“Rise and fall of shame
A search that shall remain
We asked you what you’d seen
You said you didn’t care”
(from “Your Silent Face,” by Bernard Sumner, Gillian Gilbert, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris)
The album Power, Corruption & Lies (1983) was the second release by New Order, an English rock band formed in 1980.
The group was essentially a reformation of the post-punk band Joy Division after the death by suicide of its lead singer Ian Curtis (1956-1980). New Order took a few years to get past the legacy of desolation that Joy Division had represented. The new, heavily synthesizer- and guitar-based sound incorporated electronic dance music in songs like “Blue Monday,” the single from Power Corruption and Lies which catapulted the band to fame and attention in dance clubs.
The cover art from the album is the painting, A Basket of Roses, by French painter and lithographer Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904). A lovely, framed print of another of Fantin-Latour’s works lives in our screened porch during the summertime, a gift from a dear friend on our street.
I remember hearing “Blue Monday” in clubs I’d visit on weekends with the hybrid group of friends from the St. Norbert suburb of Winnipeg, Canada that had expanded to include couples and single friends from St. Vital. (I often refer to this group as “friends 2.0,” as explained in earlier posts.) Whenever I hear “Blue Monday,” I recall an image of hordes rushing to the dance floor with the unmistakable opening beats of the drum machine-driven techno-pop. (Interestingly, the single didn’t appear on the long-play record version but appeared in the American releases on cassette tape and compact disc.)
New Order’s sound has developed over the years, and some of their music is more like mainstream rock, like “Crystal,” from 2001’s Get Ready though, admittedly, the label “mainstream” diminishes the song’s raw power. (That track is the subject of my only other post on a New Order song.)
“Your Silent Face,” the first song on the B-side of the LP, is a slowed-down, synthesizer-dominated, anthem-like piece that I feel portrays the theme symbolized by the album’s title, especially in the verse I excerpted at the top of this post. Thirty-eight years after the song’s release, society still has not demanded better from those who hold authority over us. The triad of power, corruption and lies is still very much alive and well.
Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.
Here’s the video for the song from New Order’s official YouTube channel:
Full, unofficial lyrics are available courtesy of AZLyrics.com.