New Order, The Singles, Competition

12 Oct 2005

New Order Singles

New Order release their simply entitled 'The Singles' on Monday 3 October. A double CD, it's 31 tracks cover their entire career to date including the new single 'ewaiting for the Sirens' Call'

To celebrate New Order releasing their simply entitled 'The Singles' album on Monday 3rd October we have albums and postcard sets to give away Click here to enter

THE FIRST New Order single was a cover version of Ceremony, a Joy Division song. Since then they've pretty much stuck to their own material. And of course, they were Joy Division, a fact which sometimes seemed a bit shocking when you were watching them in a video with Keith Allen and John Barnes, or appearing with some Frenchmen jumping up and down in fat suits. It's a bit of a journey from Ceremony to World In Motion, from dark, beery clubs at the end of punk to soundtracking Gallic art ballet.

New Order were always about journeys, and you see that nowhere more clearly than in their singles. There's the split personality of Procession - a moody thing, lying in a mossy bed - and its flip side Everything's Gone Green, which is a monstrous, whipped dance single, all thrashed guitars and beats. There's Blue Monday, from the day New Order went to the equipment shop and invented the future. There's Temptation, from the day before that, when they decided to cram all the works of a big long 12" single onto a little fat 7". You can see how they got from the clattering nonsense of Confusion (New Order go to New York!) to the astonishing dancefloor Tyrannosaurus of Bizarre Love Triangle - namely via the gorgeous Thieves Like Us and the beautiful holiday-for-bass that is The Perfect Kiss - through Sub-Culture's rude disco and the stuttering what-the? of Shellshock and its boyfriend State Of The Nation, that's how.

And that's just the first half of the '80s. Round this time it felt like New Order were releasing a single every ten minutes, like little diaries for the radio. Which obviously they weren't, even Factory weren't that daft, but New Order always have been a proper singles band, the sort of people who would release different versions of songs from the album as singles or even - clutch the pearls - might not put the single on the album at all! (No New Order single before Sub-Culture was on an album, and the 7" of Sub-Culture drops the bomb on the album version).

The late '80s saw New Order and the rest of the world looking each other in the eye, for a while. True Faith was a real life pop hit, Blue Monday finally got the attention it deserved, and then New Order (and the rest of the world) went to Ibiza. While the rest of the world rode horses around nightclubs and told everyone it loved them, New Order made Balearic tunes that didn't sound like anything else (if anything, they sounded like Joy Division around a swimming pool). Around them acid house, baggy, and Madchester were happening, and New Order were uncles to all that, but only paused to drop a shiny sixpence into the pockets of the Happy Mondays before moving on. And that took care of the second half of the '80s.

New Order in the '90s continued to be the greatest band in the world. They released their best pop-chart singles. There was Regret, which may well be the best single of the 1990s, full of the best of New Order - a bass like an anvil bouncing, a lyric that's both melancholy and hilarious, with beats and electronics working in rhythm. And there was the aptly-named Spooky, a song which gave the charts Barney's best crooning vocal.

These days New Order are as awesome as ever. They kicked off the new millennium with some of their most rock singles ever, most notably the more-than-powerful Crystal, a dart of a record, light like air, heavy like rock. And they show no signs of stopping. In 2005, they released another new record, this one as full of pop and strangeness as ever, and featuring one of the catchiest, hookiest (as it were) singles of the decade, the Kraftwerk-tributing Krafty, another instalment in the New Order diaries. It's been an extraordinary journey from Ceremony to Krafty, but, as you can hear for yourself, it's been a great one. And these diaries are well worth reading.

David Quantick


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