Album Review: Closer-Joy Division

Album Review: Closer-Joy Division
Posted on 04/04/2022
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Released July 18, 1980

Length: 44:16

Originally from Salford, UK, Joy Division has become emblematic of the post-punk scene, and he has influenced international artists. The group began in the UK punk scene before shifting to a slow, melodic, and dark sound. 

The band’s 1979 release called Unknown Pleasures revolutionized the post-punk scene, taking it from its iconic album artwork to its haunting and melancholy instrumentals. The group went on to record a second album in late 1979 before the suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis in May of 1980. Closer, the band's final album, was released just a month after the death of Ian Curtis.

Closer opens with “Atrocity Exhibition,” which features an impressive array of percussion totally different from anything Joy Division had released prior. The song experiments with ambient noise and strange sounding synths. Dark and mysterious lyrics and Curtis’s eerie delivery compliments the alien sound of the track. 

The transition to “Isolation” completely switches tone, with an aggressive keyboard and a drum beat reminiscent of early Joy Division recordings. Peter Hook’s bass line is the driving force of the song, displaying strong punk influences reminiscent of the Sex Pistols or The Clash

The album’s final three tracks are some of the best post-punk ever written, with the penultimate track “The Eternal” using crushing synths, slow, reverb-soaked drums, and eerie ambient noise to create a tone of utter hopelessness and sorrow. 

The album ends on a slightly higher note with “Decades,” a look at how war destroys the lives of millions. The song is particularly relevant given it was written less than four decades after World War II. 

Tragically, Closer only achieved success after the death of Curtis.”Love Will Tear Us Apart, a single released just after the album, became a mainstream radio hit in both the United States and Britain and raised the group to worldwide fame. Unwilling to continue Joy Division without Curtis, remaining band members formed New Order, which became a greatly successful new wave band under the lead of bassist Peter Hook. Curtis’s legacy lives on through the publication of rare and unreleased Joy Division songs, and the band continues to be relevant despite forming nearly half a century ago. 

Best Tracks: The Eternal, Atrocity Exhibition, Colony, Decades, Isolation. 

Rating: 10/10

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