Radio Quarantine – Depeche Mode: Wrong (2009)

I’ll hand it to Martin Gore. My brother is willing to go deep and personal in public, for better or for worse, and the latter may often be more appropriate. Working out your shit when you’re under continual public scrutiny isn’t always the best way to go. Perhaps he has felt that eyes are always on him anyway so it’s up to him to tell his own story (or stories) before it’s told for him. That’s easy enough to understand but hitting a misstep in front of an audience is always worse. It’s more difficult to double back and start anew. I am fascinated though, despite that they’re not my absolute favorite band, by their ability to share the dark.

The videos, while theatric enough, rarely match the songs themselves and that’s always to the detriment of the song as far as I’m concerned. I liked this song better before seeing the video. And don’t get me wrong (no pun intended). I don’t think wrong is a great song. It seems to sit somewhere between a confession and externalized blame. It sets up a victim of circumstance scenario and while that’s all well and good, the same could be said for all of us. God only knows who any of us may be under different circumstances. I’m not a believer that you are fated to be who you are and under any change of events you’d still be the same person. At the same time, externalization of the factors that make you who you are is a daft path. You still have a degree of choice within your programmed simulation.

“I was born with the wrong sign In the wrong house With the wrong ascendancy I took the wrong road That led to The wrong tendencies I was in the wrong place At the wrong time For the wrong reason And the wrong rhyme On the wrong day Of the wrong week Used the wrong method With the wrong technique Wrong Wrong

There’s something wrong with me chemically Something wrong with me inherently The wrong mix In the wrong genes I reached the wrong ends By the wrong means It was the wrong plan In the wrong hands The wrong theory For the wrong man The wrong eyes On the wrong prize The wrong questions With the wrong replies Wrong Wrong

I was marching to the wrong drum With the wrong scum Pissing out the wrong energy Using all the wrong lines And the wrong signs With the wrong intensity I was on the wrong page Of the wrong book With the wrong rendition Of the wrong look With the wrong moon Every wrong night With the wrong tune playing Till it sounded right, yeah

Wrong Wrong Too long”

Interesting as well that it was the first single released in 2009. It’s kind of a shit song. The content is far more interesting than the execution. The style is pure Depeche Mode. Nobody familiar with them will miss that. Sadly, there is more style than substance here and it’s not just my philosophical aversion to the message of the song. It’s a miss. It’s an admirable stab at the meaningful but ultimately forgettable. It would surprise me if any fan of the band told me it was a favorite. Still, the willingness to go in deep impresses me. That’s why it found a place in the Radio Quarantine archives here in 2020. It’s more like an addict’s apology actually, a grocery list of excuses. And that’s where it really just strikes me as i write that: It sounds utterly insincere and not just a little desperate. It’s three verses of, yah I fucked up, but… I don’t know enough of their bio to know what was going on with any of them at the time, but maybe this one wasn’t the right way to get real with the fans. It comes off wrong.

Theatrics are the wrong way to apologize and make amends, if that is indeed what Gore and pals were doing with Wrong. And now I’ve just worked out what’s hung me up on this song. My judgment on this song also demonstrates the dangers of working out all your stuff in public. Someone is bound to call you on it and it casts a bad light on the rest of your efforts. It calls into question the sincerity of everything else. When you air something out in public and it ends up being misguided, you can’t take it back and make it right.

I’ve been there myself.

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