The first in what will be a recurring series featuring CDs or tapes which came with music papers or magazines.
I’ve rarely found that a free CD has even been worth the cover price of the magazine, but I’ve often found that at least one and maybe as many as two or three tracks make it all worthwhile. But then again, given that a magazine will have a very broad appeal across its readership, it is very likely that the two or three tracks which I most enjoy will be hated by the person who drops into the newsagent after me and picks up the next copy from the shelf. It’s not ever intended to appeal entirely to every single reader.
A CD however, will stand a better chance of higher acclaim if it is devoted to a particular genre of music or has been compiled as a tribute to a band or a particular record. having said that, most tribute albums tend to feature a wide range of artists offering their particular take on a hero(es)/heroine(s) of theirs and so will often run into the similar problem as any promotional CD simply aiming to highlight the new sounds from that particular month.
The series however, is opening with something which should have stood a better chance of being a critical success than most.
Power, Corruption & Lies Covered came free with the February 2012 issue of the monthly magazine MOJO here in the UK. The editor-in-chief penned these words:-
“There was definitely a change in style. Movement sounded like Joy Division, but Power Corruption & Lies is the first New Order record. That marriage of electronics and rock is a distinct, very unique sound.”
So said Peter Hook discussing New Order’s landmark 1983 offering with MOJO’s Ian Harrison in the summer of 2011. During the intervening three decades the album’s influence has grown considerably, impacting on a new generation of musicians and pointing the way towards further explorations in sound and texture. This exclusive MOJO compilation is proof of that, featuring a reworking of the entire album as well as including a re-recording of the seminal Blue Monday 12-inch and a selection of bonus tracks from that time.
From The Golden Filters to Fujiya & Miyagi via the likes of S.C.U.M, Errors and Destroyer and on to K-X-P, each artist was hand-picked by MOJO but given a free hand in terms of recording their own interpretation of each track. We believe that the results offer up a new set of perspectives on a collection of songs whose power continues to resonate and we invite you to dig in to a new generation of artists whose work is equally inspirational.
I’m a huge fan of New Order and was thrilled beyond belief when I first played PC&L. This was partly down to the fact that it was such a superior album to the band’s debut but mainly as it continued in the vein of the great singles that had been released over the previous 18 months, not least Temptation. And in the album opener Age of Consent the band had written and recorded what I thought was their ultimate masterpiece and which, more than 30 years on I still consider to be the case, albeit I think that in Low-Life and Technique they would go on to release better and more enduring albums (although Comrade Colin violently disagrees with me on that one)
This particular CD intrigued me as I wanted to see what the new crop of bands made of it all with Errors being the only outfit I was familiar with beforehand. I came away a little bit underwhelmed by the whole thing mainly as I felt that the few songs which had originally enjoyed any semblance of a rock sound had seen these elements replaced by just a little too much electronica. I also felt that on a few occasions, the cover versions weren’t quite distinct enough from the originals to merit a thumbs-up.
But I went back again to the album while I was away on holiday at the tail end of 2014 and listened afresh and hopefully without prejudice and to my surprise and delight I found myself enjoying a great deal of it.
On the basis that you could never replicate the magnificence of the opening track it was much easier to listen to American duo The Golden Filter and accept it as a trippy, hypnotic, multi-paced and ultimately haunting lovely, dreamy and enchanting take rather than a song which has never failed to get me on any dance floor whenever it is played (with the most recent being just a few weeks ago at the Xmas show of Glasgow Little League).
And on the basis that most of the musicians playing on these records wouldn’t even have been born when PC&L was originally released, then why should I get annoyed when the likes of Another’s Blood do a very straight take on Lonesome Tonight to the extent that it often sounds exactly like New Order but with a singer who can hit all his notes. Oh and I really like the version of Leave Me Alone…but it’s such a great song that it should be impossible to mess up.
There is no doubt that each of the acts who contributed to this album were big fans of New Order and in many cases the Mancunians were probably the biggest single influence on their own sounds. As such, it is, overall, a a very fine tribute to a very fine band and a very fine album. It’s far from perfect – but I’m guessing that the songs I most dislike will be the ones that certain other readers will find most enjoyable – while the decision to feature covers of both Blue Monday and The Beach seems a bit of a waste when you could have looked for a cover of something like Procession, Temptation or Thieves Like Us, but at least the compilers went for contrasting acts (and in Biosphere found someone who is even older than I am and who was clearly as blown away by New Order back in the days just as much as I and many many others).
mp3 : The Golden Filter – Age Of Consent
mp3 : Tarwater – We All Stand
mp3 : Errors – The Village
mp3 : S.C.U.M – 586
mp3 : Fujiya & Miyagi – Your Silent Face
mp3 : Seekae – Ultraviolence
mp3 : Walls – Ecstasy
mp3 : Destroyer – Leave Me Alone
mp3 : Biosphere – Blue Monday
mp3 : Zombie Zombie – The Beach
mp3 : Lonelady – Cries And Whispers
mp3 : Another’s Blood – Lonesome Tonight
mp3 : K-X-P – Murder
Enjoy. At least in parts.