Now that Waiting for the Sirens' Call has been officially declared part of New Order's history, only eight months after release, it's time once again to reassess the group in the form of a mostly redundant compilation. Rhino calls Singles the group's "first ever career-spanning two-disc retrospective," but it's more like the group's first compilation to contain tracks from Sirens' Call. Besides, 1987's Substance spanned the group's career upon release and remains the basis for most New Order compilations (this one included), so it's no big deal. Just as importantly, over a third of the contents date from 1993 onward; that's too high a percentage to make the set an ideal introduction. Considering its title, Singles has a clear-cut purpose, unlike 2002's International. Then again, each of the 14 tracks contained on International are also here -- what amounts to an inferior version of Substance with some crucial tracks squeezed out in favor of lesser, later singles. A proper sequel to Substance, covering Technique through Sirens' Call, would've made more sense, but the lure in dressing up a combination of oft-recycled classics with slightly varying surroundings has yet to lose its appeal. Substance remains, and will likely always remain, the release to get you started.
by Andy Kellman