for destruction, but mostly to more everyday demons - from the agonies and ecstasies of long-term love to the heartbreaking euphoria of fatherhood. But while sensual, sublime confessionals like 'Hold On', 'A Little Piece', and 'Stay' may be lullabies of longing wrapped in chamber-music arrangements, the album's prevailing mood is overwhelmingly positive. "It sounds hopeful because that's what I am," insists the rejuvenated singer.
Indeed, "Paper Monsters" is a musical journey where hope conquers hurt. According to Dave, 'Bitter Apple' is about rediscovering the exquisite pain of love. 'Stay', meanwhile, is a majestic hymn of quiet awe inspired by the birth of his daughter: "When she was born it was like a big arrow went through my heart," Dave recalls, "I really started to feel like my heart was beating again."
But "Paper Monsters" also has its dark, wasted, lustful side. From the meat grinder glam racket of 'Bottle Living', featuring Dave's own ragged blues harmonica, to the nightmarish Wizard of Oz fantasy of 'Dirty Sticky Floors', the singer gives vent to the sleazy alter ego he half-jokingly calls Evil Dave: "Essex Boy made good," he laughs.
All of the album's diverse emotional themes come together in 'She Said (Goodbye)', an uplifting anthem about answered prayers and spiritual reawakening. "The most important thing to me was that all of the songs have a sense of humour," Dave explains, "but at the same time a message of hope and faith."
A masterpiece of reflection, redemption and rebirth, "Paper Monsters" finds Dave Gahan at the peak of his powers, seizing the day and celebrating his unquenchable lust for life. 'It's like I'm waking up, and I'm realising there's been a hell of a lot given to me," explains Dave. "I've been given a lot of chances in my life and it's time for me to take those gifts and do something with them. It's all about freedom."