May 2, 2018 New Order – Power, Corruption & Lies 35 Later
Success stories following the untimely death of a band member are few and far between, but following the tragic death by suicide of Joy Division Vocalist Ian Curtis in 1980, bandmates Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, and Stephen Morris reformed and took up the name New Order shortly after the release of Joy Division’s second LP Closer in 1980. Taking “Ceremony,” an unreleased Joy Division track, New Order re-recorded it and sent it out into the world as their first single, thus establishing them as a brand new entity. Since then, New Order has become one of the most successful New Wave bands to come out of the 1980s, and they are still going strong to this day.
After releasing their first LP, Movement, in 1981, the band had yet to fully realize their evolution from Joy Division. Movement, while filled with excellent tracks like “Dreams Never End,” sounded as though New Order were trying to be Joy Division minus Ian Curtis. With the release of sophomore LP, Power, Corruption & Lies, on May 2nd in 1983, via Factory Records, New Order finally came into their own by taking the Post-Punk sounds of Joy Division and marrying them with bright Synth-pop melodies and the dance-inspired beats the band has since become famous for. For the first time, New Order were fully incorporating synthesizers and electronic elements into their work, causing fans and critics to praise the album for its fresh sound and clear break from the darker Post-Punk sounds of Joy Division.
Now celebrating 35 years, though it was not featured on the album, New Order released the incredibly popular single “Blue Monday” around the same time as Power, Corruption & Lies, a track that was fully synthesized. To this day, “Blue Monday” is the best-selling 12” single of all-time, and it was widespread in the dance club circuit at the time. The dark Pop sound of “Blue Monday” would have been right at home among synth-heavy tracks like “Ultraviolence” and “Ecstasy,” but even without its inclusion, Power, Corruption & Lies remains one of New Order’s best albums. Some may even argue that it is among the most iconic New Wave albums of all-time.
Even today, Power, Corruption & Lies still holds up as a stellar album that feels distinctly rooted in its genre and time period without feeling dated. Every track slaps just as hard, and the album as a whole is a testament to the band’s incredible songwriting ability. The opening riff of “Age of Consent” is iconic, kicking off an unforgettable first track. With only eight tracks, it is an album with no filler. Even the slower, longer offerings like “We All Stand” and “5-8-6” have a place by bridging the gap between the New Order that existed in the shadow of Joy Division, and the New Order able to stand on their own.
Following the up-tempo mood of “Age of Consent,” New Order took their Pop-inspired synths to a new level with infectious tracks like “The Village” and “Your Silent Face.” Every song has its place, and together these eight tracks make a perfect whole that feels fresh every single listen.
In short, Power, Corruption & Lies solidified New Order as one of the foremost bands of the ’80s, and ten albums later, the band are still going strong and continuing to release music, albeit with a modified lineup that no longer includes Bassist Peter Hook. So, if you have not given this classic a spin in a while, do not hesitate to revisit it on its 35th anniversary. You will find yourself dancing like no one is watching in no time at all.