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New Order rose from the ashes of Joy Division after lead singer Ian Curtis committed suicide in May of 1980. It was a sad beginning, but the three core members—Peter Hook, Stephen Morris, and Bernard Sumner—have now lasted over two decades. The music became a little less dark once Joy Division was over, and New Order quickly became staples of college radio and club playlists. In 1983 the band recorded a single called "Blue Monday," which married cool, aloof lyrics and a dry delivery by Sumner with an electronic beat. It became the largest selling 12-inch single in the UK's history. They worked on the fringes of the dance clubs, and never worried much about radio airplay or mainstream success. It found them anyway—but they never sought it out. Worldwide, they became an important staple of the New Wave scene, and they're still going after all these years
Anyone who lived through the '80s and went inside a club; anyone who has watched an '80s teen comedy; anyone who appreciates the oxymoron that is "smart dance music"; and anyone who ever dabbled in the New Wave music scene knows New Order. This is the ultimate video collection from a band that pioneered synth rock in the '80s, and are still out there making trippy club music that sounds as good in your car as it does on the dance floor. Anyone who knows New Order should buy New Order Item—A Collection and New Order Story. It's an astounding collection of their greatest hits, shown as the original videos and remixed into a full surround track. Also included is the New Order Story, which was previously only available as an edited VHS edition here in the States. Now we get the full 140 minute UK cut of the film, which explores the band from start to the new millennium.
The Videos include:
The transfers for the videos are astonishingly clean, and the clips look like they were shot yesterday in most cases. The sound mix is full and clear. The joy about having these clips preserved is that New Order has always been committed to delivering artistic videos that compliment their songs rather than overpower them. You won't see the band posturing or trying to look pretty. You will get clever short films directed by people who are out to raise the music video to an art form. These are stunning by any standards, and the collection is one of the best music DVDs I've seen. There are alternate versions of "Round and Round," "Regret," and "Crystal." You get to see live versions of "Ceremony" and "Temptation." There is also a feature where you can program a playlist to view certain videos in an order you mandate with your DVD's remote control. The documentary program is cleaned up from the VHS version, but the sound isn't as striking as the video disc. Not a problem mind you, but a noticeable difference.
New Order Item—A Collection and New Order Story is the kind of geeky cool set I live for. It's a music lover's wet dream to have all the videos and a two-hour history of the band you grew up obsessively dancing to. I'm amazed at how good the songs sound and how clear the visuals are. I could put the discs into my player and throw away the remote. If you're a fan of New Order, this is all you need from now on. About the only thing bad I have heard about the set is apparently some shipped with the discs in the wrong boxes—the Collection disc was in the documentary's sleeve, and vice versa. But not to worry, because if that's all we have to worry about, the problems are small. Click the Amazon link on the right at the top of the page and buy this one now! Join the geek revolution of people who like their dance music to be smart, sexy, and arch.
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