New Order – Low-Life
Acquired: Half Price Books, Used, 2013
New Order’s full-lengths are much weirder and more inventive than their singles collections would have you believe. Or at least that’s what I think every time I put on one of their records. The single collections are still my go-to because, despite that whole thing I said about “more inventive,” they were a band who sequestered their best songs to singles. Low-Life follows their seminal Power, Corruption & Lies and comes off a bit edgier. The forlorn opening track “Love Vigilantes” is an incredibly tuneful bummer (made even sadder in Iron & Wine’s tragic and gorgeous cover) and “The Perfect Kiss” is a much more angular mega-single than Lies “Age of Consent.” It’s a frighteningly cohesive album for a band that hated including singles on their albums. I listen to the pure pop bliss of “Bizarre Love Triangle” or “Temptation” or even the gorgeous mid-album gem “Your Silent Face” from Lies and try to figure out at what point New Order surpassed Joy Division as an artistic force. Although maybe it’s best to just leave that alone. Low-Life is a display of the rough edges usually absent from New Order’s pristine singles. It’s a nice change of pace from the hit-after-hit feeling of the singles collections.
And here's that mega sad Iron & Wine cover: