Music Complete(ly Different)

New Order’s tenth studio album, “Music Complete”, was released on Friday 25 September.

Last Wednesday, a fellow blogger shared a link to download the new album—two days before it was officially available.

On the morning that “Music Complete” was released, Amazon (from where I ordered a physical copy) sent me a link to download the album in MP3 format.

The same morning, a buddy who ordered the vinyl box set forwarded me the link that he received to download the album in WAV format.

Spotify had the album available to stream for free on the day of its release.

When I returned home from work on Friday, the CD I ordered from Amazon was in my mailbox.

That evening in Germany, there was an album premiere party and Q & A session with New Order, all of which was streamed live on the Electronic Beats website.

And I still haven’t heard “Music Complete” yet.

While growing up in the 1980s, and throughout the 1990s, there was an excitement to buying a new album on vinyl or compact disc in a brick & mortar store, and then racing home to play it on a proper stereo system and admire the packaging.

I liken listening to certain music as attending a religious service—it should be an experience involving specific traditions in a designated ‘place of worship.’

The new music distribution model provides instant gratification, although usually in some lesser quality. Call me old-fashioned, but in removing both the effort required for acquiring new music and the feeling of anticipation, that sense of excitement has been lost.

Posted on September 27, 2015, in SHELF. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Same here and we all know it’s not really New Order..

    • Alright Peter Hook. What a load of crap. Bands change lineups all of the time. The new album is excellent. I ordered the 8 piece vinyl boxset, but got the .wav files sent to me after having done so. It’s the best thing they’ve done in decades… Probably because Hooky’s ego isn’t in the way.

  2. i get your loss of excitement on this one Shelf…i am getting the same + some anger towards Warners UK on top. I have yet to hear any of the album and have purposely avoided listening to ‘Restless’ and anything else that has been put out there. I ordered the vinyl box set and have to wait until November to get it. On top of this i have yet to be provided with downloads that were given as part of the package. The longer i wait the more i am likely to be disappointed with the product once i eventually get it

  3. I pre-ordered the cd. It arrived (by courier!) before I left for work on Friday morning. I was sent the links to download FLAC and mp3 versions, but by the time they’d “arrived”, I’d already ripped it as both (car doesn’t play FLAC files). Personally, I love the album, and I’ve been a fan of the band since around 1986ish.

  4. i’ve listened to it…it’s ok…nothing to write home about…it’s def not old school new order…

  5. I agree totally about accessibility spoiling the experience. Of course, had the album actually been any good, this might have gone some way to making up for it. Pity it wasn’t. For me, Technique was the end if the road, with the possible exception of Regret. Say what you like about Hooky, at least he puts his all into whatever he does. Music Complete is at best competent, at worst just totally uninspiring. Good luck to the Order from a fan since 1979, but this won’t be displacing Chvrches from my car any time soon :-(

  6. I myself pre-ordered the CD. Its all I have listened to for the last 2 days. I myself Love “Music Complete” Iggy Pop even lends a hand. True, its not old Order stuff. However, the production and effort gets a B + from me.

  7. DJ Shelf,

    First – I’d like to thank you for setting up this blog. I rarely post but truly appreciate the community you have inspired and, of course, I appreciate the music that you, and others, have made available to us long-time fans of dance music.

    I have been a fan of New Order for several decades. I am sure I am not alone (certainly here) in saying that New Order is somewhat sacred in the dance music community. No one in the industry, fans, musicians, and A&R folks have not been immune to their influence.

    I completely understand, and agree with, what you are saying. It’s a weird and strange environment for music aficionados of physical media. The excitement of going to a record store and buying “Technique” on LP – the artwork alone was worth the price. I can still remember buying that album when it appeared on the shelf of a record store.

    Those days, unfortunately, are gone – for better and worse. Vinyl prices are way-inflated (higher cost due to lower quantity), but it’s just not the way people consume media these days. It costs too much to add vinyl (and for that matter, CDs) into the large chains – not enough people buy physical music anymore. Music fans have become accustomed to instant gratification with downloads, whether you pay or stream. It’s not as exciting, but neither is going to a record store these days IMO, but that’s just my opinion.

    Same as you – I downloaded Music Complete two days before it was released. I couldn’t wait. I bought the vinyl boxset and I can’t wait for it to arrive (well, I can – I have the album but I am excited for those extended versions!)

    I did listen to it – and I would encourage you to do the same. It is very good, and I know that other fans agree. It’s not perfect, but it certainly pays homage to New Order fans who expect high quality dance music, both in lyrics and in music. New Order knew they had something to prove with the absence of Peter Hook, and they proved it. They can still release strong dance music without him, although, it is not quite the same without him. However, it is still New Order. And nothing has sounded closer to New Order than this album in 26 years. Their legacy is in-tact, and this album will do nothing but further it – hopefully new future fans will listen to it.

    I only wanted to make the point – I agree with you completely – but please listen to the album. :) It’s worth listening to even in digital format. I’m happy I bought the vinyl boxset. If there is one album to listen to post-Technique, this is the one.

    Thanks again for this blog,

  8. While the purpose of this post was to ponder the progression of music procurement, I suppose it was inevitable that the example presented would spark feedback about New Order’s latest album.

    I have listened to “Music Complete” several times now. The first pass was tainted by the euphoria of hearing new music from my favorite band; however, subsequent plays have allowed for more cogent critique.

    Of every track on the album, I ask the same (intentionally equivocal) question: Where is the hook?

    Honestly, the songs are so unmemorable – I’ve yet to hum or sing any of them in the shower, because I can’t remember any notable aspects. None of the tunes are particularly bad (well, except one – I’ll get to that), but they all sound like they’re missing something (besides Hooky’s signature bass). Barney’s vocals are flat, the lyrics are banal, and many of the tracks go on way too long. It’s like the band finished the album, gave it a listen, and said, “Could be better, but it’ll sell.”

    There are very few ‘New Order-y’ moments on “Music Complete.” I was disappointed upon hearing “Restless” in advance of the album’s release, but after repeated listens, it’s one of the better tracks. “Singularity” may be the best choice for another single. “Plastic” sounds like Pet Shop Boys, complete with ironic lyrics. “Tutti Frutti” has a decent groove, but it’s vocally dull. “People On The High Line” wants to evoke “Technique”, but can’t pull it off. “Stray Dog” isn’t New Order – it’s an Iggy Pop track with instrumental backing by members of New Order. And it’s awful. “Academic” may hew closest to the band’s classic style. The album’s longest track, “Nothing But A Fool”, is also the weakest. “Unlearn This Hatred” starts well and then goes off the rails with a lame refrain. I can’t even remember what “The Game” sounds like. And while the band tries really hard for a classic closer, Brandon Flowers ruins “Superheated”, as well as the possibility for the album to end on a high note.

    Frankly, “Music Complete” sounds like it was produced by a contemporary band imitating New Order, with mixed results. Actually, with the addition of Johnny Marr, this probably could have been a decent Electronic album.

    • That’s exactly what I thought. Whilst it’s competent, it just doesn’t excite me. Today I listened to the recent BBC Maida Vale recording, after which I thought that I might have been a bit too critical with my earlier opinion. Then it struck me. Maida Vale included brilliant reworkings of True Faith, BLT, Temptation and 586, the last one itself based on the older Peel session version. The original songs haven’t been completely changed, just freshened up, which bears testament to just how strong they were when they were first written. And they didn’t need to do anything with Blue Monday at all. Compared with them, the stuff from the new album just sounds, to quote my 12 year old, “Meh”. Nothing wrong with any of the four track at all, just no real comparison. I’m bitterly disappointed because as someone who first saw New Order in 1981, I wanted to love every track on it to death, but sadly, I don’t. Ah well, time to dust Movement off yet again!

  9. As far as the original post goes – that’s all well and fine, but what it really underscores is that the music itself is obviously not your only (or main) concern. Not to just accuse you of this, though – it’s true of the vast majority of the music buying public.

    As for this new album – no Hooky, no sale. Period. The end. I won’t even download the thing.

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