Songs I Wish Everyone Knew: “Murder” by New Order

Today’s perspective of Joy Division and New Order is quite an interesting one. Anyone really “in the know” about good music at least has a knowledge of Joy Division, but preferably thinks they’re one of the greatest bands ever. As for New Order, about half the reaction is the same as it is for their former incarnation, and the other is, “oh, that synthpop band from the 80s?” If viewed as two separate bands (while having limited knowledge of their respective catalogs,) I suppose it makes sense. Joy Division’s few, but undeniably important “hits” include the likes of “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” “Transmission,” and “Atmosphere,” while New Order is known for their impeccably crafted alternative pop hits like “True Faith,” “Bizarre Love Triangle,” and, of course, “Blue Monday.” However, there’s a progression there that is way too easy to follow. New Order’s first single was “Ceremony,” an unfinished Joy Division song and was backed with “In A Lonely Place,” another polished up J.D. tune. From there, they slowly moved into their more synth-heavy sound and started cranking out game-changing pop tunes like the aforementioned tracks in addition to songs like “Thieves Like Us” and “The Perfect Kiss.” The DNA has always been the same, though, and if you view their catalogs as one single unit (and you should! Outside of a name change, the only real difference is Ian Curtis out, Gillian Gilbert in,) then it makes perfect sense. One track worth highlighting is one that so rarely is, but it’s more or less the missing puzzle piece that truly bridges these two incredible, legendary bands. It’s a song called “Murder.” While never released on a studio album (most of their early singles were stand alone releases,) the track wasn’t even properly released in the UK. In fact, it was only properly released in Belgium, so the song has really taken on an intense “hidden gem” status. “Murder” has the spark and drive of a Joy Division piece, with the intuitive structure and audacity that is very New Order. There’s no vocal on the track, either, but instead has samples of lines from various films which gives it a unique edge. Finally, it really showcases the musicality of the band. Stephen Morris’ percussion is intense and energetic, Bernard Sumner’s guitar sparkles effortlessly, Gillian Gilbert’s nuances act as the glue, and, of course, it’s Peter Hook’s bass really elevates the piece and makes it trademark JD/NO. “Murder” is the last real track that sees New Order referencing their former incarnation, and in a poetic way, it was via a track that was intended to be lost in the shuffle.




1 Comment

  1. I agree. I am lucky and old enough to have been at the centre of both JD and NO and this track has always been a driving force in their catalogue. Strangely they dont see it that way as it was never played live. Maybe Hooky will at some point?!

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