I spend an unusual amount of time thinking about why New Order are brilliant, and I while I still can’t quite work it out, I’m getting closer, maybe.
See, most bands w/ pop aspirations have to build up to it. Craft hooks. Write riffs. Flaunt frontmen. The equation adds up to pop. Or at least it’s supposed to.
Not so in New Order. New Order is pop through subtraction, deconstruction.
It’s as though New Order arrived at the idea of pop and then immediately began stripping the hallmark elements away. A barely-there frontman who couldn’t sing and never met a verse that didn’t rhyme, no matter the cost. No bass in any traditional sense of the word (Hook’s “bass” lines really guitar lines masquerading as bass lines) and drums half real, half-synthesized.
And yet its some of the most “musical” dance pop ever made. A mystery. Or, as graphic designer Tony Saville put it, “a mass-produced secret of sorts.”