Academic journal article Notes

Joy Division

Academic journal article Notes

Joy Division

Article excerpt

Joy Division. LInktiown Pleasures. Collector's Edition. London/Rhino R2 331260,2007.

In 1979, when the punk rock wave had crested and begun to recede, it suddenly became clear to those left behind that a philosophy of anarchy, nihilism, and rejection does not leave very much in its wake once it has moved on. The obvious question was "What now?," and the answers varied. Joy Division, a quartet from the industrial wastelands of Manchester, England, had come to the party late and released an EP of raw and desperate punk rock before it became clear that the party was over and everyone was leaving. Their next project, the full-length album Unknown Pleasures, reflected a new reality: a grim and dark one, influenced not only by the band's environment but also by its singer's personal demons, which were many. Unknown Pleasures remains a landmark of what would come to be known as the "post-punk" sound, one that retained much of the bitterness and cynicism of British punk rock while both refining and expanding its sonic palette. "Post-punk" quickly became a term so broad as to be nearly meaningless, and Joy Division's particular brand was unusually dark, ruminative, and at times frankly despairing. On Unknown Pleasures there arehints of the Kafkaesqoc themes to come on Closer, the. hand's subsequent album, and more than a few hints of singer Ian Curtis's deepening depression (which would culminate several years later in his suicide). Opening with the almost sprightly though plainly melancholy "Disorder" and ending with the beatless and desolate "I Remember Nothing" (on which the sounds of breaking bottles are juxtaposed with lines like "Violent, more violent, his hand grips the chair"), Vnhuram Pleasures is like a descent from a grey and rainy street down a damp and black staircase into a miserable and poorly-lit basement. …

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