Ode to Depeche Mode
Let’s talk synchronicity for a moment.
The year was 1987. It was my 15th birthday and my dear friend, Lisa, gave me the latest album from the English electronic music band, Depeche Mode. The album was called Music For the Masses and came recorded on one of those nifty “cassette tapes” that fit nicely into something called a “tape deck.” Remember those?
I’m embarrassed to say that when I opened the gift, I felt a bit deflated. It’s not that I wasn’t grateful; it’s just that at the time, the band really didn’t do anything for me. I had heard People Are People and Just Can’t Get Enough on the radio, but both songs sounded too pop to me. I would have preferred The Cure, New Order, INXS or something of that sort. Nonetheless, I thanked her like a good friend should, and then filed it away among my other cassette tapes, not knowing the profound purpose that it would one day have in my life.
Fast forward to 1994. My Depeche Mode cassette tapes have multiplied, with some morfing into CDs. They litter my dorm room at SMU in Dallas. I have already seen the band in concert a few times by this point and own nearly all of their albums. Without a doubt, Depeche Mode is now my favorite band.
Jump ahead 11 more years to 2005. I’ve just had a baby and I’m writing my second novel. (I’m sorry, but who they hell writes a novel right after having a baby? Obviously I was in some weird postpartum trance. That, my friends, was INSANE.) It’s a story about a 15-year-old girl, her coach and their torrid affair. The plot is solid. The characters are set. I begin my normal writing routine, with classical music playing in my headphones. But for some reason, the classical music starts to bore me. For this story, I need passion. For this story, I need suffering. I need devotion. I need redemption. I need condemnation. I need … Depeche Mode.
So I reach for my collection of Depeche Mode albums, which I’ve successfully transitioned to CDs. I pick up Music For the Masses. It plays. I write. And then I stop in my tracks. Rather, the song, Little 15, stops me. No, actually, it steamrolls me.
Little 15 is track No. 5 on the CD. I must have heard this song at least a hundred times over the years, but never did I listen to the lyrics as closely as I did that day. The words – my God – the WORDS penetrated every core of my being and in that instant, I knew that I was writing the story to this song – a song that had entered so subtly and inconspicuously into my life all those years ago. A song that had waited for me to really find it – to truly uncover the depth of it’s meaning.
So after getting a hold of myself, I called my agent – who also happens to be an attorney specializing in intellectual property law – and frantically asked:
“Can I use a song title for the title of my novel, or are song titles protected by copyright laws?”
“Yes, you can use song titles. Why? What are you going to call your book?”
“Little 15 – after the Depeche Mode song.”
The rest as they say, is history – a history that may have everything to do with synchronicity or perhaps not at all.
Synchronicity is defined as a coincidence, or events that occur together in a meaningful manner. I do see this as a synchronous event … but one that was set into motion by the hand of God … prodding my friend Lisa to buy the Depeche Mode cassette tape, which in turn helped shape my musical taste, which years later inspired the title for my debut novel.
If you don’t think I’m crazy or a loon by now, then you for sure will after I tell you this next thing. You see, I hope this post somehow makes into the hands of the band itself. That’s right. I want the attention of Dave Gahan, Martin Gore and Andrew Fletcher. And if I somehow miraculously get through (makes the sign of the cross)
and after they help me up off the ground from my fainting spell, I would kiss their feet thank them profusely for their brilliance that helped inspire the artist in me. The band’s lyrics (mostly written by Gore) have always touched me in a place that I can’t explain. Much of their songs are about what’s it’s like to be human and that in itself resonates with me. We all have failings. We all have desires. We all want to be loved. And we all fight the sinner within.
WordPress, this message is for you
Dear WordPress Gods,
If you would please freshly press this post, then may be, just may be, we – together – could make enough noise to get Depeche Mode to look our way. I mean, come on, you did it for REM! Why not for Depeche? I mean, just look at the lead photo for this post? VINTAGE Depeche Mode cassette tapes. How cool is that? Now, that’s what I call an original idea, WordPress, if I do “saye” so myself. So please consider anointing this post, and I (along with the band) will be forever grateful.
”Little 15″ by Depeche Mode
You help her forget
The world outside
You’re not part of it yet
And if you could drive
You could drive her away
To a happier place
To a happier day
That exists in your mind
And in your smile
She could escape there
Just for a while
Why take the smooth with the rough
When things run smooth
It’s already more than enough
She knows your mind
Is not yet in league
With the rest of the world
And it’s little intrigues
Do you understand
Do you know what she means
As time goes by
And when you’ve seen what she’s seen
Why does she have to defend
Her feelings inside
She’s not had a life
A life of near misses
Now all that she wants
Is 3 little wishes
She wants to see with your eyes
She wants to smile with your smile
She wants a nice surprise
Every once in a while