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4.6 out of 5 stars40
4.6 out of 5 stars
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 2005
This superlative double album deserves to be mentioned alongside the likes of Highway 61 Revisited, Sergeant Pepper and so on. It may be a compilation album, but the range and quality of material is astounding, from the sombre beauty of Ceremony, the eerie psychedelia of Everything's Gone Green (one of NO's most underrated tracks), all the way through to True Faith, one of the most perfect pop singles ever recorded. The fact that some NO fans may carp at the reworkings of Temptation, Confusion and Subculture, (which are all fabulous, by the way) and so-called lesser tracks such as Shellshock and State of the Nation, only goes to show what high standards New Order had set themselves by the mid-eighties. The first disc is incontestable proof that, as a singles band, New Order are were (and are) simply untouchable.
The second disc, containing the corresponding B-sides, is fantastic too -although not as immediately gratifying as the first, you'll find yourself soming back to it more and more to get a different "take" on the A-Sides. Furthermore, it contains gems such as 1963 and Procession, which could quite easily have been singles in their own right.
A final note to all NO diehards out there: if you want the definitive version of Substance, try and get your hand on the cassette version, which contains extra tracks: the fragile beauty Mesh, as well the corking re-mixes Dubvulture, Shellcock and the mighty Shep Pettibone mix, Bizarre Dub Triangle. I know cassettes are crap, but you'll have a hard time finding these tracks otherwise!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 13 October 2012
I have both vinyl and CD versions of this set and both are extremely excellent! They capture the best of New Order to that date, but the CD version wins by dint of the second disc containing B-sides from all the singles, my only quibble being the lack of Dub Vulture (just get the 12" for that).

This is frequently played late on a Friday or Saturday, when a drink or 2 has been consumed, in a forlorn attempt to recreate the night in The Warehouse in Leeds in 1984 when Blue Monday, and thus post-Movement New Order, finally made sense to me.

Where would a lot of dance music be without New Order?

Buy it and lose yourself...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 September 2009
The reviews already posted on here combine outpourings of love and nostalgia and mini-essays on New Order. But at their best they WERE that good. If you were around you don't need telling. If you're checking out New Order to find out why they mattered then I strongly suggest you start here, and not with the one disc best of. This twofer is the essence of what made New Order great, it lacks later singles but it packs extended work-outs, ambitious b-sides and the big fat restless mixes that made them a dance sensation. The lengthy tracks simply make it more obvious that this band wrote hypnotic melodies, laid just enough instruments on each track and used the tricks and technology of the time with intelligence. There are compilations out there offering up 80s 12" singles so thick with electronic keyboards and fussy knob-twiddling production that the original songs are all but lost. This assured collection shows New Order were up there with the best for most of the decade and they never lost sight of the need for a good lyric, a timely guitar lick or a slamming tune. Classic!
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 10 October 2001
Not all the singles here are the original 12" versions: "Ceremony" is the re-recorded version, not the superb original rendition done before Gillian joined the band.
"Temptation" is a 1987 remixed edit, "Confusion" is also a dodgy sounding 1987 remix, "Subculture" is slightly altered from it's original form, "Hurt" has 2 minutes cut off from it's original 12" form and "The Perfect Kiss" has 40 seconds sliced off from the end of the song.
Despite all this it's still a fantastic album.
"Blue Monday", "True Faith", "Bizarre Love Triangle" and "Thieves Like Us" are the main highlights, but "Everything's Gone Green", "1963" and "Murder" are great too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 May 2012
This collection of NO tracks from the 1980s perfectly showcases both their songwriting ability (see the b-side songs like 1963, Lonesome Tonight, Mesh and Procession) and their knowledge of the dancefloor sounds of the era - only Pet Shop Boys come close I think in choosing their remixers and producers so carefully. All the movers and shakers of that period are here: Shep Pettibone, Arthur Baker and John Robie. If you can though, it is worth tracking down the individual vinyl 12" singles; many of the versions were edited down to lose a couple of minutes or so in order to fit on CD originally (only the mighty Blue Monday and its dub b-side The Beach seem to have escaped unscathed among the supposed 12" versions here). The vinyl versions have greater depth and bass too IMO.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on 15 May 2001
I could write an essay about this album, and of sorts, that is what it will be. First of all, the criticism part. There is one thing that annoys me most about this album. The idea of a compilation is to compile previously released songs on a single album. Quite why the producers saw fit to alter 'Confusion' and 'Subculture' from the brilliant songs they were to, quite honestly, noises, is beyond me. I have heard that 'Temptation' was changed too from its original form - I shall remain quiet until I own the original 12" single of it to form a judgement.
Now, after that, you may wonder why I gave this 5 stars. The answer is, this is the best compilation of songs ever. I am a largely emotionless soul, but every time I hear 'Thieves Like Us' I feel a tear swelling in my eye. '1963' is the only song I always, without fail sing along to. 'The Perfect Kiss' is, well, perfect. 'Ceremony', 'Procession', are lesser known classics. 'True Faith' and 'Bizarre Love Triangle' are New Order at their best.
Some feel that the second CD is merely an oversight, and is best left unmentioned. I will state my belief here that it is actually better than the first. 'Lonesome Tonight', 'Procession' and 'Kiss of Death' are so much better than the versions here of 'Confusion', 'Subculture' and the below par 'Shellshock' that even the overall brilliance of every other song on the album can't change this fact.
The reason why I have put so much negativity into this review is thus: I have owned this album for 3 years now. In the time I have owned it, I must have listened to it several hundred times, it is scarse that neither CD is in my player. Nothing is perfect, and the imperfections only become apparent after this length of time. To the newcomer, the world of New Order, 1981 to 1987, the best part of their career awaits you.
In short, my advice would be to buy it. If you always liked New Order, but didn't quite get round to buying anything of theirs, get this, ignore the 'Best Of' which is nothing more than a marketing game to make money. If you're a completist (like me) get this as well as all the singles you own.
Nobody could possibly make a mistake in buying this album. This is music for life.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 22 July 2004
There are quite a few New Order compilations on the market ("[The Best of] New Order," "Retro," and "International"), but none can top 1987's "Substance." On these two discs, we have extended and (some) remixed versions of all the group's essential singles including the then new track "True Faith." While other best-of sets do a terribly botched effort compiling the group's material, "Substance" does the best job at covering their 1980s work. The group's crowning moment, for me, is the disco pump of the classic "Blue Monday," while we get treated to earlier nuggets like the raw "Everything's Gone Green" and more recognizable hits like "Bizarre Love Triangle" and "Perfect Kiss." Two other favorites of mine are the re-recorded versions of "Temptation" and "Confusion" which are given dance-friendly makeovers. While this set doesn't include any tracks from later (and lesser) albums like "Technique" (1989) and "Republic" (1993), I still think "Substance" is the best New Order retrospective around.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 July 2007
I bought this album for my wife as part of a birthday present. I'd not been a great New Order fan at the time of their rise to power - possibly still a bit miffed at the demise of the 'Division'. However, I have listened to it and my opinion of this group has changed. The orchestration is very good, musical abitilty is far superior to their contemporaries and I would recommend it to anyone with a taste for 1980's/1990's alternative rock/electric music.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 February 2014
Be careful if (like me) you presumed you would the same as the CD. Ceremony is the original version (not the later version with Gillian that's on Substance CD). Also Subculture is the Low-Life version and not the remixed mix as per Substance CD.

The other annoying thing is that the volume of the tracks differ greatly. 1963 is particulary quieter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 March 2011
This is a stalwart clasic, from when I owned the vinyl double to recently replacing it with the big fat-case CD double (which ofcourse has lots of dub mixes on it).

All classics, even if some sound a wee bit dated compared to the more pop/rock version of the band - that's their beauty in a way!
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