Joy Division: Classic Or Dud?

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
Inspired, of course, by Sundar's post about them on NYLPM.

So, answer the bloody question already: is Ian Curtis an overbearing tuneless twat head that needed to be drowned out by higher guitars, or are Joy Division perfection incarnate?

Myself, I can't help but agree with the NYLPM post's assesment that if you believe anything other than Joy Division are classic as is, then you are just plain Wrong.

Ally, Wednesday, 4 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Hm, let's see, I have this _Heart and Soul_ box set for a *reason,* I think. I distinctly remember forcing a friend to drive me to my fave record store to pick up the one remaining copy, at that.

Gods. As most everyone else did, I'd bet, I came to them through New Order, but thankfully my timing was such that 1) _Substance_ (the JD one) had just come out around the time I got my first CD player and 2) I had learned about the JD/NO connection around that time as well through a quite good article on both of them in _Musician_ in 1988, of all places. So while Ian's voice and the early sound threw me a bit (I mean, you listen to _Brotherhood_ or the NO _Substance_ and then you hear "Warsaw" and it's like, "Huh?"), it didn't take long for me to be quietly enthralled. The rest followed naturally. I still am really * really* jealous of a friend who got to see them in the UK in 1979 on a visit. Lucky bastard.

"Transmission" in particular -- man. That song is a cold blue laser light of power, and I can't put it any other way, really.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 4 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Classic, silly.

, Wednesday, 4 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Until recently, I would have called them classis solely on the strength of the cassette version of their _Substance_ tape. Having heard the _Heart And Soul_ box set, I'm glad I guessed correctly.

CLASSIC CLASSIC CLASSIC. In every imaginable sense of the word. (Although, I will argue that many of the songs are so brilliant in and of themselves that they can be interpreted in alomst any manner imaginable and still be fantastic.)

Dan Perry, Wednesday, 4 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I think we should change the question to "Joy Division: Is There Anyone Here Who Doesn't Like Them?". That should get things over and done with a bit quicker.

DG, Wednesday, 4 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

GODDAMNIT, isn't there anyone here who hates Joy Division? I'm really irritated now. I wanted to see someone who hated them.

Wait, I think Tom thinks Joy Division are crap but for a handful of songs. Or maybe that's Fred. Or maybe I made this person up.

Ally, Thursday, 5 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Didn't Kris say he could never get into JD because of Ian Curtis' voice? He doesn't have a rock voice. But Joy Division were hardly rock, they were disco-rock, post-disco, post-rock, what have you. I have trouble understanding why anyone wouldn't wanna rock, but Joy Division help me to. I've never completely gotten into JD either, but in this case all that means is I haven't exhausted the music's worth yet.

Otis Wheeler, Thursday, 5 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Classic! "Unknown pleasures" is, along with Cure's "Pornography", my favourite "dark" album... They started morphing into something different after (they became more like New Order which were their next incarnation)

Simone, Thursday, 5 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Joy Division with Ian Curtis -- Tuneless crap. For "minimalist" tunes, there was maximal hand-wringing "kill me now" wanking. Since nobody took Curtis seriously, he just went ahead and killed himself. Joy Division without Ian Curtis -- New Order. Back when they had no vocals in their songs at least they couldn't be tuneless. Then they decided that people should "dance", this from the folks who thought Curtis' onstage seizures constituted good dance form. From DUD to DIE FUCKING DIE YOU FUCKING FUCKING DUD.

Tanya, Thursday, 5 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I disliked and/or ignored them at the time - probably because they sounded too dull and English but I've come to like them a little more these days. As per the many other posts above - Transmission is amazingly good.

philT, Thursday, 5 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Used to hate them. Too gloomy, the cult of Ian, etc. Recently I've become more forgiving, tried to view them in a other way than that 78- 80 depression, we wear black worldview (what a shame Michael Mann didn't use the orginals in 'Heat' instead of letting that arse Moby cover 'New Day Fades'.) And so I finally got 'Closer' and it is very good. I will never really love them, like so many of you do, but there's something in the music. And Transmission is indeed brilliant.

Omar, Thursday, 5 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Sure they were rock and so was Curtis' voice. I used to hate them 'cause of this obnoxious fan I knew who used to boast of how many times he had attempted suicide. But I was wrong. Classic.

Patrick, Thursday, 5 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

oh yeah, i hate them except for "atmosphere" which gets by largely on that. actually it's the combination of the lyrics and voice smacked against that serene, warm track, best part: "people like you think it's easy..."

but that's the only joy division track i need and i've listened to a lot. they mostly strike me as plodding and entirely uninteresting, largely due to curtis's monotone. i've never "connected" with them, so here's the question: is there anyone here who rates them classic and doesn't relate to the lyrics? or who gets by on them for purely musical reason, i.e. melody and backing music?

fred solinger, Thursday, 5 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Yeah, Fred, me ;)

I'm normally a big one for lyrics but I think Ian Curtis' were pretty dire - all that Ballard-rip-off stuff and the existential pomp of it all. Salvaged a bit by his voice, which I do like a lot. I don't even think "Atmosphere" has good lyrics. "Love Will Tear Us Apart" has BRILLIANT lyrics which from an artistic p.o.v. is the saddest thing about his death - that it seems like a breakthrough in terms of writing humane but unflinching stuff about relationships. But lyrically, generally, dud.

But the music! Bloody hell - the drive and claustrophobia and dynamics and Martin Hannett's's extraordinary. A lot of it is Hannett and I think it's a shame that AFAIK I'm the first person to mention him in this thread. But that band could motor - "Dead Souls", for example, where the lyrics are pretty much irrelevant next to the huge concrete smack of the music. No, for the music, classic.

Tom, Thursday, 5 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Yeah, Fred. Me. I think Joy Division's lyrics are, by and large, awful. In fact, reading the lyrics years ago, I thought they were, by- and-large, just so average moaning that I never bothered to actually figure out when Ian Curtis was saying any of it. Their lyrics are what I'd describe NOW in my old age as "Radioheadesque", which, if you know me, is not a compliment. I cannot sing along with any Joy Division song besides New Dawn Fades and Love Will Tear Us Apart. ANY of them.

I love the sound. I love the feel. I love the way Ian Curtis sings. Simple as that. I don't understand how you can love Atmosphere for its atmosphere but dislike the rest of their songs, which have similar-if-not-better atmosphere.

Ally, Thursday, 5 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Damnit, Tom. GET OUT OF MY HEAD!!!

Ally, Thursday, 5 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I'll second that Martin Hannett thought. Joy Division had a sound like no other due in no small part to MH. And those 'lectronic drums were sweet.

Steven James, Thursday, 5 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

"atmosphere," i find, is different from most of their other songs in that the arrangement is spacious and not constricting. and it's one of the few tunes of theirs that i'd call "beautiful" and the juxtaposition of the track and curtis, who adds a somber touch if you're paying attention to the lyrics or not, is striking. "the eternal" would be good if it weren't so long.

actually, it seems the qualities i admire in "atmosphere" share similarities with the qualities of the earlier cure tracks that i like, e.g. "all cats are grey," "faith," and "the same deep water as you." all have warm, heavy basslines and occasional shimmering keyboards and thudding drums, beautiful instrumentation clashing with the morosity of the lyrics and singer. make of that what you will!

fred solinger, Thursday, 5 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Ally & Tom...separated at birth?

Perhaps they were conjoined twins, and after the operation everyone involved decided it would be best if one of the little tots were shipped across the ocean, so everyone could get on with their lives and forget about the trauma of the birth. ;-)

Oh, and Joy Division? Classic. But Tanya has had the audacity to steal my Ian Curtis joke from Duel, so she had better watch her step in the future. If I see her, I will be forced to kick her ass and steal her boyfriend.

Nicole, Thursday, 5 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Count me in among those who prefer Joy Division's music to their words. Not the melodies, 'cause there aren't many, but the sound, feel and atmosphere. Though the words do match the lyrics pretty well - the way the obsessively repeated line "I put my trust in you" in "A Means To An End" matches the inexorability of the beat is a good example.

Patrick, Thursday, 5 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I've actually heard maybe three or four Joy Division songs in my entire life. Classic: the basslines. Dead: Ian Curtis.

E. B. Krayzay, Thursday, 5 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

i made no mention of lyrics in my review for a reason, mainly that i still don't know most of the words to "glass" or "digital" aside from the obvious repeated phrases. (i'm actually not sure that there is more to those lyrics than a few repeated phrases.) if i made a personal cult around much of curtis's 'poetry' in my late teens, the most that can be said for that now, literary-wise, is that it led me onto gogol, dostoevsky, and the romantics. _closer_ is my least favourite of their releases now, in large part because the overblown cliche-ridden lyrics dominate the music (not even so much because the voice is prominent but also because of the lyrical style) more than on the others. i still have time for the lyrics to "isolation" and "colony" and most of their other lyrics, especially on _unknown pleasures_ and the other records as well as the one patrick mentioned, sound all right with the music. ian curtis could throw off a great line here and there and he had the voice to justify some of his apocalyptic pronouncements. i still don't know what "31G" is a reference to. all this to say, me too, now anyway.

kris: you might prefer the earlier joy division where curtis used a more expressive vocal style.

sundar subramanian, Friday, 6 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

haven't listened to it properly for some time - but is the MUSIC on closer gloomy: gentle and silky and whatever, but gloomy?

IC is gloomy: the band (by then) are anything but gloomy

this only applies to closer and maybe (from memory) "atmosphere" — and of course the jangly OMD-tribute "love will tear us apart", a hugely overrated release that would have been immeasurably improved if Dan Perry had supplied lyrics (cf sexual healing classic or dud)

to me, curtis and the others were growing apart anyway (they were outgrowing HIM — this being an unspoken element in the whatever surrounding his death)

when it first came out, Kumar, percussionist in the band I then played guitar in, who was JD-besotted, explained that it was a great title because it meant two things, depending on how you pronounced it:

closer soft s: i.e. the last LP they would make now Curtis was gone

closer hard s: i.e. closer to what the record they meant to make all along

mark s, Friday, 6 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I gotta say I love the words to "Novelty", especially if they're directed at Ian himself : "can't stand on your own in these times against all the odds/you'll just fall behind like all the other sods"

I saw this new vinyl record yesterday called Warsaw, which would seem to be all early JD recordings. Has anyone heard this ? Is it a for- fanatics-only kind of deal ? I like the early songs on Substance a lot.

Patrick, Friday, 6 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

The 'Warsaw' recordings are an endlessly bootlegged series of early demos for RCA records. Some of them showed up on the box set. Nice but not essential -- if it's a cheap boot, go for it.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 6 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I bought a vinyl copy of Warsaw yesterday, actually. The sound quality is kinda lacking at times (some skips and pops from other vinyl versions they mastered this one from). It's different takes, anyway, than the Substance versions, so it's worth getting if you're worried about a repeat factor. It's also more electronic than I thought it would be, which has me wondering about how much is over- credited to Hannett with regards to their sound. Although, two separate versions of "Transmission" is a little excessive...

Vic Funk, Friday, 6 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

tom: hannett was an innovator who shaped the sound of jd records. but listening to the _preston 1980_ live album and to tapes of the 1980 eindhoven and amsterdam gigs one hears an intense powerful band. one different from the recorded sound in some ways but great all the same. more forceful and violent in some ways.

ned: i actually got into no via jd. as a rocker, i hated no growing up. i was introduced to jd by a fan of emo and post-rock. i'd been curious for a while because of all the awestruck rock criticism, which often made strange comparisons to the velvet underground, whom i liked. once i heard _closer_ i listened to nothing else for a week. after i got all the jd records i bought the first few no records.

sundar subramanian, Saturday, 7 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Found JD from NIN's cover of Dead Souls off The Crow sndtrk. Back-asswards, non?

Heard the live version of Transmission off Still where the instrumentation starts to fall off and all you hear is Curtis SCREAMING...


Damn near gave me nightmares. Classic.

JM, Saturday, 7 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Joining this one late, I haven't much to add, except of course - CLASSIC! I have lived with JD's music for 20 years and it's still special. Side 2 of "Closer" still takes me to places no other music can. Hannett's genius was a major part of the story too.

I saw them live 4 times in 1979/80, and the Preston gig album kinda sums it up - you never knew if they were going to be either awful and beset with equipment problems or overwhelmingly great. Frequently they would veer from one extreme to the other, and it was always touch and go whether Ian would make it through the set. I still think this is how live music should be though - LIVE!

There will be more live album releases, but I hope not too many. I've heard rumours of cleaned-up radio broadcasts of the Paris and Amsterdam shows, which have been available as bootlegs for ages. I hope one or both is released, and then let's leave it at that.

Dr. C, Monday, 9 April 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

one month passes...
I've been playing Les Bains Douches on and off for a week now, and it's BRUTAL. The Unknown Pleasures material is incredible - Barney's guitar on "Shadowplay" and "Day of the Lords" sounds like an industrial chainsaw slicing a car in half. They're obviously still trying to feel their way through a couple of the Closer tracks so they don't pack the same punch, except for "Atrocity Exhibition". I've never thought much of AE in its album form, but this version really works, with Steve Morris's Jaki-L groove really pushing hard.

If anyone was wondering how good JD could be live, then get this and don't bother with the live half of 'Still'/'Preston'/disc 4 of 'Heart and Soul'.

Dr. C, Thursday, 24 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Just bought said live LP on your recommendation Dr.C, and it is indeed fucking brilliant !

Alasdair, Saturday, 26 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I see in some countries, Canada being one, they're printing pictures of lung tumours and rotting tongues on cigarette packets along with the usual warnings. Why don't they include a mini-CD with Ian Curtis' voice on it as well?

tarden, Saturday, 26 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I wish I could say I didn't like them , but I can't . Infact I just covered the enitre Closer album two week s ago and recorded it.

Mike Hanley, Saturday, 26 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

A few observations about Joy Division:

1)The mawkish, morbid 'Cult of Ian' that emerged following his suicide ('he died for you') was more than a Cobain-like outburst of fan mourning. It was openly encouraged by Factory eg the cover of 'Closer', the Anton Corbijn video for 'Atmosphere' (which even Rob Gretton found dubious), and 'Anthony' Wilson's attempts to position Curits alongside the likes of Hendrix and Jones in the pantheon of dead rock geniuses. All highly questionable ("the flogging of a corpse" Paul Morley).

2) The band flirted with neo-fascism, in style if not substance; 'you all forget Rudolf Hess', the choice of name (and then New Order). Curtis, a complex figure, was very right-wing and, according to his widow, possibly racist. In that light the despair of his lyrics, and longing for 'purity' can emerge in a very different, and sometimes sinister light.

3)They were sonic visionaries however. Sumner listened to Chic, Curtis Kraftwerk and Krautrock. Hooks low-bass rumblings allied to Morris's astonishing drumming created a sound that will endure. They shone like diamonds. As a 16 year old I heard 'Love will tear us apart' on the radio and within weeks had left for Manchester by train with my savings to buy as many Joy Division records I could find/afford. They were a life-changing force and I will always revere them.

Stevo, Sunday, 27 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

They sell Joy Division outside of Manchester, you know.

Ally, Tuesday, 29 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

LOL. I lived near Manchester, and there were little or no Joy Division records in my home town.

Stevo, Wednesday, 30 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Thats bullshit, Joy Division aren't fascist. You jump to conclusions.

Mike Hanley, Wednesday, 30 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

It's true that Factory's distribution was terrible - it's well known that Joy Div and possibly others would have got higher chart placings if only Factory could have got records in the shops.

Mike - sadly, Stevo is correct - it's not possible to ignore the fact that JD used fascist imagery. Look at the cover of the Ideal for Living EP, the content of No Love Lost, Leaders of Men, They Walked in Line...

Maybe you can USE fascist imagery without BEING a fascist. I'd say they were pretty thoughtless, young and stupid, that's all.

Dr. C, Wednesday, 30 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I agree that they used fascist IMAGERY. But for years they have been dealing with this PR nightmare; they are anti-fascism! They used the imagery to set the mood, not to promote opression. THe Rudolph Hess comment was explained by barney as being not a cry for Hess' freedom, but rather asking poeple to think about him, alon e in a cell for years. I meanm to call them fascist is to say black people are racist for callin g each other "nigga".

Mike Hanley, Wednesday, 30 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

For a more detailed explanation ...

This thread pop up on Usenet every now and then, and to give you the answer first: NO!!! This thread, however, did not start on Usenet or Internet. It started in the british music press more than 15 years ago, and since Joy Division gave very few interviews the rumours were allowed to grow in the press. Here's a few points to clear up things: > The version of "At a later date" that appear on the "Short Circuit" compilation opens with Bernard shouting "You all forgot Rudolf Hess!". At that time Rudolf Hess, 83 years old, had been imprisoned at the Spandau prison in East Berlin for more than 30 years. You don't have to be a nazi to feel sympathy for a sick old man that was heavily guarded by some 100 KGB soldiers. > According to Fernando Lopez-de-Victoria: Bernard (and perhaps Ian in some obscure interview) has noted that they like the regalia and art (?) of the Nazi's, but in no way liked their philosophy. This can be seen in some of their artwork, for example: > Bernard made the design for "An Ideal For Living", it included a drawing of a Hitler-jugend-look-alike drummer boy. But on the same fold-out sleeve there's a famous picture from the Warsaw ghetto during 2WW: A young Jewish boy standing with his hands up in the air being guarded by a nazi storm-trooper. Now, is that good nazi propaganda ? > The name Joy Division was associated with nazism, journalists didn't like it (the same thing happened with New Order). As you can read somewhere else in this FAQ "Joy Division" really has a connection to nazism: It was chosen from a book that describes the horrors in a nazi camp during 2WW, not the prosperous future... "Through the wire-screen the eyes, of those standing outside, looked in at her, as into the cage of some rare creature in a zoo. In the hand of one of the assistants she saw the same instrument which they had, that morning, inserted deep into her body. She shuddered instinctively. No life at all in the House of Dolls. No love lost."

This verse from Cetinsky's "The House Of Dolls" was included on the version of "No love lost" from recording session (2).

The weird thing is that many other punk-bands used much more direct nazi symbolism in their relation with the press, and still got away with it!! Though the press never got to interview Joy Division about this topic they could have checked Joy Division's lyrics. If they had they wouldn't have found a shred of nazi propaganda, on the contrary! Take for example "They walked in line": "All dressed in uniforms so fine, they drank and killed to pass the time. Wearing the shame of all their crimes, with measured steps, they walked in line

They carried pictures of their wives and number tags to prove their lives, and made it through the whole machine with dirty hearts and hands washed clean."

And, to really tear down the nazi rumour: Joy Division have participated in a Rock Against Racism benefit concert (at Kelly's in Manchester 12 October 1978) and an Amnesty International benefit concert (at Eric's in Liverpool 3 May 1979). To summarize: I can't find any evidence that JD has shown any sympathy with fascism/nazism, only the contrary. ++++++

Mike Hanley, Wednesday, 30 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

BTW that is from an wepage here

so as not to plagarise.

Mike Hanley, Wednesday, 30 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

Dr. C -- "Maybe you can USE fascist imagery without BEING a fascist."

Sure you can.

JM, Wednesday, 30 May 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

I wonder how this debate compares with reactions to Laibach's use of militaristic/authoritarian imagery and sounds? Was it just a giant piss-take on Yugoslavia's relationship to its WW2 past and related taboos, or was there something else going on?

Stevo, Friday, 1 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

"The version of "At a later date" that appear on the "Short Circuit" compilation opens with Bernard shouting "You all forgot Rudolf Hess!". At that time Rudolf Hess, 83 years old, had been imprisoned at the Spandau prison in East Berlin for more than 30 years. You don't have to be a nazi to feel sympathy for a sick old man that was heavily guarded by some 100 KGB soldiers."

i always found this argument dubious. given the number of oppressed political prisoners in the world, why feel special sympathy for a nazi? ic might have made the statement to mean "you all forgot what rudolf hess did as a nazi" or something though.

sundar subramanian, Saturday, 2 June 2001 00:00 (nineteen years ago) link

three weeks pass...
I'm really getting into listening to Les Bains Douches right now. 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' is brilliant on it - the mad, spiraling synths, the clanging percussion, and, of course, the urgent, off-the-cuff feel of the guitar playing. I like how Ian Curtis sings it fast. The intro on 'Transmission' is also fantastic.

The funny thing about the liner notes is that the kids next door have formed a ska punk band. They sound awful, but I think they're using a riff from a JD song in one of their songs.

youn, Friday, 29 June 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

eleven months pass...
I can't believe you're asking such a question. Had Ian lived, JD would have become one of the most celebrated indie acts around (like New Order) and in a way, did become that years later. You don't have to be a goth or a whining moron to relate with Curtis' lyrics. Ian wrote about the problems we all face and the troubles we have in our lives. I am deeply insulted by the fact that 'twat-head' was used in the same breath as IC's name!!!

Tom Sanderson, Wednesday, 26 June 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

one of the most celebrated indie acts around

Damning with faint praise here, I think.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 26 June 2002 00:00 (seventeen years ago) link

ten months pass...
Last night I was listening to Permanent, not a very adequate collection, but the only Joy Division I have on CD. I wanted to say something but I'm not sure what exactly. I would not want to argue with anyone who couldn't enjoy this music because of Ian Curtis's singing. Possibly it would be hard for me to get past it now if I were hearing this music for the first time. But I still find some of these songs to be very powerful. The overall sound of the band is remarkable, though I'll be damned if I can put my finger on what it is in there sound that I like so much (and that sets them apart from other, somewhat similar-sounding, post-punk). I think I am personally mostly finished with this music. I listened to it very frequently, maybe excessively, for two or three years, and the experience of listening to it now is almost as much about remembering listening to it as it is about the sounds presently coming out of my speakers. I've been in such gloomy psychological places at times, and I just don't feel much attraction to the unrelenting gloom of many of these tracks. Some great music, though overly narrow emotionally. Still, when all the weighing out of strengths and weaknesses is finished, there's something there that I can't deny.

I am attached to the idea of Unknown Pleasures and Closer being albums, so the thought of having their tracks simply included on a set like Hear & Soul doesn't quite do it for me.

Rockist Scientist, Tuesday, 6 May 2003 14:26 (seventeen years ago) link

The thing that's good about Heart & Soul is that it keeps the track listing of the albums intact.

Aaron W (Aaron W), Tuesday, 6 May 2003 14:51 (seventeen years ago) link

Does it? I like that idea. I didn't feel like actually checking the box set track listing against the two albums.

Rockist Scientist, Tuesday, 6 May 2003 14:55 (seventeen years ago) link

Oh man, same. NIN was definitely a stepping stone for me and others in my circle growing up.

circa1916, Sunday, 14 January 2018 05:39 (two years ago) link

In 1987 my older sister's friend left a dubbed-from-vinyl tape copy of Still in my sister's room (sister later told me she played it for approximately 2 minutes and was like "ugh, no") so I borrowed it for a few hours and dubbed myself a copy. Her friend found out I had done this and was livid, since I was a grubby Cure fan and not worthy of access to such a rarity. She wouldn't tell me what the song titles were! Months later she relented and showed me the vinyl when we were hanging out at her house after school. I remember being very impressed with how heavy it was. And writing down the track listing on a scrap of paper.

erry red flag (f. hazel), Sunday, 14 January 2018 18:23 (two years ago) link

my JD origin story is that in the midst of a period in high school where my favorite bands were dave matthews band and ben folds five, i somehow ran across a magazine that talked about how joy division were legendary and awesome. so before my shift at long john silvers i stopped by the cd store to pick up Closer (all of this feels like several lifetimes ago). i remember being taken aback by curtis' voice - i had never heard anything like that in music, to that point, and i didn't find it bad so much as just confusing. i made the mistake of consulting with my closest friend who was into music - a britpop guy who would drive an hour and a half to the hometown of Rush Limbaugh and buy imported copies of Q. i asked him if he thought joy division was good. he looked confused for a second, himself, then said that they were awful. i moved on to listening to manic street preachers and kind of forgot about JD til i picked them back up in college with more experienced ears and thought they were amazing. it turns out that the JD-hating britpop friend was a real, actual pathological liar, the only one i've ever met. there was an early 2000s band called The Cansecos, and one night he claimed that it was made up of baseball's Jose and Ozzie Canseco. he refused to back down on this claim. he also said that he helped to produce Oasis' Standing on the Shoulder [sic] of Giants, and refused to back down on that either. not in a funny way, but in a very frightening way, week after week, even after getting into real fights about the obvious lie and losing friends over it. anyway, given the initial look of befuddlement when i asked him about joy division, i'm pretty sure he had never heard a note by them and couldn't remember if Q were fans or not, either.

Karl Malone, Sunday, 14 January 2018 18:33 (two years ago) link

lol those are amazing lies!

new noise, Sunday, 14 January 2018 18:49 (two years ago) link

A bit like the dude I met that insisted that Nick Lowe was the bass player for Mott the Hoople. In a broad Yorkshire accent.

Mark G, Sunday, 14 January 2018 20:10 (two years ago) link

I don't think he was a liar as such, I think he was beamed down from an alternative universe.

Mark G, Sunday, 14 January 2018 20:12 (two years ago) link

My first exposure to Joy Division was Paul Young's cover of Love Will Tear Us Apart, I must confess that as an 11 year old I loved it.

nate woolls, Monday, 15 January 2018 10:15 (two years ago) link

i think the first time i consciously heard a joy div song was the cover of "love will tear us apart" by swans in the early nineties which i still find better than the original.

Ich bin kein Berliner (alex in mainhattan), Monday, 15 January 2018 12:43 (two years ago) link

My first exposure to Joy Division was Paul Young's cover of Love Will Tear Us Apart, I must confess that as an 11 year old I loved it.

Same here (though I was 12) - I still have the 7"! This was 1984, next I bought Substance when it came out and only then came the albums proper.

willem, Monday, 15 January 2018 12:57 (two years ago) link

I can't recall when exactly I heard JD for the first time but I distinctly remember the afternoon where my 13 y.o. self discovered that two of his very favorite bands, JD and NO, were connected. I carefully looked at both of my 'Substance' CDs dumbstruck, mouth agape.

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Monday, 15 January 2018 14:17 (two years ago) link

eight months pass...

I love them so much

Trϵϵship, Sunday, 23 September 2018 00:30 (one year ago) link

three months pass...

This is great! I'm in a Macclesfield group on Facebook, and someone put up a picture of his dad's work Christmas drinks from the 70s. He worked at Macclesfield Unemployment Office and Ian Curtis from Joy Division is one of the colleagues.

— Geoff Lloyd (@GeoffLloyd) December 25, 2018

ogmor, Tuesday, 25 December 2018 22:03 (one year ago) link


Spirit of the Voice of the Beehive (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 25 December 2018 22:09 (one year ago) link

just slightly popular with the ladies there

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Wednesday, 26 December 2018 06:50 (one year ago) link

pic is exuding powerful 1970s sitcom energy

umsworth (emsworth), Wednesday, 26 December 2018 08:39 (one year ago) link

it is extremely weird to see ian curtis as an actual human being and not a monochrome martyr

H00kup with Jaundice Singles!! (bizarro gazzara), Wednesday, 26 December 2018 10:32 (one year ago) link

and there's more!

More from that same event.

— Jake Rudh (@JakeRudh) December 25, 2018

H00kup with Jaundice Singles!! (bizarro gazzara), Wednesday, 26 December 2018 10:33 (one year ago) link


Totally different head. Totally. (Austin), Wednesday, 26 December 2018 16:07 (one year ago) link

four months pass...

hey. my friend Nate the K interviewed Jon Savage on WFMU to promote his (Savage's) new oral history of Joy Division and he invited me on to talk and play some "rarities". You can listen here:

dan selzer, Wednesday, 15 May 2019 13:52 (one year ago) link

Was just going to post about that, nice set! I meant to jot down the name of a power pop group you mentioned who changed their sound after hearing JD but it slipped my mind. Could you repeat that (I know I could pull up the archived stream but...)?

Anyone read the Savage book?

early rejecter, Wednesday, 15 May 2019 17:02 (one year ago) link

Just finished it, was an enjoyable breeze, but no big revelations really apart from a pic of this crazy note that IC made out to Gretton some time in March/April 1980 after the completion of Closer.

"Judged purely on my own terms, and not to be interpreted as an opinion on reflection of mass media or public taste, but a criticism of my own esoteric, elitist mind of which the mysteries of life are very few and beside which the grace of God has deemed to indicate in a vision the true nature of all things, plus the fact that everyone else are a sneaky taping load of tossers, decree that this LP is a disaster, Ian Curtis"

MaresNest, Wednesday, 15 May 2019 17:11 (one year ago) link

I was referring to Disco the first few songs and the singles (first songs on the Drums Over London compilation) to the unreleased live stuff later on the album.

Not the best example, but, see also The Lines, compare White Night (melancholy power-pop )to On the Air through Cool Snap (angular post-punk) to Nerve Pylon/Transit and the material on the two LPs which are much more atmospherically produced.

Also compare The Outsiders to the Sound.

Also bigger bands, like The Cure definitely. U2. Simple Minds. Simple Minds is a bit of a different thing as they went from straight punk to a totally Roxy Music by way of Magazine thing, then got the Joy Division and Kraftwerk bug around the same time, then mixed it all up in their own way for a while till they lost their bass player and their plot.

dan selzer, Wednesday, 15 May 2019 19:10 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

I just finished Savage's book myself and honestly I think it hit me harder than I would have expected beforehand. It really has a feeling of a final accounting, now that so many principals beyond the surviving members are gone (Wilson, Hannett, Gretton -- besides New Order past/present, only Alan Erasmus and Peter Saville remain from the original Factory core, and Erasmus just ain't talking). Even though Sumner/Hook/Morris's thoughts are from the mid-2000s documentary interviews it's almost like, what more can they say? Deborah Curtis as well, and Annik Honore is also now gone. The crushing regret and sadness everyone has over what they did and didn't do vis-a-vis helping Ian is huge -- there's a lot of recognition, especially from his bandmates, about how they were just too young to really see or understand what was going on, how their upbringing had shaped and socialized them to react in different ways. And I think the observation that crops up a lot about how Ian was a people-pleaser in the end, in combination with his epilepsy, the prescriptions he's not my place to speculate in the end, really, but you sense how, not that it HAD to end for him as it did, but that you sense, however through a glass darkly, why it could be so. It's very unsettling in the end, I'm glad it exists, but there's something ultimately terrifying here that that makes the music that remains so crushingly sad -- in a way that I don't know if I will ever feel as strongly about re other groups or musicians who have faced similar. And that's not to discount what happened to them at all, just that maybe I'm still too shaped by the inevitable mythmaking I experienced at a young age (first learned about Curtis in early 1988, when I was still 16 and had never heard a note) that even the three times as old me feels ill at ease.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 24 June 2019 18:36 (eleven months ago) link

ten months pass...

40th anniversary of the death of the singer of the band that went on to be Kajagoogoo.

clemenza, Monday, 18 May 2020 16:05 (two weeks ago) link

hmm, band name Wussy, old grey beard, immediate NO from me dog.

brotherlovesdub, Monday, 18 May 2020 16:36 (two weeks ago) link

Ok, i lied, just clicked around to see if I was missing something and this is just total garbage. Are we just posting garbage covers of Joy Division on death anniversary day?

brotherlovesdub, Monday, 18 May 2020 16:37 (two weeks ago) link

I love Wussy--lots of people do--and like that cover.

clemenza, Monday, 18 May 2020 16:40 (two weeks ago) link

yeah, the band is certainly respected and fairly well known, never got into them myself but lots of folks I know dig them

sleeve, Monday, 18 May 2020 16:46 (two weeks ago) link

I switched to this clip so I could hear what they were doing but, yeah, nice cover:

Feel a million filaments (Sund4r), Monday, 18 May 2020 16:49 (two weeks ago) link

xp the flip of the Russ Abbott cover is of course also on youtube and I think I like it even more

thomasintrouble, Monday, 18 May 2020 16:52 (two weeks ago) link

So This Is Permanent will be broadcast across the Joy Division YouTube channel and both Joy Division and The Light’s Facebook pages, remaining online for 24 hours. Hook was set to perform “Joy Division 40: A Celebration” this month, but the coronavirus pandemic forced the postponement of those plans.

(that's all 49 JD songs played live on the 35th anniversary)

koogs, Monday, 18 May 2020 16:54 (two weeks ago) link


yeah the video works a little better but not so sure about the music

come out you melts and bams (Noodle Vague), Monday, 18 May 2020 16:55 (two weeks ago) link

Thanks, NV, that's a lot better--the sound's not great on the other one. I don't doubt for a second that they're doing the song with all due reverence.

clemenza, Monday, 18 May 2020 16:59 (two weeks ago) link

The gig has just popped up on the YT channel, set-list is almost 3 hours long, they open with At A Later Date, looks like they're playing *every* recorded JD song, gotta admit Hooky's adherence to completism.

Maresn3st, Monday, 18 May 2020 17:24 (two weeks ago) link

Are we just posting garbage covers of Joy Division on death anniversary day?

well now we are

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Monday, 18 May 2020 19:51 (two weeks ago) link

jk i love that cover and think it rules

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Monday, 18 May 2020 19:56 (two weeks ago) link

Kinda crazy he was only 23.

Is Lou Reed a Good Singer? (Tom D.), Monday, 18 May 2020 20:04 (two weeks ago) link

the only joy divsion/new order cover far as I'm concerned

dan selzer, Monday, 18 May 2020 20:04 (two weeks ago) link

I'll also rep for:

sleeve, Monday, 18 May 2020 20:07 (two weeks ago) link

What about?

chr1sb3singer, Monday, 18 May 2020 20:20 (two weeks ago) link

chr1sb3singer, Monday, 18 May 2020 20:21 (two weeks ago) link

Will stan for Low’s cover of Transmission.

that's not my post, Monday, 18 May 2020 22:45 (two weeks ago) link

I've always been partial to this one...

Loud guitars shit all over "Bette Davis Eyes" (NYCNative), Monday, 18 May 2020 22:53 (two weeks ago) link

Kinda crazy he was only 23.

I'm a passive JD fan -- I like them fine, they didn't change my life, I never listen to them on purpose but when i do hear them I think "yes, they were onto something' -- but it's this that makes me sad for them in complicated ways. there is a sense in which I feel that their legacy -- the shadow it casts -- diminishes the loss of a 23-year-old fellow from a working class family whose lyrics touched greatness, a young father without a sense for how to deal with the strains of life & how to live it. that was a person, not a giant; that was a kid, not a visionary. this perspective, for me, enriches the work, when i hear it.

My thread was more well-intentioned than well-intended.
And all this time seems to have made every link/video a blank.
But I did this: Best Metal Joy Division Cover

Loud guitars shit all over "Bette Davis Eyes" (NYCNative), Monday, 18 May 2020 22:55 (two weeks ago) link

The photos from his works do up-thread are so great.

Maresn3st, Monday, 18 May 2020 22:57 (two weeks ago) link

A couple of Toronto-specific posts have shown up on my FB wall the past few days, about how they were scheduled to play here May 25 at the Edge. (One of the FB comments: "That was my bartender shift. It changed everything.")

Not sure how readable that is. That would've been when I went to club shows constantly--positive I was at the June 9 Cramps show, but I doubt I'd even heard of Joy Division yet.

clemenza, Monday, 25 May 2020 19:33 (one week ago) link

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.