Enjoy The Silence

Album: Violator (1990)
Charted: 6 8

Songfacts®:

  • In this song, the singer is in a relationship where thoughts and feelings are all that matter. He feels words are unnecessary and can even be harmful, so he prefers to enjoy the relationship in silence. The song was written by the group's primary songwriter, Martin Gore, with lead vocals by Dave Gahan.
  • At first, this was a ballad played on an organ. Alan Wilder got the idea to speed up the song. The other members didn't like the idea, but after some time became convinced.

    Martin Gore recalled to Mojo magazine September 2012: "The original demo of Enjoy the Silence was very slow and minimal, just me and a harmonium, and Alan (Wilder) had this idea of putting a beat to it. We added the choir chords and (producer) Flood and Alan said, 'Why don't you play some guitar over the top?' That's when I came up with the riff. I think that's the only time in our history when we all looked at each other and said, 'I think this might be a hit.'" >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Philip - Ahus, Sweden
  • In the UK this won a 1990 Brit award for best British single.
  • In 2004, a remix by Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park was released as a single as "Enjoy The Silence '04." It was included on their album Remixes '81-'04.
  • Lacuna Coil recorded this on their 2006 album Karmacode.
  • In an interview with Q magazine February 2008, vocalist Dave Gahan looked back at the recording of the Violator album: "We had a sense that we were doing something groundbreaking. Violator was a lot of bluesy gospel songs and (New York DJ/mixer) Francois Kevorkian brought this dance thing to it. It was a great combination of people. 'Enjoy The Silence' was just Mart (band member Martin Gore) playing the piano and I think he was quite upset that (producer) Flood and Alan (Wilder band member 1982-95) were going to take it in a different direction. It really made the album cross over into another cosmos. It had been a constant climb over the previous 10 years, but I don't think we were prepared for what was about to come. The album was a worldwide success and suddenly these huge royalty checks started coming in and you were able to do whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted - the velvet rope was always open."
  • This was Depeche Mode's biggest chart hit in the United States.
  • Singer, model and former French First Lady Carla Bruni covered this song. It was released as the lead single from her 2017 album French Touch.

    "What I like very much about the song is the lyrics," she said. "They are quite dark, but they're made stronger because, nowadays, noise is everywhere. We need silence. Silence is healing."
  • Dave Gahan explained the meaning of the song's Anton Corbijn-directed music video to Entertainment Weekly (March 23, 2017): "Anton came to me - he's Dutch you know - and said [in clipped Dutch accent], 'So Dave, I have an idea. You're gonna wear a crown. You're this king walking everywhere, and you're gonna carry a deck chair…' And I didn't get it at all. But once we started and he showed me the footage I got what he was doing: The man who has everything, but really feels nothing. And we were in such remote places - like, five miles up in the Alps walking in the snow, in the Algarve in Portugal on these remote beaches, at Balmoral in Scotland, where we could walk for days and days and not see anyone."
  • Gahan on the genesis of the song: "Funny enough, when Martin first came up with a demo for 'Silence,' it was kind of half a song. Just a piano and these very slow, ballad-y couple of verses. And Alan [Wilder] and Flood, who was producing the album, had this idea to put a beat to it. They said, 'Get out of the studio and come back in two days.' When we came back, Flood said to Martin, 'I need you to come up with a guitar line,' so Martin started to play this riff, and that was it. Then he said, 'Dave, go sing,' and I did. We literally recorded it in a couple of days. Then we started messing with the song, trying to make it more than it was, and it never needed more. We put it out like that, and I think we knew between us that there was something very special about it, but we had no idea what a huge hit it was going to be." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 2

Comments: 12

  • Noname from BrazilI don’t think this song is about drugs or relationships. Is more spiritual. It’s about look within and enjoy the silence your are.
    “... is here in my arms” Metaphorically speaking, cuz we don’t need anything more than we already have.
  • Benoit from MontrealColdplay honored the Enjoy the Silence video with their own Viva La Vida videoclip.
  • Kevin from Chicago, IlI keep reading comments from songs off of Violator that they are about relationships. People keep pointing out that vocalist Dave Gahan was not into drugs at this point in their career. However, Martin Gore is the songwriter, and the ENTIRE album is about addiction and experiences in recovery. This is painfully obvious to anyone with life experience in both. Of course any good art, can mean many things to different people. But there are certain references and words used throughout the album that only someone with experience in 12-step recovery would say. Songs like "Waiting for the Night" and "Sweetest Perfection" are just about getting high. Period. "The sweetest perfection, to call my own, the slightest correction, couldn't finely hone, the sweetest infection, of body and mind, sweetest injection, of any kind... Takes me completely, touches so sweetly, reaches so deeply... When I need a drug in me and it brings out the thug in me, feel something tugging me, then I want the real thing not tokens" You get tokens in recovery for lengths of sobriety. Duh.


  • Jeff from Austin, TxPerfect pop song. Essential for any '80s collection.
  • Theresa from Murfreesboro, TnPerfect depressing song with an incredible pop hook.
  • Richie from Meridian, Msthis song CAN describe the feelings of your favorite/addicted drug, but it's really about a relationship where words are unecessary and can even do harm, because they can mess that perfect feeling of love up, so just enjoy the silence everyone :)
  • Andy from Orlando, FlRead an interview with Shakira where she said this song influenced her strongly as a young girl. Once prompting her to ask her mother why the guitar line makes her feel such a powerful emotion. The power of Depeche...no one is immune.
  • Josh from Bothell, WaThis is probably one of my all time favorite songs. And i think that it is about a relationship. And when you and your special someone are together, it is true that words are unnecisary. Also i think that Lacuna Coil's Cover of this song was better. Having a female and male singer made it more powerful, in my opinion.
  • Fredrik from Stockholm, SwedenVery interesting thoughts you got there "Ashli". Maybe the lyrics is about drugs. The singer David Gahan:s heroin addiction nearly killed himself. Though Martin Gore (the writer of the song) did not have any problem with drugs.
    I am an alcohol-abuser myself. I can se the parallels to the lyrics as to myself.
    The alcohol becomes more important than your usual interest and hobbies.
    Instead of trying to build up a relationsship to a woman/man you drink instead. When you start a relation you can get hurt or left behind. Buying a couple of beer is easy-you always know what you get. I realized my problems when I find out that the alcohol was more interesting than sex.
    Yeah, its f.....g scary.....
  • Boris from Sofia, BulgariaHmm never though of it in that way but you just might be right...Anyway i love the song it is really well awesome :D
  • Ashli Cullen from Lancaster, PaAlso...."....is here in my arms" is often seen as a reference to injecting heroin intravenously. Everything spoken falls away and all that's left is the feeling. Words can bring you down from a high. Feelings really can't, because when I was high, the bad feelings vanished. But I've been clean awhile now.
  • Ashli Cullen from Lancaster, PaPersonally....the lyric "Pleasures remain/so does the pain"...just gets me. I had seen an interview with the band a few years back in which they said it was about a drug addiction....on a similar note, many songs about drugs seem to be about relationships, because we addicts "fall in love" with our drug of choice, it becomes our significant other. On heroin, I really never wanted to hear anyone talk, because when I was high, words didn't matter. The pleasure was there while high, but then the pain was still there when I came down. I have heard many addicts refer to their drug of choice as their "little girl"....but then again, music is flexible. Could be about a relationship to one person, but many many addicts and former addicts like myself will tell you that song describes the addiction very well.
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