Low-Life, New Order’s third studio album was released on May 13th, 1985. Featuring all the band members on the adjustable cover (with drummer Stephen Morris set as the default), the album completes the transition from the classic Post-Punk sound to dance music begun with the previous album Power, Corruption and Lies with increased incorporation of synthesizers and samplers.
Breaking with tradition, the album is first from New Order to include singles—which are in this case “The Perfect Kiss” (above—video directed by The Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme) and “Subculture”. “A Perfect Kiss” originally 9 minutes long in its initial incarnation was not the only song shortened for the LP, as also on the record is a shortened version of the track originally 17 minutes long “Elegia” (Elegia is Latin for elegy, as the song was written in memory of their former lead singer as Joy Division, Ian Curtis).
Check out this fantastic live version of “Elegia” from 1987’s Glastonbury Festival below
The track “This Time of Night” originally had a title showcasing New Order’s pioneering of the rave scene to come. This title was scrapped for the record, but used for the band’s 1985 concert film in Tokyo leading up to the release of Low-Life.
In an interview with Stereo Embers Magazine, Peter Hook was asked about his thoughts on “Love Vigilantes”, the opening track on Low-Life, to be one of Bernard’s finest lyrics, to which he replied:
“I like the lyrics of “Love Vigilantes” because it really tells a story and takes the listener on a journey as the song goes on; you feel like you are emotionally involved in the track. Then, of course, there is a big twist at the end, when it is revealed that the protagonist died at war. I don’t know – there’s just something about that track and that story that strikes a chord with me.”
During the same interview, it was remarked that Hook once said “Sunrise” has “the bassline that every bass player would love to have”, to which Hook elaborated:
“‘Sunrise’ is a really powerful track, especially when played live. The bassline is a killer if I say so myself; it really drives the track and pushes the drummer to try and keep up! The bassline to “Sunrise” is a great riff and definitely one of my best. I think it showcases all the aspects of my playing.”