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Paper Monsters is the debut solo album by Depeche Mode lead singer Dave Gahan. The record was released by Mute Records on 2 June 2003 in Europe via Mute and Reprise labels.

Paper Monsters
Paper Monsters.jpg
Studio album by
Released2 June 2003 (Europe)
3 June 2003 (North America)
GenreAlternative rock
LabelMute, Reprise
ProducerKen Thomas
Dave Gahan chronology
Paper Monsters
Singles from Paper Monsters
  1. "Dirty Sticky Floors"
    Released: May 26, 2003
  2. "I Need You"
    Released: August 18, 2003
  3. "Bottle Living/Hold On"
    Released: October 27, 2003
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 stars [2]
BBC(Positive) [3]
Blender3/5 stars [4]
Couterculture4/5 stars[5]
Entertainment.ie4/5 stars[6]
The Guardian3/5 stars[7]
The Music Box2.5/5 stars [8]
Pitchfork(6.9/10) [9]
Slant3.5/5 stars [10][11]



The album was produced by Ken Thomas, who is best known for his work with Icelandic band Sigur Rós. Upon its debut, critical reception was generally mixed; while many complimented the album's personal subject matter, others described it as lacking depth. Paper Monsters became a modest success in the UK where it debuted at number thirty-six on the albums chart, but it was a big success in the German, Swedish and Swiss charts, reaching the Top 10 there. In North America, the album was released on 3 June 2003; however, it failed to make much of an impact on the mainstream charts, although the "Paper Monsters Tour" had some impact, especially on Depeche Mode fans. One concert of the tour, the one on 4-5.07 in Paris at the Olympia, was recorded and released on a DVD called "Live Monsters" .

From this album, four songs were released on three singles: "Dirty Sticky Floors", "I Need You" and "Bottle Living"/"Hold On" (the last was a double A-side, so two album songs were released on the same single: "Bottle Living" and "Hold On"). The three reached the UK Top 40.

Gahan first played with the idea of releasing a solo album after the release of Depeche Mode's Exciter in 2001, but approached the project slowly. It was not until he began writing music with friend and musician Knox Chandler that he gained the self-confidence he needed to begin to consider working on an album of his own material.


The album produced three singles. "Dirty Sticky Floors", the lead single from the album, became Gahan's most successful solo release, where it reached #18 on the UK Singles Chart (and the Top 10 in Germany and Italy). Its remixes were also promoted in U.S. dance clubs, and peaked within the top five of the Billboard Dance Chart. This first single had two b-sides: "Stand Up" and "Maybe".

The second single "I Need You" was a ballad based around a synth and drum arrangement, which reached #27 in the UK and #5 on the U.S. Dance Chart. The second single also had two b-sides, "Closer" and "Breathe".

The third and final single was "Bottle Living" / "Hold On", a double A-side. meaning that two songs were released on the same single. The single also contained a remix of another album track, "Hidden Houses", as a B-side. The single continued the album's string of top-forty singles reaching #36 in the UK.

Critical responseEdit

At Metacritic, that assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 67, based on nine critical reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".

Upon release, the album received mixed responses from international music-critics. In a review for the BBC, Kate Lawrence called Paper Monsters "an assured debut" with "surprising depth". She was impressed by Gahan's vocals on the track "Hidden Houses", which she called "deliciously devilish and angelic in equal measure" and said that it "demonstrates a vocal range rarely seen in the Mode back catalogue".[3] Slant Magazine echoed Lawrence's review for the BBC, calling the album a "competent solo debut" with "murky rock grooves and throaty vocals".[10] However, Pitchfork Media reviewer Michael Idov was less impressed with the album and wrote that its personal subject matter made for a "faintly embarrassing listen". Idov criticised Gahan's lyrics stating that his "vocal can still elevate the dumbest lyric to the level of a cathartic mantra, a skill that comes handy in the absence of Martin Gore".[9] Allmusic reviewer Don Kline called Paper Monsters "a mix of swampy blues-injected rock, slick urban electronica, and atmospheric balladry" and gave it three out of five stars. He also stated that "although it doesn't stray too far from the Depeche mould, Gahan does manage to put his own stamp on the songs".[2]

Track listingEdit

All tracks written and composed by Dave Gahan and Knox Chandler.

  1. "Dirty Sticky Floors" - 3:35
  2. "Hold On" - 4:17
  3. "A Little Piece" - 5:12
  4. "Bottle Living" - 3:33
  5. "Black and Blue Again" - 5:43
  6. "Stay" - 4:20
  7. "I Need You" - 4:45
  8. "Bitter Apple" - 6:01
  9. "Hidden Houses" - 5:02
  10. "Goodbye" - 5:55

The album was released in two versions: a single disc version, and a double disc version which included the regular album and a bonus DVD. The DVD contains a short film, music videos, and live performances by Gahan filmed in New York City.

Bonus tracks and footageEdit

All bonus tracks and footage appear on the United Kingdom and North American edition of Paper Monsters.

  1. A Short Film
  2. "Dirty Sticky Floors" music video
  3. Exclusive b-roll footage from the "Dirty Sticky Floors" video shoot
  4. "Hold On" (exclusive New York acoustic performance)
  5. "A Little Piece" (exclusive New York acoustic performance)
  6. Exclusive b-roll footage from the New York acoustic performance
  7. Photo Gallery

Release detailsEdit

All editions released by Mute and Reprise Records.
Release format Country Cat. No. Release date
Regular album United Kingdom STUMM 216 2 June 2003
Regular album North America 48471 3 June 2003
Special edition CD/DVD album United Kingdom LCDSTUMM 216 2 June 2003
Special edition CD/DVD album North America 48492 3 June 2003


Chart (2003) Peak
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[12] 43
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[13] 31
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[14] 9
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[15] 11
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[16] 26
French Albums (SNEP)[17] 21
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[18] 5
Italian Albums (FIMI)[19] 10
Polish Albums (ZPAV)[20] 23
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[21] 5
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[22] 10
UK Albums (OCC)[23] 36
US Billboard 200[24] 127

Certifications and salesEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Germany 100,000[25]
Russia (NFPF)[26] Gold 10,000*
United States 39,000[27]
Worldwide 350,000[25]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Credits and personnelEdit


  1. ^ "PAPER MONSTERS by Dave Gahan". Metacritic CBS Interactive. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  2. ^ a b Kline, Don. Paper Monsters at AllMusic
  3. ^ a b Lawrence, Kate (3 June 2003). "BBC Review of Dave Gahan - Paper Monsters". BBC. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  4. ^ Blender review[dead link]
  5. ^ Shaeffer, Rowan. "Dave Gahan: Paper Monsters". Counterculture. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  6. ^ "Dave Gahan - Paper Monsters". Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  7. ^ Sweeting, Adam (30 May 2003). "Dave Gahan: Paper Monsters". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  8. ^ "Dave Gahan - Paper Monsters (Album review)". The Music Box Magazine. 10 (9). September 2003. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  9. ^ a b Idov, Michael (24 July 2003). "Dave Gahan: Paper Monsters album review". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 10 May 2003.
  10. ^ a b Blanford, Roxanne (9 August 2003). "Dave Gahan: Paper Monsters music review". Slant. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  11. ^ Station, Laurence (3 July 2003). " review". Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  12. ^ " – Dave Gahan – Paper Monsters" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  13. ^ " – Dave Gahan – Paper Monsters" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  14. ^ " – Dave Gahan – Paper Monsters" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  15. ^ "Top 40 Albums - 24 / 2003". Tracklisten. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  16. ^ "Dave Gahan: Paper Monsters" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  17. ^ " – Dave Gahan – Paper Monsters". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  18. ^ " – Top 100 Longplay". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  19. ^ " – Dave Gahan – Paper Monsters". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  20. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLiS - Official Retail Sales Chart". OLiS. Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  21. ^ " – Dave Gahan – Paper Monsters". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  22. ^ " – Dave Gahan – Paper Monsters". Hung Medien. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  23. ^ "Dave Gahan | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  24. ^ "David Gahan Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 25 December 2013.
  25. ^ a b "Playing". Billboard. 21 February 2004. p. 51. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  26. ^ "Russian album certifications – Dave Gahan – Paper Monster" (in Russian). National Federation of Phonogram Producers (NFPF). Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  27. ^ "Ask Billboard". Billboard. 29 October 2003. Retrieved 17 May 2019.

External linksEdit