I admitted before that I first listened to Marilyn Manson’s cover of this song. And yes, I like it a lot. But after I discovered Depeche Mode’s original version, I can definitely say that this is among my top 100 favorite songs. (Hey, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to make my own ranking and brag about all the music I’ve ever listened to.) Anyway, I believe that “Personal Jesus” is a masterpiece. It’s such a perfect delight that it almost outshines the rest of Violator.
Musically, the guitar riff is legendary “Personal Jesus;” the steady drum beat is flawless, the background keyboards are immersive, and the lyrics are sung with such an extraordinary vocal command, that it does in fact “make (s) you a believer.” This is one of Depeche Mode’s songs which feels more like a classic rock song than an electro-pop track, (mostly because of the use of the guitar), but it still contains the band’s electronic signature.
Lyrically, I always believed that “Personal Jesus” was in fact… a song about religion. I found the lyrics to be ironic; some type of out-loud statement by a crazy evangelist who proclaims he is Jesus himself; however, I feel there is some twisted intention behind his words. To put it in a more common example, it reminds of me the church’s huge problem with rapist priests. I especially believe this after hearing these lines/ I’ll make you a believer/ I will deliver / You know I’m a forgiver. I don’t know, but it definitely sounds somewhat perverted to me.
According to Martin Gore (who is the main songwriter of the band; ) “Personal Jesus” was actually inspired by the book Elvis and Me, written by Priscilla Presley. He said: “It’s a song about being a Jesus for somebody else, someone to give you hope and care. It’s about how Elvis was her man and her mentor and how often that happens in love relationships; how everybody’s heart is like a god in some way. We play these god-like parts for people but no one is perfect, and that’s not a very balanced view of someone is it?”
I think both explanations work fine. The good thing about songs (or art) is that they have interchangeable meanings and everyone feels them differently. And if you see the music video, “Personal Jesus” could have total different meaning.
For its fantastic and unforgettable sound and its really provocative lyricism…I give “Personal Jesus” 5 out of 5.
Enjoy this really cool version of the song:
Article credit to Spin: http://www.tuug.utu.fi/~jaakko/dm/spinmode.html
Lyrics found in ELyrics.net http://www.elyrics.net/read/d/depeche-mode-lyrics/personal-jesus-lyrics.html