12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 21 May 2002
By rights I shouldn't be listening to this band. I'm 18 years old and seriously into the trance/balearic scene, which has only really been going since 1995. So why do I own every album by this one group, especially since most of their stuff was written in the cheese-ridden 1980's?
Because they're superb, that's why. Anyone who cannot understand what all the fuss is about, here's your answer neatly presented in two-disc CD format. Substance is the best of a superlative group of albums, and deserves to be on everyone's shelf.
CD1 is the best. The hard-driving "Ceremony" is a good opener, and the disc runs through the reasonable "Everything's gone green" and impressive "Temptation", to the classic "Blue Monday", an instantly recognisable track. "Confusion" follows, a slightly cheesey but very listenable track, and then the album slows down a bit with "Thieves like us" and the brilliant "Perfect Kiss". A remix of "Subculture" comes next, not as good as the original but still great, followed by the weaker "Shellshock" and reasonable "State of the Nation". Near the end, "Bizarre Love Triangle" is indeed slightly weird, but with an infectious sound, and the album is rounded out by "True Faith" - New Order's greatest achievement and one of the best songs of all time in my opinion.
CD2 is the lesser-known B-sides to the ones described above. All have their merits, but aren't as classic as the A-sides, and most people won't listen to this CD as much as the first. Pity.
All in, this is a great album which really demonstrates how good some music in the 1980's was. My mates might take the mickey for listening to 1980's music (on a 1980's stereo in my 1980's car!), but when it's this good, who cares? That's got to be a good recommendation from someone who was four when this album was released...
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 8 November 2001
Anybody wondering what the almighty fuss about this band is need look no further than this superb double CD. These people were pioneers of what the soundtrack of our lives should be. Electronic music being in it's teething years at the time, hear the evolution of music take place. BLUE MONDAY still sounds as devastating to my ears as it did when first released.
The must critisized second CD of b-sides is equally as marvellous as the a-sides. Twelve inch remixes of tracks like Confusion, show how incredibly in touch with the Chicago dance scene this band were. They maybe the first Brits to understand dance music as a palatable musical form.
Everything that has come since pales in the face of New Order's giant steps in the '80s. As important as any band need be.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Apparently the reason why 'Substance 1987' was released was down to the fact Anthony Wilson wanted to have a tape to play in his car of New Order's non-LP moments, which sounds fair enough to me. 'Substance 1987' is one of the New Order albums that need to be owned, alongside the decent 'Power, Corruption & Lies' (1983' and 'Brotherhood' (1986) and the excellent 'Low Life' (1985) and 'Technique' (1989). New Order were less interesting afterwards, apart from the odd moment like 'Touched By the Hand of God', 'World in Motion', 'Regret', 'Crystal' & 'Run Wild.' Admit it, it's a sometimes patchy career and their status as pioneers is somewhat over-stated considering such acts as The Human League, OMD, Throbbing Gristle, Soft Cell, Heaven 17, Depeche Mode, Ultravox!, Associates, Cabaret Voltaire, This Heat, Psychic TV, Simple Minds & Japan were exploring the territories they supposedly discovered sometime before/at the same time as them.
The first disc focuses on the a-sides (though for some reason a-side and second single 'Procession' turns up on the second disc!)and is largely excellent. The versions of 'Temptation' and 'Confusion' were re-recorded, though I'm not sure why (the originals surfaced on the recent 'Singles'-compilation) and the 12" versions of 'Sub-Culture', 'Shellshock' & 'State of the Nation' are extremely boring (while 'Bizarre Love Triangle' has the same synth-voice as 'I Just Called to Say I Love You'!). Still, hard to go wrong with such classics as 'True Faith', 'Ceremony', 'Blue Monday', 'Thieves Like Us' and 'Everything's Gone Green.' The 12" version of 'The Perfect Kiss' is the best take of that song as is the full length take of 'Thieves Like Us' which is one of the greatest songs of all time (as 'State of the Nation' is surely one of the worst).
The second disc is patchier stuff - instrumental/dub-remixed takes of 'Blue Monday' ('The Beach'), 'Confusion' ('Confused Instrumental'), 'Thieves Like Us', 'The Perfect Kiss' ('Kiss of Death)', 'Subculture' ('Dubvulture'), 'Shellshock' ('Shellcock') and 'Bizarre Love Triangle' ('Bizarre Dub Triangle') are all of academic interest. & 'State of the Nation' doesn't get any better re-titled 'Shame of the Nation', accorded a word change and some cheesy 80s soul vocals that remind you of Living in a Box and Johnny Hates Jazz!
Still...it's not all bad, early tracks like 'Hurt', 'Mesh' and the aforementioned 'Procession' are highlights, while the flip of 'True Faith', '1963' is another of New Order's greatest moments (eventually remixed and released as single in the 1990s). 'Murder' is a great instrumental that samples 'Caligula' and like 1985's 'Sunrise' suggests the Joy Division-sound wasn't completely banished. Fellow b-side 'Lonesome Tonight' is a great tribute to Ian Curtis, despite sounding almost country like 1986's 'As It Is When It Was.' Strangely, the CD-issue of this compilation has opted to keep the superfluous remixes while nixing 'Cries and Whispers' (found on my tape copy of this) - why is that????
The best moment on either of these discs remains another Curtis-associated song - 'In a Lonely Place' (which took its name from a film, as did 'Cries and Whispers', 'Thieves Like Us' & 'Age of Consent') which finds the remains of Joy Division re-named New Order record a song previously demo-ed by JD (see the 'Heart & Soul'box-set). Sumner sounds very much like Curtis as he sings those gorgeously sad-lines ("someday we will die in your dreams" probably one of the greatest lyrics) and the synths sound huge and offer the template The Cure used on 'Disintegration.'
All in all, one to get - though perhaps 2005's 'Singles' is a better buy, even if it offers the 7" versions for the most part? It's a brilliant career, though it should be noted that neither 'Substance 1987' or 'Singles' captures it all, as such tracks as 'Dreams Never End', 'Age of Consent', 'Your Silent Face', 'Love Vigilantes', 'Every Little Counts', 'Touched By the Hand of God', 'Dream Attack', 'Vanishing Point','Guilty Partner', 'Liar', 'Special' and 'Run Wild' aren't included...
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 21 February 2000
New Order's own record company boss once said that "they don't know how to make good albums yet - just brilliant singles". Can't disagree with the latter sentiment. Originally released in 1987, this is an essential collection of New Order's 12" singles up to and including that year, complete with the B sides on a 2nd CD. "Thieves Like Us", "Perfect Kiss" and "Shellshock" really should be in everyone's record collection. A must-have compilation if you missed the singles first time around - just beware one thing: Rather than being the stunning minimalist original, "Confusion" is a ghastly late-80's "remix", with all the timeless quality of, say, Jellybean. You still have to buy it though.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
If ever their was an album to bring back memories of such an experimental time for music, Substance will spring to mind. This was during a time when clubs actually had variety in their music, and New Order were a regular at The Hacienda. The album brings back the sounds of synths, guitars, and other unique sounds, which made New Order one of the most unique sounding bands of the time. Obvious favourites include Blue Monday and The Beach, which both use an unforgettable rhythm that was even used on The Annual vol.1. True Faith is another great song, and is very much feel good, along with the likes of 1963. There are many great tracks on the album, but I felt cd 1 had the most quality to it.
Another great album from an unforgettable era!