New Order: Substance 1987 (2023 Reissue) (Warner) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, February 29th, 2024  

New Order

Substance 1987 (2023 Reissue)


Dec 11, 2023 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Although Substance 1987 has not received the same elaborate box-set treatment as the recent re-issues of Power Corruption & Lies and Low-Life, this is a fine collection for New Order enthusiasts.

It has an array of formats—double vinyl, colored vinyl, 2CD, 4CD deluxe, and cassette. Fans can also seek out new pressings of the 12-inch singles for “True Faith,” “True Faith Remix,” and “Blue Monday 88.”

Originally released via Factory Records, Substance 1987 featured all of the band’s singles to that juncture in their 12-inch guise. The record is New Order’s biggest selling to date, with over one million copies sold, going platinum in the U.S. It is undoubtedly New Order’s most prolific and scintillating period in terms of consistently innovative, sonic output. Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris, Gillian Gilbert, and Peter Hook are at the peak of their game here.

Listening back, the music sounds as fresh as ever, with the extended version of “Perfect Kiss” a particular, delightful nine-minute indulgence. The LP also includes the biggest selling 12-inch single of all time—“Blue Monday.” Owners of the original record will notice that the 2023 vinyl re-issue has embossed lettering on its cover—a classy touch.

A particular highlight is the live, September 1987 performance from the Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre in Southern California, which, somewhat disappointingly, is only included on the deluxe four-CD edition. This particular show plays the whole of the Substance 1987 in its original album running order. It also features an introduction by none other than Factory Records guru Tony Wilson himself.

This compilation encapsulates the journey of New Order’s early, stuttering steps from the crumpled wreck of the loss of Ian Curtis and Joy Division to eventually flourish and become an unwavering force of their own with a truly distinct sound is something to cherish. (

Author rating: 8.5/10

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Average reader rating: 10/10


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