New Order: Music Complete Box Review

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This is not a review of a box set. This is not a music review. This is not even an audiophile review judging the audio quality of a product.

This is a review of a box.

Yes. Just a box. Nothing else. Because I feel this box is a box worth talking about.

Now, for an object like a box to merit a full-length review, it must obviously be exceptional in some way. Either it’s exceptionally good, or exceptionally bad.

I am not known for being a positive person, so I can assume you know where this is going.

In September, New Order released their latest album Music Complete on CD, vinyl and digital formats. Also announced was a deluxe set that would feature the album on two clear LPs, plus and additional six colored LPs that would have extended versions of all the tracks on the album. However, that version was delayed to an unspecified date, eventually coming out sometime late November to retail outlets (in severely limited quantities, they’re all gone now), retailing for something like $150.

Despite the ridiculous delay (which I chalked up to backlogs in vinyl production), and an inflated price (which I chalked up to…labels being assholes), I still held out for the box set. I love me a New Order extended mix, and I love me some colored vinyl. And having now finally recieved the box set, I can say that it doesn’t disappoint in either department. Nearly all of the extended mixes are fantastic, and the colored vinyl all look amazing.

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Pretty

But that box.

Yes, it’s drab and dull looking, but that’s not even really the problem. I can excuse that. Maybe they were going for a minimal, industrial look for it. Sure, I think that’s boring as hell, but whatever. That’s a subjective stylistic choice. But what I don’t get is the fact that the box was made with some of the cheapest cardboard material available.

The edges already curve out, like they're warped by moisture.

The edges already curve out, like they’re warped by moisture.

Seriously, this shit is one step above a box of cereal. It’s thin and flimsy, and after a few openings and closings, it’s already starting to warp. The lid no longer slides on cleanly. I can only imagine it will get worse. Making matters even worse is that the whole shoddy affair is held together with four pairs of hastily stuck on staples. And since no glue of any kind was used, the staples are left exposed. Not only does this look ugly as all hell, but I have to mind how I put the box on my shelf so I don’t scratch it with the ugly staples.

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This box set cost me over $150, probably close to $200 since I live in Japan. And yes, the record is great and the vinyl sounds good, and I suppose that’s what matters most. But….damn, when it’s all packaged in something that feels of lesser quality than a box I can get out of US post office for free, I can’t help but feel a little ripped off.

Fuck this box.

2 Responses to New Order: Music Complete Box Review

  • Sven says:

    Hey James, I was dissapointed, too and still I am. But in being dissapointed and looking for companions, I found an New Order forum where someone stated that Peter Saville wanted the box exactely like that, since this is a kind of box the BBC uses for archiving. I’m not sure if this is the truth, but and as the music is “complete” it could make sense to archive it :-). But still, the box looks ugly and your point with the staples ruining the shelve is still valid! But as you said, the music and the vinyls itself are fabulous.

  • Pwillco says:

    Good review of the box. I stumbled on this review. Sven has a good comment, it does look something like some archival grade boxes I have (the ones I have are meant for paper ephemera, so thinness of cardboard are not a huge concern). But considering this box is to hold several chunks of heavy vinyl, maybe they didn’t think of the strength needed.

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