On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
New Order – True Faith (1987)
” True Faith” is a song by New Order, co-written and co-produced by the band and Stephen Hague. It was the first New Order single since their debut ” Ceremony” to be issued in the UK as two separate 12″ singles. The second 12″ single features two remixes of “True Faith” by Shep Pettibone.
We’re leaving the US today, dear reader, and making our way back to the UK. We find ourselves in Manchester in the north of England and are catching up with New Order. The remnants of Joy Division previously appeared on our list in 1983 with Blue Monday but we now join them four years on. The group have released Substance 1987, a compilation of their prior hit singles to this point, but 1001 Songs have focused on a new single that appeared on the record – True Faith.
True Faith centres around drug addiction but juxtaposes the benefits with the dangers of narcotics. Initially, the song seems to point to the good stuff, the feeling great being high, stepping out of one’s self and feeling a sense of “liberty”. The song harks back to childhood days as well, as if the drugs themselves are the key to the carefree days of the past. It’s not all sweet smelling roses though. The narrator conveys how the boys he grew up with now look into his drug-fuelled eyes and recoil at the sight of him. Mention is made of the money required to facilitate one’s addiction. There is unquestionably the idea here that drugs can make one feel on cloud nine but the fix will inevitably come at a high price and not just financial.
I know a few songs by New Order and, for me, True Faith is up there with the best of their material. Blue Monday will often be cited as the group’s masterpiece but True Faith has something special about it in my opinion, though I did not realise it concerned drug addiction until doing the research for this post. The song would not chart highly in the UK upon initial release but a remix in 1994 squeezed into the UK Top 10. New Order continue to this day but they have been through two break ups in that time.
Favourite songs so far: