Where To Start With… New Order
When Joy Division’s mercurial frontman Ian Curtis tragically ended his own life in 1980 just as the band were on the cusp of international success, most people thought that would be the end – not just for the band and its remaining members Peter Hook, Stephen Morris and Bernard Sumner, but possibly also for Tony Wilson’s Manchester-based indie label Factory Records, for whom Joy Division had been the Great White Hope.
But Sumner and co. weren’t ready to quit and not only did they survive and continue to make music, their new incarnation – the aptly named New Order – would go on to achieve worldwide success with dancefloor-filling, multi-platinum singles like ‘Blue Monday’ and become Factory’s flagship act, helping bring dance music into the mainstream and spearheading the ‘Madchester’ scene of the late 1980s that sprang up around Wilson’s club The Hacienda, paving the way for artists like The Happy Mondays.
Since then the band have released several albums and endured two break-ups, parting ways with bassist Peter Hook in 2007, but reforming in 2011 (minus Hook) for a world tour and to begin work on what would become their 10th studio LP, Music Complete, which arrives in stores today (you can preview and purchase it on the right-hand side of the page) and includes the brilliant single ‘Plastic’, their best tune for a long, long time.
Fans of the band are probably already reaching for the car keys or hovering their mouse cursors over the buy link on the right-hand side of this page, but for those who are latecomers to New Order’s extensive back catalogue, we’ve put together a handy five-point guide to get you started…
Complete with an iconic and bizarre video from Philippe Decouflé and Michael Shamberg, 'True Faith' was one of New Order’s biggest hits in their mid-80s heyday and it’s Bernard Sumner’s songwriting at its best; simple, anthemic and uplifting, this is a big, unashamed pop classic.
Taken from their 1993 album Republic, the last album before the band’s first split a year later, ‘Regret’ is New Order at their most radio-friendly and was one of their biggest hits from the 90s thanks to the resulting inactivity (the band wouldn’t reform until 1998). Bernard Sumner’s lyrics have never been the most cerebral, but that’s not to say the don’t stick in your head, and ‘Regret’ definitely will.
Released as a single in 1982, ‘Temptation’ might be better known for its extensive use in Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting than anything else, but it’s one of their more dancefloor-orientated tunes, albeit with that trademark pop sheen they’re so good at. This is just good in your car as it is in your dancing shoes.
New Order have written many brilliant and challenging albums, and as pioneers of the electronic music scene they did more than their fair share of envelope-pushing, but you always get the sense with New Order that they don’t take themselves too seriously, so let’s just take a moment to remember that they wrote the best football song ever. And before anyone cries ‘Three Lions’, let us ask you this: does ‘Three Lions’ feature a rap by England legend John Barnes? No it does not.