Monday, February 1, 2010

Nuevo Orden


Ceremony (1981)
Love the prodigious use of high hat, and that the sincerity and compassion hasn't crept into Sumner's voice just yet - a nice transition from the Joy Division era.

Dreams Never End (1981)
More high hat! The super-short, piercing guitar strums sound like rhythmic gunfire set to music. Peter Hook plays the part of demented robot.

Love Less (1989)
It's a shame that they decided to release the tragically bad "Fine Time" as the lead single because Technique remains an underappreciated treasure. And while reviews have described the album as "house" and "dance," the songs I'm partial to are as warm and inviting as anything they've ever done. My all-time fave NO track.

Run (1989)
The guitars are the centerpiece of this song, especially the melody that kicks off at the 0:18 mark. A tastefully understated acoustic solo caps off a great ending that, while taking up the last 1/3 of the song, doesn't seem indulgent in the least.

Run Wild (2001)
Accompanied by the most traditional of instruments, it's in songs like these that Sumner shines, his everyman voice as comforting as a favorite blankie. I can even ignore the blatant religious references, because when he sings "Good times around the corner," I believe the guy.


Way of Life (1986)
This was my pick from what I think is one of New Order’s more under-rated albums, Brotherhood (also dig “Weirdo”, “All Day Long”, “Every Little Counts”). The song stars off ominous but then later tears into a surprisingly catchy chorus which always catches me off guard every time I hear it.

All the Way (1989)
Strange to find a pair of back to back songs that sound quite organic on an ‘acid house’ influenced album recorded on the island of Ibiza. At 1:05, there’s a nice layering of what sounds like a flute over a piano synth bridge. Wait and it’s not “it doesn’t take a genie, to tell me what I am”?

Love Less (1989)
This is the other hidden gem found on Technique. Like in “All the Way”, there is impressive instrumental layering: here the two guitars complement each other nicely. Interestingly, for a song that sounds so easy-going and benign, it actually contradicts the dark tone of his situation.

Bizarre Love Triangle (1986) [6:44]
I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to this song in my lifetime but it still packs a punch everytime I hear it nowadays. I still prefer the Substance 1987 12” version which even though excludes Peter Hook’s distinctive bass line, is constructed of 3 parts – all of which are able to stand on their own. And one will also note that there are several different versions of the single version (some that start with the bass and some with the drums and some incorporating elements of the 12” version).

From a djing stand point, it was and still is a crowd pleaser. Typically, no one will recognize the bass beats kicking in when you’re mixing it in but once the distinctive synth sounds kick in (oscillating from one side to the other) – everyone recognizes it instantly and the crowd rejoices.

Of note, it’s been covered by Frente, Arcade Fire, The Killers and mashed with Madonna and Tiffany.

Temptation (1982) [7:02]
It fades in dramatically as it fades out. It kicks in and never lets you go. Not sure if I ever came across another New Order song that Bernard Sumner sang with more intensity than this. Like “Bizarre Love Triangle”, there are several versions but I do prefer the “Temptation ‘87” version, the one that is also found on the Trainspotting soundtrack. The song ends in a frenzy but I feel nothing has more clarity that when he announces “oh i’ve never…met…anyone…quite like you before”.