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Thursday, May 7, 2015

453 of 1001 Albums: Joy Division's Closer


Closer would arrive in 1980 after the suicide of singer, Ian Curtis. The album would go on to be a hit for the band though. The album closely reflects what was to come though. Not only by the cover, but by the dark lyrics including themes of isolation and depression.

The cover of the album was chosen before the death of Ian Curtis. This did cause much concern for the record company. The photo was done by Bernard Pierre Wolfe, and is of the Appiani Family Tomb. The tomb is in Cimitero Monumentale di Staglieno in Genoa, Italy. Martyn Atkins and Peter Saville were behind the cover design, which depicts a funeral. While they might have been concerned, I think it reflects the atmosphere and deeper workings of the album well.

Unknown Pleasures, their debut album, was a hit for the band, so much success was predicted for the follow up. They even had their first United States tour on the books, but it was never done since the singer died before they could embark on it.


My favorite parts of Closer were the instrumentals. With the English post-punk and gothic rock mixings it makes for an innovative blend of genres and sounds that progress the tunes past the 80s. With Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook on bass and guitar they carry much of the rhythm of the music. Stephen Morris contributes with drums and other percussion for a beat you won't forget as well. 

The talent of the musicians give the best backing there can be for Ian Curtis' voice. The gothic, baritone voice is given light with the instruments. Most of all I would recommend emotionally preparing for the album. The lyrics are depressing. The sound is goth. For many you might be thinking of death of the singer taking place around the release of this album as well. Putting all that together it makes the experience of listening a lot darker. This makes the album real and honest though. I was in the mood to listen to something I figured I might enjoy and also contributed to diving into a bit of music history. This was the perfect listen for that. It also gave me a new book to potentially check out, Deborah Curtis' Touching From a Distance: Ian Curtis and Joy Division.



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