Showing posts with label New Order. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Order. Show all posts

Friday, April 2, 2021

5/100 Video - "The Perfect Kiss" - New Order (1985)

 

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. 

The video is a 10-and-half minute epic and a must-see. 

In the mid-80s, the band was known for avoiding making videos, music media interviews and for not being on their album covers. Here the 4 members are awkwardly revealed, notably the first two minutes of this intimate and claustrophobic performance video where there's no place to hide. And does the music ever shine.

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.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

39/100 Video - "World" – New Order (1993)

Following a banger of a first single like Regret was always going to be a tough nut to crack. Yet the second single "World (The Price of Love)" delivered, with a mega-synth dance vibe. 

The black-and-white video, shot along the French Riviera, is a cinematic masterpiece. The perspective changes as the camera follows four resort guests walking from the beach, through a dining area and ultimately into the hotel of a call girl.

What truly makes this video remarkable is its flow. It feels like a single edit, with only 4 cuts when the perspective is briefly changed

And in a 'Where's Waldo' sort of way, it's also fun to locate each of the four band members blended into the clip in different spots. See if you can spot all four!

Saturday, February 6, 2021

60/100 Video - "Touched By the Hand of God" – New Order (1988)

 

A spoof of the heavy metal hair band videos of the 80s, those familiar with New Order's low-key image will find this clip ironic and funny as hell. 

It is interesting to see the band members totally feeling the part, even Bernard. One of my favourite scenes is when he tosses the guitar into the audience.  

Rabble-rouser Peter Hook, the rock icon of the band, unsurprisingly fits the rock-and-roll role the easiest with his bass thrusting.

The video wraps up with a somewhat predictable explosion as manager Rob Gretton enters stage left to assess the scene. 


Saturday, January 9, 2021

88/100 Video - "Crystal" – New Order (2001)


New Order had been dormant for almost a decade, its members off doing solo projects since they had split up circa 1993.

"Crystal" was a solid choice for their comeback single, showcasing the band's trademark dance-rock sound.


The concert style video doesn't show the actual band members, but rather a much younger indie group lip-synching to the track. 

Brandon Flowers of The Killers was so enamored with the tune's video that he stole the name painted on the drum kit for his own group.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

1993 - "Regret" - New Order


It may lack the innovation of "Blue Monday", the groove of "Bizarre Love Triangle" or the lyrical depth of "True Faith", but "Regret" is arguably New Order's most complete song. 

Their best guitar-led track embodies the New Order sound: understated guitar, shimmering synths, Hooky's signature bass, lush arrangement and melancholic lyrics. A great vocal melody and surprisingly solid vocals from Bernard Sumner. 

"Regret" is also very personal. As the lead track of the Republic album which I bought in Ontario on way home from BC, I have fond memories of driving a rental to PEI en route to my Master's research, with two copies of this CD (what if one started to skip?!). The Habs were on their way to winning an unlikely cup thanks to 10 straight overtime wins. A spring of intense optimism. The Habs haven't won since.

Other favourites from 1993: 

"At the Hundredth Meridian" – Tragically Hip 

"Man On The Moon" – REM 

"World" – New Order 

Sunday, March 31, 2019

#1. "True Faith" - New Order (1987)

I always feel so extraordinary when I listen to this song. 

An addictive song about dealing with addictions, "True Faith" by New Order has always been a go-to track throughout the years.

First, and as corny as it may sound, "True Faith" got me through my first breakup. 

Musically, it's a band playing at its peak in 1987 with everyone making notable contributions: from Stephen Morris' dramatic drumming to Peter Hook's melodic bass and Gillian Gilbert's danceable synths. 

The surreal video shows costumed dancers slapping each other and hopping on gym mats to the beat of the tune.

It's also the song that cracked the band in North America. 

But it's Bernard Sumner's honest vocal delivery of poignant and edgy lyrics about the struggle we all experience that puts this track over the top. 

The "morning sun" take on the old adage of a "tomorrow's another dayis proof we all get another chance.  

Fave lyrics: "I feel so extraordinary / Something's got a hold on me / I get this feeling I'm in motion / A sudden sense of liberty"

This is a song that keeps sounding better. Although the instrumental bridge is amazing in the original single, the replacement guitar solo improves it as shown in this recent concert clip from Berlin below.

Friday, March 22, 2019

#12. "Bizarre Love Triangle" - New Order (1986)

"Bizarre Love Triangle" is probably the catchiest of New Order's singles and the one most recognizable for music fans.

After years of experimentation, New Order had perfected the use of synths and drum machines by 1986. The result is a pop masterpiece. 

In terms of layers of electronic music, this song is near the top of the pedestal. 

So many gorgeous, magical highlights:
- the opening lyric is impressive: "Every time I think of you / I feel shot right through with a bolt of blue."
- the swirling synths interlude in the pre-chorus
- the undulating pacing of the chorus
- Hooky's bass as the foil to the euphoric synths and strings

A superb song to zone out to on headphones and a great groove for the dance floor.

The most bizarre thing about this song: it never charted well, peaking at a dismal #98 on Billboard and #53 in Canada.

Friday, March 15, 2019

#20. "The Perfect Kiss" - New Order (1985)

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.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

#27. "Blue Monday" - New Order (1983)


"Blue Monday" sounded nothing like Joy Division. Released three years since New Order formed from the ashes, the number one selling 12" single of all time was the result of an evolution from bleak post-punk to cutting-edge electronic music. 

The song was inspired from the band's desire for an automated excuse to hit the bar early.

"Blue Monday" ended up being an accidental innovation, inspiring electronic music for the mind.

The drum machines and synths do their thing, mostly by accident as the story goes, while Bernard Sumner's sparse guitar and Hook's iconic bass weave in and out of the mix. While the infectious beats almost force you to move your body, Sumner's obtuse lyrics stirs the mind (mine, anyways). 

It's not my favourite track by New Order, but it was the one that reeled me in. 

I used to play this song incessantly but have moved on to a deeper dive and appreciate a few others. But every once in a while I"ll feel the need to crank 'er up and still be in awe that something so futuristic was even possible in 1983.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

#54. "Thieves Like Us" - New Order (1984)

New Order does downtempo on the beautiful and epic "Thieves Like Us".

Recorded in New York with DJ Arthur Baker as a follow up to "Blue Monday", the song makes its mark with a sweeping cinematic opening, a full two minutes and twenty-five seconds of sonic bliss before the first vocal.

It's also New Order signature love song: the layered synths and Peter Hook's signature bass create captivating, dreamy melodies. Bernard Sumner often gets railed for his often out of tune vocals but his plaintiff style is especially fitting here. 

But that's part of the secret appeal of New Order, their imperfections make them perfectly human.

One of three New Order songs to be featured on the Pretty in Pink movie (although only "Shellshock" appears on the soundtrack), "Thieves Like Us" also appears on the Substance album that got me hooked on them back in 1986.

Fave lyrics: "I've studied the cracks and the wrinkles. You were always so vain"

Friday, January 18, 2019

#80. "Round & Round" - New Order (1989)

By the end of the decade, New Order had shed its Joy Division punk rock roots to become an iconic pioneer of electronic music made for the dance floor.

In 1989 the band went on a working holiday to Ibiza to record Technique, arguably their greatest album. 

Lyrically, the songs are stormy, stemming from lead guitarist/singer Bernard Sumner's divorce and the souring relationship with their record label Factory.

Musically, most of Technique is reflective of the emerging acid house scene of Manchester's Ha├žienda and the dance floors of Ibiza clubs. 

The result: an excellent blend of dance and rock and New Order at its creative peak.

The disco / techno inferno "Round & Round" was the second single released, stirred by Peter Hook's driving bass. Combined with the sunny synth and guitar melodies, the music act as a foil to Bernard's subdued vocals and biting lyrics.  

Fave lyrics: "The picture you see is no portrait of me. It's too real to be shown to someone I don't know."