Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence” Lyrics Meaning

Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence” sees the narrator filled with a negative perception of words in general. He perceives them as being violent, “painful”, untruthful, “trivial”, “meaningless”, “forgettable” and “very unnecessary”.

Thus he is asking his “little girl” (presumably his lover) to remain silently in his arms. Indeed just her presence alone, in his embrace, is all he wants and needs in this universe.

The narrator’s preference for quietness is based on his belief, as alluded to earlier, that if words were actually spoken they would “do harm”. So this song is an expression of his desire to instead “enjoy the silence” along with this special person in his life.

"Enjoy the Silence" lyrics

Facts about “Enjoy the Silence”

Singer/model/former French First Lady (2008-2012) Carla Bruni did a cover of this song in 2017. She has stated that the lyrics are even more-important in contemporary society since “noise is everywhere”. Furthermore, she also supports the idea that “silence is healing.”

Pitchfork placed this classic at number 15 on its list of “The Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s”.

Even more impressively, it won a Brit Award in 1991 for British Single of the Year, having peaked at number 6 on the UK Singles Chart.

 “Enjoy the Silence” also holds the distinction of being Depeche Mode’s biggest hit in the United States, where it reached number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 on Billboard Modern Rock Tracks.

It also topped the charts in Denmark and Spain and broke the top 10 in the following countries:

  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • The Netherlands
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

By all accounts, this classic was a true international hit!

Mute Records released “Enjoy the Silence” as the second single from Depeche Mode’s album Violator on 5 February 1990. 

Music Video

There are actually two different versions of the music video. The more-standard one features singer Dave Gahan walking, in solitude, throughout exotic locations (the Scottish Highlands, the coast of Portugal and the Swiss Alps), dressed fully as a king while carrying a deck chair, which he occasionally stops and sits upon apparently to meditate. Its director, Anton Corbijn, developed this idea from a classic children’s book entitled “The Little Prince” (1943). This video interpolates an image of a rose, which such obviously being a reference to Depeche Mode’s album Violator which uses a single rose as its cover art.

Meanwhile the second video basically features Depeche Mode jamming on the roof of since-demolished 2 World Trade Center, at an altitude of 1300 feet.

NOTE: The music video features an extended-instrumental that differs from the version of “Enjoy the Silence” featured on “Violator”. And this particular rendition has never been officially released in audio form.

Who wrote “Enjoy the Silence”?

Depeche Mode founding member Martin L. Gore, who wrote most of Depeche Mode’s hits, also penned this track. Meanwhile the entire band produced the song along with British producer Flood.

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