Sunday, October 11, 2015
New Order "Dreams Never End"
When the weather starts to turn away from summer as the skies go gray, the grass browns, and the wind carries a bite, I often find myself listening to early New Order. Their music from this period isn't just great, it has a kind of brooding chill like an October morning when the erie, Bible-black pre-dawn darkness seems like it will never end. (Since I take the 6:22 train every day, I am more aware than most of when the sun comes up.)
I love their early stuff, from 1981 to 1984, when they were combining post-punk rock with electronic dance music, rather than just doing full-on electronic dance music. Their music in that earlier era has a sound that is really like nothing else, before or since. They took Kraftwerk's ability to make electronic music sound organic, and injected it with a heavier dose of humanity. When I listen to these New Order tracks, emotions tend to well up inside of me in an uncontrollable fashion. Something about them just cuts me to the core, even if on "Dreams Never End" I can't really make out the words.
Part of my attachment to this song in particular might have to do with the fact that back when I was living by myself in lonely apartments in Michigan and Texas, I would often put on the Movement album as I went to sleep. I found it incredibly soothing, and "Dreams Never End" came first. I associate that beautiful descending line that opens it both with rest after a long day, but also with those innumerable nights spent laying down in a cold, empty bed. That figure gives way to bassist Peter Hook flat voice taking the lead (this was before Sumner had been established as the singer), which contrasts with Bernard Sumner's bright guitar coming back in later. It is a short, strange song, a little burst of beauty leavened with an unsettling feeling. That mix of emotions suits the autumn perfectly.