Everything Counts (6:38)

Cover of The Singles 81-85

From The Singles 81-85 and 106 other releases

“Everything Counts” is Depeche Mode’s eighth UK single (released on 11 July 1983) and third US single (released on 2 November 1983), from the then upcoming album Construction Time Again. It was the first in a long line of industrial-inspired singles released by the band, and has been referred to as “arguably…the first English-language industrial pop hit.” The single was re-released (in live format) on 13 February 1989 (25 March 1989 in the US) to support the live album 101.

Background and themes

In January 1983, shortly before the release of the “Get the Balance Right!” single, lyricist Martin Gore attended an Einstürzende Neubauten concert, giving him the idea to experiment with the sounds of industrial music in the context of pop. This experimentation hinged on the band’s first use of a Synclavier, a synthesizer that not only contained a large number of pre-programmed sounds, but also allowed for samples to be imported. With this, the band proceeded to travel around the neighbourhood where they could tape “found” sounds and feed them into the Synclavier, then manipulate the noises to fit into their songs. These sounds consisted mainly of hammering anvils, clanging pipes, running water, and the like. In addition to the “found” sounds used as samples, the single also samples a variety of musical instruments, such as the xylophone and a melodica (which Martin has been known to play on stage for the song). That spring, the band converged in London to begin recording their third album, Construction Time Again, and changed recording studios as well.

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