'Hits' album captures New Order at worst

By Noah Lopez

Arizona Daily Wildcat

New Order

The Best of New Order

Qwest

The sheer mediocrity of this release has less to say about the legacy of New Order, one of the early-'80s most consistent synth-pop bands, than it does about a record company's reluctance to part with any monies one of its artists might generate.

Qwest has already put out a greatest hits anthology for New Order, 1987's two-CD Substance, as a means of capitalizing on the band's English catalog of albums and singles. And while that compilation stands on its own as a solid record of the band's diversity and hit-making ability, it didn't take into consideration that the band had yet to release a greatest hits collection in its own homeland.

Now that New Order has reached the twilight of its career, with no forthcoming releases in sight, the band has released a greatest hits album in England. Not willing to have American fans pay for import copies of a different label's release, Qwest has quickly put out its own "best of."

The haste that went into making this compilation is immediately apparent. Three songs appeared on Substance (although in different forms), and with the exception of such crowd pleasers as "Love Vigilantes" and "Age of Consent," their earlier albums go entirely unrecognized. Unfortunately, this leaves out the majority of New Order's strongest material, rendering the latter half of the compilation rife with inferior techno schmaltz. The last six years have been spotty at best for the band, yet it is the period best represented here. Former house hits "Fine Time" and "Round and Round" sound particularly dated just six years after their release, while throw-away tracks such as "World in Motion" have never proved deserving of inclusion on any CD.

New Order is indeed a group that is due for a career retrospective . just not this one.

The Meters

The Meters Anthology: Funkify Your Life

Rhino

For a taste of a compilation done right, sink into the spicy-hot flavor of New Orleans funk legends The Meters, and their excellent Rhino retrospective.

The Meters' catalog has always been represented somewhat shoddily by the compact disc format, with their Warner Brothers years completely unavailable. All that has changed, however, with the excellent overview that Funkify Your Life provides.

The first half of the two-disc set concentrates on the bands early years on Josie records a wild fusion of Booker T. and the MGs' instrumental splendor hopped up and blackened with pure N.O. grind. After running through such blistering classics as "Cissy Strut" and "Here Comes the Meter Man," The Meters settle into their more vocal and chunky seventies work.

In only three years, The Meters evolved from a keyboard-based Booker T.-type band, to one that had definitely caught on to what War was doing with more varied rhythms and arrangements. Tracks like "Africa," "Ride Your Pony" and "Fire on the Bayou" bristle with heavier guitar and hell-raising vocals, while "Zig" Modeliste's unstoppable kinky drum lines slam the jams home.

Funkify Your Life is a 43-song funk workout that will elevate anyone's mood to a Mardi-Gras level of fervor.

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