New Order was formed in 1980. Throughout their career, they managed to have much success with their melding of post-punk and electronic dance music. They were also one of the most synonymous bands of the Manchester music scene. In the early years, New Order’s sound was a continuation of the proto-goth sound of Joy Division. However, as the ’80s went on they started to become much more commercial with the song “Blue Monday” being one of the biggest all-time hits of the decade. Since then they have split up and got together again three times, although Hook is no longer a member of the band. These are our favorite New Order songs.
# 10 – Crystal
Kicking off the list is the first single from the band’s comeback album Get Ready released in 2001. This album saw the band take on a more “rock” sound, more than which they had ever had before, with several songs on this album being considerably less electronic-based. Their previous album, Republic was released eight years previously in 1993. “Crystal” is the album’s opening track and a strong one. A real dance-rock floor filler, it charted at number eight on the UK singles chart as well as finding much success internationally. It was also very well received critically, with many praising its sound and feeling that New Order was well and truly back in business.
# 9 – Your Silent Face
Next is the opening track to the band’s second album Power Corruption and Lies. This track is a transitional song from the Joy Division sound to New Order, as it has elements of the more melodic side of the former band whilst at the same time it is more electronic, acting as an indicator of the sound that the band would have much success with throughout the ’80s. Despite its melodies, it is a very sad and melancholy sounding song.
# 8 – Love Vigilantes
The opening track from 1985’s Low-Life is a song that sees New Order playing in a style that is not the norm for them. Even though you can tell it’s them, this song does away with their usual electronic sound and has a clear folk influence which is not something you usually expect from this band. The song is about a man who returns home from the Vietnam War and finds that his wife has committed suicide, thinking that he is dead.
# 7 – Vanishing Point
This track is from the band’s Technique album released in 1989 which was recorded in Ibiza. This environment proved to be a massive influence on the album’s sound, as it is inspired heavily by the acid house and Balearic club scenes. Although it was not a single, “Vanishing Point” is one of the album’s standout tracks which shows them successfully pulling this newly influenced sound off while still retaining their identity.
# 6 – Thieves Like Us
“Thieves Like Us” is a standalone single released in 1984. It was named after the 1974 film of the same name. The song is electro-pop to a tee, being more than a little reminiscent of their contemporaries such as Depeche Mode. Self-produced by the band, in the UK the song reached number 18 in the mainstream singles chart and topped the indie singles chart. Despite not being included on an album of original material it has appeared on both the compilation album Substance from 1987 and the 2008 collector’s edition of Power Corruption and Lies.
# 5 – Run
The third and final single from Technique, although its official title is “Run 2”, it is listed on the album’s track listing simply as “Run”. The single version is a lot more stripped back when compared to the album version, made shorter to be more radio friendly. What is most well known about this song is that John Denver sued the band for it, claiming that it was plagiarizing his song “Leaving on a Jet Plane.” The case was settled out of court and the song has been since credited to Denver as well as the band.
# 4 – Temptation
This track was originally released in 1982 as a standalone single and reached number 29 in the UK Charts. There are several different versions of this song. Initially, it was released as a 7-inch along with a longer 12-inch version. The former is more commercial and synth-based than the more experimental latter version. Then in 1987, the song was re-recorded entirely in 1987 to be included on the Temptation album. This version has become the best known due to its appearance on the soundtrack to the movie Trainspotting. A final version was recorded after the band’s reformation in 1998.
# 3 – Age of Consent
Released in 1983 and also from Power Corruption and Lies, this track has a particularly sublime bass line courtesy of Hook. Again, like much of the material from this period, there are a lot of elements left over from the Joy Division sound. Also, it has much of the sadness and despair of the previous band still prevalent, which may or may not be due to the fact that they were still coming to terms with Ian Curtis’s death.
# 2 – Regret
Just off the top spot is the lead single taken from the final album of their first tenure Republic released in 1993. It was their first to be released through London Records after the collapse of Factory. The single was successful both critically and commercially, reaching number 10 in the U.K. as well as Canada and Ireland. It was also their highest charting on the US Billboard at number 28. As the title would suggest, the lyrics are reflective on life, dealing with things that Sumner has regretted and the changes that he wants in life, which in context likely explains why the band soon disbanded.
# 1 – Blue Monday
Topping off this list is New Order’s most famous track. It was first released as a 12-inch single in 1983. It is one of the most famous and celebrated electronic/alternative rock songs of the 1980s. It was a massive hit upon its release, reaching the top 10 in numerous countries and is in fact, the biggest selling 12-inch single of all time. A true floor filler at many an indie disco over the past four decades, its iconic electronic riff and mechanical percussion have proved to be timeless. There have been several cover versions of it from bands such as Orgy and 808 State.
Updated May 27, 2023
Top 10 New Order Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
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