Back Catalogue: New Order
New Order have always been a band I’ve been away of, but I’ve never considered myself a massive fan. Despite somehow having all their studio albums. Over the past few months I’ve slowly been playing them more and more. Then it occurred to me, what’s the best New Order album? Well read the next nine hundred and thirty three words to find out!
After the death of Ian Curtis and Joy Division’s break up, the remaining members formed New Order. At times they are just going through the motions, playing the songs leftover from Joy Division. So at times Movement sounds like Joy Division’s third album, instead of a new band’s debut. They knew what Joy Division had been, but not what New Order should be. The inclusion of more synths and keyboards shows a direction New Order would follow for the rest of their career, but at the time this decision and sound was derided in the press.
Stand out tracks: Truth, Chosen Time, the Him
Power, Corruption and Lies (1983)
The difference between Movement and Power, Corruption and Lies is monumental. In the space of two years New Order sounds like a totally different band. The oppressive, claustrophobic synths have been removed and replaced with bright and airy New Wave composition. There is interplay between the instruments. Bernard Sumner has found his voice and his guitar playing is sparser. Although Blue Monday didn’t feature on the UK release, it’s there musically in other guises, most notably 586.
Stand out tracks: Age of Consent,586,Leave Me Alone
New Order had found their sound and they were sticking to it! Blue Monday’s rhythmic sound peppers this album. Loads of synth. Loads of surging bass. Loads of drums. Loads of Sumner’s trademark guitar and nasal vocals. Joy Division still hangs over the band like a spectre though, most prominently on Sunrise.
Stand out tracks: The Perfect Kiss, Sunrise, Elegia
On Brotherhood New Order actually made two albums, well, two sides. One side was straight guitar/indie, the other dance oriented. While on paper this works well, in actuality mixing the two seamlessly was what made New Order so special in the first place. Brotherhood suffers from this separation, and is their first flat album.
Stand out tracks: As it is when it was, Bizarre Love Triangle, Angel Dust, Every Little Counts
After the explosion of Acid House, Technique was part recorded in Ibiza and has more of a dancey feel to it. True Faith was released in ’87 and Blue Monday re-released in ’88. Both were big singles and this exposure helped change the New Order, for a more pop/club oriented sound. Due to the slight change in sound, Technique feels flat as the guitar/indie vibe has been replaced with cutting edge clubbing elements. Overall another flat album, however it is great to play at BBQ’s.
Stand out tracks: All the Way, Guilty Partner, Vanishing Point
After the commercial success of Technique New Order followed this blueprint, but added more pop hooks. The resulting album Republic feels like a bright pop club record rather than then darker murky sound of their earlier releases. Saying that Regret is arguably one New Order’s best tracks. The remainder of the tracks sometimes feel lost under a swash of over production and effects.
Stand out tracks: Regret, Everyone Everywhere, Chemical
Get Ready (2001)
After an eight year break, New Order returned with Get Ready. After the indie explosion of the early 2000’s guitars were back in vogue. Get Ready is chocked full of them. Gone are the saccharine synth and ‘house beats’, instead there are brooding bass riffs, dark slabs of synth fuzzy effects pedals. From the opening track (and lead single) Crystal, a musical gauntlet is thrown down. This is a hard hitting, stark 50 minutes. It has more in common with Unknown Pleasures and Closer than their previous albums. There are slow burners. Vicious Streak and Run Wild show that band have matured and were capable of writing reflective songs as well as bangers. The only downside to the album is the video for Crystal gave the Killers the idea for their band. New Order, this is going on your permanent record…
Stand out tracks: Crystal, Turn My Way, Vicious Streak
Waiting for the Sirens’ Call (2005)
After the success of Get Ready, Waiting for the Sirens’ Call feels like a step back. The first notable change is the lack of keyboards. This is a guitar album. While there is nothing particularly wrong with the album, apart from the brashness of the guitars and vocals which are great, there isn’t a lot going on. At times they haven’t really anything to say. Luckily they sound like they’re having a great time. This enthusiasm makes this an enjoyable, but sadly formulaic album.
Stand out tracks: Jetstream, Working Overtime, Hey Now What You Doing
Lost Sirens (2013)
After another eight year break, New Order returned with Lost Sirens. While this isn’t technically a new studio album, it’s a collection of songs recorded during the Waiting for the Sirens’ Call sessions, it does feel like one. At times it feels fresher and more vibrant that Sirens’ Call. But at times it’s just a band on autopilot. As with Sirens’ Call their enthusiasm makes the album more enjoyable. While this isn’t classic New Order, there is a lot to enjoy. Sadly it’s the last album to feature Peter Hook, who left in 2007 and the second without Gilian Gilbert who left in 2001.
Stand out tracks: Sugarcane, Recoil, I’ve Got a Feeling
While Substance 1987 isn’t a studio album, it is an essential New Order purchase. New Order realised that if you didn’t always put the singles on the albums, as fans and collectors would have to buy both to get all the tracks. Substance 1987 contains all the original singles, and more importantly their B-Sides.
Stand out tracks: Ceremony, Temptation, Shellshock, True Faith, Blue Monday, 1963