This list was originally published in 2014, but has since been updated.
Not many groups can carry on and find much success after the death of their lead singer, but somehow Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, and Stephen Morris (with the addition of Gillian Gilbert) were able to do so. They changed their name from Joy Division to New Order. They added more synths, more dance. And the rest of the ‘80s was history.
We are long removed from the days and nights of The Haçienda, but not too distant to break down their best songs and rank them accordingly. No songs past 1993 made the cut, but bear in mind that Get Ready highlight “Crystal” and Waiting for the Sirens’ Call’s “Krafty” just missed. So, give into temptation, await the perfect kiss, and read our perfect list. (Just couldn’t resist.)
10. “Dreams Never End”
Album: Movement (1981)
“Dreams Never End” was a perfect opening track for New Order’s debut album. It bridged two distinct eras of music by paying tribute to what the band once was and offering a hint of what lay ahead. Bernard Sumner was ultimately selected as the group’s frontman, in part because his ethereal vocals stood in contrast to the late Ian Curtis’ distinctive baritone croons. But “Dreams Never End” found bass player extraordinaire Peter Hook, still fresh from his stint in Warsaw and Joy Division, stepping in to channel his inner Curtis with somber lyrics and a voice full of grief, fear, and ennui. The song’s instrumentation is also prophetic, sauntering in a New Wave of dancey playfulness that would rule the decade. — Dan Pfleegor
Bonus Track: The fact that “Dreams Never End” predates The Cure’s “Friday I’m in Love” by more than a decade. Compare those guitar riffs and you’ll see what I mean.
09. “Your Silent Face”
Album: Power, Corruption & Lies (1983)
The opener to side two of Power, Corruption & Lies, “Your Silent Face” is a dazzling bit of darkly comedic juxtaposition. “No hearing or breathing/ No movement, no colors/ Just silence,” Sumner coos over an audible, bouncy, multicolored swath of electronics. The grandiose wash of organ swooping in over ping-ponging rhythmic synths, coupled with a patch of melodica here and a jangle of guitar there, makes for a majestic mix, but there Sumner sings in its middle, of apathy, of emptiness, of vacuum. But Sumner’s not a passive observer, ending the song on a bit of bile. “So why don’t you piss off,” he murmurs, before wrapping that smirk around another simplistic melodica line to complete the biting, darkly beautiful picture. — Adam Kivel
Bonus Track: Want further proof that there’s some humor at work here? Before it became “Your Silent Face,” the tune was referred to as “that Kraftwerk one.”