Saturday, March 7, 2009

New Order -- "60 MPH" (2001)

Isn't it crazy that this was the first New Order album I bought, after they put out like a dozen, right? It was one of those stars aligning kind of things because I bought it without hearing one song, but somehow I felt compelled to buy this one after reading reviews in the UK music magazines and I just felt I had to. Wouldn't the record industry love for me to have this urge more often?

I always loved some of New Order's classic singles like "True Faith," "Bizarre Love Triangle" and "Love Vigilantes," so I knew they program some terrific beats, shoved Peter Hook's electric bass front and center, and layer plenty of simple synth lines.

I call Get Ready "the album where New Order discovered electric guitar" because I had never heard them so prominently on any earlier album. Overdriven chords and arpeggios all over the place, and they fit in perfectly with their dance-driven music.

The one song that caught me immediately and I still can't get enough of is "60 MPH." If I could have sequenced this album, this would have been the lead track and first single. It has an actual intro of a solo analog chord waving through a filter sweep, attacked out of nowhere by the biggest, fattest guitar hook on the entire record, the drum machine practically flying off the beat.

This is the best, and maybe the only driving song New Order ever recorded. It speeds along so off the handle with a relentlessly unforgettable singalong chorus, that it really is made for loud accompaniment on the road.

I don't know if I told you,
But I'm seeking sanctuary.
You'd never guess the things that I do,
I've had the devil around for tea.

Don't you know that I'm here beside you?
Can't you see that I can't relax?
When I saw you in my rear view,
You could have stopped me in my tracks.

I'll be there for you when you want me to.
I'll stand by your side like I always do.
In the dead of night it'll be alright.
Because I'll be there for you when you want me to.

You could take me to an island.
Ride across a stormy sea.
We could worship pagan idols.
There together you and me.
Why don't you run over here and rescue me?
You could drive down in your car.
Why don't we both take a ride and turn that key,
We'll drive at sixty miles an hour.

I'll be there for you when you want me to
I'll stand by your side like I always do
In the dead of night it'll be alright
Because I'll be there for you when you want me to.

Tonight, I was playing the song with my son in the car and noticed that the relatively simple guitar solo (a rare New Order occurance) was also filtered from the beginning, starting sort of muffled and echo-ey and then sharp and high by the end. You don't know how many times I wish that the solo was a real cranked-up distorted frenzy because the chords are the perfect kind to solo over. But less is more with New Order -- not only is the solo cool and sedate, but all the other breaks are walls of synth chords, different from the ones used throughout the song, basically taking the whole thing to lift-off!

So here are two videos of this song made for the car: the official video, which of course features lots of cool driving shots cut with a dorky guy in a bear suit (!)... and then the band souping up the song live on Jool Holland's "Later" TV show. Man, what a performance. It's a good thing they discovered their electric guitars for this record because it makes a song like this even more exciting live . What I would give to see them reunite in concert here if it's anything like this segment.

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