Monday, March 18, 2013
50 GREAT ALBUMS IN MY 50th YEAR (Part 21)
Comrade Colin will strongly disagree with this one. He doesn't believe New Order ever made a decent LP after 1985. But he's wrong....
Yup.....Power, Corruption and Lies together with Low-Life are widely regarded as the best LPs the band ever committed to vinyl. But for me, Technique wins out every time, and part of this is to with it being such a tremendous comeback record when many had written them off.
The release of Brotherhood in 1986 had disappointed many New Order fans. It was a rather lacklustre affair shown up as such when the compilation LP Substance was issued the following year. The one hope was that the compilation featured two amazing new songs - True Faith and 1963, the former a wonderful dance track driven largely by Steve & Hooky and the latter a gorgeous pop song with Barney at last penning lyrics that made sense and had a semblance of a story line.
But it seemed to be a bit of a false dawn as the band seemed to disappear off the radar and some folk (including your humble scribe) thinking we'd seen the last of them.
In the days before t'internet, you had to rely on the music papers for news/info on your favourite bands. One week, I read a snippet that New Order had gone to Ibiza to record a new LP. Months passed. Nothing. More months passed. Still nothing. and I assumed that somehow I had missed the news that the band had broken up. Then, out of the blue in late 1988, a single was released. It was called Fine Time and it was really quite different from anything else the band had ever released, largely an instrumental that was clearly aimed at the dance market. And I loved it.
The album kind of sneaked out in January 1989. Little did we know that the low-key release was down to Factory Records lack of cash to give it the usual big marketing/advertising push. It came out when Britain is at its most cold, miserable and wet. But this album made you forget all that.
Nearly every one of its nine tracks would make it into my Top 20 New Order songs of all time - that's how much I adore this record. It was everything that fulfilled the promise of True Faith/1963. There were immense dance numbers, there were songs of love, joy and happiness, and there were songs about having your heart-broken. Every song could have been a single. No that's not true. Every song could have been a #1 single.
Thankfully, the album did sell in reasonable quantities, but not enough to arrest Factory from a gradual decline into receivership/administration. It did however lead to New Order being asked to take the sound of Technique into the football world when they penned the England Squad's 1990 World Cup Anthem, World In Motion, which finally gave the band the #1 hit they had been chasing for a few years.
The band's releases in the 90s and the 21st century haven't come near to matching the perfection of Technique, but I remain a big fan. I do think however that the departure of Peter Hook has taken something very significant away from the band and I do feel it really is time that they put their toys away and left it to the kids.
But as a reminder of the great old days:-
mp3 : New Order - Fine Time
mp3 : New Order - Love Less
mp3 : New Order - Dream Attack
Happy Daze indeed.