Republic is the sixth studio album by New Order. Released in 1993, four years after the massively acclaimed Technique, the album was the band's first not to be released on Factory Records, who had declared bankruptcy the previous year following the massive failure of Happy Mondays' Yes Please! and the band's own delay in following up Technique. Rather, the album was released through London Records, who had previously attempted to buy out Factory before backing away from the deal once it was made apparent that none of Factory's artists were actually signed onto them (meaning that the artists, not the label, were the legal owners of their releases). New Order would continue releasing music through London Records up until 2007.
In addition, the album would be New Order's last original studio effort released during the 20th century; they would go on a lengthy hiatus due to both Creative Differences between Bernard Sumner & Peter Hook and burnout from a lengthy U.S. tour. They would eventually reform in 1998, with their next album, Get Ready, coming out three years later.
Republic was also the band's final studio album to be released in the U.S. through the Warner (Bros.) Records-backed Qwest Records label, which would end up shutting down in 2000. By the time it resumed operations in 2010, New Order had already moved onto using Warner Bros' Rhino Records label to reissue their older material, and were in the middle of a second hiatus, meaning Qwest wouldn't have anything new to release anyways. It was still not the band's final release on the label overall: Qwest released a reworked version of (the best of) NewOrder in 1995 (changing up some of the track listing due to perceived overlaps with Substance) as well as a reissue of "Bizarre Love Triangle" to promote the compilation. The deal with London, meanwhile, meant that Warner now distributed the band's music on both sides of The Pond.
Four singles were released off of Republic: in order, they are "Regret", "Ruined in a Day", "World (The Price of Love)", and "Spooky".
Republic was another commercial success for New Order, peaking at number one on the U.K. albums chart and securing a Mercury Prize nomination. "Regret" was also the band's last top-five hit in the U.K. and their highest-charting single in the U.S., reaching number 28 on the Top 100. Even though grunge was in full swing in the U.S., the song reached number one on the Billboard Modern Rock chart; the fact that New Order sounded distinctly different from the kinds of Synth-Pop bands that grunge usurped probably helped, as did New Order's status as one of the first popular bands to be labeled Alternative Rock. It's likely the same reason that other '80s alternative acts like Depeche Mode and The Cure were able to maintain their popularity around the same time; also helping was the fact that their previous incarnation, Joy Division, was a major influence on grunge.
Republic was also New Order's highest-charting album stateside, reaching number 11 on the Top 200. It's widely agreed upon that had the album come out a year— even half a year— earlier, its success would've allowed Factory to stay afloat for at least a little while longer (in fact, the delays it suffered in production are agreed in hindsight to have at least indirectly contributed to Factory's demise by leaving them without a financial safety net). Republic was also the last New Order album to be certified gold in the U.S. Republic is remembered fondly by fans, though in hindsight they see it as being the point where New Order became a very different band sound-wise compared to their prior work, though it wouldn't be the first time that happened.
- "Regret" (4:08)
- "World" (4:44)
- "Ruined in a Day" (4:22)
- "Spooky" (4:43)
- "Everyone Everywhere" (4:24)
- "Young Offender" (4:48)
- "Liar" (4:21)
- "Chemical" (4:10)
- "Times Change" (3:52)
- "Special" (4:51)
- "Avalanche" (3:14)
- Bernard Sumner vocals, guitars, synthesizers and programming
- Peter Hook 4 and 6-stringed bass, synthesizers and programming, backing vocals
- Stephen Morris drums, synthesizers and programming
- Gillian Gilbert synthesizers, guitars and programming; vocals on "Avalanche"
"I turn sideways to the sun, keep my tropes from everyone":
- Anti-Love Song: Present on most of the tracks. Notably averted with "Regret", which is an uptempo love song with no major catches.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: The album art juxtaposes jovial and/or neutral imagery of beachgoers, cityscapes, fast cars, and bubbles (among other photos) with two scenes of burning penthouses and the rubble from an earthquake.
- BrotherSister Incest: The subject of "Everyone Everywhere".
- Call-Back: "Ruined in a Day" features the same sampled sheep bleats previously heard in the outro to "Fine Time" from Technique.
- CamelCase: Used to write out New Order's name on print material associated with the album (including the album's back cover) when not otherwise using all-caps.
- Design Student's Orgasm: An elaborate collage by longtime collaborator Peter Saville, featuring numerous digitally edited stock photos based around California (to which he had relocated). The collage is featured in full on the CD release's insert, with only a small portion included on the LP version.
- GIS Syndrome: The cover art for the album and the associated singles are composed entirely of stock images meshed together in Photoshop. According to cover designer Peter Saville, the use of stock images was meant to give Republic a facetiously commercial atmosphere, designing its visual style to resemble a contemporary advertising brochure or tourism pamphlet.
- In the Style of...: "Times Change" is a noticeable Pet Shop Boys pastiche.
- Limited Lyrics Song: "Avalanche" simply consists of the word "faith" being repeated over and over again.
- Lyrical Dissonance: As to be expected with New Order.
- New Sound Album: Though the sound of the album is not too dissimilar from that of Technique, it conspicuously trades in its Madchester elements for 90's house music (up to and including the latter genre's distinctive electric piano song). The rockist elements present from Movement to Brotherhood also make a brief reappearance on the opening track, foreshadowing the guitar-driven sound that New Order would utilize from 2001 to 2013.
- Non-Appearing Title: Played straight most of the time, with the exceptions of "Regret", "Ruined in a Day", "Young Offender", and "Special". Played with in the case of "World", which is given the parenthetical subtitle "The Price of Love" (after a phrase repeated throughout the chorus) on the single release.
- Non-Indicative Name: The narrator of "Regret" has nothing to feel regretful about. In fact, things are certainly the opposite.
- Orange/Blue Contrast: Featured prominently on the album cover, between the orange flames in the burning house photo on the left and the bright blue sky in the beach photo on the right, as well as between the blue sky and orange inner tube in the beach photo. One version of the Limited Run release also came with metallic blue text on a solid orange background.
- Sell-Out: Played for laughs as a motif for the album: the cover art for it and its singles feature stock images edited together to look like advertisements, copyright symbols suffix nearly every associated release's title, every one of said releases is dubbed "a NewOrder release" as if they were products in a fashion line, and the music itself sounds like a sarcastic pastiche of the same commercially friendly music that wouldn't be out of place in a TV or radio advertisement from the time. Overall it gives the whole album an atmosphere of mock-commercialism and lends a self-aware aspect to New Order's own success.
- Silly Love Songs: "Regret", a rarity for New Order's oeuvre.
- Special Guest: David Hasselhoff for the Top of the Pops performance of "Regret", thanks to it being a tie-in with Baywatch; the performance was later featured in an episode of the latter series.
- Spell My Name with an "S": The album and associated singles stylize New Order's name as a single word, often in CamelCase.
- Step Up to the Microphone: Gillian Gilbert provides vocals for "Avalanche", one of few occasions in New Order's discography where she has any vocal duties.
- Take That!: Multiple songs carry a distinctly bitter tone of voice indicative of the band's less-than-favorable views of the folks at Factory Records, with whom they fell out in the late 80's; "Ruined in a Day" and "Liar" are where this is most apparent.
- Trade Snark: Tying in with the mock-commercial feel of the album, the title logotypes for both it and its associated singles are all suffixed with a copyright symbol (e.g. Republic©, "Regret©", etc). Strangely though, the single release of "Spooky" doesn't conform to the trend.