New Order

Joy multiplication: New Order's old songs are on Retro.
Richard Haughton

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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