I am SOOOO ready for a new internet provider to reach the nether regions of Central Indiana. Let’s be honest! I just hope that I will be able to finally publish this blog today. Regardless, let’s get the party started.
As I stated last week, I finally got to see Elvis Costello live and in concert with his backing band, The Imposters. The show was outstanding, as Elvis played all the songs from the album he described as “the feel-good hit of the summer” of 1982, Imperial Bedroom. Interspersed around the songs from that album were songs chosen mainly from his first half-decade in the rock public’s consciousness that maintained the acerbic mood. But, as the show was nearing its three-hour ending, Elvis and the band pulled out many of his more famous rockers as they blew the roof off the theater in which he played.
So, the next day, while the sugarplum fairies from the concert the evening before danced in my head, I began to delve into my mid-Eighties alternative/college rock artists in my collection to get a feel for those artists again. That’s when I stumbled upon an album entitled Substance 1987 by the band New Order. New Order was three-quarters of the post-punk “gloom” band Joy Division, who lost its lead singer to a suicide just as the band was on the verge to leave for America. Now, I know how my English friends believe that Joy Division was on the cusp of big things after this tour. However, I only heard Joy Division’s music AFTER I had discovered New Order. So, I honestly believe that Joy Division reached their maximum influence around the world after the tragic death of Ian Curtis. Otherwise, they would have been thrown in the pile of post-punk English bands that never made a dent here, such as Gang of Four, Birthday Party, etc. Although I love these artists, they were never going to be palatable to the average American’s ears.
So, from those ashes of Joy Division came a band with a similar sound to the original, but with more emphasis on electronics. As New Order slowly evolved from a tentative post-punk band through their albums and singles into the first alternative electronic dance band whose sound would prove profitable in the States. To be honest, if I were going to choose a song to be played in a movie scene that takes place in a dance club in the mid-80s, I would use New Order. They ruled our dance floor, but they also had the ability to rock the joint as well.
In honor of one of the few bands that sprung like a phoenix from the dead carcass of a critics’ favorite only to experience more success than the original band could have ever expected, I present to you My 20 Favorite Songs by New Order.
20. “Confusion” (12″ single, 1983). This song was one of the band’s first dance floor successes. You can feel the tension in the band to hold onto the past or to let go and become part of the future.
19. “Krafty” (Waiting for the Sirens’ Call, 2005). New Order’s lineup was slowly peeling down to one original member, but at least he was looking backward when this song was created.
18. “World in Motion” (7″ single, 1990). New Order showed they were ready for the big time with this single from 1990.
17. “Here to Stay” (24 Hour Party People OST, 2002). New Order had taken a break in the mid-90s. So, when they reformed, the band needed a single that signaled they were back and focused. This song proved to the world that New Order was a band for the ages.
16. “Run” (Technique, 1989). Now, New Order was going back to the instruments of their Joy Division days to supplement their electronic sound. This album brings them partially back to the rock world they had originally left behind.
15. “Crystal” (Get Ready, 2001). If you were wondering back in the 1980s what New Order would sound like if they made it to the 21st century, this song showed you. By the way, relatively the same sound made with more digital toys.
14. “Dreams Never End” (Movement, 1981). One of the first singles, you can hear the influence of Kraftwerk, The Human League and Depeche Mode all at once. Additionally, you know this is the dudes from Joy Division by the use of similar droning vocals.
13. “Everything’s Gone Green” (7″ single, 1981). Hello, world! We are New Order, but we used to be Joy Division. We really do have potential without Ian.
12. “Temptation” (7″, single). To me, this is where New Order slowly began to shed their Joy Division clothes.
11. “Round and Round” (Technique, 1989). New Order came into their own as a band on this album. It is the first album in which they sound like their own band.
10. “1963” ((the best of) New Order, 1995). I truly loved this band when they somehow brought together elements of electronic dance, rock and pop into a song like this one that was recorded for this compilation.
9. “Ceremony” (7″ single, 1981). What a great song! This one burned up the American dance floors for a few years.
8. “The Perfect Kiss” (Low-Life, 1985). Did you know that THE Quincy Jones signed this band to his label, Qwest, based on the songs on this album.
7. “Love Vigilantes” (Low-Life, 1985). I loved the harmonica-sounding synth at the beginning of this song. Yet, another song that tore it up on the dance floor in the States.
6. “Age of Consent” (Power, Corruption & Lies, 1983). So, in 1983, when most of my friends were jumping on the hair metal band-wagon, I was digging this.
5. “Blue Monday” (7″ single, 1983). I remember playing this song for kids in my classroom in 1997, and watching get blown away by the rhythmic thuds that begin the song. Then, the song moves into an icy dance tune. This is where Moby and Daft Punk got their ideas.
4. “Shellshock” (Pretty in Pink OST, 1986). Who doesn’t remember this song in the Pretty in Pink movie? John Hughes sure knew how to elicit more emotion from his audience by using great music that enhanced the scene.
3. “True Faith” (7″ single, 1987). Who didn’t love the video watching couples slapping each other’s face to the beat of the song?
2. “Regret” (Republic, 1993). As the 1990s rolled in, alternative music was peaking. So, synth bands such as New Order and Depeche Mode were releasing great singles with a guitar hook instead of the standard synth hook. For most artists, this song would be #1, but we are talking about New Order.
1. “Bizarre Love Triangle” (Brotherhood, 1986). I love this song so much that I am not sure if I like the album cut or the 12″-single better. This song is by far their best dance effort and influenced dance songs far into the 21st century. This is a perfect song to my ears!
Now that I have given New Order the Keller overview, we will have to see what artists I will tackle in the near future. Oh, yeah, I forgot: Put New Order/Joy Division into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame…NOW!