Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New Order - Low-Life

Low-Life was the third studio album from the English rock band New Order, released on May 13th of 1985. It charted at number 94 on the US Billboard Hot 200, number 70 in Australia, number 34 in the Netherlands, number 26 in Canada, number 20 in Sweden, number 11 in New Zealand, and number 7 in the UK. The record continues their change over from their earlier punk roots to a more dance-rock period. I am very familiar with this band - both from early non-album singles and later album tracks. I have not heard this entire album though, so this will be another first-time-listener review.

Side one begins with “Love Vigilantes”, a song that comes up often on Sirius/XM 1st Wave. I like this one. It has catchy hooks and lyrics that are easy to understand (which is greatly appreciated after what I had to endure for yesterday’s review…).

“The Perfect Kiss” was the first single from the record, and the first single from the band to appear on a studio album. It reached number 109 on the US Billboard singles chart, number 46 on the UK singles chart and was a number 5 hit on the US Billboard Dance charts. The song includes some interesting samples including croaking frogs and bleating sheep. I like this one too as it has a solid dance beat to it. I am pretty certain that I may have heard this one back in the day (1985 was during my dance-club days in college).

The synth-dance beats continue with “This Time of Night”.

“Sunrise” starts out rather ominously and then transitions into a driving beat. Both are songs I found enjoyable to listen to.

The instrumental waltz “Elegia” opens side two. Elegia is Latin for elegy; the band wrote the song in memory of Ian Curtis, the lead singer of Joy Division with whom most the New Order guys started out. The album track is a subsection of a larger, seventeen minute composition. It is a beautiful piece of music with a lot of layers and textures.

“Sooner Than You Think” has a nice blend of percussion, guitars and synth elements.

“Sub-culture” was the second single from the album; it charted at number 63 in the UK and number 35 on the US Billboard Dance charts. It reminds me a little bit of songs by Soft Cell, without the in-your-face sexuality, or by Depeche Mode. Clearly that is the synthesizer usage that all three bands employ. For me, synth equals good.

“Face Up” closes out the album. Another pleasantly up-tempo track.

For a first listen, I really enjoyed Low-Life. There are definitely a number of tracks from this album that I’m going to add to my list of songs to download in the future. They’ll go well with the other New Order songs already in my music library. This time, I have to thank the 1001 Albums list for the recommendation.


Empoprises said...

From 1001 Albums to here...I actually owned Low-Life on cassette, but got rid of my cassettes years and years ago and never got this album on CD. At some point I'll have to listen to all of the tracks again. Thanks for the story about "Elegia."

Martin Maenza said...

Thanks for dropping in from Liz's blog and reading. I appreciate the comments.