Album Spotlight: New Order – Get Ready
By Steve O'Brien | July 19, 2023
Having spread their wings via their various solo enterprises, New Order’s first album of the new millenium was a (very) long time coming. Yes, it’s far from a classic, but when the rockier Get Ready eventually hit the shelves, it was a worthy return…
Eight years. That’s how long New Order fans had to wait for the band’s seventh album and their first of the new millennium.
In that time, Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert had released their debut album as The Other Two, Monaco put out Music For Pleasure and Electronic dropped their second LP, Raise The Pressure. Oh, and The Haçienda closed its doors for good.
“Personally, I was enjoying my work with Monaco very much – we’d toured and had a great time doing it,” Peter Hook wrote in his memoir, Substance: Inside New Order.
“With the exception of the various shit flying around about The Haçienda, my working life was in pretty good shape. I had no desire to get back with New Order at all.”
To anyone on the outside, all this extra-curricular activity made it look as if New Order were no more. And that Factory Records no longer existed made a resurrection seem even more unlikely. Then, in 1998, Rob Gretton requested a band meeting.
“At this meeting, the funniest thing happened – we all really got on,” Hook recalled. “I mean, talk about time being a great healer. It was actually nice to see them all again.”
That meet-up resulted in a reunion concert at Manchester Apollo, followed a month later by a headline gig at that year’s Reading Festival. New Order, it appeared, were back.
However, when that reunion record, Get Ready, finally arrived in August 2001, it wasn’t quite what fans had been expecting. “Get Ready is a more rock album,” announced Bernard Sumner on the album’s release, “but we’re really just returning to our Joy Division roots, using more guitar.”
The first taste we got of New Order’s fresh sound was in the album’s lead-off single – and its first track – the Joy Division-goes-pop splendour of Crystal.
Second number 60 Miles An Hour was Crystal’s follow-up single and is powered by a thick Peter Hook bass, while Turn My Way features sometime Smashing Pumpkin Billy Corgan (a big New Order fan, by all accounts, who joined the band on stage for much of their Get Ready tour) on backing vocals.
Vicious Streak slows the pace down, and is the first track on the album where Gillian Gilbert’s keyboards are prominent in the mix.
Primitive Notion opens with a classic Hooky bassline, before Morris’ unmistakable drums kick in and the song explodes into a wall of noise that sounds like Joy Division if they’d had a less gloomy producer than Martin Hannett.
Slow Jam, meanwhile, does exactly what it says on the box, and is probably the most meat and potatoes rock track here, and the one that fans of the old, synthesized New Order might have the most problems with.
Rock The Shack features Bobby Gillespie and Andrew Innes and stems from a Primal Scream session Sumner joined for their XTRMNTR album, making it feel less like a proper New Order track and more like one of the Scream’s more Stooges-like pastiches.
Someone Like You was Get Ready’s third and final single, and is one of the album’s more dance-oriented songs, despite being curiously bass-lite, while Close Range echoes the shimmering beauty of Regret.
Album closer Run Wild, meanwhile, is a rare New Order ballad, though one with some deliciously ironic Sumner lyrics.
The album was dedicated to Rob Gretton who had died in 1999 and featured another Peter Saville-directed cover, featuring German model and actor Nicolette Krebitz.
Released in the UK on 27 August 2001, Get Ready (the title, Hook said “could mean anything or nothing”) would peak at UK No.6 and was greeted with mixed reviews.
“[Get Ready is] a surprisingly modern, well-produced album and a defiant answer to critics who might have thought New Order were past it,” commented the NME, while The Village Voice wrote: “Calling the album Get Ready feels as if they’re psyching themselves up for the task at hand – like they’re raring to go but aren’t exactly certain where they’re going, or even necessarily why they’re doing it. The songs carry this out – it’s them, not the sonics, that make this the second disappointing New Order album in a row.”
“I know Get Ready isn’t considered a New Order classic, but personally it’s one of my favourites, much better than Republic,” Peter Hook wrote in Substance. “Barney was giving me encouragement all the time and it was a very happy, harmonious period for both of us.”
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Steve O'BrienSteve O’Brien is a writer who specialises in music, film and TV. He has written for magazines and websites such as SFX, The Guardian, Radio Times, Esquire, The New Statesman, Digital Spy, Empire, Yours Retro, The New Statesman and MusicRadar. He’s written books about Doctor Who and Buffy The Vampire Slayer and has even featured on a BBC4 documentary about Bergerac. Apart from his work on Classic Pop, he also edits CP’s sister magazine, Vintage Rock Presents.