Monday, 14 November 2016

Nouvel Ordre (New Order Covered, part 1)

Nouvelle Vague released a new album a couple weeks ago. This is good news. I know they might be considered a bit of a novelty but I like them a lot. For the uninitiated, Nouvelle Vague are a French outfit consisting of Marc Collin, Olivier Libaux and various female singers. Their name means 'New Wave' and they've made their name covering classic new wave hits from the 70s and 80s in a bossa nova style ('bossa nova' itself being Portuguese for 'new wave').

Their early work involved singers who had never heard the original songs and being taught them by the band. They released four studio albums between 2004 and 2010 plus an acoustic album. Since then, Libaux put out a Queens Of The Stone Age tribute album of a very similar ilk, but Nouvelle Vague remained inactive for five or six years. Then a couple months ago, they put an EP out featuring two 'new' tracks, including a version of the Cocteau Twins' Athol Brose. The new album might well appeal to some readers; it's called 'I Could Be Happy' and features their take on the title track, originally by a band close to a certain blogging chum's heart.

The first time I heard Nouvelle Vague was while watching Robert Rodriguez's hilarious zombie b-movie Planet Terror. In one scene, Nouvelle Vague's version of Too Drunk To Fuck by the Dead Kennedys was playing. My immediate thought was "This is amazing, what the fuck is it?" My second thought was to Google it. And that's where it started.

Of course, I expect some (all?) of you to know about Nouvelle Vague, but I had planned to do a couple of articles dedicated to covers of New Order songs. It was while I was putting a list together I realised this lot have done a few New Order tunes themselves, and the first song they ever did was Love Will Tear Us Apart. So a post of their own they get. Blue Monday appeared on the second album 'Band á Part', while Confusion was a bonus track on the US edition. This version of Bizarre Love Triangle was recorded live for KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic - in a street, by the sounds of it...


Here's Melanie and Camille from Nouvelle Vague performing Bizarre Love Triangle live:


  1. A great band, I really do love what they do!!!

  2. I find that I go through phases with Nouvelle Vague. I really enjoyed picking up on them and finding much to enjoy about what they were doing to so many great songs from my own golden era. However, after repeated exposure I found it all a bit cloying - almost as if over indulging on them had put me off for life.

    But, when I do return to them after an extended period I find that I like what I'm hearing. Have to add though, that their take on Bizarre Love Triangle, while worthy, is not in the class of the cover by Devine & Statton.

    I have previously checked out the cover of the Altered Images song. Didn't like it all on first's growing on me somewhat but fearing now that the Nouvelle Vogue idea is beginning to run out of steam.

  3. That video of Bizarre Love Triangle has rotted my teeth!

  4. If you take their catalogue and pair it down, there is a rich collection of songs which work in the Bossa Nova interpretation. I have to agree with JC, they may have run their course with this idea.

  5. Hi The Robster - I often visit your excellent blog and haven't commented before but I cannot resist some Nouvelle Vague! I think as has been suggested above you can have too much of a good and bossa nova thing and I would tire of listening to them constantly, but from all their output some of my favourite songs ever are their interpretations and I can't get enough of those. One is their cover of Lords of the New Church's 'Dance With Me' which far excels the original (perhaps not surprisingly?!) If you haven't seen it there's a brilliant vid on youtube where someone has used the dancing scene from the Jean-Luc Godard film Bande A Part and put this track over it - it works perfectly and I love the way it joins those nouvelle vague dots!
    I must check out the new album too, thanks.

    1. Welcome C. Good to add your words of wisdom to the others here. There's not nearly enough female input.