double disc; 24 tracks
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from RACINE, WI
Reviewed on 5/18/2010...
Great Complilation with a lot of New Order's great tracks! Disc one includes the A-Sides, and Disc 2 includes B-sides of the 12 inche singles. One could argue that these are the definitive versions of New Order songs with mixes that are longer and potentially have better grooves and more layered tracks. If that's why you listen to New Order, then get this! If not...you may be more like me...you like these for the pop hooks...well, I like the grooves a lot, but I find the mixes on here to be too long (on some , not all tho). Some better mixes can be found on the Best of too on occasion (like Bizarre Love Triangle and 1963). All of the A-sides basically are pop hook laden grooves especially the earlier tracks from '81-'83 era which aren't included on the non-reissued albums. "Ceremony" (originally a Joy Division track) "Confusion", "Temptation" and "Theives Like Us" are amongst New Order's best tracks!! Obivious classics like "Blue Monday"(Orgy covered it..."How does it feel?), "Bizarre Love Triangle"("Every time I see you falling/I get down on my knees and pray") and "True Faith"("I feel so extraordinary") are included too. Disc 2 isn't as strong with a lot of instrumentals, and I really enjoy only when I am doing something while listening to it....except the first 4 tracks are dark and beautiful Joy Division-ish songs (Procession is favorite of many fans), and the last track "1963" is one of their strongest songs actually with a spooky narrative.
Near-perfect collection of New Order's early singles
H. Jin | Melbourne, Australia | 09/25/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Like Joy Division, New Order's singles as a rule didn't appear on their albums. Unlike Joy Division, New Order's singles were nearly always their best songs. All of this makes 'Substance' an essential collection for serious New Order fans, as well as being the best place to start for casual fans. 'Substance' covers that band's most consistent and creative period, beginning with the final Joy Division song 'Ceremony' and ending with 'True Faith', which would become one of their biggest hits.
The first CD consists of New Order's singles from 1981-1987, containing all of their most important songs: 'Ceremony', 'Temptation', 'Blue Monday', 'Perfect Kiss', 'Bizzare Love Triangle', 'True Faith'. Apart from new recordings of 'Temptation' and 'Confusion' (both of which are superior to the original versions), these are all the original extended 12" mixes. This does mean a couple of songs drag on a little, but the quality of the music is so high that most of the time you won't care. While every song has a clear electronic and dance/rock influence, there is still considerable diversity here: the post-punk of 'Ceremony', the vaguely hip-hop 'Confusion', the blue-eyed soul of 'Thieves Like Us', the football chant of 'Shellshock'. The only dud is the 12" mix of 'Subculture', which is a shocker, marred by annoying backup singers and unnecessary studio affects. The 7" version on 'Low Life' is vastly superior to this.
The second CD consists of all the B-sides, and as with Joy Division's 'Substance', there are some real hidden gems here. About half the tracks are take-it-or-leave-it remixes and instrumentals of the A-sides, but there are 7 original songs. Beginning with the unsettling 'In a Lonely Place', it includes 'Procession' and 'Mesh' (actually 'Cries and Whispers')from the Movement sessions, the proto-industrial 'Hurt', and a pair of decent pop/rock tracks in 'Lonesome Tonight' and '1963'. The most interesting song here is the disturbing 'Murder', a chaotic tribal song that sounds like it belongs a horror movie soundtrack.
In all, this is the best collection of New Order songs around. The 12" mixes really highlight the impact New Order's early work had on dance and electronic music, whereas most other collections present songs in the more radio-friendly 7" mixes. And given the band's singles were their best tracks, there are no weak spots or embarassing moments which plague a couple of the studio albums. This is simply a great collection of innovative dance/rock music, and arguably New Order's best ever release.