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Guest Post - Ranked: New Order Closers
New Order's Closing Tracks: Part 1 (10-6)
I’m delighted to have Kevin Alexander of , which you should be subscribing to as well, take over with the first of two guest posts on New Order’s closing tracks on each of their ten studio albums. This article will cover spots 10-6, with the top 5 appearing here next week.
After 35+ years, It's safe to say that I'm a New Order fanboy.
As barely a teenager, they were the first band I saw on my own. In the era of "midnight releases," I stayed up more than once to grab a copy of their latest release. I live and breathe soccer/football and am a big fan of the US team as anyone, but when ‘World In Motion’ dropped, I sang EN-GER-LAND as loud as any Three Lions faithful.
I had a large poster of Low Life on my living room wall far past when adults were supposed to have taken such things down.
When I first started covering music online, the first article I ever submitted for publication was about, you guessed it, New Order. This past week I came across a 12" for ‘Confusion’.
Do I already own this on multiple formats? Yes.
Did I own this specific variant? No.
Did I walk out of the store with it? You bet.
With New Order, you never know what you might get. Some points are easy; we've all watched as they morphed from Joy Division to a quasi-rock band. They continued, shapeshifting into dance-pop pioneers, dabbled in House, and put out a record to save their record label and club. They've seen their share of grief and drama as well.
As I write this, they're in the era of re-releasing box sets of previous records (if you throw a demo or two in, you can relabel them as definitive and charge half again as much) and are on the ballot for induction to the rock and roll hall of fame.
I want them to win. If nothing else, I'd like to see Peter Hook in the same room as the other three original band members. What would they play?
I have to think they find it all slightly bewildering.
After all, this is a band that sometimes seemed aloof but never seemed to take themselves too seriously, either.
Sure Hooky ate up the role of swashbuckler but even he seemed to be in on the joke. As for the others, I think that iciness was down more to shyness than arrogance.
Mostly, they just made the sort of music they found interesting and hoped the rest of us would as well. I've no idea how much effort they put into track order/mixing. Still, given what I know about the band, I think it's a relatively informal exercise, the obsession already having come with the construction of the songs themselves.
At any rate, some of the tracks on this list are ideal as closers. Some are not. And at least one leaves the listener wondering how it made it onto the final copy at all.
Below is my look back at all 10 (to date) closing tracks on New Order's studio albums, going from worst to first:
10. ‘Every Little Counts’ - Brotherhood
Maybe the closest thing to an outtake the band has ever included on a studio album. It feels like more an afterthought than anything else–and quite out of place on a record that spends most of its time forging exciting new ground. Brotherhood is the record that marks the band's pivot from analogue rockers to electropop.
They may have left it on to have a laugh. Even the band doesn't take it seriously, with Bernard Sumner barely getting halfway through the first verse before cracking up.
And with a verse like this, who could blame him?
Every second counts
When I am with you
I think you are a pig
You should be in a zoo
I guess I should've known
I'd end up on my own
Every second counts when I am with you
Every second counts
But a funny thing happens along the way; the synths kick in, adding an almost touching feel to some pretty mean lyrics.
9. ‘I told you so’ - Lost Sirens
This one feels more like a dirge. If you've ever done hard work under a broiling sun, you know what this song feels like.
Lost Sirens isn't so much a breakup record as a stirring of the ashes. Made from the leftovers of Waiting For the Sirens Call, it was the last to feature bassist Peter Hook- though he'd been gone for several years by this point.
And though he might've still been there for the recording, it feels like a second round of mourning for the band--on brand for a brand that felt a bit at sea.
8. ‘Avalanche’ - Republic
This entire record has the energy of parents staying together for the sake of their kids- which, in a way, the band was. ‘Avalanche’ comes across as a denouement. And maybe more than others on the list fits the closing track mould.
But it's also a little undercooked. There's not a lot of "there" there. The result sounds like someone was noodling around in the studio and never bothered to flesh the song out. By this point, perhaps Ibiza was getting to them, and they just mailed one last piece in to get to the required track count.
7. ‘Guilt Is A Useless Emotion’ - Waiting For The Siren's Call
Gillian Gilbert took this record off to care for her and Stephen Morris' children, Hook is on his way out, and the cracks show. Not a terrible track, but not a good one, either. Like much of the rest of the album, it's utterly forgettable. The most exciting thing about the album is that it's the first & only time they've had a title track. That might be the most damning indictment of all.
6. ‘Superheated’ - Music Complete
Sometimes the closing track is the record's highlight. With its soothing waves of synths and lilting rhythm, it feels cinematic in scope. If I'm honest, I'm surprised it's not the opener or at least kicks off side 2.
When the band plays ‘Temptation’ in concert, a film clip runs against the backdrop where the viewer is made to feel like they're soaring over open water like a bird. They should move that to this track instead.
That brings us to the end of Part 1. Stay tuned for Part 2 covering next week. Thank you to Mitchell for having me, and thank you for reading!