Various Artists

Tribute to New Order

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It's only fitting that one of the most preeminent new wave dance acts of the '80s has a tribute album recorded in its honor. Cleopatra Records, known for its compilation discs, enlists 2001 electronic dance artists to try their hand at New Order on A Tribute to New Order, 11 tracks of the classic band's hits. Does it deliver? Sometimes. Razed in Black's rendition of "Everything's Gone Green" is an industrialized assault; it pulses relentlessly in your face and maintains enough of a New Order presence to keep fans happy. Elsewhere, another winning New Order rendering happens on DJ Pebbles' "Blue Monday," which pounds with underground flavor and a speedy pace not for the weak at heart. To his credit, DJ Pebbles gradually introduces parts of the original song into his mix and it's a delicious tease for listeners, who are left eagerly awaiting this song to fully explode in its New Order glory. The track's only fault is the sorely understated vocal, which does not match the music's intensity. The big question of how the timeless "Bizarre Love Triangle" is handled is answered as such: It's not. Judson Leach must have known this was a tough undertaking and listeners would be fronting critical ears. That said the song stays mostly faithful to the original, leaving audiences with the feeling, Why bother? A Tribute to New Order is standard fare; no remarkable remakes here. When Orgy did an invigorated industrial version of "Blue Monday," that was something to talk about. But the fare on this disc, barring some winning moments, is mediocre. Sure, this can pass for a good electronic dance album, if you remove the New Order factor. But fans wanting to hear the band's music cast in a different light will be left scratching their heads, wondering, Where are they in here? Much of the fare on this disc lacks the familiarity required in tribute recordings. This is why "Blue Monday (Retro Mix)" is the best of the bunch -- it leaves well enough alone. Updating hits by this seminal band is a tall order, indeed, but new? Definitely not.

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