This album, New Order's first in a bazillion years, is decent
and catchy ... and hollow and lifeless. A lot of us who do music
criticism get criticized ourselves because we diss the mainstream.
We act as if anybody who makes money at what they are doing
suddenly sucks. And i am gonna do just that in this review.
I loved Joy Division -- their albums still stand out as some
of the best stuff i have ever heard. In fact, i just found a
copy of the Heart And Soul box set, so expect
me to rant about it's brilliance here in a few weeks. I would
say that first few New Order discs invoke the same sort of repsonse
from me -- they are nigh unto holy. Heck, i have a ratty old
tape of Brotherhood that i bought in 1986 that
still plays fine and that i still listen to in my car a lot.
(I realize that this tape is probably older than some of our
readers, but oh well!)
Get Ready, well, it's catchy and i enjoy the
songs. But it just doesn't breathe. It's all technically proficient,
well played, and well produced. But it's dead. It has no soul.
It seems as if New Order made another album because they are
professional musicians and making albums is what they
do to make a living.
In a way, i feel really bad saying negative things about this
album. I mean -- it is their job. What if the situations were
reversed? When i started doing multimedia, i had ideas and wanted
to change the industry, etc. Now, years later, i am just cranking
out stuff -- the same damn thing i programmed last week, only
this time there is my new client's logo, and a slightly different
I guess that anything that you do often enough gets to be boring,
mindless, and soulless. If my reviews start sounding that way,
let me know, okay?
Anyway, Get Ready sounds to me as if, now that
New Order are all multi-millionaires, they have nothing left
to say. They have no angst left to express. No need to scream
anymore, or play mournful existential tunes on the futility
I call this "the multi-millionaire syndrome" and it explains
why i just don't like albums by bands that have become really
succesful. Usually, there is no emotion left... There are exceptions
of course. Even though the guitarwork on their last
album left me cold, i will say that U2 continue to be passionate
in their "leftist do-gooder" sort of way, and that this really
makes a difference in their music. Sure, they're not angry 20
year olds anymore, but they have continued to find something
to care about.
Listening to Get Ready, i think that New Order
don't really care about anything anymore. (Not anything BIG
at least.) They just want to make music for people to enjoy.
In comparison, listen to early Joy Division: there was passion,
energy, a will to tell the rest of the world what people were
doing wrong. That same emotionality is present on Power,
Corruption, & Lies as well. However, nowadays New Order
are making disco. It's fun but, what's the point really?
Does any of this make sense, or am i just justifying my own
rejection of anything that stinks of "mainstreamism"? I guess
that you'll have to judge that....
There are a few noteworthy tunes on this album. Firstly, the
disc starts off with Crystal, which reminds me a lot
of Technique-era New Order. That is, it's mostly
electronic. This song is a decent enough tune but .... well,
it's ruined for me. I am a pretty diehard Headline News fan,
and this song was played in the commercials where they announced
the new "attention deficit disorder" look and feel to the broadcasts.
Sigh... so listening to this reminds me that, after AOL bought
them, HN became mere "fluff"....
I suppose that's not really New Order's problem. I mean --
they didn't cause Steve Case to remake a channel i liked to
be more like the fluffy Fox News Network! However, well, if
you are a band and you license a song out for something, be
aware that you will lose some listeners based on the association
between your song and the product and/or service being shilled
to your tune.
Another song i dislike is Turn My Way which features
the distinctive whine of Billy Corgan. You know, the genius
of Butch Vig's production on that first Smashing Pumpkins album
was in burying Corgan's annoying voice down under the guitar
wash. On this song, i hear too much of him... Ugh.
One last negative comment: Rock The Shack. This song
reminds me of the bluesy numbers off of the last Primal Scream
disc. Specifically, the stuff i didn't like on that album ....
in fact Bobby Gillespie is credited on the disc, so his stink
Okay, well, there are some good points to the disc. Really.
Viscous Streak is a mostly electronic song that features
a lovely little guitar melody. Someone Like You is the
most dance-like of all the tunes on this album. It's got a very
catchy melody and has gobs of back-up singers behind Bernard
Sumner's voice. I really like the heavily phase-shifted organ
on this song. And finally, the album ends with Run Wild,
which is a nice little song that sounds different from the rest
of the album. It sounds more like the stuff New Order were doing
in the 80's. In fact, it could almost be an outtake from Brotherhood.
I have a real fondness for that type of stuff, so this song
really appeals to me.
So there you go. I am giving this album three sponges, because
it is completely generic in my opinion. It is a mass-marketed
album made by a band who have become so successful that they
don't HAVE to care anymore. Oh, it's very competent musically,
but it doesn't move me. If you are a huge New Order fan, then
you'll love it. If you're not sure whether you like them or
not, go buy one of their earlier albums.