"Fine Time" was the lead single and (in my opinion) best song on what I consider to be New Order's last decent album, 1989's Technique. The album came out shortly after I returned from six months in Europe, where I became a big fan of acid house music. I was stunned and happily surprised when I first heard Technique and found that New Order had heavily coopted that sound. What I learned much later (partly through Michael
New Order took a longer-that-usual amount of time to record Technique - almost three years, much to their label's chagrin. By the mid-80s, Factory Records was bleeding money all over the place, but especially through the Hacienda, the Manchester nightclub and music venue jointly financed and built by Factory and New Order. Although popular, the majority of the Hacienda's patrons preferred taking ecstacy and other drugs to buying drinks at the bar. This, coupled with generally low admission prices, led to spiraling debts at the club. These debts were usually covered through revenues from New Order's record sales. By 1987, the Hacienda was costing Factory (or more specifically, New Order) nearly a quarter million dollars a year. So a quick turnaround on a new New Order record was necessary not just for the band, but more importantly for the label in keeping its various enterprises afloat. But New Order would not be rushed, and Factory was in no position to force the issue (especially since the band, not the label, owned all of their music). So all Factory could do was sit and stew as New Order flew back and forth to Ibiza month after month, tinkering with their new sound.
The long wait was justified when Technique was released in January 1989 and became an immediate hit, the band's first UK #1 album and their first non-compilation disc to go gold in the US (the Substance compilation went platinum in 1987), reaching #32 on the US album charts. Two album singles, "Fine Time" and "Round and Round", made the UK Top Twenty, but had even greater success in America, with both songs reaching the top five on the national dance and modern rock charts.
Being a long-time New Order fan, I bought Technique on cassette practically the instant it came out, and played it to death while driving around Virginia that winter. I especially liked "Fine Time", so much so that when I spotted a 12" disc of remixes available at the George Washington University branch of Tower Records that March, I immediately snapped it up. It's such a well-constructed song, that it can withstand the manipulation of several different mixes and still sound fresh and exciting each time.