SubcultureSubculture
by Stop Modernists featuring Chris Lowe

Writers - Sumner/Hook/Morris/Gilbert
First released - 2011
Original album - (none)
Subsequent albums - (none)
Other releases - single (didn't chart)

The original version of the song "Subculture" (or, as it was spelled in its original incarnation, "Sub-culture") first appeared in May 1985 on New Order's album Low-Life, and it was released as a single later that same year. When Finnish DJs/producers Jori Hulkkonen and Alex Nieminen joined forces in 2011 under the name Stop Modernists, they decided to record a remake of this minor synthpop/dance classic—adjudged "criminally underrated" by the duo themselves—that features our very own Chris Lowe on lead vocal. Coming out of the blue, with no advance hints or rumors or any sort, the announcement in early May 2011 of the impending release of this collaborative effort caught PSB fans around the world completely by surprise.

While preserving much of the sense of melancholy of Bernard Sumner's original vocal, Chris takes a far less idiosyncratic, more conventional approach that comes across as very pleasantly melodic. Perhaps surprisingly, there's little if any of the "studio treatment" that Chris has so often given his own vocals in the past: no vocoder, no distortion, no computerized stand-in. He's been forthright, however, in asserting that he did have a little technological assistance. As he noted in the October 2011 issue of the Boys' fan club magazine Literally, he (with Pete Gleadall's help) used some Autotune-ish computer software called Melodyne to fine-tune his vocal—"to put the note exactly in tune and … get rid of all the wobble." Yet the effect is so subtle as to be essentially unnoticeable.

The end result is that Chris does a more than able job as an "ordinary" singer, so much so that it makes us wonder why he doesn't assume such lead vocal duties a lot more often. His voice suits the forlorn quality of the lyrics extremely well. The song's lyrical persona all but resigns himself to loneliness, becoming throroughly accustomed to his situation. As he offhandedly describes it, "You won't even notice that you are alone." Yet, despite his resignation, he can't help but admit, again with devastaing understatement, "It's got to hurt a little bit."

This recording, expressly produced by Stop Modernists "with a knowing head-nod to late 80's New York/Chicago deephouse scene," was released as a single in June 2011. Unfortunately, it apparently had little if any chart impact.

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