Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Alternative Rock, Rock
Extraordinary music; I'd still go with Substance though.
Angry Mofo | 05/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The sign of a really good band is when they have so many great songs that they don't need to put all of them on their albums. New Order's career has been so rich with great songs that they could afford to scatter them around as EPs, singles, B-sides, soundtrack appearances and so on. In fact, only four of the twelve songs on the first disc of the famed 1987 compilation Substance came from New Order's albums. Even those four songs were reworked from their album counterparts and presented in more danceable, often vastly superior form. For instance, "The Perfect Kiss" is much better on Substance than on Low-life.
In fact, I think that that was really the main reason why Substance became so successful (it remains New Order's best-selling release to this day). It is impossible to anthologize New Order's entire career. No matter what you choose, someone like me is going to pop up and gripe about how something got left out. But Substance approached the task from just the right angle -- it compiled brilliant songs that many listeners might not have had on record otherwise. So, on one hand it's one of the most enjoyable records of all time, and on the other hand it doesn't feel redundant at all.
This compilation clearly tries to improve on Substance. It essentially replicates Substance's first disc. But instead of staying to non-album tracks, the second disc mostly reduces to a selection of songs from New Order's four post-1987 albums -- the three singles from Technique, the four from Republic, and others from Get Ready and Waiting For The Sirens' Call. They are all good, but now the griping can begin, because, for instance, the compilation misses "Someone Like You" and "Guilt Is A Useless Emotion," the band's two best latter-day dance songs, as well as fine album tracks like "Mr. Disco," "Vanishing Point," "Primitive Notion," "Hey Now What You Doing" and "I Told You So." Yes, it's a "Singles" compilation, but that's not the best format for a New Order retrospective to begin with, since the singles from Waiting For The Sirens' Call were actually not as good as some of the album tracks. The compilation unintentionally sells the recent albums short, even though they're what provided the excuse for the compilation's existence.
The other problem with the whole approach is that Technique and Republic are superb albums, the peak of New Order's career, so it's better to just go and buy both of them, perhaps with Substance as an appetizer first, instead of trying to grab the highlights from all three. But then, since this compilation heavily relies on the singles from the albums, it becomes redundant much more quickly. Which, you'll recall, is exactly what Substance so masterfully avoids. And that means that, if you're really intent on just grabbing highlights, it's better to just go with Substance.
In order to cram as many songs as possible into two discs, Singles presents many of them as drastically shortened seven-inch edits. Fortunately, "Blue Monday," "True Faith," "Regret" and "World In Motion" are unaltered. But look, "The Perfect Kiss" needs the eight-minute Substance version with the deafening, ecstatic crescendo in the end, and "Bizarre Love Triangle" sounds better with Shep Pettibone's world-famous arrangement. "Temptation," "Fine Time," "Crystal" and "1963" need their full running time also. The one time when this policy accidentally succeeds is with "Ceremony," since the original single version might just sound fuller and more spacious than the twelve-inch version on Substance. At the very least, collectors will be interested. Although, what's the point of including the seven-inch version of "Ceremony" if it's not accompanied by "In A Lonely Place"?
Furthermore, some of the best songs from the second disc of Substance are missing. Only "Procession" and "1963" make it to this compilation. Granted, the second disc of Substance was rounded out with five largely unnecessary instrumental remixes of the famous singles, and their omission here is more of an advantage over Substance rather than a drawback. But how can one possibly overlook "In A Lonely Place," "Cries And Whispers" and "Lonesome Tonight"? And even with the omissions, the compilation still finds enough room for one unnecessary remix, "Blue Monday '88."
There is one way to improve on Substance: keep the first disc unchanged, remove the five instrumental remixes from the second disc, and replace them with unedited versions of original non-album songs. Those being "Mesh," which is the only song from the Everything's Gone Green EP that's missing from Substance, then the soundtrack appearances "Touched By The Hand Of God" (included here in edited form) and "Brutal," the non-album singles "World In Motion" (included) and "Here To Stay" (included, but edited), the rare song "Such A Good Thing" from the Retro box-set, and one or both of the original instrumentals "Best And Marsh" and "Vicious Circle," which are B-sides from Technique and Republic, respectively. If there's still space left, slap on a B-side like "Sabotage" or "Behind Closed Doors" from the Get Ready sessions, or "Player In The League" from the "Here To Stay" single, or another soundtrack appearance like "Let's Go," or their rendition of Jimmy Cliff's "Vietnam," to this day their only studio cover. Or, if you want to include something really super-rare instead, there's always "Homage" from the band's first demo as New Order, it would fit in well with the Everything's Gone Green B-sides. Until someone does that, Substance will remain the best New Order compilation."
Spectacular chronology, perfect collection
John S | Texas | 06/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I cannot say how influential New Order were, I was neither a musician, nor a sensible music journalist, but one thing I can tell about New Order: there was a mysterious aureole about them, especially for people who didn't see the band live. It was an intriguing, very fresh feeling to hear or read about New Order, so was their sound.
"Singles" is a great opportunity to show New Order's sonic development from post punk to disco dance to the mature guitar pop of the 2000s; it easily outshines the band's all previous compilations. "Substance" (1987) still performs its mission as a handy collection of 12" A- & B-sides, but it's very dated. "(the best of) New Order" (1994) always felt like a quick cash-in after London Records had acquired the Factory catalogue, and apart from the superior sound, there's nothing that isn't on "Singles". "International" (2002) was and now even more is an odd lifeless mix of "hits". In the late 90s New Order toyed with the idea of issuing a box of all singles they had released, but the "Recycle" project never materialized. Finally, as if having the presentiment of falling apart again, New Order released this brilliant collection. The concept is simple: to get together 30 or so singles in their shortest possible format (that is 7" and radio edits, save for "Blue Monday" for obvious reasons) and place it onto 2 CDs. With a little trickery this task is done greatly. The booklet includes a brief eulogy and eye-pleasing sleeve art of each single.
Few technical oddities for those who are interested:
1) "Singles" has several tracks and song versions that hadn't appeared officially on CD before. These are: "Ceremony" (7", 1981; original version recorded in late 1980, without Gilbert), "Everything's Gone Green" (7", 1981), "Temptation" (7", 1982), "Confusion" (7", 1983), "Thieves Like Us" (7", 1984), "Sub-Culture" (7", 1985), "State of the Nation" (7", 1986).
2) The edit of "Everything's Gone Green" presented here is the B-side of "Procession" (1981). The cover art for "Everything's Gone Green" singles shown in the booklet is wrong, it's merely the "1981-82" EP sleeve.
3) "1963" is listed as remixed by Arthur Baker; it's not, it's the original 1987 edited version from the "True Faith" B-side. Baker's remix of "1963" was made for the "Nineteen63" single in 1995 (sleeve art of which is shown).
4) "Blue Monday `88" is simply a remix of the original song. Only due to its historical significance for New Order's career (second US hit), it is included here. "Blue Monday '95" in a great remix by Hardfloor didn't get the same treat.
5) The miserable fate of "Run 2" is again perfectly shown here. It's not "Run 2" at all, but the album version of "Run". Because of the lawsuit with John Denver over the similarities with his "Leaving in Jet Plane", "Run 2" cannot be officially released. HOWEVER, you can find it in "A Collection", New Order video compilation DVD (2005).
6) "Turn" is just a wishful thinking. It was believed to be released as a single in the spring 2006 but this never happened."