Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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Don’t You Forget About Me: Depeche Mode – “What’s Your Name?” (1981)

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on August 15, 2008

All the time I understood

What’s Your Name?” is probably pretty far from the best song on Depeche Mode’s seriously underrated debut album, Speak & Spell, but it’s arguably the most interesting, for obvious reasons. Not like the Mode were the first or last synth-pop group to harp on the more attractive qualities of masculinity (although it is the only one I know to employ a cheap synth-drum version of the “Be My Baby” intro to do so), and Marc Almond of Soft Cell especially probably scoffs at the song’s timidity. Still, I find it notable as proof that there was ever a time in pop music when a group of heterosexuals (and yes, they were all straight, even Martin Gore, who dressed in fishnet shirts and was always laughing, and Vince Clarke, who between his work in DMode, Yaz and Erasure must be something like the Teena Marie of heterosexual males) actually seemed to think they would fit in better with their time by acting gay–and not in that dressing well and getting pedicures way that’s insulting to all sexual preferences, but rather by actually singing about hitting on hott dudes.

Somehow, I don’t think they were playing this one on the 101 tour.

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