Unknown Pleasures review by Joy Division

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  • Released: Jul 5, 1980
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.8 (30 votes)
Joy Division: Unknown Pleasures

Sound — 8
Well, as Ian Curtis tragically hanged himself around the time the Joy Division were growing commercially there are only really two albums to compare (this one and 'Closer'.) I would say 'Closer' wins outright, although this album does stand out as a good album by its own right. Although this album does have a growing sense of sarcasm to it, it seems that the Joy Division were still developing their music by this point and didn't really take it to any extreme. The stand out tracks have got to be the opener 'Disorder' and the single 'She's Lost Control.' Musically the stand out theme of this album is the lead bass and the very rhythm-style guitar (almost as if the two guitar/bass roles have been swapped.) Ian Curtis' voice is as dark and depressing as ever and it really adds a massivew amount of friction and intensity on the album. I would have to give sound a decent 4 out of 5.

Lyrics — 10
Well, as always in the Joy Division the lyrics are dark and depressive without any light seemedly at the end of the tunnel. I wouldn't say Ian Curtis is at his best on this album, but there is no doubt in my mind that he is the darkest most disturbing lyricist ever. Yes, Richey James fans, you are wrong, and Kurt Cobain fans? You are definitely wrong! There are no huge stand out tracks lyrically on this album, it just seems very consistent but never brinking the seams of extremity. I would give this 5 out of 5 plainly because it is Ian Curtis with the lyrics but it is very close to getting a four.

Overall Impression — 8
Well it is speculation that it was because of this album that Ian Curtis brought fate to his own hands and committed suicide. It was speculation that he thought this album did not get enough recognition, and in many ways you can see why. 'Closer' outshines tehis album in almost every department and this album hasn't been well polished - the producing is less than adequate, lets say. Also, I think that this album hasn't been taken to the extreme. Excellent potential, just needs to be developed. Overall I give this four out of 5.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    IMO one of the greatest albums, and such an influence on me. Sends shivers down my spine, absolute classic