Songs as Sanctuary: Eve Alexandra on Depeche Mode’s “Blasphemous Rumours”


I was raised without music or book censorship, for the most part.  My parents were not church goers.

The first time I encountered the music police was when I was 17.  My friend turned off Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” and said, “I can’t listen to this one.  It’s against my religion.”

Two years later I converted to Christianity, and I was surrounded by music police.  I stopped listening to Depeche Mode, too.  Which is kind of a bummer.  I missed out on a lot of great music.

I still love Jesus, but I’ve parted with the music police. They don’t seem to understand that music is art.  It’s poetry. It’s healing.  If it was a doctrinal statement, it would be filed in a dusty theology book instead of blasting out of my speakers.

I saw Depeche Mode in concert two weeks ago, a teenaged dream come true. I’ve been to several concerts in the last few years, gleefully following the Gen X revival of my angsty tribe.  We’re the pissed off Breakfast Club detention survivors.  We feel Ducky’s pain.  We are the boombox serenade from Say Anything.

But when I’m so mad at the people of God that I want to punch something, Depeche Mode is my go to.  Because bass.  Oh that bass.  Turn it up loud enough and you won’t be able to feel anything but bass in your guts.  He who sings, prays twice.

“Blasphemous Rumors” is a psalm, and Martin Gore is a poet.  Somehow, he manages to evoke the soul of a teenaged girl on the edge of death, the rapture of the newly converted, the tears and passion of a mother who blames herself for everything, and the rage we feel when watch the sufferings and ironies that we call life.  All in one song.

I could go on, but really, I’d just ruin it. Better just go listen to it yourself.  My speakers go to 11.  Find ones that do, and slip, for a moment, into the eighties.  And pray like David.

Pray like David. Gahan, that is.
Pray like David. Gahan, that is.

Eve Alexandra is a member of the Sick Pilgrim community, a writer and a mother.

Read more of Eve’s work at

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