As a New Order fan i resisted the ‘Temptation’ to write a review straight away as I was unsure whether I would be as honest due to the enthusiasm and the hyperbole surrounding its release and initial reviews. So nearly 3 months after ‘Music Completes’ release here is my opinion …
For most people this album would never be as good as or definitely not better than ‘Technique’ or ‘Low-Life’. Those albums were made in a different time that when playing those albums the listener is transported back to. I have to agree ‘Music Complete’ doesn’t surpass those 2 releases, but even if New Order had released the next ‘Sgt Peppers or ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ it still wouldn’t have surpassed them in my mind.
‘Music Complete’ starts with the lead single, that despite the lukewarm response greeted by it’s first play by Chris Evans on Radio 2, ‘Restless’ has grown on most fans and here in it’s album version is at it’s best.
Most fans had heard the live version of ‘Singularity’ beforehand but no one could have predicted what a fine job they would make of the finished version. It is for me one of the standout tracks of the album. Tom's driving bassline, the synths and great vocals and lyrics from Barney ensure that this track leaves it mark on anyone who listens.
‘Plastic’ follows and again most were familiar with this track beforehand. It took a little bit of time to grow on me but I now feel this is one of New Order’s best dance tracks. The driving beat and cutting lyrics hark back to ‘The Perfect Kiss’ and ‘Vanishing Point’.
‘Tutti Fruitti’ and ‘People on the High line’ are the most un-New Order tracks ever recorded. That isn’t a bad thing. They both include La-Roux on vocal duty with Barney and both are extraordinary. I wasn’t a huge fan of ‘People on the High Line’ at first but after much perseverance it was the song i was most looking forward to hearing live. ‘Tutti Frutti’ has a memorable, sing-a-long chorus that is delicately balanced on the edge of cheesy. It is a fine track that even manages to sound good in it’s heavily edited single version - is that a first for New Order?
‘Stray Dog’ didn’t do a massive amount for me. I love the backing track and the Iggy Pop vocals but there was something missing when they were combined. Then I heard the extended mix and completely changed my opinion. It builds an atmosphere that the album version doesn’t have time to do. A good track but try and get your hands on the extended mix to hear how good it can be.
The two tracks that sound most like 2005’s ‘New Order’ to me are ‘Academic’ and ‘Nothing but a Fool’. They both would have been stand out tracks on previous album ‘Waiting for the Sirens Call’. Academic is a fine guitar driven pop song that sounds like you have heard it a million times before. It’s a track I regularly find myself singing along and tapping my feet to. Nothing but a Fool is a beautiful song. The lyrics and music combine to create a wonderful track that never feels like it’s nearly 8 minutes long.
'Unlearn this hatred' is not the nest track on offer here but sees New Order go in a slightly different direction with the synth sounds they use. Very listenable but not the weakest song on the album. That honour unfortunately goes to ‘The Game’. This track is not one of New Order’s best and after 3 months my opinion hasn’t changed, in-fact I would say it is one of the weakest tracks they have ever produced.
The album closer is ‘Superheated’ that includes Brandon Flowers on backing duties. If you don’t find yourself singing along to this after a few listens, I would suggest to check your pulse. Yes it’s borderline cheesy and it ain’t going to win an Ivor Nevello award but it’s a fun track and that for me is why I love New Order.
‘Music Complete’ is a fine album that certainly delivers 8 diverse and fascinating songs that I think will eventually sit alongside some of New Order’s best work.