Joy Division – Love Will Tear Us Apart

LWTUA

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.

The Names – Nightshift

the-names-night-shift-1981

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.

I’ve long been on record as Joy Division fanatic (and one of the few people in the world probably who loves Movement by New Order better than anything else they released). One of the reasons for this is the stellar musicianship in tandem with the ghostly echoes of Martin Hannett’s production work.  Like a geek I’ve collected everything Martin Hannett produced (it has only taken just shy of 20 years). My favorite band that he worked with besides Joy Division / New Order is The Names. The Names put out a few singles and a full length in the late 70’s / early 80’s – all gloomy post punk centered around bassist and songwriter Michel Smordynia. The bands 1982 single Nightshift (their 2nd overall) is a personal favorite as it bounces along on an eerie synth refrain and deadpan vocals. Is it the band or is it the producer? Always a valid question when Martin Hannett is involved and the answer is – yes. All parties involved in the creation of this track did a masterful job. Think of a band with a heavy Joy Division influence with less emotive vocals, and you are on the right track. The track itself peaked at #35 on the UK Indie Charts. The video matches the song perfectly and everything comes into focus as you sing along to these words:

Working a frightful nightshift
We’re just working a frightful nightshift

Everybody knows
That it’s just the way things go
Can’t eliminate desire
That explains the sad expression

New Order – Lost Sirens

lost sirens

Families can be curious things, can’t they? One minute family members are fighting, swearing never to deal with each other again – the next, they are vowing to always be there for each other. I tend to think of New Order in those terms – off and on fighting throughout the years, extended breaks, and even break ups. Somehow, someway – they’ve always come back together to make music that was mostly inspiring. It is no secret that their previous incarnation as Joy Division (minus Gillian Gilbert / plus Ian Curtis) is one of those bands that I discovered early in my teen years and has inspired me to try and forge my own path in life. I tend to frustrate people when they ask what I think of New Order, because my stock answer has always been “I like the bits that sound like Joy Division”. Not entirely true, mind you – but fun to say. So here we are in 2013 with a “new” New Order record, 8 years after the last. The question on the tip of my tongue was “Well, is it worth it? Why bother?” The answer is a resounding yes – this is a classic New Order album (just stop with the mini-album subtitles)

Continue reading

Joy Division – Closer

Part 13 of a series that will run every Friday throughout 2012 as I discuss records that have affected me throughout the years – Flashback Fridays

When I was 15 (20 years ago) life was a bit confusing. Of course – life is like that for most 15 year olds. To show what a rebel I was, I’d do silly things like completely shave the sides of my head bald and die my remaining hair bleached blonde (an unfortunate fashion choice). As can be the case with teenagers – fashion can be tied into musical choices. Though I still had a healthy love of hip-hop, I was veering more and more towards punk, post-punk and music that can sometimes be considered goth (though I tend to hate that designation and most of the bands that I listen to aren’t fond of it).

Continue reading