New Order’s New Single ‘Be a Rebel’ is an Anthem for the Outliers
Image by Warren Jackson
Artwork Photograph by Søren Solkær
Film by Tine Reingaard
When you’ve been mostly on your own for the last six months, a visit from an old friend can go a long way to healing the visceral wounds of forced seclusion. And New Order, a band who forty years ago literally rose up from despair, have been making us feel less alone via their words and music ever since.
And so a new single, intrepidly titled “Be a Rebel” (via Mute), comes at a moment when we need precisely such an iconoclastic rallying cry. Curiously, the track is bathed in minor key atmospherics, yet with a decidedly anthemic, uplifting BPM, aesthetically recalling aspects of their Low-Life—through—Technique period. Occasional blasts of disco-strings add a bit of sonic drama to the proceedings.
But lyrically, there is no sign of contradiction or ambiguity, as this is unabashedly a hymn to the outsiders and outliers, those who never really quite fit in—and who have been beset by a whole new kind of isolation since the coronavirus lockdowns went into effect in March. But as Bernard Sumner fervently intones, “There will come a day / When your fear and self-doubt fades away / Because you have achieved what you need / There’s no doubt in your heart,” one can’t help but feel a powerful sense of self-possession in the face of all those who would dare to stand in the way.
“In tough times we wanted to reach out with a new song,” he explains. “We can’t play live for awhile, but music is still something we can all share together. We hope you enjoy it…until we meet again.”
In grand New Order tradition, the digital release will be followed by 12” vinyl, CD, and digital bundle formats featuring various remixes, and artwork by Warren Jackson. It will then be followed by the October 2 release of a Power, Corruption & Lies box set, and new vinyl 12″ singles of “Blue Monday,” “Confusion,” “Thieves Like Us,” and “Murder.” The Unity Tour, a co-headline with the Pet Shop Boys, kicks off in Toronto in September of 2021.