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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Box Set Reviews > New Order

New Order

Retro (London/Warner Brothers/Rhino R2 73834) 2002

Return to Box Sets Report Card

Copyright 2003 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: March 24, 2003.

Description:
New Order was spawned from the ashes of the seminal Mancunian punk band Joy Division when that group's lead singer, Ian Curtis, hung himself right before the band's first tour.  The other three members of the band got together, assigned lead vocals to guitarist Bernard Sumner (who had never sang before and had no real urge to start.)  Well, against all odds, the group pulled together and created the most intelligent and well-crafted new wave dance music of the 80s and essentially created electronica music and rave culture. 
What's Good About It?
I love the way this collection is put together.  It has four disks that cover four distinctly different sides of the group.  Disk one is made up of the pop hits.  Disk two has album tracks and rarities.  Disk three is made up of dance club remixes.  Disk four is all live performances.  All four of these disks could easily be sold on its own.  The hits disk is wall-to-wall dance nirvana.  "True Faith" is a near perfect song.  "The Perfect Kiss" is a deceptively lovely portrait of modern loneliness.  "Bizarre Love Triangle," "Regret" and "Blue Monday" are also dance club classics.  Branching out and showing the band's range, non-hits like "Elegia," "Dreams Never End" and "Cries and Whispers" rescue some undeservingly forgotten tunes from obscurity.  The dance remixes not only give radically different views of some well known tunes, but also revive some other worthy dancefloor faves like the subtly rocky "Touched By the Hand of God" and the joyous World Cup Anthem "World In Motion" (which lead singer Sumner refers to as one of the band's few "up" songs.)  The live disk is a revelation on its own, most electrical dance bands sound horrible in a concert setting but New Order were the real deal, sharp instrumentally and yet willing to jive and improvise a bit.  Add to this a fascinating booklet where the group members speak candidly about their music and place in history (refreshingly, they acknowledge freely that they don't particularly like "Blue Monday," one of their best known songs) and you have a near perfect example of how a box set should be put together.
What's Bad About It?
As much as I like New Order, when you listen to this much of their music over a short period, you do realize that there is a reason the band's sound is so distinctive... because sometimes it all sounds a little too much alike.
What's Missing?
Nothing at all.  This is as complete a portrait of a seminal band as I can remember.
Popentertainment.com final grade: A- 
All box sets should be compiled this intelligently.   A truly all-encompassing look at revolutionary band.  If you do not gain a full appreciation of New Order after this set, then you never will get them.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright 2003 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: March 24, 2003.

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