Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of the world-famous dance punk group Joy Division after the suicide of legendary frontman Ian Curtis, New Order dominated a good portion of the eighties with their infectious songs and undoubtedly influential stylings (New Order were probably the most mimicked band at the point). Consisting of Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris for the first two albums, New Order became one of the world's premiere groups, among such acts as the Police and Blondie, all sort of in the same genre. Their first album Movement failed to catch on as quickly as Power, Corruption and Lies, but Movement was still a mourning album. An album that was too dark for radio audiences. Forgetting the past wasn't easy, but New Order pulled it off and released the platinum-selling album; 1984's Power Corruption and Lies, an actually rather depressing record, though often thought of as a glad album, celebrating life. But below the surface is one of the darkest albums ever. It's still a mourning album, but just more subtle.
The album has it's fair share of repetetive tracks, though there aren't enough to bring this album down. Of course, it's entirely over-rated sheerly for the fact that it has one of the most successful singles of the eighties on it (the powerful Blue Monday
), which brought alot of people on to New Order's music. There are many tracks, however, that are better. For example, one of the strongest tracks on the album is We All Stand
is a rather dark song, boasting mournful bass and synthesized guitars, as well as one of the few tracks on the album with actual drums, which actually is a rather impressive perfomance. The vocals are very slow and painful, expressing his pain of, well, you really can't make it out but it adds a great affect to the song. The song doesn't really change, but it's really nice to listen to, and does a decent job of showcasing New Order's darker side. Another noticable track is Leave Me Alone
, which has sad bass filtered through an enjoyable filter and the guitar which is really a very good point on the album. Breaking from sullen riff to full out chords with suspension, which really fits the song brilliantly. The drums are real, though they have that drum machine affect to it, which is really interesting. Ending at a short 4:40, it leaves a good effect on the album.
Well, it had to happen. Blue Monday
is actually not the best song on the album, despite it's eternal place in dance-rock history, and a Mars Bar commercial. I'm sure you've heard this before. It's the one with the funky down up down up up bass pattern, the harmonizing choir vocals, the complex drum riff with a few double pedal appearances, and the haunting vocals:
How does it feel, to treat me like you do, When you lay your hands upon me and told you who you are
Though there's two versions of this song on the album. There's the vocal-included Blue Monday
and the instrumental, harmonica free The Beach
, which, in my opinion, is more enjoyable than the vocal one. Both songs reach over 7:00, which allows maximum freak-out dancing (which, unfortunately, died in the eighties). What else can be said except timeless? Maybe a tad over-rated, but what the hell it's a great song.
There are only a couple songs that I don't quite like on this album. 5-8-6
is a boring song, and overly long, clocking it at about 7:30. There's nothing really good about the song. It's quite clearly a song that didn't have as much though put into it as most others on this album. A boring bass riff, a synthesizer, a lack of drums and an occasional annoying guitar fill really makes this almost unlistenable. Speaking of which, the next song that really doesn't leave a good impact on the album is the unexciting Ultraviolence
which sports a never-changing/ending bass riff with an occasional Police-esque vocals (it's really not as good as it sounds), and an extremely boring guitar riff that just goes on and on. The percussion is acceptable, but again it's way too repetetive. Nothing else can be said, except that it could've been cut down about , well, at least
two minutes, making it an at least decent length, making it more acceptable. 4:51? Hardly. It seems like a good 8:00, which is not a good thing. Most New Order epics are a good 6:00-8:00, but at least they are entertaining.
There you go, a brief outlook at one of the eighties most influential albums, a medley of bass hooks, chanting vocals, mourning guitars and drum (machines). Sure, it's dark, but it helps you get to feel the pain that they're feeling, even a couple years after Ian Curtis' death. But one thing can be sure; Ian sure as hell would be proud of New Order.
Bernard Sumner: Guitars, vocals
Peter Hook: Bass, vocals
Stephen Morris: Drums, percussion