David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Day 57: New Order (Age Of Consent)

June 22, 2020

I always knew I had to pick my songs carefully for this series. After all, I'm not the kind that needs to tell you just what you want me to. Today, I rejected Electric Light Orchestra's "Wild West Hero" (at least for now) because of the line "I'll be the Indian's friend."  I also haven't been able to quite pick the appropriate Arrested Development song in light of the current social unrest.

However, I didn't expect to have a problem with New Order, outside of maybe picking a certain song.

I settled on "Age Of Consent," the song that introduced me to New Order.  However, there is so much I don't know about the song. I know it has one of the killer bass lines in the history of rock and roll. I know it has some of the best interplays of synthesizer and lead guitar in the history of rock and roll. I know it has an impassioned vocal that I don't find on other New Order hits.

However, if I hear the song randomly, I may not immediately remember it as "Age of Consent." The title is never freaking said, and doesn't emerge from inference when hearing the lyrics. In fact, I often mistake it for "Regret," my second favorite New Order song, because of the line "and now that I've actually heard it/you're going to regret." As I became bound and determined to use it, I decided to do my usual research on it.

Point of reference to the FBI, Edwardsburg police, and SMC Human Resources department, I now realize I was naive to do a Google Search on "Age of Consent" without also including New Order. I really don't need to know the age of consent in Michigan, Indiana, or Kuwait. Boy, was that a moment of "quick, get out and re-search"?

Still I sit here and wonder, why the heck is the song called "Age of Consent?" Is it buried in the lines "you're not the kind that needs to tell me about the birds and the bees"?  Inference: Singer, Bernard Sumner, is experienced enough not to have someone tell him about sex. So he is not the one with questionable age. Uh, not real comfortable with that in light of the title. Beyond that, I am not sure where to look.

Even with a properly defined Google search, this is some strange territory. One site "Age of Consent New Order Songfacts" (not the relatively benign "songfacts") has randomly strung-together statements, almost certainly created by Artificial Intelligence, on a main page, while a ribbon of links has headings such as "Elder High School Soccer." Don't worry my friendly HR department, I am not clicking on that.

There really isn't much readily available information about the song. Whatever I can find highlights the musical talents of New Order, never missing the lovely bass, the scratchy guitar (as the song winds down) and the uplifting synthesizer lines. As opposed to other songs, Sumner does not sound like Artificial Intelligence, so it's nice to know the robot here is limited to the machine trying to decipher the lyrics, having no more luck than I do.

If nothing else, choosing "Age of Consent" has reminded me to choose "safe" songs if I need to research.  Maybe I will work on "Like A Virgin" next. That can't possibly go bad.

"Age Of Consent." Power, Corruption, And Lies. New Order. Factory. 1983. Link here.

Day 56: The Dream Academy "Life In A Northern Town."

Day 58: Simon & Garfunkel "Scarborough Fair."

See complete list here.