It's about time. All five of New Order's classic '80s studio albums are being reissued with remastered sound and bonus discs of remixes and rarities, plus new liner notes and interviews with the band. Collector's Editions will be out on Rhino on September 29 in the UK and November 11 in the U.S. Here's a rundown of what's new on each one:
Movement (1981) | New Order hadn't quite shaked the spectre of Joy Division on this one, with Martin Hannet's signature production and titles/lyrics that felt more like they were trying to be depressing than they actually were. Nor had they figured out who was going to sing: both Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook take lead on tracks. Musically, though, it was great.
Bonus disc: The original version of "Ceremony" recorded in New Jersey as a three-piece mere weeks after Ian Curtis' death, and the rerecorded version with Gillian Gilbert that was included on Substance; "Cries and Whispers," which a lot of people think is called "Mesh" thanks to being mislabeled so on Substance; the entirety of the 1981 – Factus 8 – 1982 EP, the real "Mesh," and the original version of "Temptation" (which was rerecorded for Substance). Also, the 7" version of "Temptation" which was featured on the soundtrack to Something Wild.
MP3: Dreams Never End
Power, Corruption & Lies (1983) | After a string of increasingly strong singles, including the groundbreaking "Blue Monday," released only two months previous, Power Corruption & Lies shows a confident New Order that's not afraid to sound happy. From "Age of Consent" through "Leave Me Alone," is consistently brilliant, especially when you consider most songs are only two chords.
Bonus disc: Not as interesting to fans as Movement, nearly all the tracks here have been easily available on CD elsewhere. The best thing about the bonus disc is that it takes "Blue Monday" and it's instrumental version, "The Beach," and moves them off the main disc and moves them here where they belong. There's also the original version of their electro-influenced "Confusion" (superior, in my opinion, to the rerecorded version on Substance); "Thieves Live Us," one of their best-ever singles, as well as its instrumental version, and its b-side, "Lonesome Tonight" (both on Disc 2 of the Substance CD); and the thundering instrumental "Murder," which was released as a single on Factory Benelux, and found on the second disc of the Substance CD.
MP3: The Village
MP3: Lonesome Tonight
Low-Life (1985) | New Order at the peak of their abilities, melding the guitar and dancey sides of their persona. Contains some of their best-loved songs ("Love Vigilantes," "Sub-Culture," "The Perfect Kiss") and some of their most underrated (everything else on the record, but especially "Sunrise" and "Face Up"). No bad songs. Not only my favorite New Order album, it's one of my favorite albums period.
Bonus disc: Juciest item is the full, 17-minute version of "Elegia" which fades out around the five minute mark on Low-Life;12" versions of "Subculture" (also the dub verision), and "The Perfect Kiss"; two instrumental tracks from their contributions to Beth B's 1988 film, Salvation!, including the great "Let's Go"; non-LP single "State of the Nation," the John Robie remix of Pretty in Pink's "Shellshock." Not sure why they didn't go ahead and put everything from Salvation! on here, all the tracks were good, especially one called "Skullcrusher."
MP3: Face Up
MP3: Let's Go
BONUS NOT-ON-THE-CD MP3: Skullcrusher
Brotherhood (1986) | A quickie, released a mere 16 months after Low-Life, and was considered a disappointment at the time but it's held up pretty well over the last 22 years. Side One is all guitars, Side Two is disco. Both are worth hearing, with the lovely "As it Was When it Was," the sparkling "Way of Life," their big hit "Bizarre Love Triangle," moving Ian Curtis tribute "All Day Long," and goofy album-closer "Every Second Counts."
Bonus disc: Well, "Every Second Counts," with a joke ending that freaked out thousands of turntable-owners at the time, doesn't close this version of Brotherhood. For some reason, they've tacked-on "State of the Nation" to the end of the first disc, despite also appearing on the bonus disc of Low-Life. This could be a misprint or mis-communication, let's hope so. As for the bonus disc, it's disappointing. There's non-LP single "Touched by the Hand of God" which was also on the Salvation! soundtrack; the lame "Blue Monday '88" and it's instrumental, renamed "Beach Buggy"; two remixes of Substance's "True Fait
h" and the single's original b-side "1963"; the 12" version of "Bizarre Love Triangle" and a remix of "Angle Dust" titled "Evil Dust."
MP3: Way of Life
Technique (1989) | Recorded in Ibiza where the band probably had too much fun, the album is probably their sunniest in demeanor. Heavily influenced by the Balaeric disco that was popular there at the time, as best exemplified by the silly first single "Fine Time" that had Bernard Sumner doing his best Barry White. Second single "Round and Round" is the best thing on the first, undercooked half of Technique, but Side Two is absolutely brilliant, from the folky "Run" (which got them sued by John Denver who claimed they ripped off "Leaving on a Jet Plane" though I don't hear it) through album-closer "Dream Attack."
Bonus disc: Some good stuff here. B-sides "Don't Do It" and "Theme from Best and Marsh" (both instrumentals), the rare, disco-fied single version of "Run" retitled "Run 2" (pulled from shelves after the Denver debacle) and it's b-side, "MTO"; 12" mixes of "Round and Round" and "Fine Time"; an instrumental version of sultry disco number "Vanishing Point." Also some awful stuff: the worst single New Order ever released, the official England World Cup theme "World in Motion," featuring rapping members of the team. New Order's only #1 UK single.
MP3: Dream Attack