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Music / Electronic

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Johnny Marr and Bernard Sumner

"However I look, it's clear to see,
That I love you more than you love me"
—"Getting Away with It"

Electronic was a British Alternative Dance supergroup formed by Joy Division & New Order's Bernard Sumner and The Smiths' Johnny Marr, active from 1988-2001. The duo also collaborated with Pet Shop Boys and Kraftwerk's Karl Bartos. While treated as an independent entity, in practice they were more of a side-project for Sumner, with him and Marr mainly being active during pauses in New Order's activity (specifically between Technique & Republic and between Republic & Get Ready); in fact, "Gangster" was repurposed from an aborted solo album that Sumner envisioned in the mid-80's. Despite this, Electronic are still fondly remembered as a 90's alternative dance great, maintaining a cult following among fans of Bernard and Johnny's previous bands.

The band had several Eurodance hits in The '90s including "Getting Away With It", "Get the Message" and "Disappointed" before the pair quietly returned to separate projects after their third album. Though they never formally broke up, Marr thinks the band "reached a natural conclusion" and is glad it ended on a positive note, and they occasionally play together live when their respective projects cross.


Not to be confused with Electronic Music on the whole.


  • Electronic (1991)
  • Raise the Pressure (1996)
  • Twisted Tenderness (1999)

This band provides examples of:

  • Alternative Dance: The band's stock and trade, the end result of them consisting of the vocalist from the genre's Trope Maker and the guitarist from one of the most acclaimed and influential British Alternative Rock acts of all time.
  • Anti-Love Song: A common theme in their songs, carrying over from Bernard's time with New Order.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Zig-Zagged. They indeed made Electronic Music, though they also had guitar-focused rock songs like "Forbidden City" and "For You".
  • Face on the Cover: A Raster Vision headshot of Bernard and Johnny is featured on the cover of the Self-Titled Album.
  • Idiosyncratic Cover Art: The second version of the "Getting Away With It" cover takes after that for Technique, released earlier the same year and with cover art by the same designer (longtime Factory Records collaborator Peter Saville).
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  • In the Style of: Peter Saville's album art for "Getting Away With It" is a homage to the style used on Pet Shop Boys releases, nodding to the fact that this particular single was co-written and features backing vocals by Neil Tennant.
  • Lighter and Softer: While still retaining the sardonicism of New Order and The Smiths, the sound of Electronic's music is considerably more upbeat compared to both groups, leaning closer into House Music mixed with Alternative Rock.
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: Common for the band's single releases, carrying over from Bernard's time in Joy Division and New Order.
    • "Getting Away With It" particularly stands out, being designed by Peter Saville (who'd been designing cover art for Sumner's projects since Joy Division). The cover is simply a stock photo of a whiskey glass against a black background with the band name and song title off to the side in plain text. Some releases go a little further and use an actual logo, with the whiskey photo color-inverted.
    • "Get the Message" features just the band name and song title in white text and an orange "2" against a sold blue background.
  • Performance Video: The majority of the band's music videos consist of some variation of this trope. The closest one to an aversion is "Get the Message", and even then a considerable chunk of it is occupied by Sumner singing.
  • Raster Vision: Applied to the photo of the band on the front cover of the 1991 Self-Titled Album.
  • Self-Backing Vocalist: Sumner sings his own backing for most of their songs, excluding the occasional guest like Neil Tennant.
  • Self-Deprecation: The lyrics of "Getting Away With It", co-written by Bernard and Pet Shop Boys member Neil Tennant, satirize Morrissey's morose lyrics and the miserablist reputation he garnered as a result of them; Morrissey and Johnny were previously bandmates in The Smiths, and creative differences between the two were a contributing factor in that group's acrimonious dissolution.
    I've been walking in the rain just to get wet on purpose
    I've been forcing myself not to forget just to feel worse
  • Self-Titled Album: Their eponymous debut.
  • Silly Love Songs: Many of their songs are about relationships and breakups.
  • Supergroup: Primarily a superduo composed of Bernard Sumner from Joy Division and New Order, and Johnny Marr from The Smiths, though Pet Shop Boys were also involved in their first album (plus "Disappointed" off the Cool World soundtrack) and Karl Bartos on their second.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Special Guest Neil Tennant sings lead vocals on "The Patience of a Saint" and "Disappointed"; Tennant previously co-wrote and provided backing vocals on "Getting Away With It".