Articles Tagged: New Order

Certain Songs #1316: New Order – “Face Up”

Album: Low-Life
Year: 1985

By now, it has probably become obvious that none of my favorite New Order songs post-“Temptation” were actually singles, and so my personal history with this band completely deviates from the masses. Which was not my intention — anybody who has paid attention knows that I generally gravitate towards singles, even with my favorite artists — but New Order was the rare great singles band where I preferred the album cuts to the singles.

What is my intention, however, is to point out that to limit your knowledge of New Order to just the singles isn’t the way to go, not just because you miss out on songs that woulda been singles for a lesser band — your “Age of Consent” or “Love Vigilantes” — but also deeper cuts like “Face-Up,” which ended Low-Life on a real up.

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Certain Songs #1315: New Order – “Sunrise”

Album: Low-Life
Year: 1985

With Gillian Gilbert setting the scene with a dark dark synth tone, “Sunrise” hinted at a road not taken for New Order: continuing on the hard-rocking path originally blazed by Joy Division.

That, of course, would have been a disaster. They were able to get away with it for “Ceremony” and “Dreams Never End,” but the only way that New Order to be a viable band by 1985 was to do exactly what they did: make their own path by fully embracing the electronics that had always existed at the fringe of Joy Division’s sound.

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Certain Songs #1314: New Order – “Love Vigilantes”

Album: Low-Life
Year: 1985

If Power, Corruption & Lies showcased a band that had figured out their totally unique sound, the follow-up, 1985’s Low-Life, was the sound of that band alternately celebrating and deconstructing that sound.

So while singles “Sub-Culture” and “The Perfect Kiss” (those fucking bullfrogs) were pretty much what you expected, other songs, like the abstract “Elegia,” the goth “Sunrise” and the opening track, “Love Vigilantes” came from left field.

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Certain Songs #1313: New Order – “Your Silent Face”

Album: Power, Corruption and Lies
Year: 1983

In just three years, we’d gotten to the point where the most atypical song on any New Order album would be the one that sounded the most like a Joy Division callback — in this case, “Isolation” from Closer — and yet was still a showcase for their progression, both musical and technological.

And so it was with “Your Silent Face,” six minutes of utter bliss that slowly rumbled out of the beginning of side two of Power, Corruption & Lies. The synth wash that Gillian Gilbert plays is so lovely and evocative, I used it for at least one music bed while doing promos for KFSR.

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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.

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