It’s probably fair to say the success of New Order’s sixth album, Republic, tasted bittersweet. The record topped the UK chart in 1993 and yielded a personal best of No.11 on North America’s Billboard 200, but while the stats suggest a work born of halcyon days, the band members don’t recall it that way.
“I find Republic very difficult to listen to objectively these days,” Stephen Morris wrote in his memoir Fast Forward. “It just reminds me of all the trouble and the angst that surrounded its creation.”
Listen to ‘Republic’ here.
“Having to make an album purely for financial reasons is the death of creativity!”
The “trouble” Morris refers to was the precarious financial state of their original label, Factory Records, in the early 90s. Indeed, things became so bad that after New Order went on hiatus while each member concentrated on solo projects following 1989’s Technique, the four band members were effectively forced to reunite in an attempt to stave off disaster.
At this pivotal time, The Haçienda, the Manchester super-club the band co-owned with their label, was losing money hand over fist due to a variety of drug- and gangland-related issues. As a result, New Order were informed that if they didn’t produce another album, Factory would go bankrupt, and the band – who had guaranteed loans for both Factory and The Haçienda – would be financially ruined. Taken at face value, these were hardly the ideal circumstances in which to create a classic album.