Substance was the first widely released New Order compilation. Issued as a 12-track double LP, a 12-, 24- or 28-track double cassette, and a 24-track double CD, the compilation featured original 12" versions and B-sides, with a few exceptions: “Ceremony” is the 1981 re-recorded version with Gillian Gilbert; “Temptation” and “Confusion” are May 1987 re-recordings; and “The Perfect Kiss”, “Subculture”, “Shellshock”, and “Hurt” are edited versions. Additionally, all of the 24- or 28-track editions confuse the song titles “Cries and Whispers” and “Mesh”.
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