Sunday, August 27, 2006

Up, down, turn around.

Artist: New Order
Song: Temptation
FAC 63 / 1982

Oh, you've got green eyes
Oh, you've got blue eyes
Oh, you've got grey eyes
And I've never seen anyone quite like you before
No, I've never met anyone quite like you before

Sounds romantic, no? I'm not so sure. For what I always thought as a song about falling in love, being smitten, or having a hopeless crush might actually be about dancing around a club, high on X, looking from girl to girl. One of those "anyone'll do" sort of nights. You know the kind. But who really knows. And regardless of what Sumner truly means, "Temptation" is as energizing and uplifting as any song out there. If I need a pick-me-up, "Temptation" is where I go. It almost works like one of Cupid's arrows: I could probably fall in love with the next person I see after I hear it.

There are at least 4 different recorded versions of "Temptation":
12": 8:47
7": 5:21
Substance: 6:59
Temptation '98: 4:08

And all of them are good. The original versions, the 12- and 7-inch singles, are much rougher than the others that followed later. Sumner's voice isn't as sweet, as the band were still in the transition stages from Joy Division. The different versions of the song are also indicative of the state of New Order at moment in time in which they were recorded. The early versions are rougher and fit in more with the band's first album, Movement, as well as their other early singles, such as the Joy Division leftover "Ceremony". But the Substance version has a much cleaner sound that better meshes with the band's late 80s sound.

Legend (or just obsessive fans) has it that the 12" are 7" are supposed to be played consecutively, in that order, as the 12" fades in and has a cold ending, while the 7" has a cold start and fades out. The song works no matter how it starts or ends, or which versions are played in whatever order. If I saw New Order live and they just played a 90 minute version of "Temptation", I might not leave completely disappointed. But I'd really like to hear "Ceremony" and "Age of Consent", too.

Here are two live clips, twenty years apart, that clearly demonstate the differences between each version:




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