The 10 best Joy Division songs
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Today, would have marked Ian Curtis’s 59th birthday. In many ways the iconic singer's epilepsy, relationship troubles and tragic suicide aged 23 now overshadow the body of musical work he was responsible for as the lyricist and vocalist of Joy Division. But the Manchester (via Macclesfield and Salford) four-piece changed the musical landscape paving the way for post-punk, goth and the band's rebirth as New Order in the eighties. At the helm was Curtis' strange, gloomily assured vocals and poigniant lyrics. In his honour, we look back at the top ten of Joy Division’s contributions to music. Love Will Tear Us Apart The last song the band ever recorded, and their first chart hit, ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ is the perfect embodiment of love in a relationship breakdown. It is dark but shots of synth make it catchy and, still to this day, iconic. It was the band's biggest hit and set them up as a contender for real stardom before the singer's demise. The title was written on Ian Curtis’s headstone, which was stolen in 2008. Disorder The first song off debut album Unknown Pleasures, 'Disorder' is perhaps the song that kick started Joy Division. With a bassline praised left right and centre, uplifting rhythms contradict cathartic lyrics ‘I’ve been waiting for a guide to come and take me by the hand, could these sensations give me the pleasure of a normal man?’ Thought to provide insight into Curtis’s struggle with epilepsy. Despite this, Joy Division didn’t write any lyrics on the album sleeve to not influence what listeners hear. Shadowplay Reaching powerful emotional depth, ‘Shadowplay’ takes heavy, repetitive riffs and pulsing drums. Curtis’s haunting vocals drive with force a stripped back gothic atmosphere fuelled with angst and passion. Martin Hannett’s production stamp was well and truly marked here as he steered Joy Division’s most notable sound. Transmission A frenzy of a song if you will, ‘Transmission’ unravels swirling bass and punk vocals. Curtis angrily commands ‘dance dance dance to the radio’ to a regulated beat. If you can keep up with the drums from Stephen Morris, you’re onto a winner.
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