One of my favorite things to do when I love a band so much is to delve into what influenced them. Throughout the years of my obsession with Nine Inch Nails, I read that Joy Division was a huge influence on Trent Reznor. So years ago I went out and bought all the Joy Division albums and listened to them over and over, realizing why Trent loved them so much. Which now brings me to todays topic, which Joy Division album is better, Unknown Pleasures or Closer.
Unknown Pleasures was released in June of 1979. Interestingly no singles were released from the album. This album is considered one of the most influential albums in the post-punk movement. There are so many great songs on this album from “Day Of The Lords,” “New Dawn Fades,” Shadowplay,” and “She’s Lost Control.” There is something beautiful and haunting about this album. The desperation of Ian Curtis’s voice, is so dyer and urgent that it makes the music even more driving. I can’t forget about the cover art, which is such a seminal part of music history. It’s kind of sad that hipsters have hijacked the cover and made put it on all their urban outfitters clothing.
Closer was released in July 1980. This album took a darker approach and instilled a more gothic feel to it. This was a giant step in the creativity and songwriting of Joy Division. there are lots of critics out there that claim Closer to be the bands masterpiece. Ian Curtis had committed suicide two months prior to the release of Closer. The songs on this album really delved deeper into Ian’s problems with depression and seizures. “Atrocity Exhibition,” “Passover,” Twenty Four Hours,” “Heart and Soul,” really show the progress the band had made since their debut.
It’s really hard for me to pick a favorite, but If I had to I’d go with Unknown Pleasures. There is something about that album that really strikes a chord with me. There is a wonderful influence of The Velvet Underground and The Doors that rings throughout the album. I also love the production of it. Closer is more in line with what New Order would go on to do. I enjoy New Order, but I love Joy Division.
What are your thoughts?
By: Brian Lacy