depeche Mode Cover)

And now, to provide fair comparison, here’s the original for you to be reminded of the songs’ strengths:

Depeche Mode: Enjoy The Silence

While there are definitely worse interpretations out there (and of other Depeche Mode songs – I cringe every time I hear the abomination that is the version of “Just Can’t Get Enough” than DSTv are using in one of their promos at the moment) I’m personally not convinced by this version at all. It’s slow, missing the musical spirit of the original, and just too ‘ethereal’ for my tastes.

And, while “words [may be] very unnecessary” in this case, I encourage you to share your thoughts on Susans’ efforts in the comments below.

(Full Disclosure: The author has been a devoted Depeche Mode fanboy for over 30 years. He dreams of being able to write words like Martin Gore someday. Less likely to be fulfilled is his other deep desire: to be able to dance like Dave Gahan does in his late 40s. This post was written wearing his Depeche Mode “People Are People” t-shirt.)


  1. I just can’t bring myself to listen to it. Perhaps after lunch when I feel a little stronger and fortified with a glass of wine or six …

    • I’d recommend the “…or six” option.

  2. Bleegghh!

    (Is that a word?)

  3. One good thing about susans version is that it is shorter than the original…

    • LOL!
      You are really scrapping the barrel with that one!
      Half a minute less doesn’t make the other 4+ minutes any more bearable.

  4. good post bla bla i would say susan can sing no doubt about that but this song should rather be left to depeche mode!!!! lol

    • Most definitely and indeed. The Tiny speaks with wisdom beyond his years.

  5. In the first place I find your pic of Susan derogatory ! Re the MW – It’s a disconnected song and I was appalled that Susan chose to sing it as the accompaniment and the melodic line is a total mismatch- compositional disaster ! After listening to Susan’s version I thought that it works much better the way she is doing it. FYI her version was used in an American TV series and Twitter went mad about it – ppl just loved it. Re the lead singer of DM – Bleeggghhhh…….
    Greg you are extremely opinionated and if you are not a professional musician I wonder what gives you the right to critisize other musicians let alone a superstar, one of the world’s top 5 sellers ! Susan is in a class of her own and has sold 18 million albums in just over 2 years. Not too bad hey !

    • Pixie.

      In the first place, thanks for the label for my graphic. I was struggling to decide between “condescending creative” or “insultingly imaginative”. But thanks to you I think I’m going to go with “designer derogatory”.

      Then – and fair warning: I am going to be condescending, derogatory and insulting all at the same time here – I find your obsequious and sycophantic adoration of SB a little nauseating.

      Had you for a moment done a little more than feel outraged by my image you may have noted that I refer to Ms Boyle as “the sensation who came out of obscurity to earn acclaim and deserved fame”, and that of her version of the song I clearly say that “there are definitely worse interpretations out there”. Instead, you choose to play the psuedo-muso intellectual and litter your response with a pretentiousness befitting a sad, boring, life-sucking, metronome-in-the-arse anal retentive.

      I find your suggesting that in order to express an opinion about a piece of music I need to be a professional musician beyond patronising. I need to be a professional chef to say I think your cooking sucks? I should be a professional racing driver to suggest that I think you can’t drive worth a damn?

      About the only thing worthy of acknowledgement in your comment is your opinion that I am extremely opinionated. Thanks for noticing. I do try. Oh, and “I thought that it works much better the way she is doing it” and “Re the lead singer of DM – Bleeggghhhh…” : pot vs kettle much do you?

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