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For other uses, see Low Life.
UK vinyl edition
Studio album by New Order
Released 13 May 1985
Recorded 1984, Jam and Britannia Row, London
Genre Post-punk, alternative dance, alternative rock, synthpop
Length 40:05
Label Factory FACT 100
Producer New Order
New Order chronology
Power, Corruption & Lies

Low-Life is the third studio album by English rock band New Order. Released in May 1985 by Factory Records, Low-Life is considered to be among New Order's strongest work, displaying the moment in which the band completed its transformation from post-punk hold-overs to dance rock. The album shows New Order's increased incorporation of synthesizers and samplers, while still preserving the rock aspects of their earlier work.

The album's artwork is the only New Order release to feature photographs of the band members on its cover. By default, drummer/keyboardist Stephen Morris is on the front cover, but the CD version features four photographs inside the case and a semi-transparent piece of paper with the band's name. Owners can choose which band member is seen through the sleeve.

The original Factory release (Japan and UK) CD versions of this album are mastered with pre-emphasis.

The album was preceded by the release of the full-length version of "The Perfect Kiss" as a single (only an edited version appears on the album). John Robie's remix of "Sub-culture" was also released as a 12" single. Both of these extended versions eventually were included on 1987's Substance.

The songs on this album formed the basis of New Order's live concert video, Pumped Full of Drugs, filmed in Tokyo shortly before the album's release. The track This Time of Night was originally titled "Pumped Full of Drugs".

The music video for "The Perfect Kiss" was directed by Jonathan Demme. The song "Elegia" was featured in the Academy Award-nominated short film More by Mark Osborne.

In 2008 the album was re-released in a Collector's Edition with a bonus disc, including the rare 17-minute version of "Elegia" and, for the first time in digital format, the unedited 12" mix of "The Perfect Kiss".


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Blender 3/5 stars[2]
Rolling Stone (favourable)[3]
Robert Christgau B+[4]
Pitchfork Media (9.0/10)[5]
Sputnikmusic 4/5 stars[6]

In 2000 Q magazine placed Low-Life at number 97 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. Low-Life (alongside New Order's 1989 album Technique) was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert; except where indicated. 

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Love Vigilantes"   4:16
2. "The Perfect Kiss"   4:51
3. "This Time of Night"   4:45
4. "Sunrise"   6:01
Side two
No. Title Length
5. "Elegia"   4:56
6. "Sooner Than You Think"   5:12
7. "Sub-culture"   4:58
8. "Face Up"   5:02
2008 Collector's Edition bonus disc:
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Perfect Kiss" (12" version)   8:49
2. "Subculture" (John Robie Remix)   7:26
3. "Shellshock" (Substance Edit) New Order, John Robie 6:28
4. "Shame of the Nation" (12" version) New Order, John Robie 7:55
5. "Elegia" (full version)   17:28
6. "Let's Go" (from "Salvation!" soundtrack, 1988)   3:43
7. "Salvation Theme" (from "Salvation!" soundtrack, 1988)   2:16
8. "Dub vulture"     7:56
Total length:


  • Bernard Sumner – vocals, guitars, melodica, synthesizers and programming, percussion
  • Peter Hook – 4 and 6-stringed bass, electronic percussion, backing vocals on "This Time of Night"
  • Stephen Morris – drums, synthesizers and programming
  • Gillian Gilbert – synthesizers and programming, guitars
  • New Order – production
  • Michael Johnson – engineering
  • Mark, Penny and Tim – tape operators

Release details[edit]

  • UK 12" – Factory Records (FACT 100)
  • UK cassette – Factory Records (FACT 100C)
  • US 12" – Qwest (25289-1)
  • US cassette – Qwest (9 25289-4)
  • UK CD (1993 re-release) – London Records (520 020-2)

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1985) Peak
Australian ARIA Albums Chart[7] 70
Canadian RPM Albums Chart 26
New Zealand RIANZ Album Chart[8] 11
Swedish Sverigetopplistan[9] 20
UK Albums Chart[10] 7
UK Independent Albums Chart[11] 1
US Billboard 200[12] 94


  1. ^ Bush, John. "New Order: Low-Life > Review" at AllMusic. Retrieved 20 September 2011.
  2. ^ Blender review[dead link]
  3. ^ Fricke, David (4 Jul 1985). "New Order: Low-Life". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2008-05-29. 
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert. "New Order". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 20 September 2011. 
  5. ^ Ewing, Tom (10 November 2008). "New Order: Low-Life". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 20 September 2011. 
  6. ^ "New Order: Low-Life". Sputnikmusic. 20 February 2006. Retrieved 20 September 2011. 
  7. ^ "Discography New Order". Australian-Charts.com. Retrieved 3 November 2008. 
  8. ^ "Discography New Order". Charts.ord.nz. Retrieved 23 February 2011. 
  9. ^ "Discography New Order". SwedishCharts.com. Retrieved 20 May 2009. 
  10. ^ "Chart Stats: New Order". ChartStats.com. Archived from the original on 25 May 2012. Retrieved 2 October 2008. 
  11. ^ "Indie Hits "N"". Cherry Red Records. Retrieved 9 January 2011. 
  12. ^ "New Order > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Retrieved 20 May 2009. 

External links[edit]