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Low-Life is the third studio album by English rock band New Order, released on 13 May 1985 by Factory Records. It is considered to be among the band's strongest work, displaying the moment they completed their transformation from post-punk hold-overs to dance-rockers. The album shows New Order's increased incorporation of synthesisers and samplers, while still preserving the rock elements of their earlier work. The original Factory CD issues of the album were mastered with pre-emphasis.

Low-Life
New Order - Low-Life.png
UK vinyl and CD cover
Studio album by
Released13 May 1985 (1985-05-13)
Recorded1984
StudioJam and Britannia Row, London
Genre
Length40:05
LabelFactory
ProducerNew Order
New Order chronology
Power, Corruption & Lies
(1983)
Low-Life
(1985)
Brotherhood
(1986)
Singles from Low-Life
  1. "The Perfect Kiss"
    Released: 13 May 1985
  2. "Sub-culture"
    Released: 28 October 1985

The songs on this album formed the basis of the band's live concert video Pumped Full of Drugs, filmed in Tokyo shortly before the album's release. The music video for "The Perfect Kiss" was directed by Jonathan Demme.

ArtworkEdit

The album's artwork is the only New Order release to feature photographs of the band members on its cover. The CD comes packaged with drummer and keyboardist Stephen Morris on the front cover, while inside the case are four photographs and a semi-transparent piece of paper with the band's name, allowing the owners to choose which band member is seen through the sleeve.

Singles and re-releasesEdit

The album was preceded by the release of the full-length version of "The Perfect Kiss" as a single (only an edited version appears on the album). John Robie's remix of "Sub-culture" was also released as a 12″ single. Both of these extended versions eventually were included on 1987's Substance.

In 2008, the album was re-released in a Collector's Edition with a bonus disc, including the 17-minute complete version of "Elegia", which was only previously available on a limited edition disc of the 2002 box set Retro and, for the first time in digital format, the unedited 12″ mix of "The Perfect Kiss".

ReceptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [4]
The A.V. ClubA−[5]
Blender     [6]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[7]
Pitchfork9.0/10[1]
Q     [8]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [9]
Select5/5[10]
Uncut     [11]
The Village VoiceB+[12]

In a contemporary review of Low-Life for the Los Angeles Times, Richard Cromelin stated that New Order's "varied menu of soul-pop, techno-rock, delicate instrumental moods, and driving, clattering percussion offers adventure in texture at every turn", and that while the album did not contain anything as "transcendent" as "Love Will Tear Us Apart", "its confidence and imagination suggest that the possibility is still there."[13] Robert Christgau of The Village Voice noted New Order's attempt to insert some "affect" into its music and wrote that the band "has its heart (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) in the right place, so one doesn't want to quibble".[12] Despite panning "Love Vigilantes" as "an appallingly naive self-parody", Steve Sutherland of Melody Maker wrote that the remainder of the album "boasts the most articulate sound since The Cocteaus' Treasure, elevating depression to ecstasy".[14]

John Bush of AllMusic wrote that Low-Life was "in every way, the artistic equal" of Power, Corruption & Lies, as well as "the point where the band's fusion of rock and electronics became seamless."[4] The A.V. Club's Josh Modell similarly noted that the album "completely locked the disco influences into sync with New Order's pop leanings."[5] David Quantick, writing in Uncut, felt that Low-Life was "the first New Order album that sounds like an album", with Bernard Sumner's "most human lyrics" complementing Gillian Gilbert and Stephen Morris' "pop axis" and Peter Hook's "breath-taking" bass performances.[11] In 2000, Q magazine placed Low-Life at number 97 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.[15] Low-Life, alongside New Order's 1989 album Technique, was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[16]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by New Order, except where noted.

Side one
No.TitleLength
1."Love Vigilantes"4:16
2."The Perfect Kiss"4:51
3."This Time of Night"4:45
4."Sunrise"6:01
Side two
No.TitleLength
1."Elegia"4:56
2."Sooner Than You Think"5:12
3."Sub-culture"4:58
4."Face Up"5:02

PersonnelEdit

Credits adapted from the liner notes of Low-Life.[17]

ChartsEdit

Chart (1985) Peak
position
Australian Albums (Kent Music Report)[18] 70
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[19] 26
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[20] 34
European Albums (Music & Media)[21] 41
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[22] 11
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[23] 20
UK Albums (OCC)[24] 7
UK Independent Albums (OCC)[25] 1
US Billboard 200[26] 94

CertificationsEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[27] Gold 50,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release historyEdit

  • UK LP – Factory Records (FACT 100)
  • UK CD – Factory Records (FACD 100)
  • UK cassette – Factory Records (FACT 100C)
  • US LP – Qwest Records (25289-1)
  • US cassette – Qwest Records (9 25289-4)
  • UK CD (1993 re-release) – London Records (520 020-2)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Ewing, Tom (10 November 2008). "New Order: Movement / Power, Corruption and Lies / Low-Life / Brotherhood / Technique [Collector's Editions]". Pitchfork. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  2. ^ a b Ulyatt, Jonathan (28 September 2014). "Peter Hook & The Light @ Shepherds Bush Empire, London – 27/09/2014". Gigwise. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  3. ^ "Inventory: 26 Songs that are just as good as short stories". The A.V. Club. 26 March 2007. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  4. ^ a b Bush, John. "Low-Life – New Order". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
  5. ^ a b Modell, Josh (10 November 2008). "New Order". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  6. ^ Sheffield, Rob (9 December 2008). "Let's Dance". Blender. Archived from the original on 11 January 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  7. ^ Howe, Sean (7 November 2008). "New Order: Reissues". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  8. ^ "New Order: Low-Life". Q. No. 84. September 1993. p. 97. ISSN 0955-4955.
  9. ^ Gross, Joe (2004). "New Order". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 582–83. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  10. ^ Harrison, Andrew (August 1993). "Republish". Select. No. 38.
  11. ^ a b Quantick, David (24 September 2008). "New Order – Reissues". Uncut. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  12. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (24 September 1985). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  13. ^ Cromelin, Richard (2 June 1985). "New Music Of A High Order On 'Low Life'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 February 2016.
  14. ^ Sutherland, Steve (18 May 1985). "Blood Simple". Melody Maker. ISSN 0025-9012.
  15. ^ "The 100 Greatest British Albums Ever". Q. No. 165. June 2000. p. 61. ISSN 0955-4955.
  16. ^ Dimery, Robert, ed. (2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 0-7893-2074-6.
  17. ^ Low-Life (liner notes). New Order. Factory Records. 1985. FACT 100.CS1 maint: others (link)
  18. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. p. 215. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  19. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 0553". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  20. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – New Order – Low-Life" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  21. ^ "European Top 100 Albums" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 2 no. 24. 17 June 1985. p. 16. OCLC 29800226. Retrieved 19 June 2019 – via American Radio History.
  22. ^ "Charts.nz – New Order – Low-Life". Hung Medien. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  23. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – New Order – Low-Life". Hung Medien. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  24. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  25. ^ "Indie Hits "N"". Cherry Red Records. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 9 January 2011.
  26. ^ "New Order Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  27. ^ "Canadian album certifications – New Order – Lowlife". Music Canada. 31 January 1989. Retrieved 7 July 2019.