Happy Monday. There are plenty of terrific songs about Mondays: Fela Kuti's "Monday Morning in Lagos," Marshall Crenshaw's "Monday Morning Rock," T-Bone Walker's "Stormy Monday," Fleetwood Mac's "Monday Morning." And then there's The Boomtown Rats' "I Don't Like Mondays," which captured a moment but hasn't aged particularly well.
Indeed, most synthpop from the early '80s has aged as well as the haircut from that guy in A Flock of Seagulls. It's cold, distant, more about technology and production than any human emotions. New Order, at its best, was as precise as the best synth-pop but almost painfully warm, playing tension-and-release games that were exciting, welcoming, and irresistibly danceable. Their top songs ("Temptation," "Age of Consent," "The Perfect Kiss," to name a few) didn't merely express emotion; they were all about expressing emotion: how hard it is, how rewarding it is, how scary it is. You could hear it in the approach/avoidance lyrics and the skyscraper-high wall of colliding rhythms. Synthesizers and drum machines sped up, slowed down, spun out of control, emerged from chaos right on the beat, as a very human voice teetered between revenge and regret. As singer Bernard Sumner asks here, at once both deadpan and ready to explode, mirroring another singer who liked to work the same fields: How does it feel?