New Order - Music Complete

So it seems everyone has been lauding the return of New Order with this record.  Well I am also thankful that they got together and made this record even without Peter Hook.  However I am not as happy with it as the other reviewers I have read.  It just isn't "complete".  It sounds like tracks from past New Order albums that were left off.  It is lacking some of the depth of past records.  Less tricks and rhythmic variations.  Still I wouldn't want to be without it.

I could go track by track and say what past album I think the song belongs, but there isn't really a point to taking it that far.  I've listened to the album about 5 times now and only one track has really caught my full attention.

A1) Restless - The first single and the most trashed song on the record.  Several reviews have said this is the worst song on the album, not bad but just tedious.  They counter with the rest of the album being so much better... I have to say this track said to me there was no need to buy this record because it wasn't adding anything to their catalog - it was just more New Order, not new New Order.

A2) Singularity - High energy dance number, the kind that insists you run to the dance floor, however, you end up leaving before the song ends because it just seems to go on and on.

A3) Plastic - Driving beat, really gets inside your head.  Most likely candidate for dance floor success with enough darkness to make it into the goth scene.

B1) Tutti Fruitti - funky, but overly long, gets your interest but has a hard time retaining it.  Has more tricks, breaks and other interesting elements than most of the other tracks though

B2) People On The High Line -  very 80s

B3) Stray Dog - "in the darkness of the mire" - mired in repetitive beats and spoken words

C1) Academic - Very nice vocals, solid New Order

C2) Nothing But A Fool - Late night radio worthy - definitively New Order

D1) Unlearn This Hatred - A meaningful message but simple lyrics and really weird choices in music - I fine this the hardest song to like

D2) The Game - OK song, fits the bill but doesn't stand out

D3) Superheated - The nicest melody and strongest lyrics on the album.  I had to listen to the entire record to find my favorite song, I wish they could avoid using cliches like "Bird on a Wire" but otherwise catchy, fun, and leaves you wanting more of it.

I realize there is a lot of criticism in this review, but it is more of a reaction to the other reviews I have read making this album sound like a return to form for the group.  I don't think it is that at all.  It is good, but it is a pale shadow of their albums from Movement to Technique.  I think it suffers from trying to emulate previous sounds and doesn't focus enough on what their sound could be now.  They were always a forward thinking and sounding group and now their best is to try and replicate their past?  I don't think so.  I hope this was just a "finding their feet" and gaining their confidence in order to pursue the future with more vigor.

Digital Download is included with LP purchase - this should be a requirement nowadays I believe.  I am totally disappointed when artists/labels don't do this, and I don't really think the cd insert in a blank sleeve is much of a counter (I never know what to do with it ?leave it in the record, file it with other cds where it is lost between those with cases?) So they get full marks for having the digital download.

The "book" isn't an added value and neither is the gatefold interior.  Both are stark and blank serving no purpose, giving no lyrics or photos or added artistic value at all.  I am not a fan of minimalism when I am forking out $25 for a plain black vinyl record.  Maybe this was meant to harken back to some of the graphic art of Blue Monday, etc. but it missed the mark by a mile.  It is a very earth-unfriendly package.

There was/is? a clear vinyl edition from Mute, but I didn't realize there was a U.S. release of that version as I only saw the U.K. one and between the cost of the record and almost as much for shipping I opted for the black vinyl U.S. version.  Not to mention the full package with colored vinyl and remix discs which wasn't even fathomable to me.  After hearing the album I am thinking remixes would have to be rather dramatic to make a difference - I wouldn't care to hear just longer versions of these songs.  If someone had the funds to get the remixes I would love to hear what you thought of them.


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