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  Get Ready  
  New Orderi  
Release Date:
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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 focus.

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 of life.

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. Mindless fun.

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 comes authentically.

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.

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