Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The End of the Eighties, Track 33

“Every Little Counts”
New Order

Just like its three previous album covers, New Order’s fourth album featured striking Peter Saville sleeve art. This time, though, he decided to forego color-coding the album title in the cover, and instead it’s a photograph of a sheet of Titaanzink metal. It’s sterile, gray, unyielding… a lot like the perception of synthesizer-based bands in the ’80s (and certainly New Order’s live show reputation). But the last song on the original album’s running order is anything but antiseptic.

John turned me on to this little ditty from Brotherhood. It’s a fun, sarcastic, off-the-cuff song that I think Bernard Sumner might have just made up the words to on the spot. The song opens with the wonderfully mischievous “Every second counts / When I am with you / I think you are a pig / You should be in a zoo” before Sumner looses his straight face and devolves into a fit of giggles. More laughter follows later in the song when he misses a note. In the interim, he sings of the stupidity of the song’s subject, but any sort of mean-spiritedness is disarmed by the orchestral splendor of the accompaniment. 

Much like the Cure’s “A Few Hours After This…”, “Every Little Counts” combines a musically symphonic idea of strings and mixes it with a playful sense of humor in the lyrics and delivery. It’s at once completely incongruous and perfectly matched, right down to the Beatles-esque finale and record scratch ending.