Jimmy Fallon does a lot of irritating things, but there is at least one thing that he still does extremely well: The note-perfect impression of the bygone-era rock star. Some of Fallon’s impressions — Barry Gibb, Mick Jagger, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen — are the stuff of legends. And it turns out that he does a pretty good Dave Gahan, too.
Dave Gahan, the Depeche Mode frontman, is a pretty singular character. If Fallon were to attempt to play Violator-era Gahan — the sleazed-out goth Jim Morrison — he might be out of his depth. But Fallon as the early-’80s gawky synthpop-kid version of Gahan? That’s the good stuff.
Avant-pop genius Charli XCX just released her Charli album, and she was on The Tonight Show last week to perform “Gone” with Christine And The Queens, bringing some light bondage to Jimmy Fallon’s stage. Last night, Charli was on The Tonight Show again for a fun bit. Fallon started off the skit in Dave Gahan drag, singing Depeche Mode’s eternal 1981 synthpop banger “Just Can’t Get Enough” through a crackly VHS filter. Charli XCX, meanwhile, sang “I Love It,” the hedonistic 2012 smash that she co-wrote for the Swedish duo Icona Pop. In grand mash-up fashion, the two songs became one.
“Just Can’t Get Enough” and “I Love It” are pretty similar songs — energetic, simple, catchy jams driven by staccato one-finger keyboard riffs. They both slap. And they go together beautifully, especially with a performer as charismatic as Charli there to help sell it. For his part, Jimmy Fallon wore impressively accurate version of what Gahan wore in the “Just Can’t Get Enough” video — even the haircuts are pretty much the same — and sang with the right kind of blank reserve. This is the best kind of Tonight Show bit, mostly because it does not require anyone to try to be funny. They just sing a song together. It’s nice. Watch it below. And while you’re at it, watch the videos for “Just Can’t Get Enough” and “I Love It.”
Charli is out now on Asylum/Atlantic. Fun fact: “I Love It” was a much bigger hit than “Just Can’t Get Enough” pretty much everywhere in the world. In the US, “I Love It” peaked at #7, and Depeche Mode have never had a song that charted that high. (Their highest-charting single, 1990’s “Enjoy The Silence,” peaked at #8.)