Stray Dog

People On The High Line < Stray Dog > Academic

Music Complete is such a fascinating album. In my opinion it is by far the most diverse album since Brotherhood; covering killer dance tracks, quality rock numbers, slow ones, fast ones, and leftfield numbers like Stray Dog which for me hark back to the likes of Angel Dust, Murder and Mesh.

And unlike the vocal collaborations on Get Ready and Waiting For The Sirens’ Call which were more miss than hit, just how good is it that the band was able to dial-in one of their all time biggest influences from back in the Warsaw / Joy Division days; namely Iggy.

Iggy Pop FFS!

Not everyone calls it out as one of the highlights on the album, but I really like Stray Dog; starting with Iggy’s signature growl, which sounds like he’s gargling on coffee-granules while soaking in cheap tequila… in a dust storm… with rattlesnakes. Perfect really for telling Bernard’s poetic tale of unconditional love and secrets to happiness, and perfect for naming a beer*. And I freely admit to having to Google “Grimpen Mire” 🙂

Musically Stray Dog is terrific, building up from it’s moody nightscape intro through unusually-effected bass guitar and percussion, distant electronic tones and riffs, descending guitars, and a lovely synth bass sequence. It’s beautifully produced, and rich with texture and melody. Using Iggy via a spoken-word performance works a treat, and far more interesting than if they’d just used him for a traditional vocal. The lover vs. supplier lines lead into a thumpingly good instrumental break, with Phil and Bernard in full flight on storming guitars, backed with Morris’s excellent (as always) drumming. The final 1:30 – heralded by Iggy’s growling and hissing – holds some lovely synths and strings, and some repeated motifs and tones from the main track. Again… a wonderful production.

The Extended Mix from Complete Music holds true to the original in tone, atmosphere and instrumentation, but as with everything on CM the band re-shuffles the layers and levels to come at the track from a different direction. The industrial loop which comes in right at the start of the mix and provides a tonal backbone to whole version works well. The overall mix seems more spacious, and you get some isolation of key parts, e.g. Chapman’s sliding bass riff and Stephen’s percussion & programming (the electronic-nature of which is dialled right up), but I think the story-telling quality of the track is lost a little in the alternative program of the Extended Mix. For that I much prefer the original.

Strong and unusual, and an essential part of Music Complete‘s wonder.

* Is it any good? Did anyone drink it or have you all just hoarded it for future profit on Ebay? Feedback welcome below.

Rating: xxxxo

Available on: Music Complete
Extended Mix available on: Complete Music

5 thoughts on “Stray Dog

  1. I cant listen to it. Bernard should have read his own poem. I leave it off of all my playlists.

    I’m not an Iggy hater. I Loved The Idiot and Lust for Life, both important parts of my musical formative years. He just doesn’t belong here. It’s jarring, and not in a good way. Just sayin….

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Absolutely love this track.
    A natural successor to ‘Murder’ and has Steve’s fingerprints all over it.

    Drums, guitars, those lyrics, gravelly voice.
    All brilliant.

    ‘But I can’t stop drinking. It’s in my blood’.

    Bonus points for me for including the Holmes reference.

    It’s a dirty song and I love it.
    I hope New Order, if they ever do another LP, experiment like this again.

    A definite 5 for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have to say that ‘Stray Dog’ for me is a ‘Marmite’ (for Dennis – ‘Vegemite’) song , sometimes it’s the best thing since sliced bread and other times Complete Music’s ‘Jetstream’ or ‘Rock The Shack’, however I have to agree with Dennis, musically it is superb and I particularly love Iggy’s hissing near the end of the song. A solid 4

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Spot on Dennis! Love this song. Musically, for me it could sit between Ultraviolence and Ecstasy on PC&L.

    Wasn’t too enamoured of the idea of an Iggy collaboration when I heard it – could have been an exercise in clapped-out nostalgia. But for me, this really works (although definitely Marmite for many fans).

    Love the lyrics, and Iggy’s delivery makes it truly chilling: “So I came in from the cold with nowhere left to go…So I came in from the cold and I chose to be with you”. Get me in the panic room now! Reminds me a little of Nick Cave’s “A Song of Joy” , i.e. whatever you do, don’t open the door to the smooth-talking stranger who has just, ahem, said goodbye to his family. Whoops, too late…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The beer was actually pretty decent. Cask. It was briefly in a few pubs and served on tap at the So It Goes gigs in Granada Studios in 2017.


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