Power, Corruption & Lies
New Order’s embrace of dance music circa 1983’s Power, Corruption & Lies didn’t just change the trajectory of the band; it helped break down divisions between what we think of as pop and indie music in ways that still echo today. It wasn’t that New Order sounded like they were trying to make a statement—if anything, it’s the music’s naivete and offhandedness that resonates, proof that whatever faceless automation rock fans feared as electronic music moved into the mainstream had less to do with the machines than the people using them. In other words, here was a band proving that synths didn’t mean synthetic (“The Village”), that dancing didn’t negate thinking or feeling (“Age of Consent”), and that drum machines weren’t here to steal your soul so much as—like a good blender or calculator—help you along in this project we call being human (“Your Silent Face”). As for the album’s emotional tenor, where the band’s work in their former incarnation as Joy Division always sounded bleakly determined to die, here was music that seemed—in its sweetly mopey, aw-shucks fashion—incapable of denying life.