On Joy Division

I was reading a glowing review of the film “Control” on Salon yesterday.  The film is about the rise and quick fall of Joy Division, the rather dour British band who only recorded two albums in the late 70s but have become an inspiration to countless music groups — one of whom may surprise you (U2 anyone?). 

I’m a New Order fan, but it’s probably way cooler to say that you were into Joy Division back in the day. Why? Well, New Order is more of a dance/pop outfit with some alt flourishes, and for hardcore fans, New Order is probably seen as lacking any kind of street cred. I don’t care, however. I like ’em. 🙂

But there are some Joy Division songs that have become embedded into the post-punk canon that most who are into this music will recognize.  The most popular is “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (Download).  It’s a bit of pop goodness that was released in 1980 after Ian Curtis’ death, and the sound certainly signals a musical direction that New Order rode for the rest of their career.  Who knows what Joy Division would have amounted to if Curtis didn’t kill himself, but if this is any indication, the music New Order is doing isn’t too far off the mark.

My favorite by the band, however,  is the appropriately titled “Atmosphere” (Download) .  The song has such a wonderfully haunting quality with Curtis’ vocals taking us down a road of relationship hell.  I know that Curtis had a troubled marriage so “Atmosphere” could be a reflection of the problems he and his wife were having.

I’m sure my opinion of the band will change after the film makes it to my neck of the woods.  But I gotta say that it’s an odd feeling when bands that were popular in my salad days are now the topic of biopics.  Why I feel unsettled is probably because after being in the shadow of Boomers bragging about how the music of their generation was the best (and me sort of snearing from the sidelines), I have to face the harsh midlife crisis truth that music that was a kind of subcultural secret is, alas, classic rock.

See the movie trailer HERE!

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