Certain Songs #1312: New Order – “The Village”

Album: Power, Corruption and Lies
Year: 1983

Of course, here’s the thing about New Order’s unprecedented fusion of synth-pop and rock: it took me awhile to get on board with the synth-pop side of things. Especially in 1983, when we were being inundated with all kinds of synth-based bands from the other side of the ocean — the second or third or fourth British Invasion — and I felt more of a kinship with all of the homegrown guitar bands that were fighting for radio and MTV airplay.

And, in fact, had New Order not had the pedigree that they had, it’s entirely possible that I would have turned up my nose at them in the same way that I did Duran Duran, ABC, Depeche Mode and a whole flock of others. But they they had that pedigree, which I think so they were able to be either a guitar band for synth-poppers or a synth-pop band for guitar freaks.

Also helping: songs like “The Village,” which was definitely on the synth-pop side of things, but also impossible to ignore, because of a massive melodic hook on the chorus.

Oh, our love is like the flowers
The rain and the sea and the hours
Oh, our love is like the flowers
The rain and the sea and the hours

In any sane kind of universe, “The Village” would have been a single, but of course, New Order at that point was adamant about their singles being non-album, so songs like “Age of Consent” or “The Village” were tossed over in favor of the massive “Blue Monday,” the Arthur Baker collab “Confusion” and the dour “Thieves Like Us,” none of which had the effortless melodic thrust of “The Village.”

A burbling stew of bouncy synths, twangy guitar and about a zillion drum machines, “The Village” reaches nirvana during the instrumental breaks, as Stephen Morris plays fills on top of the steady pulse while Peter Hook bass runs and auto-targeted Sumner guitar blasts simultaneously fill all of the spaces left open during the verses & choruses.

“The Village”

“The Village” live in Rotterdam, 1985

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