Turn My Way

Sabotage < Turn My Way > Vicious Streak

The early-to-mid’90s was our post-Uni share house period and circa-1995 we enjoyed part of our rent being covered by a Dutch exchange student, who I remember for 4 main reasons: 1) true to his ilk he and his mate cycled everywhere on some very uncool-looking bikes they bought on the cheap, 2) he thought Australia was “zoopagüt“, 3) his idea of dressing up for a halloween party at my sister-in-law’s place was to go as a “fat Dutchman” (i.e stuff a pillow under his orange t-shirt and wear clogs), and 4) he persistently tried to turn me to the Smashing Pumpkins. Try as I might, I just never clicked with the ‘Pumpkins, bar one song: 1979 – which is great. Fair enough that they were influenced by New Order, The Cure, Bauhaus etc. but their translation of these influences got lost on me through 28-track concept albums of sprawling styles and Corgan’s nasally voice. Mind you by then I was 26 and I think my idea of alt was different to a Zero-tshirt-wearing ’90s teen idea of alt. Whenever my flatmate pointed to his copy of Melon-Sadness-whatever, I’d point to my Technique poster on the wall and we’d agree to disagree…

Fast forward 5 years and when I heard that Billy Corgan was to guest on New Order’s “comeback album” my first reaction was nonplussed, and I prayed that his appearance was to be limited to a guitar overdub or two. Some reports even suggested that his was to be a permanent joining of the the band to replace Gillian, and I shuddered at the thought of our former Dutch exchange student – now back in Nijmegen and a Doctor of something (probably cheese) – laughing at me over his stein of Oranjeboom. Thankfully Corgan’s was a 1-track collaboration and a handful of live guesties during 2001; all supposedly at the invitation of the band, being magnanimous to Billy as a longterm fan. Fair enough.

It’s an interesting phenomenon – guest appearances on New Order albums since 2001 (having never occurred previously) – with Billy Corgan, Bobby Gillespie, Ana Matronic, La Roux, Iggy Pop, and Brandon Flowers all getting a golden ticket. It’s a pretty eclectic mix of collaborations; spanning fans, an ex-label-compatriot, singers-du-jour, and a rock deity, and seems part of the band’s concerted effort to be unlike they were before, i.e. to open up and break out of their previously impenetrable inner circle of four. It may also be in keeping with the featuring trend so prevalent in pop music these days, but either way only the La Roux and Iggy experiments truly hit the mark for me.

To be brutal my issues with Turn My Way are several. Maybe it’s Steve Osborne’s mix, but Corgan’s vocal (which as I’ve said isn’t to my taste anyway) just doesn’t gel with Sumner’s. I find the track’s lead guitars become irritating after a while with too much reliance on distortion and reverse echo, the percussion is basic with little sign of a bass drum, and – although the sentiment of being free, true and individual is ace – some of the lyrics are pretty naff (e.g. not wanting to own keys / wash cars [repeat], the wheels of chance, and “the sky will not be grey“). The song is saved from disaster by a couple of high points, including the synths on the intro & breaks, the chorus vocal melody, and Hooky’s bass.

Turn My Way is one of Get Ready‘s lesser moments. Perhaps it might not be for you dear fellow-obsessive, but judging by the divergence in the feedback starting to come through on this blog, Get Ready seems to be an album that polarises opinion. I suspect this song might be one of those…

Rating: xxxoo (just)

Available on: Get Ready

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8 thoughts on “Turn My Way

  1. I actually rather like this track, but it’s taken me a long time to get here.

    I found it a bit annoying back in the day, mainly due to the nasal-whine of Mr Corgan.
    I was never the biggest Pumpkins fan though, so I guess I was always going to have a bit of trouble with this (I did buy a few tracks on release; ‘1979’ being one of them).

    Today, I’m still not mad-keen on Billy’s contribution, I’m not as bothered by it as I once was. It’s probably only that opening vocal refrain that still grates on me and I think that’s only because his voice is there in isolation. His later lines are, to a certain extent, masked by Sumner’s ‘always cool’ vocals.

    Nowadays, I think it’s quite a beautiful track and I really like the guitars.

    I still have mixed feelings about the lyrics though.
    On the one hand, I really love the ‘wheel of chance will turn my way’ line.
    On the other hand, the ‘don’t wanna own a key’ is frankly absurd.

    I mean, who doesn’t own a key? Apart from 5-year olds and those on the streets.
    I guess it’s some sort of bad metaphor for being free of responsibility. But, really, do we think that not owning a key is all that great. I’m guessing the average homeless person might quite like a key to something.

    Also, considering the previous’ track on the LP extolls the virtue of driving at very moderate speeds in a car, I wonder how Mr Sumner would open the car door, let alone start the bloody thing. 🙂

    But, I’m being snarky. It’s a good song, IMHO. It’s just let down a little by the lyrics.
    I’d give it a 3.5. Maybe even a 4 on a good day.

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  2. I actually would have liked Corgan to do the whole vocal. I reckon Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness were better albums than Get Ready, so Corgan could have actually improved Get Ready by being on it more. This may sound like a wind up but I mean it (man).

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  3. Oh my goodness — please don’ t hate me, but this is my favorite track on the album! But then again, Superheated is my favorite track on Music Complete, so maybe I just have a thing for the rare guest vocalists who grace NO’s albums.

    “Today,” “Disarm,” and “1979” are all wonderful SP tracks, but then again, these songs happened when I was in college, and we all know the music heard in college are the songs that make some serious impression. So to hear Billy Corgan sing backup was really nice.

    Yes, the lyrics are terrible, but then again, I think all NO lyrics post-Technique are kinda bad, sometimes cringingly so.

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  4. Back in the day, I wanted so badly to LIKE Smashing Pumpkins. Whatever I’d read about the music…they would get as much rock journalist attention as New Order or Led Zeppelin or Bruce Springsteen…always the LEAD review, etc…… the reviews always sounded like they were right up my alley. But the fact remained: Corgan’s voice got under my skin in a very bad way. fingers on the chalkboard bad. awful. I could never understand how they achieved the critical success and notoriety behind that voice. ugh. I have no opinion of this song, as I refuse to ever hear Corgan’s voice if I can help it.

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  5. Have to agree with everything that is said in the review, not one of the finest New Order songs but Corgan’s vocals really do grate but as always there is something positive to take away from a New Order song in this case for me it is the Hooky bass.

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  6. Its a song that i never really got on with when GR came out. Mainly the fact being that i didnt think Corgans and Barney’s vocals worked well together….it was kind of grating. They way that Barneys kind of shouts on the end words (rather than sing) in the chorus i found a bit annoying too. However having revisited this song for the first time in a while – i kind of like it. Amazing what time can do.

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  7. Always knew this was a Marmite track.

    Actually, I love it. I’m not a great fan of BC’s vocals but don’t mind them here and contrary to the review think they go together well with Bernard’s. I struggled to get the Pumpkins, although BC’s Zwan album is pretty good and very new-ordery in places, clearly showing his influences.

    I find this track very atmospheric and just love the bass and guitars. I don’t mind the lyrics – I take them as not just wishing to be free of responsibility but also the daily grind/commute/routine hence perhaps the wish to get rid of a key as a metaphor for property. It’s sometimes a bit clumsy but by no means the worst lyrics on the album (‘it beats arithmetic’ comes close), and the other lyrics (wheel of chance, sky will not be grey etc.) I actually really like. At least they were trying something different, unlike some of the more standard rock plods in the latter half of the album in particular.

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