Of the albums I listened to yesterday, the two I enjoyed the most were those I listened to on headphones, going to and from a night out with friends. Ssss, this year’s album by Vince Clarke and Martin Gore, is really good. I hesitate to add “if you like techno” at the end of that last sentence, mostly because my interest in techno isn’t what it used to be, so I don’t really know where techno is at these days. For me, though, it’s incredibly enjoyable. I really like that two members of a band that last worked together 30 years ago got together and made an album of music of the type which a) you can hear they both love, and b) won’t hardly sell any copies. It sounds to me like Richie Hawtin and late period Kraftwerk. And it’s a good thing to listen to on the subway and walking to a friend’s house, ready for a night’s boozing.
After we’d boozed, it was gone midnight, and rather than get a taxi, I decided to walk home. It was only about a 40-minute walk, so nothing major. I think, though, I’m the only person I know who will choose to walk home. As far as I can tell, the danger of walking around in Mexico City at night is exaggerated. As is the danger here overall. Don’t do anything stupid and touristy, and you’ll be fine. Or you’ll be unlucky. So far, I’ve been fine and not unlucky. And I really enjoy walking around. I enjoy walking around at night, too. I was a bit drunk, and listened to Power, Corruption & Lies all the way home. For a long time Technique was my favourite New Order record because it was the first one I really loved. And before we go on, New Order are way more important to me than Joy Division. I don’t dislike Joy Division, but I enjoy New Order’s music a heck of a lot more. Maybe it’s because I’m not really a lyrics kind of person. I really don’t pay attention to what is being sung about very often, which, sometimes with New Order, is a good thing.
Power, Corruption & Lies feels to me like the first New Order album. I never really got into Movement as much as their other albums from the Eighties. It sounds like they’re still Joy Division, but with a different singer. Power, Corruption & Lies still has elements that can be traced back there, but it’s also got the seeds and shoots of what New Order were to become. Humour and a lightness that wasn’t present before. As I walked home, alcohol tilting my brain in a certain direction, I became convinced that Power, Corruption & Lies was the best album ever made. I was utterly convinced by it. I typed stuff into my pocket device regarding this. Waking up this morning, though, it’s not really true. That was the booze pushing it up the charts in my head. It is, though, one of my favourite albums. Definitely in the top ten. But, when I think of my favourite bands, there’s always three that come out straight away: The Beach Boys, Kraftwerk, and New Order. I wasn’t alive when the Beach Boys did their best work; I was too young when Kraftwerk did their best work; but New Order did their best work when I was in my teens. But I wasn’t really paying attention back then. I remember hating “Blue Monday” when I first heard it, when they were on Top of the Pops.
I was into a lot poppier stuff (Human League, Duran Duran, Wham!) than what these four bored-looking people in normal clothes were doing. It’s a crappy performance that does nothing to show how great that song is. I got more into them, but only in a passing way over the next few years. It wasn’t until I saw them live at the Reading Festival in 1989 that it all clicked. “Blue Monday” sounded amazing. I clearly remember having a feeling like, this is why this song is so popular! I get it now! Maybe there’s something about not being there for any of my favourite bands’ high points, maybe that’s why they are my favourites. I try to think of bands that are in my favourites that I’ve been actively aware of and enjoying contemporaneously, and I can’t really think of any. Maybe that’s it, though: not being there allows me to look at those bands differently, to view them how I want to view them, not how they are presented to me. Whatever it is, there’s something beautiful about walking home in Mexico City, alcohol in your blood stream, feet hurting a bit, and listening to “Your Silent Face.”
Yesterday’s albums. Left to right, top to bottom:
Entroducing….. – DJ Shadow
De La Soul is Dead – De La Soul
World Clique – Deee-Lite
The Singles 81>85 – Depeche Mode
The Singles 86>98 – Depeche Mode
Ssss – VCMG
Power, Corruption & Lies – New Order