Well, yes and no. While Retro sports material for the casual fan and diehard collector alike, ultimately it ends up pleasing neither entirely. Each disc was compiled by a different "big-name" New Order fan, and each sports a different theme: British journalist Miranda Sawyer covers the singles (well, most of them) on disc one, fellow Brit scribe John McCready features "fan-favorite" album tracks on disc two, DJ Mike Pickering handles the club cuts and remixes on disc three, and Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie compiles a live disc for the finale.
While the concept is novel enough, it ultimately ends up working against itself. Sure, Sawyer is bright enough to include the original takes of "Temptation" and "Confusion," but no one thought to throw in the sublime "Thieves Like Us." McCready's selection leaves some favorites untouched, while including tracks many had previously considered nothing more than filler. With such a stellar back catalog to harvest, the formatting inevitably leads to someone's favorite being left off, while hardly including enough rarities to make the set a must for collectors.
Complaints aside, though, the material is top-notch. From the minimal thump of the still-mighty "Blue Monday" to the effortless hooks of "Crystal" and all stops in between, New Order has provided more pop thrills and irresistible beats than any other band in the past two decades. Sure, you can't please all the people all the time, but Retro still demands respect for sheer musical quality. It's a testament to the band's greatness that a four-CD boxed set leaves you wanting more.