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Elijah Murphy
Elijah Murphy

Shake The Disease


"It's basically a love song, and it's really about the problems of not being able to get across what you really mean, in love, when you're actually trying to talk to someone that you, let's say, fancy, you know, you fancy someone at school or whatever and you're trying to talk to them. Sometimes it's very difficult, you know, and that's what it's basically about. And he's trying to shake that disease of not being able to talk to people."




Shake The Disease


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One of Depeche Mode's few non-album singles, "Shake the Disease" is also one of the band's best overall songs, a new refinement of both Martin Gore's lyrical abilities regarding romantic obsession and the group's music in general. The arrangement is at once sly, sensuous, and just harsh enough, a combination of clattering noise samples and soothing synth wash and melody. The intertwining of David Gahan and Gore's singing, the latter's wordless backing harmonies and crooned "Understand me" from time to time (a perfect balance to the former's lead approach), is just lovely. The "remixed extended" version of the song that surfaces is just that and not much more, though the extension of the overall atmosphere of the song, cool and sharp at once, makes for a pleasant mood-setter. Some of the new instrumental-only parts are quite elegant in context. The "edit the shake" remix is much more of a thorough revision, with odd stutters and repetitions, backward echoes, and so forth. It makes it not quite as danceable, but is inventive enough regardless. The B-side was one of the band's odder numbers, "Flexible," a quick semi-romp with what sounds like a distorted/looped harmonica as the lead instrument backed by banjo. It's pleasant, just not great, and as such makes much more sense as a B-side. Its own "remixed extended" version brings out more of the separate elements used to create the song, which is interesting in its own way, but like the original song itself, not deathless. Wrapping up the CD version of the release is the "metal" mix of Some Great Reward track "Something to Do" -- it's a great take, and lives up to its name by emphasizing the metal-clanging samples and melodies created from said samples, nervous and wired.


"Shake the Disease" features a narrative in two parts; the former from Guglielmi and the latter Majidson. The brilliant songwriting allows these two vocalists to complement one another, intertwining to form verses that are filled with themes of anxiety, hope, and resilience. "Gotta help me to spread my wings / I need you to shake the disease"


Dave Gahan on ITV's show 'No. 73': "It's basically a love song, and it's really about the problems of not being able to get across what you really mean, in love, when you're actually trying to talk to someone that you, let's say, fancy, you know, you fancy someone at school or whatever and you're trying to talk to them. Sometimes it's very difficult, you know, and that's what it's basically about. And he's trying to shake that disease of not being able to talk to people."


I'm not going down on my knees, begging you to adore meCan't you see it's misery and torture for me?When I'm misunderstoodTry as hard as you can, I've tried as hard as I couldTo make you seeHow important it is for meHere is a plea from my heart to youNobody knows me as well as you doYou know how hard it is for me to shake the diseaseThat takes hold of my tongue in situations like theseUnderstand me, understand meSome people have to be permanently togetherLovers devoted to each other foreverNow I've got things to doAnd I've said before that I know you have tooWhen I'm not thereIn spirit, I'll be thereHere is a plea from my heart to youNobody knows me as well as you doYou know how hard it is for me to shake the diseaseThat takes hold of my tongue in situations like theseUnderstand me, understand meHere is a plea from my heart to youNobody knows me as well as you doYou know how hard it is for me to shake the dise