GREEN EYES. BLUE EYES. GREY EYES.

(Note: This entry is long, pompous, and paints me firmly as a K-ROCKIST of the worst sort. I apologise in advance. I am withholding my supply of chocolate digestive biscuits from myself as a punishment)

New Order — Singles

So, I know you’re thinking: given that Substance, (The Best of), (The Rest of), Retro, and International all exist, what possible room is there for yet another New Order hits collection?

Well, the gimmick behind Singles is that this collection, unlike others, features the actual 7” singles that New Order have released over the past twenty-five years, instead of album tracks, 12” mixes, or remixes. This Is A Lie, but hey, nobody ever expected them to be consistent.

The compilation starts off by including the original version of Ceremony, never before seen on compact disc. This was recorded when they were a three-piece; when Gillian joined the band, this original single was replaced by a shorter, 12” version which featured all four members. Now, it’s not a vast difference, but this version sounds better to me, the rougher-production bringing out the most from Ian Curtis’s final moment. So, hurrah!

Two more treats follow (skipping over Procession, as fabulous as it is, simply because there’s no difference between this and the Substance version); the first appearance of the 7” mixes of Everything’s Gone Green and Temptation! Retro-sequencer fun! The 12” version of Temptation is so much better though. But I’m biased, as I love that song more than butterflies.

And then, oh, and then. Yes, then it all starts to fall apart. Now, I can’t blame them for Confusion. God knows, Arthur Baker has remixed it so many times you could probably fill an entire album with different takes on the track. It seems to be a song that New Order just can’t help making new versions of, even by accident. They’ve done it again here, because this isn’t the 7” mix of Confusion (either the Factory or Rough Trade version); it’s the 12” mix with three minutes lopped off. And lo, the Confusion beast grew once more…

The Perfect Kiss. I’m getting annoyed now. Ooooh. Rage. Building. Up. Is this the 7” edit? The fabled 12” mix cruelly edited on the Substance compact disc and currently only available in its prime by either buying the original vinyl record or a cassette version of Substance? No, annoyingly, this is the album version that you’ll find on Low-life. ARRRRRGH! WOULD IT HAVE BEEN SO HARD? breaks down in tears 40 SECONDS! THAT’S ALL I’M ASKING! MY VINYL COPY HAS A SCRATCH IN IT!

Shellshock and Sub-Culture (the latter being slightly infamous for Peter Saville refusing to do a cover for the single release, as he didn’t like the mix. So Factory supplied it in a black sleeve) are all present and correct. But (come on, you know what’s coming, don’t you?) THEY DO IT AGAIN! Bizarre Love Triangle is taken straight from Brotherhood, not from either the 7” or 12” singles. Grrr. It’s still awesome, of course, but you’d think they could have included the right version. It’s not like New Order’s catalogue is a complicated as Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s (where Trevor Horn would often issue new mixes seemingly just for the hell of it).

The cover of Singles is the negative of this cover for 1987’s True Faith / 1963:

True Faith

(once again, neither of these is the original single. True Faith is the 12” version previous seen on Substance. 1963, is…well…Arthur Baker did a remix of it, so perhaps it’s not too surprising that we have another new edit in addition to the original 1988 and 1995 releases. Oh God, Johnny, don’t point that gun at me, we still have CD2 to go)

CD2 kicks off with Blue Monday 1988. Followed by Run2! Or not. You see, Run2 was withdrawn from sale after a lawsuit by John Denver, who thought it sounded a little too similar to Leaving On A Jetplane. However, Run2 has appeared in the listings of many a New Order compilation. Each time, hopes are raised, and savagely dashed, as it turns out to just be the original Run from Technique. I think, by now, they’re doing it on purpose.

“Get round the back!” I love World In Motion. I know it’s sneered upon by sniffier New Order fans, but come on! John Barnes! It’s one-on-one! They don’t make lyrics like that anymore (and indeed, in the Criminal Justice Act of 1994, such lyrics were outlawed, but apparently, curry-themed anthems are allowed). “We’re singing for Eng-er-land!” How can people hate this?

Spooky is another album version instead of the single, but as it’s Spooky, nobody cares (unfair, actually, listening to it again. In fact, most of Republic is unfairly maligned. Sure, it’s not as good as Technique, and I can see how it could be considered a disappointment after that, but it’s still got a nice groove. (Yes, I just used ‘groove’ strikes a Westwood pose)).

The rest of the compilation follows the single gimmick correctly, so I have nothing to complain about. So, I’ll say that as comebacks go, Crystal is up there with “TALK TO THE HAND!” Everything wonderful about twenty years of electronic pop reflected and refracted around a glitterball synth. Even if it reveals that Barney hasn’t found the honey section of the supermarket yet (it’s actually quite cheap!). After Here To Stay, the curio from the 24 Hour Party People soundtrack, produced by The Chemical Brothers, the band (now minus Gillian) decided to have another three year rest, perhaps in order to stop themselves hating each other again, and perhaps just because they’re a bunch of slackers.

Anyway, CD2 ends with the singles from 2005’s Waiting For The Sirens’ Call. Krafty may sound like the band hit ‘New Order Preset 2 (Republic Edition)’, but hey, it’s effective. As much I like Ana Matronic, the same can’t be said of Jetstream, which never really takes off (I’m so sorry. But it had to be done). Waiting For The Sirens’ Call and Turn though, are both great.

So, what have we learnt? Aside from me being a complete obsessive who shouldn’t be allowed out of the house? Despite the practice they’ve had over the years, the definitive New Order compilation is still elusive. Singles is riddled with labelling errors, wrong track selections, and extensive duplication with past collections. Yet, it’s utterly essential and fantastic. If you don’t know various FAC numbers off by heart (only a few! It’s not as if I’ve memorised the entire catalogue! Stop looking at me like that!), this is a great way to get the best of New Order (I’d also advise picking up Substance when it floats into one of HMV’s roaming sales, as it’s mainly 12” mixes and is just as wonderful). If you do happen to know what FAC123 is without looking it up (SHUT YOUR MOUTH), then Singles will irritate you. It really will, but you’ll buy it anyway for what it includes, and grumble quietly about the mistakes. Or write huge-ass blog entries about them. Who knows?

currently playing: New Order - Confusion (Rough Mix 12” DO YOU SEE — dies)

Aaron Wants Royalties

Hehehe:

“Doing his job has always been his strongest suit,” said one adviser close to the White House. “Let Bush be Bush. Let him lead. It’s what Bush does in times like these.”

currently playing: New Order – True Faith

Repeating Memes

You may have seen this, but still! The Shining as if directed by Nora Ephron!

I have a dim recollection of talking to somebody who edited all of Schindler’s List down to three minutes, and then set it to Transvision Vamp’s Baby I Don’t Care. Which is probably better, for sheer crassness, but this is funny too.

currently playing: United State of Electronica – Open Your Eyes

NE 1 Want 2 talk?

Lol 593 i am only 16 and 902 who needs GCSE when you can strip off and turn men on?

Ah, Fizz. The music channel of champions (the use of ‘you’ instead of ‘u’ is an anomaly).

Did anybody have the heart to tell Lisa Scott-Lee that the poll result on cd:uk really wasn’t in her favour?

currently playing: The Killers – All These Things I’ve Done

I Said Never Link Again (But Here We Are)

It really isn’t as good as Anniemal.

The ultimate iPod nano upgrade!

Bats, it seems, have a more sinister influence on us as well as inspiring rich orphans to fight crime.

A new $10 note! Enjoy Hamilton while you can!

Dammit, Stacie, people are trying to move in on our territory!

Fox News in anti-Open Standards shock! (because locking people into a propriety format is apparently, better for competition)

I need this keyboard.

currently playing: New Order — Someone Like You

Look Around You

I have an alibi, I swear.

Thanks to BBC4, I’ve finally seen Don’t Look Back. Now, when the Donovan started, I thought, “well, it’s not that bad, I mean, Donovan does ask to hear the song after all,” but then, a few sentences into the first verse, Dylan shoots a look over his shoulder to the rest of the group, a look that just screams “I am sitting in a room, and slaughtering this man’s dreams. And smiling.”

Man, that was cold.

(I swear, no more Dylan posts for a while)

currently playing: Bob Dylan – She belongs to me

"Let me ask you one question / Is your money that good?"

Tom DeLay indicted on criminal conspiracy charges in Texas.

Over in the Senate, the Majority leader there is having a few legal troubles.

“All the money you made / Will never buy back your soul”

currently playing: Bob Dylan — Masters of War

Tonight: Direction: Manchester

Okay, in the final few minutes of No Direction Home tonight, before the Judas bit, there was a film of a car going through a British city. Which looked awfully familiar - especially the Midland Bank, the building resembling a Dutch Pancake House on Oxford Road. And five seconds later, the other side of a clearing looked very much like the Oxford Road as well.

But where was the Odeon? Surely the building was older than 1966? It certainly felt that way when we went there.

So the question - was that Manchester? Or is my mind playing tricks on me, and they just used whatever film they had before cutting to the Free Trade Hall gig?

EDIT: Answered my own question - if it was Manchester, it wasn’t the Oxford Road, because the Odeon has been there since the 1930s. As you were. But! You can take part in my round-table discussion in the comments: Highway 61 Revisited and Briniging It All Back Home are much better than Blonde on Blonde, which, to be honest, gets a bit dull in places. Discuss!

currently playing: junior senior – take my time

The Booing!

Lots of fascinating things on the first part of last night’s No Direction Home (although I feel a little cheated by discovering that his manager conducted the interviews, and not Martin Scorsese (apparently, a big Johnny Boy fan!)), but aside from Dylan’s comedy theft of folk records, Liam Clancy (or Big Comedy Irishman, as I believe he should be known as from now on), and Dylan’s different stories of his background, there’s this: the album Bob Dylan originally sold 2500 records. On Columbia Records. If you did that today, Sony would drop you in a second…

currently playing: Black Box Recorder – Sex Life

On The One Hand…

…this is a sad story. On the other:

KILLER DOLPHINS IN THE GULF OF MEXICO!

We’re living in the 21st century now, baby!

EDIT: OH MY GOD.

KILLER DOLPHINS IN THE GULF OF MEXICO!
GO AHEAD, MAN. MAKE MY DAY.

currently playing: R.E.M. – Star me kitten