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Dave Gahan: Your own personal Jesus?
The most clichéd criticism that elder icons of rock receive is that time has dissolved their talent. Their heyday of stunning creations are long gone, replaced with feeble ditties that with all the substance of a Fanta commercial. Paul McCartney is a prime example. The genius that created songs such as "Yesterday" and "Helter Skelter" is the same guy who composed the post-9-11 sentimental trollop, "Freedom." Would it not be better if McCartney stopped recording new material and simply toured the oldie circuit?

David Gahan, lead singer of Depache Mode, faces similar criticism over his solo debut, Paper Monsters. Depeche Mode, known for its banks of synthesizers, maintains a hardcore fan base dedicated to a heavily processed electronic sound. So, when Gahan's debut leans toward guitars and even, shock, ballads, fans inevitably question whether Gahan has lost the knack to write songs such as "Personal Jesus," a Depeche Mode classic.


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Such criticism is naive. Songwriters never know when they have written their last good song; indeed, no one does. The 1980s were a difficult time for Dylan and Bowie fans, but fans who denounced the two superstars as washed-up should now be forced to eat shit: Dylan's resurgence, especially as a live performer, is impressive, while Bowie's latest offering, Heathen, shows that he still has much to offer.

Gahan, who has been fronting Depeche Mode for two decades, should be commended for broadening his interests. By exploring new avenues, Gahan gives himself a greater chance to write quality songs in the future. Paper Monsters is his album, not the band's, and fans expecting a carbon copy of Depeche Mode should have this obvious fact slapped over their heads until they get it. Gahan is not over the hill but rather climbing a new hill. •

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