CD Review of Power, Corruption & Lies (Collector’s Edition) by New Order
Recommended if you like
Depeche Mode, Gary Numan, OMD
Warner Bros./Rhino
New Order:
Power, Corruption & Lies (Collector’s Edition)

Reviewed by James B. Eldred


ew Order's 1983 release Power, Corruption & Lies was a giant step forward for the band, casting away the dreary and dark post-punk sound of Movement for upbeat, dance-friendly synth-heavy rock music. This is when New Order broke free of Joy Division and the ghost of Ian Curtis and began a decade-long streak of near-perfect dance rock classics. And now it's back, part of the New Order re-issue series, with a bonus disc of remixes and instrumentals that should please all but the most hardcore of New Order fans.

The original Power, Corruption & Lies is a flawless record. From the opening "Age of Consent" to the closer "Leave Me Alone," it is nothing short of brilliant, from start to finish, and an easy contender for the greatest album of the decade. This record holds up better than any other New Order album, or any other "new wave" or "synth-pop" record from the time period, for that matter. This doesn't sound "new wave" or "retro" – instead it sounds just as groundbreaking and relevant as it did when it was first released.

That's because the influence of Power, Corruption & Lies can still be heard today. The plucked guitars and broken beats of "The Village" can be heard any number of Bloc Party songs, the bouncy "Age of Consent" has no doubt influenced every song Franz Ferdinand ever recorded, and the Killers have taken the beautiful keyboard melodies of "Your Silent Face" and crafted them to their Top 40-friendly sound. The importance of New Order, when it comes to the sound of modern pop music, cannot be understated.

Even more important than Power, Corruption & Lies, however, were the singles that were released to accompany it. Like many British bands of the time, New Order's singles were rarely album cuts and were instead single-only releases intended to drive up the band's sales on both the album and the singles charts. Of all their songs, the most well-known and influential is a single, and it's included here in its original 12'' form. The immortal "Blue Monday," the best-selling 12'' single of all-time in England and will probably always be considered by many to be the band's greatest. Its melody is one of the most recognizable in pop music, and has convinced rock fans for the last 25 years that there's more to dance than big bass and mindless lyrics, and it will continue to do so for 25 more. It even survived that awful cover by Orgy, which is really saying something.

New Order

The other 12'' singles on the bonus disc are also worth mentioning. An instrumental/dub remix of "Blue Monday" called "The Beach" is also included, and while it's not as good its source material, something has to be said for dropping the vocals and letting that instantly recognizable synthesizer melody stand on its own. The less dance-y and more artsy quartet of "Confusion," "Thieves Like Us," "Lonesome Tonight" and the haunting "Murder" are all present as well, and rounding things out are instrumental cuts of "Thieves Like Us" and "Confusion."

Those are all great songs, and every New Order fan should have them. But that's the problem; every New Order fan probably does already have them. With the exception of "Confusion" and the two instrumentals, they all appeared on the 1987 singles compilation Substance (and still, if you have to buy only one New Order album, that's the one to get). And for the hardcore New Order completist, there are two notable omissions, as "Confusion (Rough Mix)" and "Confusion Beats" the original 12'' single are missing.

If you bought Power, Corruption & Lies the first time around and have Substance, then you're only getting three new tracks here (assuming you don't have them on vinyl or somewhere else), and since two of them are just instrumentals, it's hard to recommend the album solely for them. But for those who don't already own Power, Corruption & Lies, this is a no-brainer must have for anyone with even a remote interest in New Order.

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