Album: “Ceremony”/”In a Lonely Place” single (1981)
Though it may have been conceived as a Joy Division song (at least three recordings of the song exist taken prior to Curtis’ suicide), the first official release of “Ceremony” marks New Order’s bold step out on their own. Those three recordings left Curtis’ vocals nearly indecipherable, and legend has it that his bandmates couldn’t locate any written lyrics and struggled to transcribe what they could. That act is an incredible symbol of the phoenix that is New Order, Sumner stepping in and doing what he could with the pieces left behind. From this song alone, the transition would seem nearly seamless, thanks to Morris and Hook’s rhythmic effervescence and Sumner’s mesmerically loping guitar line. –Adam Kivel
Bonus Track: While its synth-less shimmer clearly marks the song as a Joy Division original, Sumner’s low-slung, sincere delivery gives the tune a spacy patience that the live Curtis version all but burns off.
04. “Age of Consent”
Album: Power, Corruption & Lies (1983)
Stephen Morris is ridiculous. Oh, to be a fly on the wall during the “Age of Consent” sessions and witness a human being drumming with such precision. In addition to the Morris miracles, there is yet another highly memorable bit of work courtesy of the bassist of the ‘80s. Whenever you listen to a New Order song, whether for the first or 99th time, you aren’t necessarily waiting for the guitar medley or lyrics to take you in, but Hook’s bass line, and this song is no exception. Not many bands from the era can say that, but, of course, they didn’t have Hooky. –Justin Gerber
Bonus Track: According to the always reliable Wikipedia, it is legal for a 29-year-old to have consensual sex with a 16-year-old in Delaware. Long story short: lock up your sons and daughters, Delawareans!
03. “Bizarre Love Triangle”
Album: Brotherhood (1986)
Penned in 1986, the themes of jealousy and an eager yearning for the past in “Bizarre Love Triangle” have become even more relatable since the dawn of social media, where breakups are never clean thanks to online photos and news feed updates. At least back in the day you could avoid the ex by staying indoors and stashing your Polaroid pictures in a shoebox under the bed. Sumner’s confession of feeling “shot right through with a bolt of blue” captures the throbbing pain of a life that can’t be left behind, while the whirling synths and Hook’s crooked bass add a windy sense of confusion to it all. –Dan Pfleegor
Bonus Track: Like Alanis Morissette’s mystery man in “You Oughta Know”, no one is quite sure who actually inspired this twisted love affair. The rumor mill has churned out names for decades. My professional guess? Funnyman Dave Coulier is somehow to blame for both songs.
Album: Republic (1993)
It’s been said there are no regrets in life, just lessons. And while certain CoS staffers might disagree, the sentiment isn’t lost on producer and writer Stephen Hague, who pitched in his creative talents on this top single off 1993’s mostly forgettable album, Republic. The song seems marred in dissatisfaction and grief, as Sumner announces his desires and dreams for a better life and a private place to call his own. But what makes this track great, aside from the catchy guitar riffs and dance-floor bass lines, is how it dwells on issues of anger, one of the biggest triggers of regret: “I was upset you see/ Almost all the time” … “I was a short fuse/ Burning all the time”. –Dan Pfleegor
Bonus Track: Anyone else regret purchasing that Orgy cover single of “Blue Monday” back in 1998? Woof.
Album: Substance 1987 (1987)
“Temptation” is much more than New Order’s finest moment. Simply put, it’s one of the greatest songs of the ’80s. Multiple versions have been recorded by the band over the years, but we’re going with the ’87 studio recording from the Substance compilation (the one you have on your Trainspotting soundtrack). In a single swoop, they were a thousand miles away from Joy Division, or even earlier Ian Curtis-influenced New Order releases. “Temptation” removed any remaining eyeliner from the band’s identity and brought them out into the sunlight. Pat yourself on the back if you’ve ever danced straight through its entire runtime. You’ve earned it. –Justin Gerber
Bonus Track: Moby’s lovely cover, featuring vocals by Laura Dawn, is slowed to a crawl and was recently played in an episode of The Vampire Diaries, proving that, like vampires, “Temptation” will never die.