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Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of e-mails from publicists about Jukebox the Ghost, who have a new album out on Sept. 7 that I had no plans to write about, because: 1) The band hasn’t been based in D.C. for some time; and 2) I don’t like the album.
However! Yesterday the band’s flack pointed me to this Freelance Whales remix of Jukebox‘s “Empire,” and it’s a lovely work of chopped, billowy bubblegum. But on my favorite song by Jukebox the Ghost, a pretty widely circulated cover of New Order‘s “Temptation,” the band does exactly the opposite—-that is, it takes a nonlinear, thinking man’s dance masterpiece and rearranges it into something logical and purely pop.
Let’s dig in! New Order’s original—-and this gets confusing—-came out in 1982 in duplicate: There was a fairly straight-forward, edited, slowed-down 7-inch, and an ecstatic and abstract 12-inch version in which no part of the song lands at the moment you think it should, and the result is basically perfection:
New Order recorded the song two more times—-there’s the best-known version, from 1987, which later ended up on the Trainspotting soundtrack, and another from 2005. These both have the linear structure of the 1982 7-inch, and likewise its lack of inertia. Which is to say: It’s perfectly structured pop music that’s way too slow, unless, um, you’re sipping syrup.
Jukebox the Ghost takes those versions’ straight-forward structure and adds some bpm—-it’s a perfect meeting of the band’s piano-driven, synth-tickled, harmony-as-catharsis indie pop and a song that actually transports. (Plus: It’s six minutes and feels like three.) Imagine what Jukebox could do with “Bizarre Love Triangle.”