Now we turn to the future, with optimism and DJ-only remixes of 80s synthpop.
Gangster (FBI Mix)
Let’s rank the New Order off-shoots/spin-offs. Because it’s Friday night, and I’m procrastinating.
I think it’s not a bold statement to proclaim the worst to be Peter Hook and The Light. That’s just a cheap cover band playing New Order and Joy Division songs so Hook can make a quick buck and not be bothered to create new material. The lazy refuge of a creatively-bankrupt sourpuss. In terms of proper groups though, I’d have to call Bad Lieutenant the worst of the bunch. I mean, that album they put out is dreadfully awful, and considering that group is Bernard Sumner and Phil Cunningham, that’s quite the accomplishment. Not a memorable hook or melody on that one. It’s a record that’s so unequivocally awful that I was downright motherfucking flabbergasted that New Order’s latest, Music Complete, was as great as it was. I thought for sure that it was the mark of Sumner losing it.
And then there’s Freebass, who only rank higher than Bad Lieutenant because who the fuck cares about Freebass.
With those acts out of the way we can talk about groups who actually put together a few solid tunes, if forgettable records. I would put Monaco and Revenge on the same level, although I bet that’s an unpopular opinion. Both wrote strong singles, just weak albums. I guess the same goes for The Other Two, but I rank them a little higher mostly because I really like Gillian’s voice and I find their band name to be one of the most painfully honest side-project band names of all time. That would be like Stone Gossard from Pearl Jam releasing a solo album with the title Not Mike McCready.
Obviously, that leaves Electronic. While my lack of disdain for Revenge might place me in the minority, I feel that my acclaim for Electronic is firmly within the zeitgeist of New Order aficionados. I mean, they had “Getting Away With It.” That pretty much makes them a lock for number one, right? That song is fucking classic.
This one less so. Which is why I wrote 300 or so words about subjects only tangentially related to it instead of writing about it proper.
Sin (Strange Thrill Mix)
Here’s a group you’ve never heard of. But give it a chance, because it’s a pretty dope track.
I honestly had never heard of these guys until I gave this record a spin, and I instantly liked it, despite its somewhat goofy nature and lyrics (“If loving you is a crime I’m guilty all the time.”) It really has a strange vibe, part late-70s disco, part early-80s hi-NRG, and part late-80s synthpop. And after I did some digging to discover the people behind the group, that all suddenly made sense. Sin is Ken Kessie and Morey Goldstein. Now, you’ve probably never heard those names before, but if you fancy yourself a fan of late-70s to early-80s dance tracks, then you’ve definitely heard their music before. Both of them were associates of hi-NRG god Patrick Cowley and his partner-in-fabulousness Sylvester, performing on several of Sylvester’s tracks in the early 80s. The duo also recorded music under the name Modern Rocketry, who gave us the greatest gay club anthems of the early 80s with “Homosexuality” and “Thank God For Men.”
This track is significantly less gay than those flamboyant bangers, but it’s still a quality tune.
Sweet And Low (Cha Cha Cha Mix)
Oh, Debbie Harry solo songs why do you have to be so bland and boring? It’s such a drag. How does someone star in Videodrome and then go on to make some of the most generic music of the decade? I maintain that she really should’ve used that movie as a stepping stone and based her entire aesthetic around it. We needed a pop song called “Long Live The New Flesh.” Oh well.