Since releasing their debut, Speak & Spell, in 1980, Essex, England's Depeche Mode have come to define the synth-pop genre like no other. We've ranked all their albums in order of awesomeness below.

Taking their cues from the likes of Human League and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, classmates Andy Fletcher and Vince Clarke enlisted Martin Gore with the idea to design their own take on the burgeoning electronic scene. When frontman Dave Gahan joined, the band was complete and Depeche Mode was born.

Clarke split to form Yaz - and later Erasure - following the tour for the first album, leaving the rest to carry on as a threesome before Alan Wilder eventually came onboard. A string of solid efforts followed, including Music for the Masses and Some Great Reward, but had little success outside of their homeland and a few other spots they had built up fanbases around the globe. Violator, released in early 1990, changed everything.

Buoyed by the mega-hits "Personal Jesus," "Enjoy the Silence" and "Policy of Truth," Depeche Mode were suddenly everywhere. Their sound kept evolving through the decade, but so did personal problems, especially for Gahan and Gore, with the latter battling alcoholism and the former struggling with drug addiction. Feeling the pressure the band was putting on him, Wilder split in 1995. That same year, Gahan attempted to take his own life; the following year his heart stopped after overdosing on a speedball and was brought back to life by paramedics.

The new century proved to be the beginning of a much kinder time to Depeche Mode. Gore had always been the main songwriter, but Gahan began to take a more active role in the process, and has penned some of their most memorable tracks in recent years. And nearly four decades into their existence, the group are still growing and breaking ground, including 2017's Spirit. Read below to see how we rate that album along with the full output of their career.

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