“For life is good, and it is special … For this is life and it’s immortal”
Bernard’s musings on The Game (of life?) feel right on the money, with some of his most determinedly optimistic-in-the-face-of-it-all lyrics yet; an angle he’s been developing for some time, and – given the life he’s lead – one which is heartwarming and quite moving.
Although (having just turned the half-century) I’m closer in age to Tom & Phil then I am to Bernard, Stephen & Gillian, its hugely reassuring to have your favourite band from your generation still delivering the goods when it comes to articulating in music what you also feel about your own experiences, challenges, and the world around us. Ask me to describe how I felt as a teen, 20-something, 30-ish, 40+ and beyond, and I can easily point to a New Order track from the equivalent period and say “listen to that and you’ll understand me”. We’re so lucky to have not lost them (a few times) to the machinations of their own politics & events, and if we get another album post-Music Complete (and I’m sure we will) then indeed life is special.
I love the The Game for 2 main reasons: the lyrics and the chorus instrumentation; that segue from the glitchiness and high-energy of the main sequence down to the majesty and grandeur of the chorus. A panoramic vista of huge percussion from Stephen, gorgeous strings, guitar tones, and layer upon layer of atmosphere; something that I always gravitate-to with New Order. The guitars leading us into the closing instrumental break are also sublime.
The Extended Mix is just as good; the way it opens quietly on the first verse and into a beautifully stretched instrumental intro where you can take in all the programming subtleties. In fact the restructuring applied in this mix offers lots of new detail right across the board. If I have one (very minor) quibble it is that some of the grandiosity of the original’s choruses is missing, mainly because of the absence of the strings.
…but then Mark Reeder takes The Game to a whole new level.
His Spielt Mit Version* is simply beautiful. The pianos. The bass. The space and depth. The strings. The vocal layering. The keeping to a slow tempo throughout. The strings! This version is a perfect example of why a remix doesn’t have to be an uptempo dance mix, it can be a rolling storm of dark elegance. Reeder understands wonderfully well that less can be so much more, and this version is easily in my top 10 New Order remixes ever.
Have I really – after over 3 years – nearly reached the end of these reviews, with Superheated up next and only a small handful of outliers? 😦
“It’s so near, yet we can’t touch it
But it is here, and we love it”
* From which there is also the shortened Stella Polaris Edit