Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.
Listening to Joy Division the other day, it dawned on me that I haven’t written about their signature tune, Love Will Tear Us Apart. I briefly mentioned it in my overview of their 2nd record, Closer (since it was cut from the same sessions), but haven’t given it the proper breakdown. For me, it is a bit obvious – anyone who has interacted with me will eventually know that I hold Joy Division as the standard by which all other bands are measured. Love Will Tear Us Apart lyrically deals with the issues presenting themselves between singer Ian Curtis and his wife Deborah. Written in late 1979, it was cut two times – January 1980 and March 1980, both versions making appearances on the original 7″ release (a 3rd version was remixed / released on 1995’s compilation Permanent). The version cut in March 1980 is the single version, the January 1980 version was the b-side – the instrumentation is the same, with Ian Curtis singing each cut slightly differently. Musically, it hits all the high points that Joy Division are known for – Peter Hook’s bass is prominent, Stephen Morris lays down the perfect beat and Bernard Sumner gives us melodic guitar lines (though Ian Curtis played guitar on this song when it was played live). The song was released as a single in June of 1980 and hit #13 in the UK, #42 in the US, and #1 in New Zealand (where my brother lives, smart country). It was the band’s 1st hit, and unfortunately Ian Curtis wasn’t around to revel in its success – he committed suicide in May of 1980. Much like the song itself, the song’s success was bittersweet. I’ve listened to Joy Division since I was 15 and they sound as fresh now – 22 years later – as they did the day I 1st heard them.