I know what you're thinking because I was thinking it as well. How can a band that has only released eight studio albums have yet another greatest hits? Are they taking the piss or what? Singles is New Order's fifth greatest hits package after Substance, The Best of', The Rest of', the Retro box-set and the US release of International. By any bands standard that takes the biscuit. What makes Singles special in comparison to those other ones is that this is not re-recordings like some of Substance, nor is it an album of remixes (The Best of', The Rest of' and Retro) but it's actually a collection of the 25 years worth of singles in their original single forms spread over two discs.
Starting at the beginning with the Joy Division song that never was, 'Ceremony,' and ending with 'Waiting for the Sirens Call', which was only released in the UK last week, this is the definitive collection of New Order's singles. It showcases New Order in all their glory and shows you just why they were possibly one of the most influential bands of all time and certainly untouchable in their heyday. 'Everything's Gone Green' is where the band start to take that step away from the doom and gloom sound of their previous moniker and start to showcase the style that would change the face of music. 'Temptation' is a damn fine catchy song that even though it is over 20 years old still sounds fresh today and would fit in alongside Franz Ferdinand, The Bravery and The Libertines - sorry, I needed my NME moment - at any indie club night down the local student union.
'Blue Monday' may not be the greatest song in the New Order back catalogue, but it was the first song to combine guitars and what was going on down at the discotheque that caught the public's imagination. In the process it became the biggest selling 12' ever and an influence on everyone from The Killers (who took their name from a New Order video) to Moby to The Scissor Sisters. With the huge appeal of hip hop these days it seems funny that once again New Order dabbled in it during the 80's. The fantastic 'Confusion' combined 'the' hip hop producer Arthur Baker with New Order to make a song that was twenty years before its time.
Okay, so sometimes Bernard Sumner's lyrics make no sense and quite often his vocals are a little flat or off key, but that has always been part of the appeal of the band. And besides a bass sound like Peter Hook's is enough to make anyone weak at the knees, which is purely coincidental what with him playing the damn thing around his. No band has ever managed to stay so fresh and as inventive as New Order for so long with the commercial success. I think it may be a long time before any band even comes close
'Thieves Like Us' and 'Bizarre Love Triangle' are pure unadulterated pop and Disc 1 finishes on the high note of 'Touched by the Hand of God' before Disc 2 starts with a second version of 'Blue Monday,' which was the 1988 substance mix that is still in use today. The Acid House time of New Order, from their best album in my opinion Technique, and the only good football anthem ever written, 'World in Motion,' complete with the finest rap by a footballer to ever be committed to CD also sadly mark the beginning of New Order's drop from such lofty heights. In saying that, most bands would kill their own mothers to write an intro like 'Regret' and the criminally under-rated 'rockier' sound of the 'comeback' Get Ready. But after everything else they just don't sound quite as good as they do on their own. The same can't be said for 'Jetstream' though, it is just pure shite.
I doubt you will find a compilation as good as Singles this year. Sure, there is nothing new here, but quite a lot of the songs, or at least these versions, are getting their CD debut and so this makes it a must have for any New Order obsessive and also a great starting place for anyone looking into the band for the first time. I'd love to give it 10, but I know that would be wrong. If they had one new song on here or if I didn't think that this and the DVD were replacing the supposed album coming out next year, then I would have had no problem. But as it is, this package deserves a damn high score and gets it.
9.0 / 10
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