The album reached number one in the UK, their last album to do so. It also received a Mercury Music Prize nomination. The album's lead single, "Regret", is also New Order's last top-five hit in their home country. It was produced and co-written by Stephen Hague, who had produced several non-album singles with them already.
The band went on hiatus following a gig at the Reading Festival promoting the album in August 1993. Lead vocalist Bernard Sumner is known to not like travelling to North America, and media reports suggest that the pressure of the long leg there contributed to the band's temporary demise. The band reunited in 1998.
The album follows on the standard New Order principles of not having anything other than the credits and art inside the CD sleeve, and of having a Peter Saville-designed cover. The sleeve itself is a reference to the US, and in particular, California, where Saville had relocated. The sleeve displays different aspects of California—people relaxing on the beach, while some people's houses are being burnt down (a reference to frequent wildfires experienced in the state or perhaps to the 1992 Los Angeles riots); vast natural landscapes, contrasting to the skyline of Los Angeles, etc. Another interesting dimension is that most images were taken from stock photo libraries to achieve the commercial look and heavily retouched. Several of these images have also been used in the most low-brow form of marketing, e.g., direct mailing, catalogues, and adverts for businesses. Another interpretation of the album's artwork alludes to the fall of Rome.
Republic – The Limited Run..
A limited-edition version of the Republic album, entitled Republic – The Limited Run.., was also released in the United States. Although the tracks are the same as the normal release, the packaging is entirely different. Instead of a jewel case, the CD comes in a folding wallet made of bright orange vinyl underpadded with soft foam, giving it the feel of an inner tube. The CD's label is also redesigned, with no words but with a picture of several orange rubber inner tubes against a background of flames, a reference to the cover artwork. The booklet, tucked into a pocket of the vinyl wallet, is the same as the standard version, but made of a plastic waterproof material instead of paper.