Entertainment Weekly (p.89) - "[T]hey can still wring more soul from a drum machine than most anybody." -- Grade: B+
After almost 20 years, New Order finally released a compilation that arguably exceeds 1987's SUBSTANCE with 2005's two-disc SINGLES. In terms of the material's breadth, SINGLES easily trounces SUBSTANCE, as it ranges from '81 to '05 and serves as an excellent overview of the famed post-punk/dance act's entire career. While the band's transition from Joy Division gets a slightly shorter shrift ("In a Lonely Place" is one of the few tracks from SUBSTANCE that's notably absent), the second disc is a wonderfully selected sampling of New Order's occasionally maligned later period.
Arranged chronologically, SINGLES moves from the group's first true steps out of Joy Division's shadow (the surging classics "Everything's Gone Green," "Temptation," and "Blue Monday") to jubilant pop glory (the catchy smash "Bizarre Love Triangle," the dance floor anthem "True Faith") and, eventually, to their status as veteran dance-rock heroes (the eminently assured "Regret" and "Crystal"). Although some fans may be perplexed by versions of songs that differ from SUBSTANCE (particularly "Temptation" and "Confusion"), SINGLES is so comprehensive that it should even win over New Order diehards still clinging tightly to their vinyl copies of the lauded former collection.
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- Total: From Joy Division to New Order (Joy Division)