The Economist Writes About Joy Division. Yes, Really.

Although I am an unabashed Joy Division fan, I’m forever trying to make up for lost time. Even though I clearly remember their albums racked in my usual record store haunts when they were still new releases, I was never moved to buy a copy. What I don’t remember was the drama and sadness that followed Ian Curtis’ death. Nothing. Nada. It wasn’t until many years later when playing Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” was an inescapable part of my job at CFNY that I realized what I had missed.

Over the years, I’ve become more and more diehard about my Joy Division collection. Multiple CD reissues, compilations, box sets, rare 45s and EP and multiple editions of vinyl albums take up quite a bit of linear space in my record collection. And don’t even get me started on my library of digital files, both legal and, er, of dubious lineage.

I have books and magazines. I’ve spoken at length about the band with Peter Hook and seen him perform the Joy Division catalogue several times. The Peel session of “Transmission” has been on pretty much every MP3 device that I’ve ever owned. If someone does a cover version (cf. Trent Reznor), I’m there.

Don’t ask me to explain why they resonate with me so deeply. It just…is.  That’s the beauty of discovering music that somehow touches you deep inside.

And I’m far from the only one. The band is much, much, much bigger in its afterlife than they ever were while they were around. Andrew forwards this from The Economist site, Intelligent Life.

Joy Division are an emblem of the way today’s radical innovation becomes tomorrow’s worshipful tradition; of how a culture that does not renew itself is always in danger of becoming a shrine to itself. Their music has lost none of its melancholy power or taut intensity. But the band, as an idea, as a memory, feels like a spectre that envelops the living present. The odd thing is that, even in this, they were ahead of their time. Their biggest hit, “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, came out a month after Curtis (and with him the band) died. A month later came their second and final album, “Closer”, with its severe monochrome cover. From that moment on, Joy Division became trapped in time, a gaze fixed perpetually backwards at a gravestone, and everything else they had been evaporated. The more that pop music becomes retrospectively obsessed, the more they seem to exemplify that obsession.

Read the entire article here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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