Closer review by Joy Division

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  • Released: Jul 18, 1980
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.5 (32 votes)
Joy Division: Closer
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Sound — 9
An album to listen to crying in a graveyard while trying to hang yourself from the pale mocking moon, Closer will not save your life, but help end it with a suitably miserable soundtrack. Released shortly after frontman Ian Curtis had committed suicide the album is really rather bleak and sombre, from the mausoleum gracing the album cover to the desolute and hopeless soundscapes created by the band and shaped by Martin Hannett's defining production; it's enough to make even Santa cry then leap down the chimney of suicide to fill a stocking with his coffin. The sound is an evolution from "Unknown Pleasures" and the typical post-punk sound so imitated by the arty British bands of today. The trademark Peter Hook bass is still there, but the guitar is now far more understated, replaced with synths that go from mournful to rhythmic (best illustrated by the epic closer to Closer "Decades").

Lyrics — 10
The lyrics are all poetic and deathly depressing, delivered in Ian Curtis' trademark cold and distant deep voice that has a beauty all of its own. At the time his marriage was collapsing and he was caught in a morbid mess between two women and this is reflected in his songwriting, though far more vaguely than in the seminal "Love Will Tear Us Apart".

Overall Impression — 10
Although it doesn't contain any of their most well known songs, this is still the most important Joy Division album. It reflects the articulate depression of the singer and the originality of the band in such a perfect whole that like all great albums it manages to somehow add up to more than the sum of its gothic parts. There's a kind of magic to it, a dark magic, like it's been made by the Spirit Of Sadness itself in her Palace Of Woe. In Manchester. All in all, the ultimate post-punk album and a must for any who considers themself truly emo or a fan of alternative music in general. RIP Ian Curtis. Beneath Macclesfield.

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    k0ns0l3
    The person who reviewed this album doesn't know anything about the band or their music... While it's true that this album is in a darker tone than their first, unknown pleasures, like all joy division tracks, there's lots of life and energy behind their music and a constant presence of frustration and ansiety but that frustration is there because of the intensity and life of the music; it's not emo at all or nothing like that... Also closer was released before ian curtis commmited suicide... The last track recorded and released by them was love will tear us apart and after that they also recorded cerimony at a live show, the only joy division version of cerimony... Also, anyone who knows the band knows that while tracks like she's lost control are biographic most tracks are just ramblings of Curtis where he imagines someone and someplace and makes that character confront a situation and makes them deal with that... The quantity of goth and emo terms in the review is laughable and has absolutely nothing to do with the band... The band is post-punk/new wave, later on they were called as the first band of goth rock but the most notable thing about their sound is the punk influence. Everyone who wants to learn a little more about joy division should get at least substance and Still; heart & soul is the most complete box with all (or almost all) the songs of the band. Joy Division is music for intense people that can feel frustrated and sad but also with lots of life and energy inside of them. Saying that joy division is emo is like saying Led Zeppelin is Thrash Metal.
    Dallen_007
    k0ns0l3 wrote: Led Zeppelin are well Thrash Metal. Lol. You're stupid.
    wow, and that wasnt taken out of context *end sarcasm*
    seifer_alamasy
    thank god someone responded intellegently to this banter. the review is a bit off, but atleast someone put one up for Joy Division. And atleast it's better than the latest New Order album... this album defined me when I started playing guitar when I was younger, incredible stuff. I'll be da*ned if anyone can sing like Ian Curtis. He surpassed David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and was definitely the heir to the throne left by Jim Morrison. Only more honest.
    Laughing-Man
    k0ns0l3 wrote: Saying that joy division is emo is like saying Led Zeppelin is Thrash Metal.
    Too right. Emo as we know it hasn't been around that long so how can something be Emo if it pre-dates it? In calling Joy Division gothic you are basically putting a dunce hat on. The album is good but I personally prefer Unkown Pleasures.
    k0ns0l3
    E harris wrote: Although it doesn't contain any of their most well known songs what about love will tear us apart? also wanna know summit cool. when they found him hanging, iggy pops "the idiot" was playing on his sterio.
    What about lwtua? It's not in the album... Such as atmosphere isn't in any album. At that time, in england, singles weren't released in albums.
    rawn wrote: Led Zeppelin are well Thrash Metal.
    Lol. You're stupid.
    E harris
    Although it doesn't contain any of their most well known songs
    what about love will tear us apart? also wanna know summit cool. when they found him hanging, iggy pops "the idiot" was playing on his sterio.