Celebrating the ageless hit on the bluest Monday of all
Laviea Thomas
11:45 18th January 2021

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The last eleven months have been wild as the world faced national lockdown over a deadly virus, and in the first fortnight of 2021 alone, the UK has left the European Union and angry white American fascists have invaded the Capitol (with little in the way of repercussions), all while Australia and New Zealand are living freely after having dealt with the pandemic constructively. 

As the UK continues to face the apocalypse of this deadly virus and our incompetent government continue to let us down time and time again, blue Monday - reportedly the "most depressing" day of the year - really feels in full swing. Today marks the 44th Monday since the pandemic began with the first UK lockdown, but it's today - 18 January - that's supposed to be the worst. That being said, we’ve made it this far and it can only get better from here, which is why we’re also celebrating today by spotlighting New Order’s ‘Blue Monday'. This March, the single turns 35 golden years old.

The astronomical synth-pop success that is ‘Blue Monday’ needs little to no introduction. Scientists and marketers can tell you they established blue Monday all they like, but we all know the truth: New Order preceeded them by about twenty years. The beauty of this technicoloured phenomenon is that it quite literally personified the future. The at-the-time, curious intertwine of electronic pop meets cryptic lyricism was rare in the music industry; the turbulent 808 beats and looping synths are what gave this track the ability to make you feel like you were uncontrollably whirling through space and time. 

Produced by New Order just six years after the group formed ‘Blue Monday’ to a lot of us signifies so much, from the groups transition from Joy Division, to the distressing loss of Ian Curtis, and a new era of dance music. But what’s interesting is that New Order had no idea just how explosive this track would later turn out to be. In an interview bassist Peter Hook emphasised that ‘Blue Monday’ was initially created as the encore track they’d play at the end of their shows. As years go by though ‘Blue Monday’ continues to assert itself as one of New Order’s most notable songs. It goes without saying, but we really do think this track will continue live on as a timeless masterpiece.

Since blue Monday signifies the supposed worst day of every year (third Monday of every January), it’s only fair to sharpen that up with a bit of New Order. But what effect does New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’ have in today’s world? With the recent resurgence of COVID-19, the UK is currently onto its third lockdown in the space of just eleven months, all of course the end result of our government’s inability to act efficiently and quickly; it’s fair to say the UK has seen much brighter days and every Monday feels just as blue as the last.

In August 2020 it was announced the UK had officially gone into a recession for the first time in eleven years. Whilst some might argue we never actually escaped it, thousands have lost jobs, thousands have been deported due to Brexit, and something that was most recently brought to our attention was the government’s sad excuse for food support for low-income families. New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’ didn’t exactly exaggerate today’s concept of blue Monday, and as each year has gone by since its release, somehow this year’s blue Monday just feels a bit closer to home. 

So today, we're celebrating instead with one of the best songs the 1980s gave us. What’s so special about New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’ is that almost forty years down the line, it is still very, very notable. There isn’t a song like it, especially given the era – ‘Blue Monday’ opened up a space for people in the dance scene to join forces with rock fans. It questioned everything these scenes had to offer and predicted something that musicians would later attempt to recreate. ‘Blue Monday,’ has influenced so many bands and artists including heavyweights Moby, Kraftwerk and David Bowie.

Hook once revealed the thought process behind ‘Blue Monday’ uncovering that the group took influence from the Creole-American pianist Fats Domino. Released in 1957 Fats Domino’s own ‘Blue Monday’ perfectly depicts rhythm and blues. Standing at just a mere two minutes in length, Domino rocks through the days of the week as he sings; “Blue Monday how I hate Blue Monday, got to work like a slave all day, here come Tuesday, oh hard Tuesday, I'm so tired got no time to play.” In some respect it’s interesting that such a futuristic pop song took influence from a soul singer. But in many ways, this makes complete sense. 

New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’ was a watershed moment in the music industry: there aren't a lot of songs that are listenable to their full ten minutes, but this is one of them. This year as we celebrate 36 years of New Order’s and live through the blue-est Monday of all time, somehow spinning this record today just feels very right. 

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Photo: Press