[40 Years of PC&L] -- In the shock and awe following the May 1980 death of their singer, Ian Curtis, the remaining members of Joy Division opted to carry on. They adopted a new name -- New Order -- and released a debut album of mostly new material in November 1981. I see that record, Movement, as sort of a pivot between Joy Division and New Order. Why? Because 40 years ago this week -- on May 2, 1983 -- New Order released their second, full-length studio LP, Power, Corruption & Lies, a recording that both heralded their new direction while still recognizing both their legacy and their lost bandmate.
The new album was a critical and commercial success. In his review for Rolling Stone review, Steve Pond called it a "remarkable declaration of independence" and a "quantum leap" over Movement. Writing for AllMusic, John Bush says the album "cemented New Order's place as the most exciting dance-rock hybrid in music." While Power, Corruption & Lies did not chart in the US, it was a top 40 album in several countries, notably Australia (#38), The Netherlands (#14), Germany (#18), New Zealand Albums (#3), Sweden (#16), and the UK (#4). It was also ranked as the #23 album in The Village Voice's 1983 Pazz & Jop critics' poll. And all that was without the initial inclusion of the "Blue Monday" single, also released in May 1983.
"Age of Consent," the lead-off track, is a monster. Shimmering synths, danceable beats, and chunky guitar dress up bleak lines like "These words lie inside, they hurt me so." This song holds an amazing tension between human emotion and emotionless technology. Sure, you could turn off your mind and just dance to the layered sounds, but that would close you off to half the experience, which is pretty much the hallmark of the best New Order songs. Other standouts on this album include "Leave Me Alone," "Your Silent Face," and "Ecstasy."
This week's embedded YouTube playlist features the eight tracks of the original vinyl release (albeit from the 2015 re-release). So, like that initial release, "Blue Monday," is not included in the track listing. Due to its popularity, the song was added to later cassette and CD versions. If you're missing that song, you can pop over to a March 1983 performance of it here.
Flashback: Power, Corruption & Lies (May 2, 1983)
That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.
I'll see you in seven!
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