New Order

Retro (Rhino/Warner Bros./London)

You get one disc "for those of us who prefer singles to albums." (Titled, naturally, "Pop," and selected by journalist Miranda Sawyer.) Another put together by a man who believes the group to be "touched by the hand of God--not once but twice." ("Fan," assembled by journalist John McCready.) A third designed to back up this statement: "It would be hard to find anyone in the modern dance world not influenced by them." ("Club," compiled by Mike Pickering, the "M" of M People and one-time DJ at New Order's scene-starting Haçienda.) And a final live set that nicks a bit from the other three, cherry-picked by an outsider who doesn't really qualify as such. ("Live," obviously, chosen by Primal Scream singer Bobby Gillespie, a longtime friend of the group.) Which adds up to 57 songs, and a collection that is more the start of a conversation than the last word on the band that brought guitars into the clubs and vice versa, teaching the world how to sing in the key of E. If you're a fan, you have everything here, aside from the live tracks; if you're not, you'd be best served starting with the more cost-efficient Substance, 1987's double-disc singles comp that still hits in all the right places--head, heart, hindquarters--15 years on. Retro works well for those who've always wondered what New Order was all about, less so for those who already knew.

 
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