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Retro Limited Edition, Box set
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Our product to treat is a regular product. There is not the imitation. From Japan by the surface mail because is sent out, take it until arrival as 7-14 day. Thank you for you seeing it.
There is a hardcore of humbugging New Order chroniclers who'll disdainfully view Retro--a four CD "Best Of" box set with bells on--as another missed opportunity to find a home for all the waif-and-stray rarities of the band's career. They have a point. Whither "Run 2", "MTO", "Video 586", the Western Works demos, the Hacienda Christmas flexi, various previously unreleased live BBC radio and TV sessions or--not for the first time and most heinously of all--the classic, definitive "blue ribbon cover" version of "Ceremony"? Nevertheless, journalists Miranda Sawyer (who harvests most of the familiar hits on the "Pop" disc) and John McCready (who--from the haunting grace of "Elegia" to the latterday lullaby of "Run Wild"--assembles key album cuts on the "Fan" disc) hardly put a foot wrong. Rejoice, for the original full-length vinyl versions of "Temptation" and "Confusion" (both ousted by remixes on the Substance compilation) are judiciously reinstated while such errant clangers as "State of the Nation" and the slapdash 12-inch of "Subculture" are consigned--forever, hopefully--to the dustbin of misadventure.
Although "Ceremony" and the doomed imperialistic dirge of "In a Lonely Place" (both Joy Division compositions, of course--just how good could that third Joy Division album have been?) remain two of the best songs in the band's repertoire, the real New Order first stood up with the motorised whirring of 1981's transitional "Everything's Gone Green"--a tentative juxtaposition of the lyrically downbeat (solitude, disorientation and so on) and stimulating, electronic rhythms. It was a blueprint not only for their future but for popular music's future, for within 24 months--while road testing a new drum machine--New Order had conceived "Blue Monday", unarguably one of the five most important records made since the very genesis of rock & roll. Essentially, Retro tells you everything Joe Public needs to know about New Order's transformation from reticent, sour-faced introverts to matey, media-conducive hedonists with Mike Pickering's cherry-picked compendium of remixes (Disc Three) and Bobby Gillespie's bootlegger-ish live selection (Disc Four) upping the "must-have" ante for New Order completists aggrieved by the aforementioned omissions. --Kevin Maidment
Top Customer Reviews
Is it a sort of tombstone for a band, a collection of all their essential works in one package? A treasure trove of rarities and unreleased tracks for fans? A definitive compilation of their entire recorded works?
'Retro' is none of these.
The box is dedicated to New Order's manager, the late Rob Gretton who originally initiated this project, which would have been called 'ReCycle'. Rob's original vision would have included every recorded version of every New Order track, plus unreleased material and would have run to 20 discs! Steven Morris explains in the sleeve notes that he was all for releasing a 'Pick and Mix' of 5 the 20 so you wouldn't know which ones you were getting. Given the fuss over the bonus disc that comes with the first 5,000 copies, I'm sure the fans would have *loved* that.
As it is you get four discs, with a thematic track listing. So you get The Hits, the classic LP tracks/B-sides, Remixes and Live tracks. If you are lucky you will get a fifth disc of rarities including an 18 minute version of Elegia and other rarities.
The content of this set has no doubt been the subject of much discussion over the last few years, during which New Order have reformed and released a new LP, much of which is on this set in one form or other. This and the sleevenotes by the band make clear that New Order are happier with their current incarnation than their past. They actually enjoy being New Order these days. Witness Barney Sumner whooping with joy during the later live tracks on CD4....this is the sound of a happy one.
So its no surprise that they hi-jacked Bobby Gillespie's 'Live' disc which they felt dwelt too much on early stuff, and added performances from their recent tours.Read more ›
And that's it? This is the summing up of one of the greatest groups ever? Very poor. I wouldn't even recommend it to those new to the band- get Substance 1987, and 1994's Best Of, instead of this.
The packaging, as ever, is by Peter Savile. Need I say more?
The reason this box-set fails is that they handed it over to others to compile. I can see the point in that, but the over-riding impression is one of laziness. If 4 people are going to compile a box-set, it might be an idea for them to speak to each other. That way we might not have had 3 versions each of Fine Time,Crystal,Regret,Perfect Kiss*,Elegia*,Temptation*(*if you have the 5CD version).
There are some excellent box-sets around, and NO need have looked no further than the excellent Heart and Soul for how to compile a box-set. I appreciate that JD's catalogue is smaller, but it's clear that more thought went into it. The Bunnymen's Crystal Days is another example of a box-set compiled with the hardcore fan in mind.
And there's no need for a live CD. New Order are not at their best live, they never have been, and this is not enhanced by a CD of bootleg-quality recordings. Live albums are rubbish at the best of times (OK, tell me a good live album then), and the inclusion of this disc is, well, a waste of a disc.
In short it's a rip off. The first 2 discs are OK, if a little disjointed, the club disc is hit-and-miss, and the live disc is just awful. I don't know who Alan Wise is, but you obviously had to be there. Why is this included on a New Order box-set? Actually, it's entirely in keeping with the shodiness of the whole thing. The bonus disc is the most interesting, and was apparently included as a concession to the like of me, who thought they hadn't included enough rare material.
New Order's music is great, but they have done their catalogue no justice here.
Basically, you need the program button of your cd player, particularly on the Live and Club discs - there are some atrocities on these, in particular a diabolical remix of Blue Monday.
There's too much overlap with Substance. This appears a release primarily for the dedicated fan. At least they didn't release a Substance pt 2 (the b sides definitely went downhill from the Technique era onwards).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I did enjoy this compilation but, like Joy Division, New Order deserve a more thoughtful refection of their prolific work. I tmisses the mark.Published on 11 May 2014 by Paul Thompson
This box set has been rather too harshly criticized - so here's my defence of it.
If it were narrowed down to three discs instead of four or five it would serve a... Read more
New Order are one of the best bands this country has ever had. Some might say they are THE best, or even 2 of the best bands. They are not served well by this box-set though. Read morePublished on 2 Feb. 2004 by M. A. Mackenzie
Probably everyone would be divided over a track listing for a New Order box set, and the choice of tracks initially put me off. Read morePublished on 11 Mar. 2003
couldnt wait to play this after opening it on christmas day (thanks sis) and i was not dissapointed one little bit
the majority of there stuff i only have on vinyl so to have... Read more