Surviving the loss of vocalist Ian Curtis, Joy Division’s three instrumentalists, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris and Bernard Sumner, turned tragedy to triumph when they regrouped as New Order and added keyboardist Gillian Gilbertto the line-up. In the years that followed, the group rose to become one of Factory Records’ leading lights, and the best New Order songs would see the band morph into one of the most revered alternative rock outfits of all time.
In stark contrast to the darkness inherent in Joy Division’s music, New Order turned towards the light. Incorporating electronica and the sounds of New York’s nightclubs into their angular guitar framework, the Manchester quartet blueprinted a singular sound of their own which kept abreast of the dancefloor’s ever-changing trends but also reflected their natural melancholia. They’ve amassed a formidable catalogue over the past four decades, of which our 20 best New Order songs is just a starting point.
20: Dreams Never End (1981)
Recorded while they were still coming to terms with the loss of Ian Curtis, New Order found creating their debut album, Movement, a struggle – both emotionally and creatively – with Bernard Sumner, writing in his memoir, Chapter And Verse, likening it to being “in a car in which the steering wasn’t quite working properly and we’d lost the map”. While the album was a transitional affair, songs such as the strident, chiming, Peter Hook-sung Dreams Never End reveal that it was by no means devoid of inspiration.