Flashback Album of the Week

Jeff Yerger

Before the Killers, before Franz Ferdinand and before Lady Gaga thought she was retro and groundbreaking, there was New Order.

Spawned from the tragic wreckage of Joy Division, New Order began to build upon its post-punk roots into something more expansive. When the band made its debut in 1981, they struggled to find their identity, as it was hard for them to blend the dark melancholy tones of Joy Division with their newfound love for Kraftwerk and synthesizers. In 1983, New Order grabbed people’s attention with their smash U.K. single “Blue Monday.” Thanks to its success, “Low Life” was born.

“Low Life” is New Order’s finest achievement; it is the perfect blend of pop, rock, electronica and disco. This album pioneered the idea of dance-rock, but don’t be fooled by the connotations that this sub-genre brings, because “Low Life” is far from the soft, bubblegum dance-pop your sister jumps around to.

The first single from the album, “The Perfect Kiss,” is a good place to start off, especially if you are a fan of the Killers’ song “Somebody Told Me.”

Though New Order kept true to their rock background, even the lightest moments on this album, like “Love Vigilantes,” contain dark synths lurking in the background. New Order relies heavily on synth lines in this album, which give it a unique flavor. In every song there are multiple melodies each with their own personality, feeding off of each other and working together in such a pattern that no song is left untouched.

“Sub-Culture,” “This Time Of Night,” and the beautiful computer-age instrumental “Elegia” are perfect showcases of the heavy electronica that New Order came to master on this album.

Where similar bands like the Cure leave off with indie-rock anthems that include synths but can’t exactly bring them to the forefront, New Order fills the void with their clean-cut synth-based rock on “Low Life.”

The band pioneered the idea of dark atmospheric melodies using computerized tones, and they also made it possible to use these synthetic sounds in their songs without selling out.

“Low Life” is eighties post-punk at its finest; it was music for those who weren’t “hungry like the wolf” and as more and more artists continue to use synthetic beats in their songs, New Order’s legacy will continue to live on.