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First Watch: Depeche Mode, 'Heaven'

The English rock group Depeche Mode owned a chunk of the '80s and '90s with glossy electro-rock hits like "People Are People" and "Personal Jesus." These days the band doesn't have much to prove, and its members, who appear in this new video for the song "Heaven," seem to find themselves at peace, bathed in the radiant glow of light and love.

There's an almost-tender vulnerability revealed in this live performance, directed by Timothy Saccenti, perhaps because Depeche Mode's members are a little older now, captured in an intimate studio setting in black and white, without the sheen afforded by multiple layers of glitzy post production. But they also seem a little wiser, more reflective and comfortable in their skin. It's the perfect tone for a song about finding joy in our own mortality. "I will end up dust," sings frontman Dave Gahan. But, "I'm in heaven."

"Heaven" was written by Depeche Mode guitarist Martin Gore and is the first single from the band's upcoming album Delta Machine. Gahan tells us via email that the song is one of the reasons he still makes music. "It feels like putting on a pair of boots that I've worn for years, that I love. As soon as Martin played me the demo, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. It was one of those songs that I heard and I immediately knew that I wanted to perform it live in the studio. I could hear the sort of gospel backing that Martin ended up actually doing himself. With a song like 'Heaven,' we were very conscious about not over-working the musical elements so they distracted from the vocal, and the strength of the vocal and the vocal melodies."

Delta Machine is Depeche Mode's 13th full-length studio release. It's due out March 26.

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