Everyone knows the story of Joy Division and New Order. Even if you’re not a fan of the band you probably know that four Mancunian’s got together made glacial austere tunes often of a melancholy nature with the obligatory troubled front man at the helm. They established a cult following and fervent worship in the music papers then just before they were due to hit the States the frontman hung himself.
The surviving members regrouped discovered dance music and carried on with shades of their former band in evidence only now with a glistening pop dance sheen that stood them in good stead through the eighties and nineties, although it has to be said they were better in the eighties.
I love both of these bands. Lots of people love both of these bands. Even casual observers of their career path will have found enough to dip in and purchase one of their greatest hits albums.
And there’s the rub. I’m about to review another of their “greatest hits” albums. I forget how many New Order have released now. We’ve had the definitive “up to 1987” release ‘Substance’ which was frankly fucking ace. The generally cobbled together ‘Best Of & Rest Of’ compilations which were frankly dire and the exhaustive ‘Retro’ which was perhaps for the die hard fans only. It’s a similar story with Joy DIvision although obviously with a bit less material.
And yet here we go again, this time Rhino Records see fit to trawl the archives and give us “Total” which consists of everything we have already got (and it is hardly total). This time they’re diluting the mix by putting New Order and Joy Division tracks together on the same album, a haphazard mix and match of ‘lets sling it together and hope we shift some’. Honestly, it’s like standing on the edge of the pool and shamelessly pissing in the water.
The tracks of course remain great, you’ve got the usual suspects from the Joy Division stable. Transmission, Love Will Tear Us Apart (yet again…), She’s Lost Control and Atmosphere. Then with New Order you’ve got Blue Monday, The Perfect Kiss (this shit edit, you couldn’t even give us the fucking majestic full length version…you tight bastards), Bizarre Love Triangle, Regret (their last great single), True Faith…
…why am I even telling you this?
You know these tracks. I’m sure you own them already (or at least some of them)
If you own an existing ‘Best of’ this is a pointless exercise. If you don’t and you are looking for an introduction to either New Order or Joy Division go and get ‘Substance’ (there’s an edition for both bands) or maybe cherry pick through their back catalogue (it wont break the bank).
Oh there’s an unreleased New Order track on here as well to sugar the pill. It is shit. Its from the time when they got shit. It so shit they couldn’t even be arsed to put it on one of their past their prime albums.