The fusion of alternative and dance was such a big thing in the late 1980s in the UK. But it’s not something I really get because, well, I don’t like dance music. But I wish I could appreciate it more, because there are all these bands, with all these acclaimed albums, and I listen to them and I think “wow that sounds dated” or “it’s just not my thing.” And it’s a real struggle for me because I feel like there must be something here, as it captivated so many people.
New Order were doing this before anyone else though, so I really feel like I should give them the benefit of the doubt. The madchester bands were, in some ways, parroting off of what New Order had been doing for half a decade or so at this point. So, on an intellectual level, I feel like I should really at least respect this record and say “These guys were here first so they matter more than the rest of this music I don’t like.”
But I just can’t. There’s too much of a disconnect for me between the dance tracks and the post punk/alternative rock tracks. This disconnect is massive, for me. It feels like I’m listening to two different records by two different bands. On the one hand there is the dance music (I heard it’s inspired by Ibiza, but I don’t know) which often sounds more like straight up dance music than some kind of dance-rock hybrid (though that depends upon the track). On the other hand there’s “Friday I’m in Love” type British jangle pop. The two things rarely meet.
Are each of them done well? Yes. I mean I think so. The jangly stuff sounds a little too much like The Cure, but The Cure in the 1990s, so I have to give it to New Order. As with most British jangle pop, it’s cleaner than its American counterpart. I cannot evaluate the dance music because, as I said, I don’t like it, but it seems competent and, given that there are lyrics, it’s certainly closer to what I like than most dance music.
I just can’t ever imagine liking this record.
6/10 I guess