Certain Songs #1317: New Order – “Broken Promise”

Album: Brotherhood
Year: 1986

Despite not quite having the highs of the previous two albums, Brotherhood turned out to be my favorite New Order album, maybe because it took the step of dividing the sides up so that side one was the “rock” side and side two was the “disco” side.

And so while you’d think that my favorite songs would all be on the “rock” side, what made Brotherhood great was that while side one was incredibly consistent, side two had my favorite songs, which we’ll talk about in the next couple of days.

Also: the formal division of sides was something that I either forgot or never even knew. All I knew for sure was that I liked Brotherhood from start to finish, and unlike the singles from Low-Life and surrounding Power, Corruption & Lies, I actually enjoyed “Bizarre Love Triangle,” (though not enough to write about it, sorry).

Also: this is all kinda bullshit. Since Brotherhood was peak New Order, the “rock” songs were full of dancebeats and the “disco” songs were full of rock instrumentation. So while “Broken Promise” came roaring out of the gate with an old-school Joy Division bass rumble, the beat that Stephen Morris was playing was plenty danceable, and it goes without saying that the say-nothing chorus of overdubbed Barneys singing against each other was plenty catchy.

And I never could believe it
And I never could be true
For the things that mean so much to me
Don’t mean that much to you
And I never could believe
The way you told me I was wrong
If I’m right and you are sinful
Then for God’s sake I was wrong

Like all of its brothers and sisters on side one, “Broken Promise” peaks out during the second half when Sumner plugs in his guitar, and blissfully fuzzes out all over the whole thing. It starts after the second chorus, and sets up that rarest of oddities in a New Order song — a bridge, after which the guitars just get louder and noisier until “Broken Promise” crashes to its end.

“Broken Promise”

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