In yet another display of New Wave coming back in a big way, famed 1980s dance-rock band New Order released a new single. On September 8, 2020, “Be a Rebel” dropped early that morning. The single is the band’s first new release since Music Complete in 2015. “Be a Rebel” is a dance-rock track reminiscent of some of New Order’s most classic songs. Embedded in the synthesizers and infectious beat are hints of disco influence and subtle melodies.
“Be a Rebel” is a song that’s extremely catchy and oh-so danceable. Vocalist and guitarist Bernard Sumner shared “in tough times we wanted to reach out with a new song… music is still something we can all share together.” This sentiment is certainly evident in “Be a Rebel.”
“Be a Rebel” is a playful track. Starting with lines of synth that play with each other in the introduction, it’s clear that “Be a Rebel” is intended to be a lighthearted tune that anyone can dance along to, capturing the essence of some of the band’s greatest hits. The track opens up into a fuller band of guitars, synthesizers and keyboards in its first minute. Remnants of New Order’s glory era of the 1980s are heard in the band’s construction of “Be a Rebel’s” melody. Simultaneously, “Be a Rebel” has a sound unique to 2020’s interpretation of New Order, allowing the track to find a balance between old and new.
As Sumner sings, “Be a Rebel” continues to find its danceability. It’s a cheerful song, with lyrics that resonate especially in the time of COVID. “And if you find that they won’t listen/Then they’ve got nothing to say/So don’t get mad and don’t feel sad/Be a rebel,” he sings in the chorus. The dreamy encouragement of finding individuality when others won’t listen feels applicable in times where nothing is normal. “Be a Rebel” is an extension from the dark, a pat of reassurance that individuality and creativity still matter.
Personally, I enjoyed the upbeat nature of “Be a Rebel.” This track feels essential right now. It preaches individuality and hope, affirming that not everything has to be doom and gloom. I appreciated the mix between dance-rock lines of synth and Sumner’s vocals. “Be a Rebel” is a single, 4-minute, and 48-second reminder to dance, and that’s something that goes for a lot these days.
“Be a Rebel” is just a standalone single for now. Prior to COVID, New Order was slated to co-headline a tour beginning this month with English synthpop duo Pet Shop Boys. The tour is now rescheduled to 2021, but the single was supposed to preceede it. Overall, New Order’s surprise single is dreamy, danceable and a healthy reminder to be yourself. I couldn’t recommend it more, both to classic and modern fans of New Order.
Stream “Be a Rebel” here.
Featured Image via New Order.