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Substance

4.5 out of 5 stars 147 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

New Order ~ Substance

Amazon.com

It's a simple concept--the first dozen singles by New Order collected, a couple of them rerecorded--but it's also a totally entertaining seven-year history of the band that married British post-punk alienation to the relentless hedonism of the dance floor. The band's hits were always deeply unconventional (like the haunting "Blue Monday," essentially a seven-minute drum machine test with a short lyric that alluded to the Falklands War), but they were brilliant productions, layering dozens of electronic countermelodies and percussion tricks over Barney Sumner's uncertain warble and Peter Hook's lead bass parts. Though they're audio snapshots of the dance beats of their time, they've held up both as club classics and as idiosyncratic rock songs. --Douglas Wolk

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Ceremony
  2. Everything's Gone Green
  3. Temptation
  4. Blue Monday
  5. Confusion
  6. Thieves Like Us
  7. Perfect Kiss
  8. Subculture
  9. Shellshock
  10. State of the Nation
  11. Bizarre Love Triangle
  12. True Faith

Disc: 2

  1. In a Lonely Place
  2. Procession
  3. Mesh
  4. Hurt
  5. The Beach
  6. Confusion Instrumental
  7. Lonesome Tonight
  8. Murder
  9. Thieves Like Us Instrumental
  10. Kiss of Death
  11. Shame of the Nation
  12. 1963


Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Qwest / Wea
  • ASIN: B000002LCK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (147 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,927 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Shortly after Ian Curtis committed suicide in 1980, it appeared as if his band Joy Division had died with him, and its members would now have to give up what were once very promising careers. But the surviving members weren't going to give up that easy & after changing their name to New Order (with the addition of keyboardist Gillian Gilbert & Joy Division guitarist Bernard Sumner taking over vocal duties), they released their first single "Ceremony" to modest commercial success, but substantial raves in the dance club underground. New Order released four studio albums in the first half of the 1980s, then in 1987, created an early career-capper with the unique retrospective SUBSTANCE.
Certainly smarter than your average greatest-hits collection, SUBSTANCE mostly is a gathering of New Order's early singles that never appeared on their albums, along with 12" single mixes that perhaps had become rare almost immediately after their initial release. 24 songs of these types are here on SUBSTANCE for posterity, but instead of it being another way of bringing royalities to the band, it's an extremely fine introduction to New Order, who at this point were just on the cusp of mainstream chart success.
New Order's debut single "Ceremony" was actually one of the last songs Joy Division ever wrote, and it hints at a possible lightening up that the band may have been undergoing at the time of Ian's death. It certainly is much warmer than the engaging coldness of most Joy Division music, and one can only wonder what it would have been like had Ian lived long enough to record it. "In A Lonely Place" is another great Joy Division cast-off that New Order manages to make into their own.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The word "essential" has been used to describe just about every CD available for sale on Amazon by one reviewer or another, but if any album deserves this description its Substance 1987 by New Order.

During the 80's, New Order crafted a unique and wonderful sound combining the fretty guitar work and almost-spoken vocals of Bernard Sumner, the absolutely wicked, high range lead bass guitar playing of Peter Hook, Stephen Morris's near-machine like drumming, and Gillian Gilbert's swirling keyboards.

Danceable, introspective, almost despondent, New Order somehow created brilliant, emotional songs through vocals and instrumental playing almost entirely lacking in any emotion, and, in so doing, laid the groundwork for much of today's dance music.
No one who appreciates wonderful music, then, should allow themselves to be unfamiliar with New Order, which is why this CD is a perfect purchase as it includes all of their best work.

Everything is here - the brilliantly written Ceremony ("Note for whom wheels are turning / Turn again and turn towards this time...."), the drug induced lyrics of Temptation ("Oh, you've got green eyes / Oh, you've got blue eyes, Oh, you've got grey eyes..."), the infamous, detached Blue Monday who's drum machine created beat sounds only slightly less machine-like than Bernard Sumner's vocals on the same, The Perfect Kiss, a beautiful, complicated multi-layered song combining just about every element of New Order's sound, the classic Bizarre Love Triangle ("Every time I see you falling / I get down on my knees and pray") and the sublime True Faith ("I used to to think that the day would never come / I'd see the light in the face of the morning sun...")

And that's just disc 1. Disc 2 has the b-sides from the above songs.
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Format: Audio CD
With the death of Ian Curtis, everything ground to a halt for Joy Division. Unable to continue in the vein of songs like "Komakino" and "Decades," unable to embark on their American tour, unsure of where to go after this sudden catastrophe, but unwilling to just give up music and disappear, at that time the remaining members of the band could only finish what was already started; their first release as New Order was the single "Ceremony" with B-side "In a Lonely Place." These are Ian Curtis' last poems, and the music for them had already been written, but Joy Division had not had time to release them, and so they came out under the New Order name with Bernard Sumner on vocals. Sumner doesn't do a bad job, really, bringing just the right restraint to them, but all he succeeds in doing is making Curtis' absence felt. Amidst the tender serenity of "Ceremony" and the haunted plains of "In a Lonely Place," not hearing Ian's familiar voice is heartbreaking. Needless to say, among Joy Division's followers these songs have attained the status of lost treasures. The most valuable aspect of the big Joy Division box set Heart and Soul is the presence of two low-fidelity rehearsal recordings of these very songs, filled with tape hiss, ending abruptly, but with Ian on vocals. For New Order, however, this was only a first step.
The Everything's Gone Green EP is the sound of New Order's road back from Joy Division's sound. The dance elements are there already - the jumping, processed synthesizers in the title track and "Procession" - but Sumner's singing still carries traces of Curtis.
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