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Joy Division

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 About Joy Division

For your next party, try Joy Division! Ian Curtis, their lead singer, may have hung himself at age 22 after only two albums, but the legend lives on from Manchester on down to the Goth scene inspired by Sisters Of Mercy. This is bleak territory, brilliantly emphasized by Factory Records' minimalist art and Martin Hannett's paranoiac productions. Curtis sings lyrics of unrelieved alienation and impending doom without humor or objectivity. His is a world of obsessive-compulsive self-loathing and adolescent angst unable to make the transfer to adult world of responsibility and foresight. He suffered from epilepsy and was known to experience fits while performing which led to his deteriorating mental state.

This claustrophobic view of the world would be nothing without the expert precision of the band, who rewrote the rules of punk rock into a slower, churning ritual where the Velvet Underground once held court. Unknown Pleasures, their debut, after an unsuccessful bid as Warsaw, sports this harsh, mechanized sound that forecasts the emerging digital age. The drums resemble a machine; Peter Hook's basslines carry the melody. For Closer, their second and final album, a slower, gloomier sound emerges. It's apparent the band has become contemptuous of anything resembling rock orthodoxy and are determined to mine a completely original sound.

Curtis hung himself on the eve of their American tour, after listening to the Stooges' Metallic KO and watching Werner Herzog's Stroszek, a lethal combination of modern ennui. The band had their biggest hit with the posthumous single "Love Will Tear Us Apart." The remaining members carried on as New Order, sensing that Joy Division's kamikaze mission had been fulfilled.
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