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True Faith

In the spirit of The Specs “Lyrics We Love” mix, I have been thinking about a band that offered up some of the greatest collections of words in the English language: New Order.

If you didn’t have older siblings like I did, who ingrained New Order’s sound into my childhood, allow me to fill you in on this meteorite of music.

New Order arose with Joy Division‘s demise. And while this story can take up a post in itself, the short version is that the young Ian Curtis, lead singer of Joy Division, suffered from debilitating epilepsy and subsequent depression. And for whatever reason, he hung himself shortly before he turned 24, and mere months before Joy Division were set to embark on their first American tour. The remaining members of Joy Division, with the addition of the drummer’s girlfriend, became New Order.

New Order made music from 1980 until 2009, and this included some of the oddest-named yet most-memorable music in the world. You may not recognize a New Order song by title, but you will definitely recognize it by sound.

When I hear a band that takes electronic beats and mixes in emotional, affecting lyrics, I think of New Order. Not only did they become larger than life, they wrote some of the saddest, goofiest, most joyful lyrics I’ve ever heard.

“Temptation” – This song perfectly represents New Order, as it sheds the typical verse-chorus-verse standard. The end product here is more of a collection of really beautiful moments strung together, like flashes of memory from being in love, or on really great drugs.

“Oh you’ve got green eyes/Oh you’ve got blue eyes/Oh you’ve gray eyes
And I’ve never seen anyone quite like you before/No I’ve never met anyone quite like you before”

“Thieves Like Us” – A seemingly sweet ode to love– if you can get over him calling his beloved vain, describing his past filled with alcohol and pills, and finally proclaiming that love, ‘belongs to every one of us.’

“Love is the cure for every evil/Love is the Id, it supports the Ego
It’s called love/And it’s so uncool/It’s called love/And somehow it’s become unmentionable”

“Blue Monday (FAC SEVENTY THREE)” – This song is one of those overly popular songs that almost loses its meaning because we’ve all heard it so many times. But I would give it another listen. This is still the highest-selling 12″ single of all time. And you’ll notice Bernard Sumner‘s voice is very monotone here. This is a very early track, released in 1983, and much of their early music seemed to echo Curtis’ voice, as if Sumner was still trying to find his own.

“I thought I told you to leave me”

“Ceremony” – This song is wonderful and the most direct link between Joy Division and New Order. The lyrics were written by Curtis, and only three, partially-audible live versions of Joy Division performing the song exist. (Check out the Still album, or if you’re really cool, the Heart and Soul box set). It was re-recorded as New Order’s debut single in 1981.

“Heaven knows, it’s got to be this time”


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