New Order
Music Complete


2.0
poor

Review

by Jordan M. STAFF
September 28th, 2015 | 53 replies


Release Date: 09/25/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A dubious honor: New Order's most lackluster effort yet.

It's tempting to appraise Music Complete as a return to New Order ethos pre-Technique, before Peter Hook was an enemy, Gillian Gilbert fought cancer, and we were forced to endure not just Waiting for the Siren's Call but a turgid follow-up composed of its better forgotten loose cuts. It's understandable: for a band who (twice) single-handedly revolutionized rock music and brought electronic dance music to the masses, their output since the demise of Factory has been inconsistent at best. This is a band who, despite achievements, managed exactly one good song in the '90s ("Regret"), only to spend twenty years spectacularly flaming out. Understandably, some will feel less cheated if they could hear Sumner take at least one more stab at electronic arrangements; however, it's an insult to think Music Complete would best service anyone. It's often nothing more than vapid gesturing; a farce of synths masquerading as songwriting and good will.

The fact that the core members appear to be in a better place as of late speaks volumes to Hook's contributions to the music. Without wanting to overstate the case, his absence is conspicuous: try not to forget "What Do You Want from Me", the greatest song New Order never wrote, retired to Monaco's debut and never given its proper due. Melodically speaking, it's everything Hook brought to New Order, replete with tight bass grooves and insatiably subtle vocal hooks. Music Complete doesn't have any of those moments: most songs find themselves harking back to "Regret" at the best of times and "World in Motion" at their absolute worst. Particularly poor is the back-to-back run of "Tutti Frutti" and "People on the High Line", so vapid and trying they fail to distinguish these revolutionaries from A Flock of Seagulls or The Thompson Twins. This occurs often- lead single "Restless" sort of sets the tone right by cooperating guitar and synths, only for momentum to be eradicated by the titular sound of "Plastic".

It's a shame that such faceless and generic compositions are being thought of as 'New Order standards'; someone should have told Sumner that we didn't really care if New Order continued with guitars instead of synths, we just cared about whether or not the band were inspired enough to bother. Get Ready, for all of its flaws (and there were many), at the very least showed confidence in the band progressing in guitar-oriented directions. In 2015, this material sounds like pander, as if knowingly, Sumner has loaded the album with far-flung guest features (Iggy Pop, Brandon Flowers, et al.), Gilbert's synths, and Peter Saville artwork as so to impress a now despondent audience. It rarely ever goes above functional, and what we're left with is Music Complete, an album deserving of the dubious honor of New Order's most lackluster effort yet.



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user ratings (114)
Chart.
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
helpoemer420 (3)
its okay...


Comments:Add a Comment 
IanPhillips
September 28th 2015


22 Comments


Good review.

RadicalEd
September 28th 2015


9546 Comments


I'm baffled that these guys are still around.

RadicalEd
September 28th 2015


9546 Comments


Yeah, their 80s is mostly gold. Just checked the two linked songs and from what I've heard you're right on the money. There is nothing baaad about the music, but it's also devoid of any noteworthy, interesting or even catchy moments. Just bland as fuck.

ArsMoriendi
September 28th 2015


26509 Comments


That album cover looks like it was made in MS Paint in 5 minutes...

Digging: They Might Be Giants - Flood

IHateRadiohead
September 28th 2015


342 Comments


This album sounds like it was made in 5 minutes.

ShitsofRain
September 28th 2015


8141 Comments


couldnt care less

Digging: D.E.A. - Screwed for Life

Kaleid
September 28th 2015


741 Comments


Nice review - quite a few I've read have been positive, so it's good to read an alternative view. It does seem like they just can't be arsed anymore.

LotusFlower
September 28th 2015


12001 Comments


what a boring album cover

Tyler.
September 28th 2015


17008 Comments


Can someone explain to me what happened with Peter hook

cryptside
September 28th 2015


2397 Comments


Nice review, Arcade. Love that concluding para.

PappyMason
September 28th 2015


5702 Comments


Mate, this is a brilliant review.

I love New Order, but I haven't listened (properly) to anything after Technique - I just don't want too.

Incidentally, I just saw a poster for this on my way home where one publishing platform called it their "best album since Technique". That's not really high praise is it?

Tunaboy45
September 28th 2015


16750 Comments


Not gonna lie, I'm completely unfamiliar with these guys save for a couple of songs.

Digging: The National - I Am Easy to Find

PappyMason
September 28th 2015


5702 Comments


I'd get on them lad.

ExplosiveOranges
September 28th 2015


4408 Comments


Understandably, some will feel less cheated if they could hear Sumner take at least one more stab at electronic arrangements, however, it's an insult to think Music Complete would best service anyone.

nitpick here, but i'd prefer you replace the comma before "however" with a semicolon or period.

vapid gesturing: a farce of synths

might be wrong, but i think you need a semicolon there instead

better place than in recent times

this could be my reading comprehension failing me, but "than in recent times"...?

New Order standards': someone should have

not entirely sure again, but i think you need a semicolon instead

other than that, review is 11/10


bloc
September 28th 2015


55882 Comments


Album's still like a 3 or something, but I think this is a huge improvement over Lost Sirens. The last 3 albums have kinda all sounded the same though.

Digging: Paris - Sleeping with the Enemy

Log S.
September 29th 2015


2625 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

they don't sound anything alike, even if you're not a fan

Log S.
September 29th 2015


2625 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

& @chesse13



hook left because he was tired of playing the same old shit at n.o. live shows basically

a sentiment i can agree with given just how samey the setlists have been for the past, i don't know, 10 years or so now? (i guess a little less since they'd split for a while)



peter hook & the light as a rebuttal was a bit much though

WilhelmBlack
October 2nd 2015


603 Comments


Peter Hook left over creative differences and the sound went with him.

Log S.
October 2nd 2015


2625 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

yeah that situation really needs a compromise

both are in the wrong and neither are really benefitting from the way shit is now



though i am a fan of this record

StrangerofSorts
Staff Reviewer
October 2nd 2015


2905 Comments


Good, functional review man. Good ideas, great knowledge. I like the style - it's like someone telling you what's what in the pub, which is definitely the one to go for (especially for this kind of review!) - but some of the flow could be tweaked. It bumbles about too much. It takes too long for a sentence to reach its close. Snappy ideas need snappier flow



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