Technique is the fifth studio album by New Order, released in 1989. The album is an even more radical departure from New Order's signature sound compared to Brotherhood, incorporating heavy use of Balearic beat and acid house influences (inspired by the band's experiences during initial recording sessions in Ibiza) and overall bringing New Order into the Madchester dance scene full-force. Consequently, it also cemented New Order's image as an electronic band, following Brotherhood's conceptual war between the guitar and synthesizer sides of their music.
Three singles were released off of Technique: "Fine Time", "Round & Round", and "Run 2". The 12" release of "Round & Round" is an extended version of the song, while "Run 2" is a rearranged version of the album track "Run" featuring sparser production and an altered guitar part. Notably, New Order ended up in a bit of legal hot water over "Run" and "Run 2"; the publishing company of John Denver filed a lawsuit arguing that the guitar part in the tracks were plagiarized from the Denver-penned song "Leaving on a Jet Plane". New Order ended up losing the suit, and as a result, later reissues of Technique and other releases containing "Run" and/or "Run 2" add in a writing credit for Denver.
Upon release, Technique was a critical and commercial success. Though not their highest-selling or most widely-acclaimed album (being bested by the compilation album Substance from two years prior), among their proper studio discography it is widely considered by fans and critics to be New Order's Magnum Opus. It was their first regular studio album to achieve gold-selling status in the U.S. (at least 500,000 copies). Conversely, it's also one of New Order's least represented albums, with the band having never performed any of its songs live since the early 1990's (save for "Vanishing Point", which was briefly brought back in 2017).
Technique was New Order's last album to be released through Factory Records, with whom the band had worked since their days as Joy Division in 1979; the record label would declare bankruptcy in 1992. However, it was not their last release on the label overall— that title goes to "World in Motion", their 1990 single for the World Cup.
- "Fine Time" (4:42)
- "All the Way" (3:22)
- "Love Less" (2:58)
- "Round & Round" (4:29)
- "Guilty Partner" (4:44)
- "Run" (4:29)
- "Mr. Disco" (4:20)
- "Vanishing Point" (5:15)
- "Dream Attack" (5:13)
- Bernard Sumner vocals, guitars, melodica, synthesizers and programming
- Peter Hook 4 and 6-stringed bass, electronic percussion, synthesizers and programming
- Stephen Morris drums, synthesizers and programming
- Gillian Gilbert synthesizers, guitars and programming
"The picture you see is no portrait of me/It's too real to be shown to some trope I don't know":
- Album Title Drop: The phrase "you've got love technique" appears in "Fine Time".
- Anti-Love Song: The vast majority of the album is this, with the possible exceptions of "Fine Time" and "Vanishing Point".
- Artistic Stimulation: The album was recorded under the influence of ecstasy, and it shows.
- Bestiality Is Depraved: One possible interpretation of "Fine Time", which features seductive lyrics seemingly addressing a girl, but ends with the distant sound of bleating sheep.
- Broken Record: The words "the past doesn't matter" are repeated for quite a long time during the middle of "Fine Time".
- Color Motif: Purple, brown, and white.
- Epic Rocking: "Vanishing Point" and "Dream Attack" just barely qualify, both being a quarter of a minute over five.
- In the Style of...: Bernard Sumner's pitch-altered lyrics on "Fine Time" are an obvious pastiche of Barry White's vocal style.
- Lyrical Dissonance: The usual at this point, with the broad majority of the songs being much more upbeat than their lyrics would imply. "Love Less" is a particularly noticeable example, featuring an instrumental part that sounds like it came from a standard love song and lyrics that tell exactly the opposite.
- Minimalistic Cover Art: A color-inverted photograph of a cherub statue against a pink and purple gradient background; the inner LP sleeve and CD insert feature palette swaps of the photograph.
- The statue motif is also carried into the artwork for the single "Round & Round", which features a similar negative-color photo of an adult male statue against a red background on 7" releases and a blue one on 12" releases.
- New Sound Album: Madchester with acid house and Baeleric beat influences.
- Non-Appearing Title: As per the norm with New Order.
- Perfectly Cromulent Word: "All the Way" features the line "parasites and literasites, they'd burn me if they can," with "literasites" being a completely nonexistent word simply made up to provide a rhyme. Notably, this caused a bit of confusion among listeners who believed that "literasites" was an actual word they had never heard of.
- Rearrange the Song: "Run 2", a more radio-friendly arrangement of "Run", produced by longtime R.E.M. collaborator Scott Litt.
- Take That!: "Round & Round" is one to Factory Records head Tony Wilson; tensions between Wilson and New Order had been developing for a number of years prior to the song's composition.