“A Question of Time” by Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode’s “A Question of Time” is a pretty complicated song, as in its ultimate understanding being dependent on whatever angle a respective listener decides to view it from. For instance, what the singer desires to do to the underaged female addressee on some gossip sites would be unfavorably referred to as grooming. In other words, she is, admittedly, very attractive. 

And the singer, perceiving that the girl is in imminent danger of being permanently corrupted by a playa or other such predators, desires to take her ‘under his wing’ and protect her from such a fate so that she doesn’t end up “like the rest”. 

Or put more into layman’s terms, Dave Gahan, being a dude himself, knows how other dudes tend to think and act. And the way he sees it, a young girl this beautiful, inexperienced and naïve stands absolutely no chance against such evil, so to speak. Thus if she were to venture out unprotected, as apparently she is set to, then “it’s just a question of time”. Or perhaps as more commonly phrased it’s just ‘a matter of time’ before some type of lowlife manages to get his hands on her.

Is the Narrator attracted to the Addressee?

Yes. Absolutely yes! However, let it be known that whereas the vocalist does admit being attracted to her, at the same time he doesn’t actually put forth a desire to date her. 

And let’s say, being more practical and truthful, that whereas his goal may not be to have a sexual relationship with her per se, concurrently he would know that building such a bond would put him in a position to potentially do so, you know, once she’s actually legal. But whether or not he actually has that ulterior motive is once again up to the listener to decide.

And that’s why it was put forth at the beginning to this piece that this song is more complicated than it may appear, even speaking to human nature itself. After all, it isn’t like a man resolving to protect a beautiful girl from the vampires of the world is a bad thing. But then, doing so also opens the door, once again logically speaking, that when she does become sexually active, he’d be first on the list. 

But this complexity, if you will, also illustrates why grooming itself is not as cut-and-dried a topic as some people like to present it. Or frankly concluded, we would have to believe that the singer’s desire to help this particular girl is at least partially fueled by his own physical attraction to her.

Depeche Mode, "A Question of Time" Lyrics

Facts about “A Question of Time”

This song came out on 11 August 1986. It is a product of Mute Records. Depeche Mode released it as the third single from their “Black Celebration” album. And interestingly, the single the band released prior to this is entitled “A Question of Lust”.

Martin L. Gore, the member of Depeche Mode that serves as the band’s primary writer, likewise penned “A Question of Time”. And the entire band is credited with producing it. They did so in partnership with Daniel Miller and Gareth Jones.

“A Question of Time” charted in about a dozen countries. It actually had its best showing in West Germany. Here, it peaked at number four on the German Singles Chart.

The director of this track’s music video, Anton Corbijn, was at the time, i.e. the late 20th century, one of the more prolific professionals in that regard. And throughout the years, even as recently as 2017, he has maintained such a working relationship with Depeche Mode. Some other notable Depeche Mode music videos he has directed are as follows:

A Question of Time

Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode is still active, from 1980 to this day, being held down by its founders –

  • keyboardist Andy Fletcher
  • vocalist Dave Gahan
  • multi-instrumentalist Martin Gore

However at the time “A Question of Time” came out they were joined by another instrumentalist, Alan Wilder. Alan left the crew during the mid-1990s.

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