February 23, 2018

Judas by Depeche Mode a Call to Arms?

The edgy, electronic sound of England’s Depeche Mode has made them one of the most successful bands in history. With sales totaling more than 75 million albums, this band’s atmospheric, slightly industrial compositions have intrigued and entertained generations. The group has an artistic, poetic approach, each song is expertly crafted, with just the right mixture of sunlight and shadow. Fans of the band love their dreamy, sexy sound. In the songs of Depeche Mode, tinges of Gothic melancholy exist alongside powerful messages of hope and peace.

On fan sites and message boards, people tend to butt heads as they attempt to unravel the mysteries of Depeche Mode Judas lyrics – for some, the song is very dark, with sadistic overtones. For others, it’s a postmodern hymn of faith and salvation. Let’s look at the Judas lyrics by Depeche Mode in detail to see what we can find. Here is the first verse:

Is simplicity best
Or simply the easiest

The narrowest path
Is always the holiest

So walk on barefoot for me

Suffer some misery
If you want my love
If you want my love

This oblique verse really captures the essence of Depeche Mode – themes of religious sacrifice become tangled up in sexual entendres and passionate statements. Sorting out the deeper meaning of these lines is all about understanding the questions in the lyricist’s (Martin Gore) mind – as he wrote the lyrics, he posed a query — is the hardest road always the most worthwhile?

Will it lead to fulfillment? To love and happiness?

Using imagery that seems to equate “holy” living with the attainment of love, he may be telling a lover – or a disciple – or even a guru – that he or she must “suffer some misery” to win his love.

From this point of view, the song could be written by Jesus or Judas or simply a demanding lover. To go deeper into the song’s secrets, let’s examine a later verse:

You can fulfill
Your wildest ambitions

And I’m sure you will
Lose your inhibitions

So open yourself for me
Risk your health for me
If you want my love
If you want my love
If you want my love
If you want my love

This verse has more sinister connotations – it seems to belie that the song is written to rally the faithful. Losing inhibitions is not normally a Christian goal – therefore, it narrows down the meaning of the song. The lyricist is demanding proof of love, but he is also asking for far more than that.

“So open yourself for me, risk your health for me, if you want my love,” can be viewed in a spiritual, or a sadomasochistic, sense.

It is safe to say that Jesus did not encourage his flock to “lose inhibitions”. This is why the song has a hint of darkness and sexiness – it seems that perhaps a lover has betrayed the lyricist, and he now requires proof of love that is all encompassing. Proof must come in the form of risk-taking, naughty games, and all sorts of painful sacrifices.

If the songwriter is playing the role of Judas, he may be tempting others to the dark side, if he is playing the role of a seducer, he may be toying with the idea of playing sexual games (including S & M) with a new love interest. In order to join with him, his love interest must give his or herself over completely. For Judas, there can be no half-measures at all.

Whether this song is a dark sexual or romantic invitation, or a true religious temptation, it poses more questions that it answers. However, all evidence points away from the song being a traditional Christian call to arms.


  1. Gustavo says:

    “Love’s greatest gift is its ability to make everything it touches sacred.” ~ Barbara de Angelis