A wonderfully smooth and silky slice of synthpop, The Landscape is Changing from Depeche Mode’s third studio album Construction Time Again, was one of the first songs penned by Alan Wilder, and marked a new political edge to the band’s lyrics. While it’s hard to call David Gahan’s deadpan delivery ‘sincere’, the lyrics get straight to the point, and when paired with an industrial synthpop sound, the song’s chief refrain ‘I don’t care if you’re going nowhere, just take good care of the world’, is very infectious. I’m sure that somewhere in the world, some earnest teen eco-warriors took it to heart, and at the very least were inspired to make their own eco-anthems by those delicious, floaty synths.
Nothing says ‘urban’ like Garage, and in April 2000, one-hit wonder Sweet Female Attitude got to number 2 in the charts with their Old School Garage choooooon Flowers. The duo, Leanne Brown and Catherine Cassidy, never got anywhere near the top of the charts again, but who really cares what happened next, they should be proud of making one of the most catchy and memorable songs of the Garage years. The perfect mix of urban sound and romantic horticultural lyrics, what’s not to love?
The video certainly hasn’t aged well, but this 1988 ode to buildings, highways and shopping malls (taken from the album Naked) is as catchy as ever, and captures many of the band’s big themes. Instead of seeing tarmac and urbanisation as a bad thing (think Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi) David Byrne’s knowing lyrics lament the fact that nature has taken over, and pine for the days of billboards, parking lots and discount stores. A song for every city dweller who longs for the countryside, then finds they miss the metropolis.