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Friday, February 26, 2010

The Greatest Factory Records 7"

Occasionally (alright, very occasionally), Time Goes By So Slow is heralded as the best Factory Records seven-inch. Ian at Snappish Productions reckoned "FAC 12: The Distractions / Time Goes By So Slow may be the greatest 7" single ever released by Factory (Blue Monday was 12" remember, and the 7" of Temptation is a pale shadow of the glory of the full length version)... and even if I don't know all of their history, it doesn't make 'it falls like tears / of wasted years' any less heartbreaking". In France, Louis Phillippe thought similarly: "the sublime 'Time Goes By So Slow' is honestly the best pop tune of that period. If you trust my judgement at all, do anything you can to lay your hands on 'Time Goes By So Slow' - it would make a stone cry, as we say in French". This Pygmalion analogy from Adrian Wright tells of his girlfriend turning into stone herself; into a statue devoid of the senses. In the Greek/Cypriot myth the sculptor falls in love with his own creation; no doubt his tears of unrequited love fell like wasted years.
Fred at his vanitatum blog talks about "the best single released on Factory not recorded by members of Joy Division. Indeed, maybe you'll think it even stands up to the best of Curtis, Sumner and co. 'Time Goes By So Slow' ululates. It's in the skewed sound of the lead guitar as it hits the final chord in the progression; it's a sound that's almost extramusical, like an electrical signal urging you to grieve, rather than fingers positioned just so on a fretboard. The sound is mirrored in singer Mike Finney's wail, which demonstrates less of a concern for pure musicality than for having his emotional state register accurately to his intended. To be sure, these are words backed by actions, not only by the band, but in his own efforts; in the second verse he puts up a statue of his girl in Albert Square. It's an improbable claim, but like George Bailey's promise to lasso the moon, it resonates."
My Top 10 Factory seven-inch singles (showing a terrible JD/NO bias, but these would change if you asked again tomorrow), in catalogue order, as it's too tough to put them in an order of preference:
FAC 5 - A Certain Ratio / All Night Party
FAC 6 - OMD / Electricity (in Mike Finney's favourite five)
FAC 12 - The Distractions / Time Goes By So Slow
FAC 23 - Joy Division / Love Will Tear Us Apart (ditto)
FAC 33 - New Order / Ceremony
FAC 146 - Stockholm Monsters / Party Line
FAC 163 - New Order / Bizarre Love Triangle
FAC 167 - Railway Children / Brighter
FAC 213 - Joy Division / Atmosphere (and again, unsurprisingly)
FAC 329 - The Other Two / Tasty Fish

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