New Order are often best known for their unique blend of rock and electronica, and in my opinion, "The Perfect Kiss" is the best high-end example of their trademark sound.
Lyrically, the song is apparently about the AIDS epidemic that swept through New York clubland in the early 80s. Musically, it was inspired by the club scene in New York which had heavily influenced them.
This 10-and-half minute epic and captivating video is a must-see!
Directed by the late great Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs), the video shows close-ups of the four band members playing various instruments. Although all four are bringing it, I think the excellent bass work is Peter Hook's finest moment.
The video also demonstrates how the group excelled at constructing a song piece by piece until it becomes a cohesive whole.
The diverse instrumentation and versatile musicianship is clearly on display:
- lead singer Bernard Sumner plays cow bells (along with usual lead guitar)
- bassist Peter Hook plays the drum machine
- the (usual) drummer Stephen Morris plays keys
- Gillian does her magic on the synths
The song has several intoxicating builds until a thrilling two-minute-long bass and synth finale wraps up one of the most exhilarating climaxes ever produced.
"The Perfect Kiss" also features samples of Amazonian tree frogs croaking and sheep bleating.
The music is complex yet the quartet look to be barely breaking a sweat. They were good.