Young Offender < Liar > Chemical

Here’s where Republic starts to lose me for a while.

Liar is just too middle-of-the-road for my liking; being smooth, gentle & soft (at least 3-ply), tuneful, with lyrics like ‘I used up nearly all my love‘, and closes out with some ‘do-do-di-do-doo’s‘. Unfortunately – and particularly in 1993 – I wasn’t ready for New Order to be a purveyor of supermarket music, but hey… these days Liar is great to hum to whilst checking out the daily bargains, and I reckon the song works best in the bakery section and not the dairy aisle – where not-dissimilar music from The Kane Gang, Howard Jones and Spandau Ballet strikes a better chord with the punters. See for yourself!

It’s as if the whole studio production – instead of passing through a pipeline of interesting programming, songmanship, and effects – has been passed by Hague & the band through an Earl Grey teabag. Even Hooky’s 10 seconds of bass glory has been toned down as a courtesy to fellow patrons. It’s all just so seemly. The 2 or 3 highlights in Liar – including the ‘If that’s what it takes, I’ll do it‘ coda to the chorus (and indeed Dee Lewis’ backing vocals), plus the string pads in the instrumental break – are all that remain in my thoughts long after the song has sauntered by in its comfortable shoes.

For me, Liar is neither challenging or remarkable – it’s a mild album track for mollifying shoppers, but it’s certainly better than what follows…

Rating: xxxoo

Available on: Republic


8 thoughts on “Liar

  1. I first heard this on Radio 1 before Republic came out. They were previewing the album with new tracks. I was horrified when i heard it; as i thought it was the worst thing NO had ever done. I couldn’t bare listening to it, especially the chorus. Defo in my top 5 list of worst NO songs ever.


  2. yep, it’s pretty lame, I do agree…… but funny, it sounds more like a lame Electronic toss-off than a lame New Order toss-off. …what were they thinking?


  3. It’s lame and should be 1 star (or 2 at best). You’d be a liar if u think this pile of stinking poo deserves 3.5 out of 5!

    Rock the Shack gets some stick (and rightly so) but if that track appeared instead of Liar it would liven up the track sequence somewhat.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yep, this song is a bit lightweight but it’s worth giving a shoutout to the lyrics – which I assume are something to do with Tony Wilson (“you are the king of nothing”). In general, Republic is steeped in references to failure: Ruined in a Day, Liar, Chemical, Times Change, and Everyone Everything all touch on this. It’s almost a concept album about the decline of Factory.


  5. I echo most of what has been said here. It’s definitely one of the band’s worst tracks.
    Sugary sweet, yet bland and mostly unpalatable.

    I always feel dirty criticising New Order tracks, like I’ve betrayed them, or something.😊 Usually I can (blindly, maybe) justify my criticism of a NO track I don’t care for with a ‘still better than any track by any other band’ comment.
    However, I really can’t do that with this track or, indeed, the absolute horror that’s coming in your next review, Dennis. Two awful tracks.

    As regards the subject matter, as Joe mentions, rumours were rife at the time that the song was about Tony Wilson. I thought this was very harsh of the band (or Sumner, at least) but I accepted that the demise of Factory, with the label owing the band a lot of money apparently, probably coloured the band’s judgement at that time.

    However, according to Hooky, in his recent book, the lyrics are actually about Rob Gretton, which seems even more harsh. After Factory went bust, involvement with Wilson was probably minimal. But, with Gretton, he was still very much involved with the band (even if he wasn’t managing them directly). He certainly was involved with them at the time of the Apollo ’98 concert, as he appeared to be helping out with the sound at that gig.

    Anyway, whether the song is about Rob or Tony, it did seem a little ungrateful to be that scathing (so publicly, as well) of a friend and partner. Both gentlemen had shaped the band immeasurably and, even though they may have cost them money, they certainly contributed significantly to the appeal of the band. And because of that, as well as the handsome 50:50 split agreed by Tony, had contributed to that same pot of money that the band argued wasn’t as full as it should have been.

    I guess the above back-biting left a bitter taste in my mouth and has probably further increased my dislike of the track. Much like Hook’s NO book has slightly tainted the band’s legacy to me.

    Joy Division, New Order and Factory had always seemed like a family, willing to support each other, their beliefs (lack of promotion of records etc.) and their endeavours (Hacienda, Dry, The Area etc.). Now, not only had Factory gone the way of the Dodo, but it appeared that things weren’t as rosy due the glory-years as was once believed. Again, it felt like the mask of mystique was slipping from the band.

    Liked by 1 person

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