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Ten Reasons Why I Love Joy Division

I have been completely obsessed with post punk and alternative music in general since I entered adolescence, and I have deemed appropriate to praise the invaluable influence of my second favorite band, Joy FUCKING Division, in the birth and development of such genres. So, here it goes.

1. I’m emo and so was Ian Curtis

As a person usually overflown by melancholy and sadness, I completely understand Joy Division’s lead singer and songwriter Ian Curtis. Well, not really cause I don’t have epilepsy (he did, heh). However, I find it very easy to relate to his pain and find his sadness bewildering and worthy of admiration.

2. Ian Curtis’ songwriting is out of this world

Goes with #1. Being such a miserable guy and a terrific poet, Ian Curtis was able to write some of the most inspiring, yet despairing lyrics I’ve ever heard. Songs like Twenty-Four Hours and New Dawn Fades are extremely special and touching to me.  Cause I’m emo and stuff.

3. Control

For those of you unfamiliar with Joy Division, Control is Ian Curtis’ biopic. It was directed by artsy-fartsy Dutch director and photographer Anton Corbijn (of music video directing fame – he directed the Heart-Shaped Box video for Nirvana), and it’s indeed an artsy-fartsy film. It appeals to my hipster inner self. It’s all in black and white, and Samantha Morton’s in it (she plays Deborah Curtis, Ian’s wife). I love Samantha Morton.

4. Goth Rock

Joy Division’s moody and expressive style and aesthetic set the foundations for what later became gothic rock. This was a band that was making heartfelt music with deep, emotional lyrics and haunting, doomy instrumentation. This is what bands like Bauhaus, The Sisters of Mercy and even Siouxsie and the Banshees later took on and developed into a sub genre of its own, which is pretty cool in itself: goth rock. Of course, then came the black, and the eyeliner, and the leather and the ridicule, but I’m sure this wasn’t what Ian Curtis and pals intended when they started making music as Joy Division.

5. David Bowie is all over Joy Division’s music

As one of Joy Division’s core influences, David Bowie set himself as the most inspiring artist in alternative rock. Turns out, there wouldn’t be any indie, alternative rock, garage rock or even electronica without Joy Division, and there wouldn’t be a Joy Division without David Bowie. David Bowie is full of win.

6. New Order

After the demise of Joy Division caused by the suicide of Ian Curtis, the remaining members reformed with a new style, and so New Order was born. I will always mourn the death of Curtis, but it’s cool that after such awesomeness, more awesomeness came. New Order is a great band that set the bar for lots of electronic artists out there, and was seminal in the development of New Wave and electronic music back in the 80s.

7. Transmission

How the hell can I not be happy when I hear such a perfect piece of music. It has all the elements that I love in a song: energy, deep lyricism, intensity, strong, commanding voice, a perfect bassline… it just reeks talent. It’s a wonderful song and I will never get tired of it. Check out this cool video of the band playing Transmission live, and make sure you check out the entire video. Do it.

8. The Ian Curtis dance

If you saw the video above, you’ll see what I’m talking about. How can you not love that? It’s awesome.

9. Unknown Pleasures

One of my favorite albums. It’s an inspiring piece of musicianship and provides a look into the heart of a tormented artist. Such a beautiful album indeed. I have the remastered, extended edition, and it’s even better.

10. Post-punk wouldn’t exist without them

I said this before. I don’t care. Simply, there would be no U2, no The Cure, no The Smiths, no Jesus and Mary Chain, without Joy Division. These guys were one of the first bands to mix punk rock chord progressions with pop sensibilities and synthesizers. Such a perfect combination. Of course, the dose of emo was mandatory as well. And if we’re talking about Joy Division being one of the cornerstones of the wide-ranging genre of post-punk (which spawned new wave, industrial music, shoegaze, darkwave, gothic rock, electronica, dance music and alternative rock, among MANY others), we can say that they were, in fact, one fucking incredible band.

Bonus: Warsaw

Joy Division’s punk rock beginnings as Warsaw are a slightly different venture than what we’re used to. As a band, they present themselves as a tougher, less complex bunch. Musically, they’re more energetic and less depressing. Worth the listen, most definitely.


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