Not really new news, but than again, I’m always the last to know. As of June 20, 2007, New Order has officially split. It is a sad day in the world of music, indeed, and made even worse by the recent release of Ian Curtis’ biopic Control.
Sure, maybe New Order didn’t always come up with the tightest albums, but they were damn good at coming up with amazing singles that are still played on the radio today, not with a sense of nostalgia, but with a sense of enduring triumph. Even after twenty-four years, the opening sounds of “Blue Monday” still feel shot through a bolt of blue; not bad for the world’s biggest selling 12″ single, clocking in at 7:29 and completely devoid of a chorus. Growing up, New Order was a band I stumbled upon by accident, but whose songs have been obsessively played and appreciated as early as 1994. For a time shortly after, I grew away from New Order, venturing off into the wide open word of Japanese pop and rock, until I suddenly found them again on an old mix tape and proceeded to begin collecting their CDs. The memories I’ve made listening to “Bizarre Love Triangle” and “True Faith” and “Ceremony” and “Love Vigilantes” aren’t even things I can put into words anymore; no matter how I try, the pictures can’t be painted without having walked along the same streets in my mud-soaked shoes.
We all have bands, bands we usually call “guilty pleasures,” because we realize on some level that hey, it’s just pop music. It’s catchy and it’s on Top 40 and everyone keeps switching the station when it comes on for the 900th time. But in the end, it doesn’t really matter. New Order may have been a guilty pleasure, but the guilt completely vanished a few years ago when they stepped out of the Pretty in Pink soundtrack and into the world of credible and incredible musicians whose music will continue to last. OK, maybe not they’re last two albums (although “Crystal” was catchy), but certainly their immediate post-Joy Division that work that proved the group could meet, if not surpass, the legendary status of their ill-fated former front man.
One of my favorite lyrics of all time was the elementary simplicity of “Bizarre Love Triangle”’s “Whenever I get this way, I just don’t know what to say / Why can’t we be ourselves like we were yesterday?” perhaps because regret and nostalgia are part of those universal emotions that seem tragically inevitable. But no matter how long we brood, yesterday is something we’ll never be able to re-live. And though we all thought the day would never come, as of June 20, our lives no longer have a need to search for that morning sun.