Number Ones: #43


  • NEW ORDER The Perfect Kiss (Factory)
  • Week Ending June 8th 1985
  • 2 Weeks At #1


New Order finally joined the ranks of my personal Top 40 chart-toppers with the lead single from Low-Life. Despite now being an all-time favourite, Blue Monday dated from 1983 and thus existed too early to make any impact on my fledgling January 1984 rundowns (in all honesty, back then I wouldn’t have loved it enough to be in contention even if I’d been making charts in 1983).

Its belated follow-up – Thieves Like Us – reached #3 in May/June 1984, stuck behind Duran Duran and Howard Jones. I bought the 12″ single, partly because I wasn’t getting to hear it enough due to its moderate chart success, and because its sleeve really intruiged me (my single purchases seemed to be governed by the principle of choosing things which I wouldn’t be hearing umpteen times a day on the radio and TV). Thieves Like Us has also become an all-time favourite, and along with The Lebanon (by The Human League) and Such A Shame (by Talk Talk) most evocatively takes me back to that period in my life. More than The Reflex or Pearl In The Shell have ever done.

So now we were well into 1985, and the next New Order single saw a change in strategy. The Perfect Kiss was taken from an actual upcoming album, the band’s first since early 1983, and as that record (Power, Corruption & Lies) didn’t feature a recognisable version of Blue Monday this was something of an unusual situation.

Indeed, the public seemed to be surprisingly thrown, and a chart peak of #46 tells its own story. Low-Life made the Top 10, but that might have been expected given the rise in profile of the band since they last issued a long-player. Quite why The Perfect Kiss fared so badly is hard to explain; even pre-Blue Monday fare such as Everything’s Gone Green, Temptation and Ceremony graced the lower half of the UK Top 40.

What it lacks in grandeur or ambition compared to its immediate (non-album) predecessors, it makes up for with an energy and directness that conceals a more sophisticated song and arrangement than first impressions might suggest. I certainly found myself liking The Perfect Kiss more with each listen, once I’d bought Low-Life on the strength of some album tracks being aired on Janice Long’s Radio 1 evening slot.

One of the immediate album highlights, Sub-Culture, would be remixed (or deconstructed might be more accurate) and released as the second and final single later in 1985. Sadly, it sounded a mess, the band’s love of the Hi-NRG/Electro club music they’d first encountered and immersed themselves in during 1983 leading them to bury their melodic qualities in a rush of clattering drum machines and overexcited orchestral synth stabs.

For a time, it did for their chart fortunes in Britain, and they wouldn’t return to the UK Top 20 until 1987 (more of that later).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s