By 1987, the members of New Order were at the height of their powers. They’d released four albums of revered electronic-flavored rock that found them carrying the post-punk torch of their first band, Joy Division, while adopting dance and New Wave into their sound. And they’d let loose a series of club-centric singles inspired by New York’s thriving early-1980s post-disco, proto-house, early electro and Latin freestyle scenes—all of which helped push New Order further into the electronic dance music milieu. New Order dominated both college-rock radio and dance-music playlists. Unfortunately for fans, New Order’s music wasn’t always easy to track down. Club singles from the early 1980s—including the mammoth hit “Blue Monday”—were available only as 12-inch singles. The 1985 dance-floor classic “The Perfect Kiss” could be found on the album Low-Life, but only in truncated form. And 1986’s beloved “Bizarre Love Triangle” was released in a variety of versions. It was tough to collect all of the group’s smashes in one place. A solution arrived in the form of 1987’s Substance, a two-disc compilation that contained a treasure trove of music. Yet the band members weren’t content with simply slapping a bunch of old recordings together. Substance opens with a new version of “Ceremony,” a track written by the four members of Joy Division while singer Ian Curtis was still alive, and recorded in March 1981 by the three surviving musicians as the first New Order single; the Substance version is a re-recording featuring member Gillian Gilbert adding guitars. Other early hits, like “Temptation” and “Confusion,” appear here in new, Substance-specific versions. Those updates give the album a sonic consistency. It also explains why many fans consider Substance to be their favorite New Order “album”—and why it became the only one to achieve platinum status.

Disc 1

Disc 2

Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada