Only When I Lose Myself

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Only When I Lose Myself
Song Only When I Lose Myself
By Depeche Mode
Songwriter Martin L. Gore
Produced by Depeche Mode
Tim Simenon
Recorded at Abbey Road
Length (mm:ss) 4:41 (album version)
4:34 (single version)
3:52 (radio edit)
Tempo 87 BPM
Time signature 4
Key A♭ Minor
Programmed by Stephen Hilton
Engineered by Robin Hancock
Philip Bagenal
Tim Weidner
Engineering assistance Paul Hicks
Seymour Milton
Drums Christian Eigner
Art direction Mat Cook
Photography Rick Guest
Sleeve design Intro
Recorded 1997–1998
Originally released 7 September 1998
Live performances as Depeche Mode 72 times *
Total live performances 80 times *

"Only When I Lose Myself" is a song from the 1998 compilation album The Singles 86>98 by Depeche Mode. It was released as a single on 7 September 1998.


Martin Gore told Associated Press:

"'Only When I Lose Myself' is a bit more soulful, and it's quite slow for us. Kind of like a ballad, but it's a bit of a rockin' ballad. It's about relationships, one of my favorite topics. I've always found love quite obsessional. People talk about co-dependency; to me I've always found there's something co-dependent about being in love — that's what love is all about."

Dave Gahan told Gear Magazine in 1998:

"You feel happy when you're living your life through something else or somebody else, and that can be a painful thing when you become aware that you've lost yourself within that. Being aware, though, is learning to deal with things and getting on with your life. That's why I'm unhappy. Until I find myself and I'm happy with myself, how can I possibly find happiness in anything else. For me, it felt really good, it's kind of where I'm at in my life as well."

Depeche Mode said in the Singles 86>98 EPK:

Martin Gore: "It's a ballad that's quite slow for us to put out as a single, generally our faster stuff does a bit better, always tends to, anyway. But I think it's got a really good atmosphere, something quite obsessional about it."

Dave Gahan: "I think it's a continuation of what we did with Ultra, but we got a lot more soulful. During the making of Ultra, I've become a lot more confident about my singing. I felt like I was doing something that was from me and not for everybody else. I challenge myself to, like, I wanna get better at this. I wanna feel myself improving at something, and for a long time now I felt like I wasn't improving. I lost my way a little bit there, and fortunately I am very grateful for the opportunity to make to Ultra. I had the chance, musically, to feel like I'm actually producing something that really adds to it, [and] is really part of the sound of Depeche Mode. I think 'Only When I Lose Myself' is like I went to a place in the song that felt good inside. I have to think about the words that Martin has written but how I see them, how I feel about them. I think we all influence each other like that. Even though we don't know directly that we're doing it, I think that we bounce off each other, and I think that's what makes Depeche Mode still work."

Gahan told The Baltimore Sun:

"Although it's very soulful, I think it's got an intense feel about it. There's something about the song that I think makes you want to drive harder. It pumps along quite well. We were just recording a few songs, and... we had the time and the space to explore some other areas. We had the time to actually relax with this one, and it went in quite a few different directions before we landed, really."

Gore in BONG magazine issue no. 37, 1998:

"I see this song as a soul song. I think that Depeche Mode does soul on the right side of the soul line again."


Only When I Lose Myself

It's only when I lose myself in someone else

That I find myself

I find myself

Something beautiful is happening inside for me

Something sensual, it's full of fire and mystery

I feel hypnotised

I feel paralysed

I have found heaven

There's a thousand reasons

Why I shouldn't spend my time with you

For every reason not to be here

I can think of two

To keep me hanging on

Feeling nothing's wrong

Inside your heaven

It's only when I lose myself in someone else

That I find myself

I find myself

I can feel the emptiness inside me

Fade and disappear

There's a feeling of contentment

Now that you are here

I feel satisfied

I belong inside

Your velvet heaven

Did I need to sell my soul for pleasure like this

Did I have to lose control to treasure your kiss

Did I need to place my heart in the palm of your hand

Before I could even start to understand

It's only when I lose myself in someone else

That I find myself

I find myself

Songwriter: Martin L. Gore
Publishing Information: ©1998 Grabbing Hands Music Overseas/EMI Music Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.

Music video

Live performances

Main article: Available recordings of "Only When I Lose Myself"
Main article: List of dates where "Only When I Lose Myself" 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 Rumours / SomebodyShake 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 Revelator / LilianMartyrWrongPeaceFragile Tension / Hole To Feed
2013-2017: HeavenSoothe My SoulShould Be HigherWhere's The RevolutionGoing Backwards
Cover Me
2023: Ghosts Again
1992-1998: Faith HealerDriftingStalker / Missing Piece
2000-2008: Strange HoursJezebelPreyAllelujah
2003-2008: Dirty Sticky FloorsI Need YouBottle Living / Hold OnA Little PieceKingdomSaw Something / Deeper And Deeper
2012-2015: Longest DayTake Me Back HomeAll Of This And NothingShine
1989-2003: CompulsionStardustLoverman
2012-2015: SpockSingle BlipAftermathsEuropa Hymn • "Pinking" (Christoffer Berg Remix)
Official releases