Weekend Listening DEATH MATCH: Technique vs. Power, Corruption & Lies
If you aren’t an OG reader of Insatiable Booksluts, you might not remember that we used to do a feature called DEATH MATCH. (See our Geek Love vs. The Night Circus DEATH MATCH for one example.) We stopped doing it for awhile because of some internal dramz (that have long since been ironed out), but I decided to bring it back (in a slightly different incarnation) when I couldn’t pick ONE New Order album to do for the Weekend Listening.
I went to see New Order this week because going to see New Order is a thing we do. We have driven eight hours to see New Order knowing that we would have to turn around and drive eight hours back within a day or two. We have stood in line for hours to get relatively close to the stage for general admission non-seating. We’re not in our early 20’s anymore so this kind of behavior is relatively rare for us now (it’s much harder to drop everything to follow a band when you have a job and responsibilities and also you’re 200% more tired than you were 10 years ago), but we do it for New Order.
New Order was my husband’s obsession and they have slowly become mine over the years. The two albums I’ve spun the most of theirs have been Technique and Power, Corruption & Lies–I love them both, but how do they stack up to each other?! We’ll find out.
Power, Corruption & Lies by New Order
Released 1983 from Factory Records
PCL (because that title is a whole lot to type out every time) marks a turning point for New Order’s sound, maybe the first album that was really their sound and not a transition out of being Joy Division. It’s more electronic than anything that they had done thus far, really solidifying what would grow into a huge movement of electronic music, but still using guitars seamlessly mixed with the synth. There are some blues/rock undertones in this album along with the disco influence, especially in tracks like “We All Stand” (which reminds me of The Police), “Ultraviolence”, “Ecstasy”, and “5-8-6”. The intros tend to stretch long, except in the opening “Age of Consent”, which has an upbeat hook and a quicker lyrical entrance. “Leave Me Alone” is almost perfect as a closing song: it has a brisk pace with a great backbeat but is moodier, drawing down your energy and leaving you with something resonant in your heart and some lyrics stuck in your head. “Your Silent Face,” unusual because of its use of the melodica, remains a huge fan favorite.
Technique by New Order
Released 1989 from Factory Records
Technique came out several years later, while the members of New Order were in a bit of a dark place from years of too much partying, probable growing resentment between Hooky and Bernard, and the stresses of fame for a band that preferred not to be too much in the light. Bernard Sumner was also going through a divorce and that’s achingly clear in many of the songs. (“You built a wall of love and tore it right down / In front of me”) The sound is electronic dance-rock. The songs chime in quickly with lyrics, many of which thrum with bitterness or anger pushed along by the relentlessly uptempo beat. A commercial hit, Technique was their first album to chart at #1 in the UK.
And now? It’s time for
The rules: there are no rules. Points are given out based on an arbitrary system based on whatever the hell I feel like. What, you thought this was going to be objective? Pfft.
Today’s DEATH MATCH will be scored with synthesizers. Appropriate for basically every New Order album. WHO WILL WIN?
Power, Corruption & Lies
- Features “Leave Me Alone”, one of my all-time fave New Order songs, +3 synthesizers
- Released around the same time as “Blue Monday” with similar artwork, +4 synthesizers
- Confused a lot of people who were mad “Blue Monday” was not on the album, -2 synthesizers
- Lots and lots of long intros, which are not my fave. -2 synthesizers
- Uses a painting and an art reference for the cover and title, +3 synthesizers
- Released the year I was born, +4 synthesizers
- Title is really long to type and I always want to put in the Oxford comma that isn’t there, -3 synthesizers
- My preferred opening and closing songs between the two albums, +3 synthesizers
- Colorful album art that reminds me of Lisa Frank, +4 synthesizers
- Overall more songs that I really like, +5 synthesizers
- Song called “Mr Disco” which is the name of my home wifi, +2 synthesizers
- Some questionable lyrics about women due to Bernard’s divorce (especially in “Love Less”), -3 synthesizers
- I love these songs anyway though (even “Love Less”), +1 synthesizers
- Slightly more dated sound in some tracks, -1 synthesizers
- Has “All the Way”, another one of my all time-fave New Order songs plus fierce independence anthem, +3 synthesizers
- Not as many long intros, +2 synthesizers
Okay. It is time to tally the votes. (starts a drumroll while trying to do math)
With a score of 13 against a score of 10, the winner of this DEATH MATCH is . . . .
Congratulations, Technique! Your DEATH MATCH prize today is this awesome picture of disco queen Donna Summer with colors scribbled into her hair that match the cover art for Technique. (Sourced from Pitchfork)
We’ll see you for the next round of DEATH MATCH, where two works of art compete for total dominance. ONLY ONE CAN SURVIVE. (Also, go listen to some New Order this weekend. Their new album, Music Complete, is really, really good.)