There’s something almost spiritual about listening to Blue Monday on vinyl. This is a format being used at its best, and it’s absolutely the way it was meant to be heard. In the first of a new series of Vinyl Moments, it’s only right that New Order come first.
Listening to Blue Monday always transports you to Manchester in 1983 anyway, regardless of the part of the world you grew up in and whether you have ever even visited the rainy northern city. There’s something particularly evocative about it. It’s so good, in fact, that I had to play Side B, The Beach, as well.
The Beach is, essentially, an alternative version of Blue Monday with ideas above its station. As part of the 12″ single, it’s a key piece of the jigsaw puzzle, and is always worth a listen in its own right.
The next 12″ single I own is equally important, the brilliant True Faith. Originally released to promote the first singles album Substance in 1987 and subsequently reissued in less good form in 1994, this is really New Order at their best – a huge, catchy song with a clever lyric and an appropriately big Peter Hook bass line.
On Side B, you get 1963. More melancholic but every bit as good as the A-side, this really makes for another great single. The vinyl may be less essential this time around, but it still sounds very good indeed.
By the way, I know the image above shows The Perfect Kiss as well, but to my intense disappointment, when I bought that a number of years ago, it turned out to have a record by someone else inside the sleeve. There’s a lesson there about checking what you’ve picked up before you buy it.
Instead, as a side-step, The Other Two & You comes next, the one-off album by the two members of New Order who weren’t at the time part of Electronic or Revenge, Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert. Since it’s all I own, it was the LP that I was listening to when I reviewed the album last year, and since it’s not a particular favourite of mine, I won’t put it on again.
Instead, let’s close with the fantastic Regret. After the collapse of Factory Records, it wouldn’t have been too surprising if New Order had collapsed as well, but instead they reappeared with Republic, containing four superlative new singles and some other highlights besides. It would take something much more fundamental to make New Order collapse – as far as I can make out, primarily in-fighting and egotism – and even then they bounced back.
Whatever the circumstances, Regret is truly exceptional – every bit as good as True Faith and all the other classics. Unfortunately my 7″ single must have a slight warp in it, as it seemed to wobble a bit a couple of times. I couldn’t make my mind up whether to play New Order‘s own remix from Side B, but it’s a good version, so I decided to go with it anyway, rounding off the trio of singles in fine fashion.
Next time, we’ll stick with the works of Bernard Sumner, and move on to his side-project with Johnny Marr, Electronic.