They think it’s all over…
Hold up World In Motion to – say – Temptation or Your Silent Face or All Day Long, and it’s easy to scoff & tut and say “really?“. Time travel to TJ Davidson’s rehearsal studio circa winter 1979 and play this to four particularly serious young men: they might be inclined to push you through the holes in the floor. Play this to Martin Hannett during the Closer sessions and you’d cop an enraged cough medicine-tainted spray of spittle before you were locked in a stairwell.
World In Motion has a different raison d’être so you just have to approach it differently: enjoy it for what it is – dance shambolically , sing along with the nutters, and relax. World In Motion was the right song at the right time, by the right band on the right label, and millions loved it; myself included. It helped that I was in my last year at Uni, and this was our anthem of the moment.
Well-documented tales abound of World In Motion’s unconventional production. That they ever got to the end-product is remarkable, and probably a testament to Stephen Hague’s skills as a cat herder. The main single version really is a very polished electronic pop song, and it’s no wonder that World In Motion got to #1; being full of hooks, melodies, dancefloor drums & bass, catchy lyrics, football stars, and style. I love the sleeve for the single and its remix 12″; very sleek, very Euro, very club. It would be quite a while before Saville was to return to this caliber of design quality for the band, and again it marks a high point before the party crash.
Listening to The B-Side (which I haven’t done for many years) is instructive, because you get a more demo feel to the song even though it’s pitched as a wholly different production by Roli Mosimann. He was probably given some early working tracks to play with, including the non-Barnes rapping attempts, additional verses, and (a little too much) Keith Allen. Naff impersonation indeed. You can feel just how much work went into getting to the final single version, so Hague did remarkably well. The Remix versions are top value, with both Subbuteo versions by Pickering & Park, and the No Alla Violenza mix by Farley & Weatherall very welcome additions. Not so convinced about the Carabinieri Mix though. Of these the Violenza mix is IMHO the most interesting, with its loops and back-masks and overt house/rave-feel, but the Subbuteo Mix was the more conventional floor filler back in the day and the Subbuteo Dub has an 808 State feel to it – particularly in the bassline variation. World In Motion was well-serviced by a select handful of decent remixes from decent producers – in true Factory style. It’s unfortunate that this was all to get a little out of hand under London…
The video clip is great fun. You can imagine the planning session: [Sumner] “I want to be Elvis“… [Hook] “can I keep this shirt?“… [Morris] “it’s too bright out here“… [Gilbert] “do I really have to?“… [Allen] “‘round the back, me“… [Barnes] “fuck off Allen“… etc. Being an Aussie, and our greatest World Cup achievements still 16 years away (Grosso dove by the way – in true Italian style, but I digress), I can’t comment on the actual impact of this song, but Germany won right? How does the 1990 team sit in the pantheon of En-ger-lish sporting achievements? Answers via feedback please. At least you had a great theme song for the campaign. Perhaps that’s a good philosophy of life: all is well as long as you have a good soundtrack….
So here it is. New Order’s final release on Factory Records, and its 100% beautifully appropriate. Nothing too serious… entirely English… chaos & mayhem in its formation… football meets proper cool… one final joyous and celebratory singalong… a final nail in the post-punk coffin… emerging just as the sun sets on several summers of love. Here Factory were at their most perverse; their most carefree; their most sleek; their most loved-up. It was all going to go downhill from here as the shit started hitting the fan, but that could all wait just a little longer.
For now, for one last time, FactoryEnglandNewOrder had the world in motion…
Available on: Singles