Any reputable 80s compilation features it, not the 1988 or 1995 remixed re-releases, the instantly recognisable intro and subsequent musical odyssey that lasts a glorious 7 minutes and 26 seconds. Blue Monday is 35 years old in 2018, but you’ll see punters in their early 20s immediately recognise the tune from the band that seamlessly blended post-punk with synth pop and electronica.
Spin.com summed it up best: “BUM-BUM-BABABABABABABABA-BUM. Faster than a human foot, that DMX drum-machine rhythm remains electronic dance music’s most instantly identifiable intro.” Followed by lead singer Bernard Sumner’s deadpan opening lyrics… “How does it feel, to treat me like you do…?”
But where is the [beautiful] mistake?
After the death by suicide of Ian Curtis, the lead singer of Joy Division, the remaining band members regrouped under New Order, with Gillian Gilbert joining on keyboards. Blue Monday begins with a distinctive semiquaver kick drum intro, programmed on the DMX [Oberheim] drum machine, which Gilbert fades in a sequencer melody. According to band interviews in NewOrderStory, she did so at the wrong time, so the melody is out of sync with the beat; however, the band considered it to be a ‘happy accident’ that contributed to the track’s charm.
It’s an absolute monster of a tune that carries listeners on a journey which can be broken down from five different sources of inspiration, or straight-off copying really: