Joy Division – Closer (1980)
What was the deterrent has become the magnet.
When I reviewed Unknown Pleasures, I moaned about (well, at least I didn’t energetically compliment) the production and the singer’s voice.
I’ve since done a 180: for both Joy Division albums, I’m thrilled the production sounds dated and that the singer’s voice is imperfect.
Closer is what I’d call a time capsule record; it should forever sound like 1980.
Remixing/remastering efforts may have happened since but in Joy Division’s case, I’m not interested in hearing them.
Now although this qualifies for my series of summer releases (as it was released in July 1980), it sounds nothing like summer.
Based on the cover, the contents, and the context, it may be the bleakest record on the 1001 list.
But it may also be the optimal album & album length for my personal summer enjoyment.
At 44 minutes, that’s long enough to go for a decent run & cool down/stretch afterwards.
As an eternal optimist, I find I gravitate towards depressing music, maybe even more so in the summer. In the winter, I likely benefit from more poppy infusions but in the summer heat, I find what others might call ‘sad bastard music’ comfortably balancing.
With Closer‘s 9 tracks, there’s just enough room to find the joy in sadness. Add or omit a track and the balance would likely be lost.
Unfortunately, due to the death of singer Ian Curtis, this was a posthumous release.
This also makes for a morbidly fascinating listen.
The closing track, Decades, features a powerful refrain, “where have they been?”
Others have likely made the comparison (perhaps it’s inevitable) but it reminds me of the experience of listening to the closing lines from Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged in New York. Knowing how the story ends for the lead singer, hearing those final words can be chilling, can be challenging, but are ultimately unforgettable.