to treat me like you do,
when you've laid your hands upon me
and told me who you are?"
New Order are a new wave/post-punk/electronic/alternative band from Manchester, England. They were one of the more enduring and influential bands of the 1980s, and until its 1992 bankruptcy, one of the flagship bands for Tony Wilson's Factory Records label. They were among the first bands to be branded with the genre of "Alternative Rock," were one of just two electronically-oriented bands in the genre to achieve mainstream commercial success in both the US and UK without abandoning their alternative ethos (the other being Depeche Mode), and were wildly influential on later bands of the genre's pre-Nirvana days as well as many modern indie acts.
The group started on May 18, 1980, when Joy Division's frontman Ian Curtis killed himself on the eve of the group's first tour of America. Joy Division had an agreement that if any member left, for any reason, the band would break up, and it happened.
Wishing to continue their music careers but honor Curtis' memory by avoiding The Band Minus the Face, guitarist/keyboardist Bernard Sumner, bassist Peter Hook, and drummer Stephen Morris reorganized as a new band, with Sumner taking over lead vocals, Morris's girlfriend (and later wife) Gillian Gilbert joining on guitar and keyboards, and everybody in the band taking up keyboard, sequencing and programming duties. The band debuted anonymously on July 29, 1980, renaming themselves "New Order" the following year. After a slow start, with their first album Movement being criticized for a perceived lack of artistic progress post-Joy Division (particularly after their debut single "Ceremony"/"In a Lonely Place", which consisted of two leftover Joy Division songs that they had rehearsed but never formally recorded prior to Curtis's suicide), the band shifted their music towards the dance/electronica sound which would become their trademark.
While Joy Division had been one of the first punk-influenced bands to make prominent use of synthesizers and drum machines (partly thanks to Curtis introducing his bandmates to Kraftwerk), New Order embraced them wholeheartedly, became pioneers of electronic dance music, and outright invented the Alternative Dance genre. Their 1983 single "Blue Monday" stayed several months on the UK Top 40, peaking at number 5, and remains the best-selling 12" single ever released. With Wilson, they founded the UK's iconic first New York-style super-nightclub, The Haçienda, which for much of its existence was kept afloat by the band's record sales and sometimes out of their own pockets.
For the 1990 World Cup, they recorded "World In Motion", that year's theme song for the English national football (soccer) team and their final release on Factory Records. To date, it is their only UK #1. Following Factory's bankruptcy two years later, the band signed onto London Records, who had previously attempted to buy out Factory in the lead-up to the bankruptcy, only to find out that none of the label's artists were actually signed onto them (meaning the musicians, not the label, were the legal owners of their music).
Following intense Creative Differences between Sumner and Hook as well as burnout from a lengthy United States tour, New Order went on hiatus in 1994, one year after the release of their record Republic (which spun off their last big hit, "Regret", which wound up being their biggest hit Stateside). In the meantime, the band members focused on side projects (Sumner in Electronic with Johnny Marr of The Smiths, Hook in Revenge and later Monaco, and Morris and Gilbert as The Other Two). They reunited in 1998 and released two more albums, plus some soundtrack work and multiple best-of compilations. In 2001, Gilbert retired to rear her and Morris' children (more specifically their daughter, who had fallen ill) and was replaced by Phil Cunningham. In 2007, Peter Hook left the band, which, in late 2008 led New Order to take another lengthy hiatus; whether or not it was a breakup is debated even between Hook and his bandmates.
After the split, Sumner and Cunningham formed a new band, Bad Lieutenant, with bassist Tom Chapman and guitarist Jake Evans. Their one and only album Never Cry Another Tear was released in September 2009, preceded by a single, "Sink or Swim". The album featured Stephen Morris on a handful of tracks, but he is not a full member of Bad Lieutenant. Blur bassist Alex James also appears on a handful of tracks on the album as well.
In 2011, New Order reformed with the lineup of Sumner, Morris, Gilbert, Cunningham and Bad Lieutenant bassist Tom Chapman replacing the still-estranged Hook. The reformed band has performed at several festivals throughout 2011 and 2012. In 2014, the band signed onto Mute Records, and in 2015, the band released their ninth studio album, Music Complete, through the label. Since then, they've been continuously touring. Hook continues to tour with his solo band Peter Hook and The Light, which mainly plays Joy Division and New Order covers, including performances of full albums.
The band are portrayed by actors in the movies 24-Hour Party People (about Factory Records) and Control (a biopic of Curtis). In both of these movies, the actress playing Gillian Gilbert gets no lines, and appears for only a single scene. They collaborated with The Chemical Brothers on an original song for the former, and composed the score for the latter. The band also wrote the score for Salvation!, a 1987 televangelism spoof starring punk singer Exene Cervenka. Their music has also featured prominently in several other movies, including Pretty in Pink, Danny Boyle's Trainspotting and The Beach, the first Blade movie, and Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette (2006).
Principal Members (Founding members in bold, current members in italic)
- Tom Chapman - bass, synthesizer (2011-Present)
- Phil Cunningham - synthesizer, guitar, drums (2001-2007, 2011-Present)
- Gillian Gilbert - synthesizer, guitar, vocals, keyboard (1980–1993, 1998–2001, 2011–Present)
- Peter Hook - bass, backing and lead vocals, percussion, synthesizer (1980-1993, 1998-2007)
- Stephen Morris - drums, percussion, synthesizer (1980-1993, 1998-2007, 2011-Present)
- Bernard Sumner - lead vocals, guitar, melodica, synthesizer, percussion (1980-1993, 1998-2007, 2011-Present)
- 1981 - Movement
- 1983 - Power, Corruption & Lies
- 1985 - Low-Life
- 1986 - Brotherhood
- 1989 - Technique
- 1993 - Republic
- 2001 - Get Ready
- 2005 - Waiting For The Sirens' Call
- 2013 - Lost Sirens
- 2015 - Music Complete
- 1982 - 1981-1982note
- 1986 - The Peel Sessions 1982
- 1987 - The Peel Sessions 1981
- 2003 - The Peter Saville Show Soundtrack
- 1987 - Substancenote
- 1994 - (the best of) NewOrdernote
- 2002 - Internationalnote
- 2002 - Retronote
- 2005 - Singlesnote
- 2007 - iTunes Originals - New Ordernote
- 2011 - Total: From Joy Division to New Ordernote
- 1990 - The Peel Sessionsnote
- 1992 - BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert
- 2011 - Live At The London Troxy
- 2012 - Live At Bestival 2012
- 2017 - ∑(No,12k,Lg,17Mif) New Order + Liam Gillick: So It Goes..note
- 1995 - (the rest of) NewOrder
- 2016 - Complete Music
Non-album singles (discounting remixes of previous releases):
- 1981 - "Ceremony"/"In a Lonely Place"note
- 1981 - "Procession"/"Everything's Gone Green"
- 1981 - "Everything's Gone Green"/"Cries and Whispers"/"Mesh"note
- 1982 - "Temptation"/"Hurt"
- 1983 - "Blue Monday"/"The Beach"note
- 1983 - "Confusion"/various remixes
- 1984 - "Thieves Like Us"/"Lonesome Tonight"
- 1984 - "Murder"/Thieves Like Us Instrumental"note
- 1986 - "State of the Nation"/"Shame of the Nation"note
- 1990 - "World in Motion..."/various remixesnote
- 1997 - "Video 5 8 6"/"As You Said"note
- 2020 - "Be a Rebel"/various remixes
Hold on! It's never enough! It's never enough until your heart stops troping!:
- A Wild Rapper Appears!: John Barnes' rap bridge in the middle of "World in Motion".
- Album Title Drop: Low-Life, via a piece of sampled speech between tracks.
- Movement, in "Dreams Never End" ("A simple movement or rhyme...").
- Technique, in "Fine Time".
- Alternative Dance: the Trope Codifier, if not the Trope Maker.
- Alternative Rock: One of the first bands to be grouped into the movement and one of the first to achieve mainstream commercial success, breaking through in the UK when R.E.M. were just starting to build a cult audience west of the Atlantic (though both wouldn't crack the US mainstream until 1987).
- Anti-Love Song: A trademark of the band's style, to the point where it's easier to count the number of singles they released that aren't an example of this trope. Particularly iconic examples include "Bizarre Love Triangle", "1963", "Fine Time", and, of course, "Blue Monday".
- Aspect Ratio Switch: Happens repeatedly throughout the music video for "Be a Rebel", highlighting the claustrophobic atmosphere associated with the contemporary COVID-19 Pandemic.
- Awesome, but Impractical: The famous cover for the 12" single of "Blue Monday" made to look like a 5¼" floppy disk, with a die-cut outer sleeve that actually cost more money to make than the price tag attached to the single, resulting in Factory Records losing money on every copy sold (which became an issue when it ended up being the best-selling 12" single of all time). They eventually switched to using a more typical printed sleeve to keep costs down.
- The Band Minus the Face: To an extent, Joy Division minus Ian Curtis. They refused to play any Joy Division songs in concert until The '90s in an attempt to avoid this. Their shift to dance music was also an attempt to avert this trope, but in retrospect it was going to happen at some point or another if Curtis had lived thanks to his love of Kraftwerk and desire to incorporate elements of their style into Joy Division's music.
- Be Yourself: The central theme of "Be a Rebel".
- The Big Rotten Apple: The video for "Confusion" shows 1983 New York City in all its glory: subway cars scrawled with graffiti and a Times Square full of porno theatres.
- Black Comedy: The band in the New Order Story documentary said that Ian Curtis was the laziest member of the band because he hadn't done anything in 13 years.
- The Bluebeard: The general plot for the song "1963".
- Bowdlerise: The band was convinced to change a line from "True Faith" to remove a drug reference by co-producer Stephen Hague, who was worried that it would not get played on the radio. However, in live performances they use the original line ("They're all taking drugs with me") instead of the sanitized one ("They're afraid of what they see").
- Boxed Set: 2002's Retro.
- Break-Up Song: "Touched by the Hand of God". Music Complete can count as a breakup Concept Album.
- British Brevity: The band's sets are notoriously short, clocking in at around an hour well after becoming superstars.
- B-Side: For most of their career, the band were known for including original B-sides on their singles that rivaled the A-side tracks in popularity and acclaim. While they started including remixes of the A-sides in 1985, they generally kept up the practice of putting out cult favorite original B-sides until the early 2000's, after which they dropped the practice and only included remixes and preexisting tracks as B-sides (likely due to the rise of digital downloading & streaming platforms and their model of "buy/play only the songs you want" making original B-sides commercially unfeasible). The band's last original B-side was "Such a Good Thing", included on the 2002 reissue of "World in Motion..." for that year's World Cup.
- Canon Discontinuity: For many years, the band refused to play any Joy Division songs, wanting to avoid comparisons between them and their former band. They later started doing songs like "Transmission" and "Love Will Tear Us Apart" in concert.
- Changed for the Video:
- New Order were infamous for releasing remixed, extended, radio-edited, and otherwise updated versions of not only their songs, but also songs from their previous incarnation, Joy Division; "Blue Monday" alone comes in at least three different base versions, with that number only increasing when you add in alternate remixes included as B-sides (which, depending on how you categorize those, can bump the number up to a maximum of thirteen).
- The video for "The Perfect Kiss" featured the band playing live in the studio, as they refused to lip-sync until the '90s; it's faithful to the 12" version, though not without the natural relative roughness of a live performance.
- "Run" was remixed by Scott Litt and issued as a single named "Run 2". This version is more electronic than the Jangle Pop original (ironic given that Litt was a regular collaborator for jangle pop band R.E.M.), and omits the guitar break, as the band had been sued by John Denver's publishing company for the break sounding too similar to "Leaving on a Jet Plane" (the case was ultimately settled out of court, and the song has since been credited to New Order and John Denver).
- Color Motif: Since the band's inception and especially from the 2000's onward, the band has been closely associated with the color white, carrying over into Bernard Sumner's stint with Electronic as well.
- The September 1981 and RSD 2011 versions of "Ceremony", 1981-1982, "Thieves Like Us" Low-Life, Substance, "Run 2", (the best of) NewOrder, (the rest of) NewOrder, some versions of "1963", Get Ready, International, Singles, Waiting for the Sirens' Call, and ∑(No,12k,Lg,17Mif) New Order + Liam Gillick: So It Goes.. all prominently feature white on their cover art.
- "Temptation", Low-Life, "Sub-Culture" Brotherhood, "State of the Nation", "Bizarre Love Triangle", "Shellshock", Substance, "True Faith", "Run 2" (at least on the A-side), "Ruined in a Day", "World (The Price of Love", (the best of), (the rest of), Get Ready and its associated singles, "Here to Stay", Waiting for the Sirens' Call, Singles, and Complete Music feature predominantly white disc labels.
- Music Complete features a white back cover and a white CD tray in the jewel case, and the double-LP release includes white sleeves for each record.
- Concept Video: Many were experimental art videos by notable artists and filmmakers, often done with the band giving the directors free rein in filming material that would be mixed in with performance footage of the band.
- Continuity Nod: The NewOrder Story documentary included some Joy Division songs and the band played some of their earlier incarnation's songs, such as "She's Lost Control", "Transmission", and "Love Will Tear Us Apart" at their later live shows.
- Cover Version: A cover of "Turn the Heater On", originally by dub artist Keith Hudson, features on The Peel Sessions; the song was a favorite of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis, and as such was performed in tribute to him. The band also play covers of a few Joy Division songs live.
- Darker and Edgier: They have moments where they're more so than most Synth-Pop groups, mainly from Lyrical Dissonance but they also have plenty of catchy upbeat melodies and danceable rhythms, not to mention sunny, jangly guitar-driven pop songs like "Run" and "Age of Consent". It's probably more accurate to say they jump all over the Sliding Scale of Silliness vs. Seriousness.
- Dead All Along: One interpretation of "Love Vigilantes".
- Doorstopper: Peter Hook's memoir of the band Substance: Inside New Order is 768 pages long.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: Movement is a lot more guitar-focused than their later works, in some places sounding like leftover Joy Division material.
- The '80s: One of the pioneers of the alternative rock movement, mixing post-punk and dance music.
- '80s Hair: "Touched By The hand of God" had the band dressed like a glam metal band, so everyone wore wigs like this, except Gillian who was already guilty.
- Epic Instrumental Opener: "5 8 6" could be mistaken for a funk instrumental until the Song Style Shift and vocals start near the 2.5 minute mark.
- Epic Rocking: Many of their songs are fairly long. "Blue Monday" is seven and a half minutes, for example, and it's still their best-known song.The full version of "Elegia" clocks in at 17 minutes.
- "Prime 5 8 6" is even longer at over 22 minutes. It was made primarily to be played at The Haçienda and only released on an obscure cassette tape compilation in 1982, but was renamed "Video 5 8 6" and re-released as a single in 1997. Elements of this track would later be cannibalized into "5 8 6", "Ultraviolence", and "Blue Monday".
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Peter Hook grew his hair out in the mid-80's and kept it that way for the remainder of his time in New Order, coinciding with the band's star continuing to rise and Hook coming into increasing amounts of conflict with his bandmates as a result of his preference for a more rockist direction. Following his 2007 departure from New Order, he'd return to cutting his hair short.
- Face on the Cover: Low-Life features a portrait of Stephen Morris on the cover, an exception to the band's albums not having any pictures of the members. The back cover and inner sleeve had portraits of the rest of the band members. Interestingly, all four of these portraits were large removable cards fitted in tracing paper sleeves, meaning that one could take out and rearrange the portraits to put any member of choice on the front cover; the CD release replicates this by using a paper gatefold that can be refolded and repositioned in the transparent jewel case in various ways to place a certain member in front.
- Flower Motifs: Flowers are a common element of the band's image, particularly on their cover art. Power, Corruption & Lies appropriates the painting A Basket of Roses, Substance features false-color flower designs in the liner notes, the "True Faith" single and Singles prominently feature leaves on their covers, International includes a set of roses on its cover, and the "People on the High Line" single includes an abstract floral pattern on the cover.
- Four More Measures: Most notably in "Vanishing Point" and "Perfect Kiss".
- Gratuitous Japanese: "Krafty (Japanese Version)".
- Gratuitous Panning: The album version of "The Perfect Kiss" and "Fine Time" pull this off a little ways in.
- Greatest Hits Album: Four of them: Substance 1987, (the best of) NewOrder, International and Singles.
- Heartbeat Soundtrack: Used throughout "Guilt is a Useless Emotion", and most audible at the beginning and end of the song.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: While they've since abandoned it, the band's early releases carried over their Joy Division-era practice of finding unique ways to name their record sides.
- LP releases of Movement are split between "Movement 1" and "Movement 2".
- "Procession" doesn't list which song is the A-side or B-side, instead respectively listing the two as "SOFT" and "HARD" in the matrix areas.
- The LP release of Power, Corruption & Lies doesn't explicitly differentiate the two sides on the labels, instead choosing to indicate sides A and B as part of the serial number in the runout groove a-la Closer, though this record at least features tracklists to go off of. Cassette releases at least have indicators on both the tracklist and tape labels telling which is which. Interestingly, the cassette release label the sides as "one" and "two" rather than the LP release's "A" and "B".
- In Spite of a Nail: Probably. Ian Curtis was a huge fan of Kraftwerk and there's a significant amount of evidence to suggest that if he had lived, Joy Division still would have turned into New Order from a musical standpoint.
- Intentionally Awkward Title: "Age Of Consent".
- In the Style of:
- Lead Bassist: Peter Hook's distinctive bass is very prominent. Hook was forced to get more creative when the band started incorporating bass synthesizers into their music; occasionally playing the bass like a guitar (he even had a 6-string bass for some songs). He's also the most physically animated member of the band live, swinging his bass like a weapon.
- Lighter and Softer: The band became lighter and less depressing than Joy Division, and more poppy as well. But much of the angst still remained.
- Long-Runner Line-up: Type 1 from 1981 to 1994; if extended to 2005, it's a Type 4.
- Love Martyr: "Guilty Partner" seems to be about a guy with a very abusive and manipulative girlfriend, who he keeps breaking up with but can't manage to leave for good and keeps coming back to.
- Lyrical Dissonance: Dance-synthpop with dark, haunting lyrics about alienation.
- Minimalistic Cover Art: it helps to have the style's main perpetrator, Peter Saville, as your label's in-house designer, allowed to do anything he wants on hit records.
- Mythology Gag: The Maceo Plex remix of "Be a Rebel" reuses the choir sample heard in "Blue Monday", itself sampled from "Uranium" by Kraftwerk.
- New Wave: A good deal of their songs.
- New Sound Album:
- Power, Corruption & Lies was the first full-length where they fully switched into their trademark electropop sound.
- Technique, which put them in line with the spirit of the times (namely, the emergent Madchester scene and the House Music boom).
- Get Ready, which shifted the band's direction to a more guitar-driven one, though not without significant electronic elements, rooted in the post-Radiohead era of Alternative Rock.
- Music Complete, which brought the band back to their signature brand of Alternative Dance and modernized it for The New '10s.
- Non-Appearing Title: It would be easier to list the pre-Republic songs that were not examples of this than the ones that were, with the latter including major hits like "Blue Monday", "Age of Consent", "Bizarre Love Triangle" and "True Faith". These continue to appear in more recent work, but less frequently.
- The Not-Remix: A good number of the band's remixes of previous songs don't deviate too much from either the original versions or a previous single mix. This is most prominent with (the best of) NewOrder: of the four new remixes included ("True Faith"," "1963", "Bizarre Love Triangle", and "Round & Round"), "Bizarre Love Triangle" is the only one to significantly deviate from the original single (the single release of "1963" though features a more substantial remix and is featured on the US release in place of the album mix).
- The Oner: The video for "World (The Price Of Love)".
- Oop North: Being from Manchester and Salford. Their club was vital in launching the late-80s "Madchester" scene as well.
- Performance Video: "The Perfect Kiss", which was directed by famed director Jonathan Demme.
- "Touched By The Hand Of God", a parody of hair metal videos, directed by future Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow. Reportedly it was so on-point that some metal fans went to see New Order after seeing the video and demanded their money back. This might say more about the state of heavy metal music in the late '80s than it does about the band.
- Perishing Alt-Rock Voice: Sumner's vocals can be roughly summed up as "Dull Surprise".
- Pop-Star Composer: The band contributed a number of new pieces for various movies over the years (most notably, "Shellshock" for Pretty in Pink, "Touched by the Hand of God" for the otherwise little-known Salvation!, and "Here to Stay" for 24-Hour Party People, a biopic about Factory Records head Tony Wilson), with these songs becoming well-known singles in their own right. The band also scored the 1989-1991 TV series Making Out, with the final episodes being scored by side project the Other Two, scored the 1998 animated short More (using snippets from "Elegia"), and later composed and performed the incidental soundtrack for the 2007 Joy Division biopic Control.
- Rearrange the Song: Several of their singles have been re-released in multiple edits, and are labeled as such by the year of their release ("Temptation '87", "Confusion '87", "Blue Monday 1988", "Temptation '98", etc.). Most confusingly, 1994's (the best of) NewOrder includes "1963-94", a remix of a 1987 B-Side, which was remixed again and released as a single under the name "1963-95" in January 1995 (this version is also sometimes called "Nineteen63", just to add further confusion into the mix). The US release of the compilation would swap out the 1994 mix with the 1995 one.
- Record Needle Scratch: "Every Little Counts," and the Brotherhood album with it, ends with one. Stephen Morris admitted that the band missed a trick by not having the cassette version end with the tape being jammed or chewed up or the CD version end with it skipping.
- Remix Album: Complete Music, a remixed and extended version of Music Complete. Some tracks are just longer versions of the originals, while others sound significantly different.
- 1995's (the rest of) NewOrder, a companion piece to the previous year's Greatest Hits, (the best of) NewOrder, which compiled several remixes of various New Order songs from throughout their career up to that point. Seven of the remixes ("Blue Monday", "Confusion", "Touched By The Hand Of God", "Bizarre Love Triangle", "Age Of Consent", "Temptation" and "Everything's Gone Green") were newly created for the album, while the rest ("Spooky", "Regret", "True Faith", "Ruined In A Day" and "World") were older remixes.
- Reviewer Standard Comparisons: Just about any indie band with dance leanings is compared to New Order, if not to Talking Heads or LCD Soundsystem.
- Rule of Cool: The froggy sounds appearing in "The Perfect Kiss" were included for that reason.
- The choir sample used in "Blue Monday" and the Maceo Plex mix of "Be a Rebel" is taken from Kraftwerk's "Uranium".
- The album cover for Music Complete is a noticeable homage to Piet Mondrian's Composition paintings, which coincidentally had entered the public domain (alongside the rest of the Mondrian portfolio) the same year as the album's release.
- Silly Love Songs: "Temptation" probably being the best of these. Also somewhat subverted, as they wrote nearly as many Anti Love Songs.
- Special Guest: David Hasselhoff appeared in their Top of the Pops performance of "Regret". Appropriate given the band played on the same beach Baywatch was filmed.
- Speedy Techno Remake: Several 12"-single remixes, b-sides, and later, most tracks on CD-MAXIs.
- Step Up to the Microphone: Peter Hook sings lead vocals on "Dreams Never End" and "Doubts Even Here" from Movement. Gillian Gilbert also has a spoken word line along with Sumner in the latter song.
- Stop and Go: "Fine Time", "The Him"
- Synth-Pop: Arguably the majority of their songs.
- Surreal Music Video: The band tended to give their music video directors carte blanche, and as a result, their videography tends to dive into this trope quite a bit:
- The 1983 version of "Blue Monday" pairs video game footage with false-color clips of military vehicles. The 1988 remix's video features balancing dogs, the band playing with milk crates, tennis balls, and flip books in a disjointed room, wind-up frog toys, and marker animations based on the aforementioned scenes.
- "Bizarre Love Triangle" is a collage of stock footage, performance footage, and newly-shot clips of flying businessmen and a couple arguing about reincarnation.
- "True Faith" features avant-garde interpretive dancers performing in and around a warehouse in elaborate costumes.
- "Fine Time" pairs CGI tech demos with an avant-garde film about a little boy having a nightmare during Christmastime.
- "Spooky" is a Surreal Horror video of Slasher Smile-sporting men acting out various stages of life, intercut with high-speed road footage.
- The Faceless: Subverted; because the band shunned the media and purposely used non-band photo images for most of their releases, the group developed a reputation as being camera shy. Ironically the band does appear in just about all of their videos ("Round and Round" and "Fine Time" being the most notable ones where they are not shown on-camera), plus head-shot photos on the sleeve of their 1985 album Lowlife (as a "Take That!" to the writers who deemed them "The Faceless").
- Don't forget about the video for Crystal where a different "band" called The Killers perform in their place.
- Take That!: They issued one to Michael Jackson during a 1993 performance of "New Faith" that coincided with the initial wave of sexual abuse allegations against him, by altering the song's lyrics."When I was a very small boy, Michael Jackson played with me. Now that we've grown up together, he's playing with my woody."
- Take That, Critics!: The final line of "Your Silent Face", "why don't you piss off?", was directed to critics who panned the group's first album (Movement) and considered them to be miserabilists in the vein of Joy Division.
- "Round and Round"; what started as Bernard Sumner singing about his ex-wife quickly morphed into a song about his disdain for Tony Wilson, who by 1988 was on the outs with the group.
- Updated Re-release: The 2016 rerelease of Singles replaced some tracks, added the song "I'll Stay with You" from Lost Sirens and fixed initial compression issues with the mastering.
- Vocal Range Exceeded: An inversion averted with performances of "Love Will Tear Us Apart", a song from back in their days with Ian Curtis. Sumner's tenor wouldn't pull off Curtis' lower notes in the song too well, so they raise the key.
- We Used to Be Friends: Sums up the relationship between Peter Hook and the rest of the band post-2011 reunion, especially Bernard Sumner, who actually was childhood friends with Hook.
- What Are Records?: The official documentary podcast Transmissions takes a detour during the "Blue Monday" episode to explain what a 12" single is, though it's probably safe to assume that anyone sufficiently interested in New Order to actively seek out a podcast about their most famous 12" record already knows.
- Who Shot JFK?: In the book New Order Music 1981-89, Sumner presents a humorous interpretation of "1963" based on this trope, claiming that Kennedy had arranged for Oswald to kill his wife so that he could be with Marilyn Monroe, Monroe committed suicide after Oswald botched the assassination, and Oswald was killed by his boss for being such an incompetent hitman that his "hit-man business went bust".
- Word Salad Lyrics: Some of their lyrics were written by all members, Round Robin-style (this is supposedly why "I think you are a pig/you should be in a zoo" is in "Every Little Counts").