New Life

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1. New Life
List of Speak & Spell songs
2. I Sometimes Wish I Was Dead
New Life
Single-NewLife.jpg
Song New Life
By Depeche Mode
Songwriter Vince Clarke
Produced by Depeche Mode
Daniel Miller
Recorded at Blackwing Studios (London)
Length (mm:ss) 3:43 (album version)
3:58 (remix)
Tempo 158 BPM
Time signature 4
4
Key D Major
Engineered by Eric Radcliffe
John Fryer
Photography Brian Griffin
Originally released 13 June 1981
Live performances as Depeche Mode 239 times *
Total live performances 239 times *

"New Life" is a song from the 1981 album Speak & Spell by Depeche Mode. It was released as a single on 13 June 1981.

Notes

In May/June 2020, one of Vince Clarke's cousins, named Adam Spector, claimed the following on Facebook:

My brother Paul Spector wrote the lyrics to this song. He didn't want any or got any credit for it. I remember quite clearly Vince "borrowing" them from him. It's about a Chinese Philosopher. I read a whole page about it in a Depeche Mode book and every word about it was true except who wrote it. Vince's highest qualification is in Woodwork and my brother has a Masters Degree in Philosophy from King's College, London. Vince wouldn't be able to explain what it was about other than what he was told by Paul. I did ask Vince for the original, written lyrics back but he said he'd lost them.

In July 2020, Adam Spector uploaded a version of 'New Life' on YouTube (video private; audio mirrored below), claiming in the description that his brother Paul wrote the lyrics, with Vince Clarke having written the music. Adam later clarified to DM Live that he was singing vocals in this clip, with Vince playing keyboards. Susan Ryder Paget, who was in the band No Romance In China along with Vince Clarke, posted a comment on Facebook in which she recognizes Vince speaking at the beginning of the recording (seen in the screenshot to the right), and further feels that the ending of the song is characteristic of Vince Clarke's keyboard playing style of the time; this matches up with Vince's keyboard part heard at the end of the song at 1980-11-14 Essex. Furthermore, the music of this version strongly resembles "Do You Need The Service?" by Tubeway Army.

Audio extracted from Adam Spector's YouTube video of 'New Life'. Warning: the audio is rather loud, turn down your volume before pressing play.

Dave Gahan and Andrew Fletcher in the 1982-01-22 issue of Smash Hits:

Fletcher: "Words were never Vince [Clarke]'s strong point. As a matter of fact, we were sometimes quite embarrassed by his stuff! We didn't understand a lot of his songs. He’d never tell us what they were about!"

Gahan: "I remember walking through town in Basildon one night and I saw these two girls following along behind me. I knew they'd recognised me. And they start singing, [high-pitched squeak] 'I stand still stepping on a shady street'. And I start walking a bit faster, turns me collar up like this! And then... [wails] 'And I watch that man to a stranger.' And I'm thinking: 'Oh no, this is embarrassing! Do they understand these lyrics?! Perhaps they do and we don't!"

Live versions

This section provides an example of a live version of New Life from each tour that it was played.

Lyrics


New Life

I stand still stepping on the shady streets

And I watched that man to a stranger

You think you only know me when you turn on the light

Now the room is lit, red danger


Complicating, circulating

New life, new life

Operating, generating

New life, new life


Transitions to another place

So the time will pass more slowly

Features fuse and your shadow's red

Like a film I've seen now show me


Your face is hidden and we're out of sight

And the road just leads to nowhere

The stranger in the door is the same as before

So the question answers nowhere


I stand still stepping on the shady streets

And I watched that man to a stranger

You think you only know me when you turn on the light

Now the room is lit, red danger


Songwriter: Vince Clarke
Publishing Information: ©1981 Musical Moments Ltd./Sony Music Publishing Ltd.. All rights reserved.

Live performances

Main article: Available recordings of "New Life"
Main article: List of dates where "New Life" was played


1981-1985: Dreaming Of MeNew LifeJust Can't Get EnoughSee YouThe Meaning Of Love
Leave In SilenceGet The Balance RightEverything CountsLove In ItselfPeople Are PeopleMaster And ServantBlasphemous RumoursSomebodyShake The DiseaseIt's Called A Heart
1986-1989: StrippedBut Not TonightA Question Of LustA Question Of TimeStrangelove
Never Let Me Down AgainBehind The WheelLittle 15Personal Jesus
1990-1998: Enjoy The SilencePolicy Of TruthWorld In My EyesI Feel YouWalking In My ShoesCondemnationIn Your RoomBarrel Of A GunIt's No GoodHomeUseless
Only When I Lose Myself
2001-2009: Dream OnI Feel LovedFreeloveGoodnight LoversPreciousA Pain That I'm Used To
Suffer WellJohn The RevelatorLilianMartyrWrongPeaceFragile TensionHole To Feed
2013-2017: HeavenSoothe My SoulShould Be HigherWhere's The RevolutionGoing Backwards
Cover Me
2023: Ghosts Again
1992-1998: Faith HealerDriftingStalkerMissing Piece
2000-2008: Strange HoursJezebelPreyAllelujah
2003-2008: Dirty Sticky FloorsI Need YouBottle LivingHold OnA Little PieceKingdomSaw SomethingDeeper And Deeper
2012-2015: Longest DayTake Me Back HomeAll Of This And NothingShine
1989-2003: CompulsionStardustLoverman
2012: SpockSingle BlipAftermaths
Official releases