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Music / Brotherhood

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"Why can't we be ourselves like we were yesterday?"
Brotherhood is the fourth studio album by English Alternative Dance group New Order, released in 1986 through Factory Records in the UK and Qwest Records in the US. Compared to its predecessors, which were straight Post-Punk (in the case of Movement) and straight Alternative Dance (in the case of Power, Corruption & Lies and Low-Life), Brotherhood takes a more unconventional approach to the band's sound. Specifically, it is a Distinct Single Album, with side one consisting entirely of straight post-punk songs and side two consisting entirely of straight Synth-Pop. While it wasn't made explicit at the time, the decision to do this stemmed from Creative Differences between vocalist Bernard Sumner, who preferred the band's electronic sound, and bassist Peter Hook, who was adamant about the group remaining a rock band. These differences would grow in magnitude for the remainder of the decade, ultimately spilling over during the production of Republic, prolonging it to the point where it released the year after Factory Records went bankrupt.

Brotherhood was another considerable commercial success for New Order in the UK, topping the Independent Albums chart and peaking at No. 9 on the broader albums chart. In the US, meanwhile, it performed much more modestly, peaking at just No. 117 on the Billboard 200. Despite this, the album's sole single "Bizarre Love Triangle" (released a month after Brotherhood) peaked at No. 4 on Billboard's Top Dance Club Songs chart and at No. 8 on the same outlet's Dance Singles Sales charts (despite not making the Hot 100), serving as New Order's Breakthrough Hit in the United States and acting as a prelude to their greater mainstream American breakthrough with Substance the following year. The track would also gain a huge Periphery Demographic among the Asian American community, complimenting the band's earlier popularity among the black urban crowd. New Order's American label, Qwest, later reissued the single in 1994 to promote its version of the band's (the best of) NewOrder compilation the following year, with the reissue peaking at No. 98 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Conversely, the 12" version of "State of the Nation"— initially a non-album single— was added on Factory Records' CD release of Brotherhood. Most later CD reissues would retain this amendment to the tracklist, with the sole exception of Qwest Records' American CD release of the album in 1988.


Side One
  1. "Paradise" (3:50)
  2. "Weirdo" (3:52)
  3. "As It Is When It Was" (3:46)
  4. "Broken Promise" (3:47)
  5. "Way of Life" (4:06)

Side Two

  1. "Bizarre Love Triangle" (4:22)
  2. "All Day Long" (5:12)
  3. "Angel Dust" (3:44)
  4. "Every Little Counts" (4:28)

Bonus track present on most CD copies

  1. "State of the Nation" (6:32)

Principal members:

  • Bernard Sumner – vocals, electric guitar, synthesizers, programming
  • Peter Hook – bass guitar, electronic percussion
  • Stephen Morris – drums, synthesizers, programming
  • Gillian Gilbert – synthesizers, programming, guitars

"Someone like you cannot be free, just like a trope without a key":

  • Abusive Parents: "All Day Long" is about this.
  • Alternate Album Cover:
    • The original Factory Records CD and London Records CD both feature a close-up shot of the metal sheet, focusing specifically on the "TITAANZINK 0.50" text. Qwest Records' CD release, meanwhile, features the entire sheet, but with the artist name and album title added to the top in white text.
    • Factory, Qwest, and London's cassette releases of the album also zoom in on the serial text, but depict it as a slant rather than at a straight vertical angle reading up. Cassette releases in other regions simply feature a scan of the LP art against a white backdrop.
    • The 2008 Collector's Edition features a shot of the full metal sheet like the LP release, but has it heavily warped. This is also carried over to the 2015 remaster included solely on streaming services (which also feature the Qwest CD master).
  • Answer Song: "Paradise" is one to "Jolene" by Dolly Parton, offering the husband's views of the titular woman and indicating that not only is he successfully stolen away from his wife by her, he is actually the instigator.
  • Audience Participation Song: Live performances of "Every Little Counts" typically feature Bernard Sumner pointing out either a random member of the audience or a member of the band when singing the lines "I think you are a pig/you should be in a zoo," highlighting the comedic aspects of the song.
  • Book Ends: A very brief excerpt from "Paradise", the first track on the album, can be heard after the Record Needle Scratch that closes out "Every Little Counts", the last track on the album. Unlike most examples, this isn't meant to provide a thematic connection between the start and end of the album, but rather is meant to trick the listener into thinking that their turntable broke and threw the needle across the record.
  • Broken Record: Applied literally with the ending of "Every Little Counts", which mimics the sound of a record needle skipping back out to a half-second of "Paradise" before the sound cuts out entirely. Stephen Morris retrospectively stated in an interview that he thought it would've been a good idea if the CD and cassette releases featured different versions of the song that mimicked the ways in which their own respective formats locked up.
  • Call-Back:
  • Changed for the Video: The music video for "Bizarre Love Triangle" uses the 7" edit of the Shep Pettibone remix (included in full on 12" copies as the "Extended Dance Mix"), featuring a considerably different arrangement. The edit also double-tracks Bernard Sumner's vocals on the chorus, rather than backing them with synthesized vocals (as on the album) or leaving them alone (as on the 12" version). Additionally, the music video for "Bizarre Love Triangle" features a cut-out not present in the actual song where the music briefly stops in favor of an argument about reincarnation before immediately resuming afterwards.
  • Digital Destruction: The 1988 CD release on Qwest Records omits the original back cover, which features an alternate shot of the metal sheet used for the front, in place of a standard tracklist on a black backdrop; the original back cover isn't even featured on the liner notes. Additionally, due to limitations with CD manufacturing technology at the time, the front cover doesn't feature the same metallic effect as on the initial Factory LP.
  • Distinct Single Album: As stated in the main description, side one consists of pure Post-Punk songs, while side two is dance-oriented Synth-Pop. Side two is so devoted to an electronic sound, in fact, that Bernard Sumner's vocals, Sumner and Gillian Gilbert's guitar, and Peter Hook's bass are the only elements on those tracks played live— everything else is sequenced with the aid of a Fairlight CMI. Of course, electronics aren't completely absent on side one— "Paradise" for instance opens with a pulsing synth riff— the synthesizers simply take a backseat to the guitars and bass.
  • Epic Rocking: "State of the Nation" qualifies, clocking in at 6:32.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: The intro and outro of "Angel Dust" prominently feature sampled Arabic chanting. The instrumental remix "Evil Dust" (included as a B-side to the CD Video release of "True Faith" incorporates additional samples throughout its runtime.
  • Gratuitous Panning:
    • "Angel Dust" opens with a Dunya Yunis sample sweeping from the right channel to the left, with other snippets playing in the right channel throughout the rest of the intro. After the first pre-chorus, another synthesized violin part can be heard solely in the left channel. During the outro, the guitar part is also panned to the left at first before centering itself while the melodica part comes in slightly to the right.
    • The bass part in "Every Little Counts" plays solely in the left channel.
  • Idiosyncratic Cover Art: The single releases of "Bizarre Love Triangle" and "State of the Nation" both feature similar photographs of sheet metal as their cover art, taking after the album cover (which preceded both).
  • In the Style of:
    • "As It Is When It Was" features New Order providing their own take on fellow Manchester alternative band The Smiths' brand of Jangle Pop.
    • Clash Music posited that "Every Little Counts" is a parody of Phil Spector-esque Baroque Pop, with its ballad-like melody, use of synthesized strings that build up in intensity, and the "do-do-do-do-do" passages midway through the song.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: "Bizarre Dub Triangle" (the instrumental version of Bizarre Love Triangle) was retitled "I Don't Care" in the US, after a comment made by band manager Rob Gretton.
  • Longest Song Goes Last: On non-Qwest CD copies, the album closes with the 6½-minute bonus track "State of the Nation".
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Bizarre Love Triangle", a peppy dance song about the narrator's infatuation devolving into obsession.
  • Mid-Vid Skit: "Bizarre Love Triangle" interrupts the music for the following odd exchange: "I don't believe in reincarnation because I refuse to come back as a bug or as a rabbit!" "You know, you're a real 'up' person." In the middle of a video with no narrative.
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: A photograph of a titanium-zinc alloy sheet. Early LP releases of the album took the idea a step further and incorporated a metallic effect on the print work.
  • New Sound Album: Putting aside the Distinct Single Album nature of the record, noticeable changes are made to both the guitar-driven and synth-driven styles of New Order's material on Brotherhood. The rock songs are far slicker, featuring a more unified, polished sound from track to track and a greater use of abrasive guitar tones, while the synth songs make considerably heavier use of digital FM synths, with tracks like "Bizarre Love Triangle" and "Angel Dust" prominently featuring the Yamaha DX7's distinct presets (with the former using the "BASS 1" preset for its driving riff).
  • Non-Appearing Title: As per the norm with New Order, save for "Way of Life", "All Day Long", and "Every Little Counts". "State of the Nation" is a notable aversion in that the title not only appears in the lyrics, but is also part of the chorus.
  • Non-Indicative Name: "Angel Dust" is not explicitly related to PCP usage.
  • One-Word Title: Brotherhood, "Paradise", and "Weirdo".
  • Packaged as Other Medium: The album sleeve is designed to resemble sheet metal, a motif also carried over to the single releases of "Bizarre Love Triangle" and "State of the Nation".
  • The Pollyanna: "Every Little Counts" features the narrator describing how the subject's smile always stays on their face no matter what, with an earlier line noting that they're simply naive rather than a Stepford Smiler.
  • Protest Song: "State of the Nation" qualifies, though the lyrical content is fairly vague about what exactly it's protesting; the only real indicators are the title and the descriptions of "deprivation." One can infer it to be a vague Take That! at the Margaret Thatcher administration, given the sociohistorical context of its writing.
  • Rearrange the Song:
    • As with the singles for Low-Life before it, "Bizarre Love Triangle" features a remix by Shep Pettibone on its single release rather than the album version.
    • An instrumental remix of "Angel Dust", titled "Evil Dust", was included as a B-side on the CD Video release of "True Faith".
  • Record Needle Scratch "Every Little Counts"— and the album (at least on LP, cassette, and the Qwest CD)— ends with one.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: Done on "Every Little Counts", featuring two vocal tracks of Bernard Sumner harmonizing on the choruses.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Paradise" retells Dolly Parton's "Jolene" from the husband's perspective, repeatedly namedropping the title character of the Parton song during the pre-choruses. The same song also interpolates the title gibberish of "Sha-La-La-La-La" by Danish Glam Rock band the Walkers.
    • The outro of "All Day Long" interpolates the prelude to Das Rheingold by Richard Wagner; New Order would go on to use the latter as a concert opener.
    • "Angel Dust" features samples from "Abu Zeluf" by Lebanese mountain singer Dunya Yunis; the choice of this specific source appears to be a nod to Brian Eno and David Byrne's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, which sampled "Abu Zeluf" on the tracks "Regiment" and "The Carrier".
    • The cacophonous crescendo and fake record skip that end "Every Little Counts" pay homage to "A Day in the Life" by The Beatles, which similarly ends in a chaotic orchestral crescendo that gives way to a locked groove that plays a Madness Mantra.
  • Stop and Go: Done in the music video for "Bizarre Love Triangle", which briefly cuts out the music to show a short argument between a man and a woman over the topic of reincarnation before cutting back into the song. This doesn't happen in the actual single.
  • Stylistic Suck: The pre-choruses of "Angel Dust" intentionally go noticeably out of sync with the instrumental backing, adding to the song's chaotic lyrics.
  • Surreal Music Video: The "Bizarre Love Triangle" video is a collage of stock footage, performance footage of the band, and specially-shot clips of businesspeople flying into the air (via an off-screen trampoline) and a couple arguing about reincarnation.
  • Textless Album Cover: Played with. Although a title and band name are not listed on the LP cover, serial text is present on the photographed metal sheet, reading "BILLITON TITAANZINK 0.50 1 8 0359 NEN 7065 KOMO 31898 84. 1986". This trope is more recognizably averted, however, on Qwest Records' CD release of the album, which adds in a title and band name at the top in the same manner as their CD release of Power, Corruption & Lies.
  • Unexpectedly Dark Episode: New Order were never exactly sunshine and rainbows, but "All Day Long" is decidedly more dour than the rest of the album given its frank discussion of child abuse and downtempo, minor-key composition.
  • Vanilla Edition: Unlike other CD releases, the Qwest Records CD features the exact same tracklist as the LP, lacking the bonus track "State of the Nation". The deviation was likely due to not wanting to cannibalize sales of Substance, as the song had already appeared there and the compilation was on its way to being certified platinum.