Substance (also known as Substance 1987) is a compilation album by English alternative dance band New Order. It was released in August 1987 by Factory Records. The album compiles all of the band’s singles at that point in their 12-inch versions, along with their respective B-side tracks. The then-newly released non-album single “True Faith” is also featured, along with its B-side “1963” and new versions of “Temptation” and “Confusion“.
Substance was released on vinyl, double CD, double cassette and Digital Audio Tape. It sold over one million copies and became New Order’s most popular and critically acclaimed album.
While Substance presents a sizeable collection of singles, there are many omissions and differences to be found from the original single releases:
- “Temptation” and “Confusion” were re-recorded in 1987 specifically for Substance and neither of the original versions appear.
- “Ceremony” is the version recorded after Gillian Gilbert joined the band. The original trio version – the first New Order recording following the dissolution of Joy Division — was only released as a 7″ single and would not be re-released until the Singles collection in 2005 and the re-release of Movement in 2008.
- “Procession” and “Murder” are included on the B-sides portion despite having originally been released as A-sides. “Procession” is also unusual in the sense that it is the only song included on Substance to have never been released as part of a 12″ single.
- “The Perfect Kiss” (CD and DAT versions only), “Sub-culture“, “Shellshock” and “Hurt” are all edited down from their original 12″ recordings, the end result of storage limitations of the CD, LP, and cassette formats. These edits are present on all copies of the album, despite the increased storage capacity provided by newer manufacturing methods (in particular, CDs in 1987 were only able to store up to 74 minutes of audio prior to unofficial revisions the following year).
- “Cries and Whispers” and “Mesh” are incorrectly labelled as one another, as was the case on the original sleeve for “Everything’s Gone Green”; to add to the confusion, the iTunes Store release, based on the CD version, labels the “Cries and Whispers” as “Mesh (Cries and Whispers)”. This error was corrected for the digital release of the album on streaming services.
- “Sub-culture” is labelled as “Subculture”, and “The Perfect Kiss” is labelled as “Perfect Kiss”.
The standard tape version, due to the extra space befitting the format, also contains extra tracks in the form of “Dub-vulture”, “Shellcock”, and “Bizarre Dub Triangle”, as well as the actual “Mesh” (mislabeled “Cries and Whispers”, again identically to the “Everything’s Gone Green” sleeve). Only on the limited edition cassette version does “True Dub” appear, as the last track on the second tape. On all cassette versions, “Murder” is after “Thieves Like Us” on the first cassette, whereas on the CD/DAT versions it appears on the second half of the album.
The digital release of the album present on streaming services uses the same tracklist as the CD and DAT version of the album; as such, the bonus tracks present on the cassette release are absent, and “The Perfect Kiss” is cut short.