Released on Mute Records in August 1989, “Personal Jesus” was Depeche Mode’s last hurrah of the decade that made them and was at the time, it was also Warner Music’s highest selling 12-inch single.
Taken from their end of decade album, Violator, the heavy leaning guitar sound was quite a departure for the foursome best known for mixing it with keyboards and electronic instrumentation and it reinvigorated the band once again following the success of their 1987 long player, Music for the Masses.
In early 1990, the band released possibly their best known single, “Enjoy the Silence” and while the band remained commercially successful for a period thereafter, Violator was probably the last time Depeche Mode were truly relevant.
As good as “Enjoy the Silence” is (and it is), “Personal Jesus” is the track that really punches the listener in the face with a brick wrapped in a cotton sock.
Over the years, there have been several cover versions; most notably from Marilyn Manson and Johnny Cash, while US teen-pop monster, Hilary Duff sampled the main guitar riff in a single in an attempt to kill off what was left of her vacuous dead-eye fanbase.
Twenty-one years later and Violator still stands up as an excellent body of body of work that could kick the living shit out of most albums released today.