I'll admit, Depeche Mode isn't exactly my cup of tea, and Sounds of the Universe doesn't make them a whole lot more appealing to me. What this album (and this band in general) has is a fine line between sheer creativity and all-out mainstream 'blah'. At the most, I can say I admire them for their cool 80's synth popping in and out of each song, and the catchy ectronic beat. But mixed in with the cheesy, put-on vocals...it's too much for me. For example on a track like Wrong, the main single for this record. The deep synth keeps it moving along, but when the vocals come in, it just makes it sound like a corny mock-up of a possible hit. Or like Hole to Feed. The quiet background and mysterious lyrics to this song make it feel like something big is coming, but no. Nothing happens. It just ends. Damn! After that comes a weird-one called Little Soul, with an even more mysterious melody. But until the guitars come in at the very end, most of the song is like the equivelant of a three minute yawn. But hey! If I had to choose between Sounds of the Universe and George Michaels: The Essentials, S.O.T.U. would obviously be my first choice... and my second. And Yeah, I could easily live with songs like In Sympathy, Come Back, and Miles Away, with their dense electronic pulse and danceclub-ish feel. It's not the worst thing Capitol's put out. Far from it.