Another extremely worthwhile B-side, and very nearly album-worthy. In fact had the decision been mine I think Sabotage – in place of others yet to be discussed – would have sat quite neatly on Get Ready; offering a sonic difference to the album’s main threads of stock rock. I look forward to it’s (re)inclusion on a future deluxe reissue of the album, as Sabotage deserves – along with all the other B-sides of the period – to be brought back into the fold.
There’s much to enjoy with Sabotage, and aside from the verses – where I find Bernard’s need to rhyme nearly every line (stay, play, anyway etc) as a bit overt and clumsy – it’s by and large a really good track. I love the subdued electronic intro and general quiet & clear separation, which then crashes into a powerful and excellent chorus and a change to superior lyrics and performance from Bernard: “I wish I could cross this great divide; be with you there on the other side.” Particularly memorable is the instrumental break leading into the chorus reprisals, featuring (I think) Dawn Zee on emotive backing vocals and a terrific phased synth melody that follows the lead guitar. It reminds me of Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes, which is one of my desert island tracks.
As I listen through this period of New Order’s catalog I’m reassessing my perceptions and prejudices, and – like Bernard sings in Sabotage: “you keep me feeling fresh” and “why don’t you come with me, I’ll turn you around” – I’m reawakening an enjoyment of these works. I think it’s because Music Complete shook me from a funk that was starting to set in; offering an opportunity to take another look at what had preceded it as being more than what I’d nearly set in concrete – namely a belief that New Order had run their course, closing their book with two lacklustre albums, too many body blows from tragic losses, legal acrimony and a too-public evisceration.
Right now, in November 2017, with a great album and critically important performances in recent memory from a Gillian-rejuvenated New Order, with Cunningham & Chapman contributing valuable input and character, the band signing back to an indie label on par with Factory (i.e. Mute), the reaching of legal settlement and Hooky happily doing his own thing, I feel at peace and once again full of respect for their entire 40 years of output.
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