Record Review: Depeche Mode – Sometimes I Wish I Was Dead

Flexipop | UK | Flexi | 1981 | FLEXIPOP 011

Various Artists: Flexipop #11 UK Flexidisc [1981]

  1. Depeche Mode: Sometimes I Wish I Was Dead [ver. 2]
  2. Fad Gadget: King Of The Flies [remix]

I remember hearing about Depeche Mode by the Fall of 1981. Synthesizer music was popping out of the woodwork by that time, so I was a busy guy, keeping up with the tidal wave. I bought “Speak + Spell” on US Sire as soon as it hit the shops. It was an okay album that didn’t set my world on fire by any stretch of the imagination. The band seemed to be about 1-2 years younger than I was at the time and boy did the music sound it. I found “Speak + Spell” good enough to listen to occasionally, but it wasn’t compelling.

SFX Publishing | UK | Cassette | 1982 | SFX04A few months later in January of 1982, I caught a glimpse of a new C-60 music magazine tailor made for the new Walkman® era were were now living in. Straight from Blighty, it was jam packed with all of the bands who were making the music that was on my tape deck at all hours. The first issue I bought was number four, which had a cover story on the Human League, who had just conquered the non-American portion of the world at this point. The tape also had hitmakers OMD, Steve Strange, and Depeche Mode on it, so purchase was a given! The Depeche Mode interview was interesting because the piece had little snippets of music all throughout it to serve as counterpoint to the interview. One such piece was completely unknown to me but was hands down, the catchiest number by far I’d yet to hear from Depeche Mode. I had no idea what the song was called, though.

A few months later, I happened across an issue of Flexipop on the racks and it had Depeche Mode on the cover along with a flexidisc of a track called “Sometimes I Wish I Was Dead.” I didn’t buy at the time since that was money better spent on a record, but a year or two later, I saw just the flexidisc itself in a used bin somewhere and bought it for the pittance being asked. As it turns out “Sometimes I Wish I Was Dead” was the insanely cheerful little number that had turned my head on the issue of SFX #4 months in early ’82. As it transpired, the song was originally on the UK LP of “Speak + Spell” in a different mix called there “I Sometimes Wish I Was Dead,” but American ears weren’t blessed with this wonderful track, with Seymour Stein opting to inflict the 12″ versions of “New Life” and “Just Can’t Get Enough” on us instead of the [superior] original LP mixes. Something had to give in the “mastered for vinyl” era, and this brief, but spectacular pop song, paid the price.

At least I now had the song, albeit on a lo-fi flexidisc. It was enough to tide me over until some time in 1988, when I bought “Speak + Spell” on the superior German CD edition that had five bonus tracks in addition to the original contents of the UK album, including “I Sometimes Wish I Was Dead.” That’s when I found out that the versions were somewhat different with the flexi having the song’s arrangement mixed differently. Either version is the best song from the album and I can only guess at why Sire thought it was worth scrapping for the original US pressing of the album. At least the Rhino remasters of 2007 [vinyl included] have returned the running order of the album to its original UK glory of 1981.

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About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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4 Responses to Record Review: Depeche Mode – Sometimes I Wish I Was Dead

  1. jfi says:

    Nice feature on one of DM’s oddest tracks..and titles! Any chance of “sharing” that SFX cassette?? Any scans of the magazine contents?

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  2. postpunkmonk says:

    jfi – I have the tape, but the oxide binder has dried out and the tape squeals on playback. It is unusable. In any case, I never post music online for illegal distribution. Even if my tape were pristine, you would not find it here as a file for download. It’s not mine to “share.” There are no contents to scan. The “magazine” was the tape itself! It came attached to a 2-color A4 card, which is depicted in the post.

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  3. Echorich says:

    I have a few SFX “issues” that are buried deep among my cassette collection. I know that they will be at the bottom of the pack because I know I have the cassettes still twist tied to the cards and the issues in vinyl sleeves. I know I have issue #1 and # 4 and an issue with the Bunnymen, and I think one more that has B.E.F. on it. It was a cool idea, but in the early 80’s I was still kind of anti cassette and a vinyl purist, so I didn’t listen to them except the once each.
    As for early DM, I agree, Speak & Spell is really just ok. I really love what Vince Clarke did after DM with Yazoo, the Assembly and the only very early Erasure, but DM really got my attention with A Broken Frame and Construction Time Again.

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  4. postpunkmonk says:

    Just a note to say that I no longer own this flexi. It was sold off and it could have been yours… If you had clicked the banner marked “Own The Monk’s Records” in the blog’s sidebar. Just sayin’…

    Like

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