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Unknown Pleasures

Joy Division

1979

Buy At Rough Trade
Unknown Pleasures
Album Summary

Unknown Pleasures is the debut studio album by English rock band Joy Division, released on 15 June 1979 by Factory Records. The album was recorded and mixed over three successive weekends at Stockport's Strawberry Studios in April 1979, and was produced by Martin Hannett, who incorporated a number of unconventional production techniques into the group's sound. The cover artwork was designed by artist Peter Saville, using a data plot of signals from a radio pulsar. It is the only Joy Division album released during lead singer Ian Curtis's lifetime. Factory Records did not release any singles from Unknown Pleasures, and the album did not chart despite the relative success of the group's non-album debut single "Transmission". It has since received sustained critical acclaim as an influential post-punk album, and has been named as one of the best albums of all time by publications such as NME, AllMusic, Select, Rolling Stone, and Spin. Peter Saville, who had previously designed posters for Manchester's Factory club in 1978, designed the cover of the album. Sumner or Morris, depending on the account, chose the image used on the cover, which is based on an image of radio waves from pulsar CP 1919, from The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Astronomy. Saville reversed the image from black-on-white to white-on-black, against the band's stated preference for the original. "I was afraid it might look a little cheap. I was convinced that it was just sexier in black" since it represented a signal from space. He printed it on textured card for the original version of the album. It is not a Fourier analysis as sometimes stated, but rather an image of the intensity of successive radio pulses, as stated in the Cambridge Encyclopaedia. In simple terms, the image is a “stacked plot” of the radio emissions given out by a pulsar, a “rotating neutron star”. Originally named CP 1919, the pulsar was discovered in November 1967 by student Jocelyn Bell Burnell and her supervisor Antony Hewish at Cambridge University. As the star turns, it emits electromagnetic radiation in a beam like a lighthouse, which can be picked up by radio telescopes. Each line on the image is an individual pulse. They are not exactly the same each time as the long distance the beam travels introduces interference. The image was originally created by radio astronomer Harold Craft at the Arecibo Observatory for his 1970 doctoral dissertation as a way to visualize smaller pulses within larger ones, which might help explain what had been causing the pulses. He was unaware for years that the image was associated with the album cover until a friend told him; afterwards he bought a copy because he felt he should have one as the creator of the image.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.46

Votes

14168

Genres

  • Rock
  • Indie
  • Post Punk

Reviews

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Mon Mar 22 2021
3

I feel like I'm SUPPOSED to like Joy Division. On paper, at least. They were the front wave of the post-punk movement and it shows. It's still mostly punk. But something about it just ... doesn't hit. I think it's mostly that it's missing the sheer, nihilistic joy of punk music. Instead, it's unrelentingly dark and moody. It's not bad and, if I were in the right mood, I imagine this would absolutely hit some buttons. But I'm not generally in a dark depressed mood so, instead, I'm left just feeling "meh" about it.

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Thu Nov 04 2021
5

It's perfect, sure, but maybe I could have paused it for a bit between the ages of 16-17 and spent some time outside with other kids

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Thu Sep 30 2021
2

Joy Division are the scenic route I choose not to take on the road to New Order. I've no problem with depressing, off-kilter deconstructed punk dance, but I can't find a way into Curtis' gothic vocals or the tawdry rhythms.

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Wed Nov 02 2022
1

This is just one of those bands/albums where I feel like everyone is playing a trick on me when they say they like it. I found it basically unlistenable.

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Sat Oct 02 2021
5

Frankensteins beautiful monster…. Part post punk, part industrial cityscapes, beautiful tortured lyrics all brought to life by the genius madness of Martin Hannett!

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Tue Mar 22 2022
5

I wished to write this with as little hyperbole as possible, but this is one of the greatest albums ever made, quite possibly the greatest debut album ever made and an utterly mesmering, utterly unique work of art. Indeed, when I listen to Joy Division, they convince me that they are the greatest band of all. I acknowledge that not everyone appreciates their beautiful bleakness, but I also acknowledge that those people are fools. Still, hyperbole would lead to charges of reckless writing without sufficient content, so let's try for a more objective analysis. The first thing to strike the listener is the depth of the sound, a sound both colossal and intimate, conspiratorial even. Significant dues for this go to the difficult, eccentric genius producer Martin Hannett; for instance, he recorded each element of the drum kit on its own, so each sound wouldn't have the other drums bleeding into them (curiously, much of Joy Division initially disliked the faster-but-slower measured intensity Hannett's production brought, feeling it didn't represent the adrenaline-charged, uncompromising ferocity of their live performances; they have since accepted the Unknown Pleasures sound, reasoning correctly that it still sounds urgent and magnificent). However, it was the band that made this unprecedented music: bass-driven without being funky, heavy without being metal, recognisably rock (there's even a guitar solo on Shadowplay) yet somehow appearing to have evolved on a different planet to rock, Unknown Pleasures sounds newborn yet fully-formed, displaying an astonishing amount of craftsmanship for four boys aged barely 20. And we finally get to the singer, the perversely winsome Ian Curtis, who was (and I apologise for the hyperbole yet again) one of the most affecting, most powerful singer-songwriters ever to gaze into the abyss. I don't find it valuable to look at a work of art through the prism of the creator's biography: do you think George Orwell must have known a load of talking communist pigs? So I don't care to dwell on the heartrending end of Ian Curtis' life. Instead, I will query why Ian Curtis is seen as a figure in the tradition of romanticism. Ian Curtis' work is more modernist, in its focus on horrific extremes (just look at the name), its rejection of traditional forms, its ultra-expressionist tenor and its refusal to draw a pat conclusion (yes, I know there's significant overlap between romanticism and modernism, but I still assert that the Joy Division ratio was far more modernist than romanticist). Less Byron, more Bataille. Astonishingly, their next album would be even better, but that's a tale for another day.

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Tue Mar 01 2022
5

A top 5 album for me all time. From the drop of the needle on Disorder...that drum sound like I've never heard before, that bass line so catchy, that ringing guitar and the opening lyric; "I'm just waiting for a guide to take by the hand".... I knew from that moment my life would never be quite the same. And it's not like there is any let up. Maybe the most harrowing 40 minutes ever committed to tape. If I could I'd give it 6 🌟

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Sun Feb 28 2021
4

I should have been listening to this in the late 70's, not the Village People and Donna Summer. The dark tone and intensity are great. Very enjoyable.

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Mon May 10 2021
3

Joy Division is a band I really want to love more. Their sound is heavy, angular, harsh...depressing. This is a good album, but not one I seek out to listen to regularly. I prefer them when they became New Order.

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Fri Dec 17 2021
5

a magnificently bleak record, songs of dread and gloom and dissociation, filled with slightly odd driving rhythms, rumbling bass, and peppered with strange noises

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Sat Apr 09 2022
5

Ooh, one that's in my record collection. If you like the t shirt, you may like the album too! The drop off from this to New Order is incredible. How they went from one of the rawest, bleakest most exciting bands ever with Ian Curtis, to Kraftwerk for illiterate football hooligans with New Order is fully baffling. She's Lost Control is one of the chilliest danceable songs ever. The whole album is like being enveloped in a blanket that makes you colder - in the best ways. Albums like this come once a generation.

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Wed Mar 10 2021
5

Very gloomy. Very dark. Very exciting. I have listened to this album several times. Makes me want to die slightly, however, this dark, gloomy atmosphere is so well done, that I have no problem with that.

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Tue Sep 19 2023
3

controversial perhaps, but I think this album is hugely over-rated; it sounds like nothing else and has an essential influence on modern studio techniques but doesn't really have many tunes. Joy Division were a great singles band!

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Tue Sep 06 2022
2

I can’t understand all the fuss about Joy Division. It’s fairly miserable and I don’t think there was even one stand out track for me on this album so it’s a meagre 2* from me.

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Tue Aug 01 2023
2

Style over substance to be honest. I'm not sure why this album is considered so iconic

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Thu Jan 21 2021
5

Classic album, lot of great tracks that really reaffirm the positivity of life and make you want to live life to the fullest.

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Fri Feb 12 2021
5

I like all the songs on this album so gotta be a 5 from me. Plenty of low-end stuff like the melodic bass, moody vocals and low tuned drums appeal to me. I can embrace the gloomy atmosphere they create because I feel they manage to add enough variety in there with samples, synths and effects coming in and out like in "Candidate". I can feel the sloppy guitar-work, lazy singing and repetition balances well against the melodic hooks, varied effects (plus loads of that distinctive reverb to fill out the high end) and occasional synths creating something that sounds kinda melancholic. Overall, it's trying a lot harder than classic punk rock (so I think that's why "post-punk" makes sense as a genre label here). Although apparently this also comes under the sub-genre of "gothic rock". Despite their production value and polish, if you can stomach it, listening to the live tracks on the Collector's Edition is quite an experience. They play with much fewer effects (less delay/reverb/chorus pedals but plenty of distortion). Hearing so many bum notes, volume failures, amp feedback, clipped audio and distorted shouting, muddy harmony, flat drums and drunk people shouting really makes you feel like you're there watching the best worst gig ever. There's nothing more punk than that and I love it. Considering they weren't working with a whole lot of gear in 1979, I think they did a great job of creating different sounds and vibes throughout this album. My favourite track is definitely "Disorder", which The 1975 totally ripped off, although maybe it was a respectful homage, which is apt considering this band is supposedly very influential, and the singer committed suicide, really adding some contextual weight to this downbeat album.

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Fri Mar 05 2021
5

classic. perfect. haunting. depressing as fuck. ian curtis was a goddamn genius. 5 stars. new dawn fades has always been a favorite

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Tue May 10 2022
5

Almost perfect - started a revolution in music. The genius is in Hannett taking the very good punk songs the band had written and then twisting them in to a different shape, thus creating the future.

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Fri Jul 23 2021
4

Fun, dark, and gothy, I liked it a lot. Part of me wants to give it a 5, but I think that relates more to the iconography and story of the band rather than the music itself, which sits at a solidly high 4 for me.

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Wed Jan 05 2022
4

An album from my youth, a holy artifact to indie kids of my generation, to listen to it objectively now is interesting and almost impossible, Is it as good as it's considered, probably not. Was a massively important ground breaking album that has influenced so much since, definitely, yes.

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Wed Sep 16 2020
3

I was dreading this when I saw it come up but honestly not that bad! had only ever heard Closer before. Still prefer Bauhaus or early Cure from this scene.

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Tue Jul 19 2022
2

I never really liked them, I don't understand the hype. Overrated for me.

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Fri Oct 07 2022
2

Best Song: Interzone. Finally something mildly uptempo. Worst Song: Day of the Lords. When WILL it end? Overall: This sounds like music created by and for people on Valium. Really don't see the appeal here. I like the prominence of the bassline throughout the album, but the vocals sound like a tranquilized Jim Morrison.

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Sun May 30 2021
5

A very strong new wave/post-punk album with a cohesive atmosphere across each track. No weak songs, and great production that still holds up well today. 9/10, pretty nice

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Wed Dec 22 2021
5

Top 20 album of all time for me. I fucking love it. I find it really upsetting a lot of joy divisions singles never Made it to their albums. They didn't want to rip off fans, and that's fairly fucking neat. However, it's so upsetting Transmission never got an actual album release. This is me saying, if you like this album, check that song out. Probably one of the truest songs depicting depression, atleast from my personal experiences with mental illness. I love it. If you like it, make sure to check out New Order too. They formed after the death of the lead singer Ian Curtis. They never really took on a new lead singer (I've read there was a lot of denial when it came to his suicide.) Their music and sound was much more dance hall post-punk and it's really phenomenal.

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Mon Apr 11 2022
5

I went backwards to Joy Division, having heard a lot of New Order in college and only learning about their predecessor through early hits like Ceremony and then diving into JD albums all the way back to when they were Warsaw. This one is top-to-bottom good, with a range of pacing and tone while all staying distinctly within the band's sound.

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Fri Jun 24 2022
5

Honestly this album is such a joy to listen to. It is so bright and colorful in its imagery and always gets me in an upbeat mood. There are so many great dance tracks on this LP --I really don't know how they ended up changing their name and releasing such dark and dreary material later on with tracks such as Age of Consent, True Faith, & The Perfect Kiss--still good stuff though. Favorite Tracks: Disorder, Day of the Lords, Candidate, New Dawn Fades, She's Lost Control, Shadowplay, and I Remember Nothing (honestly just all of it)

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Sat Jul 30 2022
5

Rarely does a debut album enter the world so fully formed and confident, much less containing a complete sonic world within itself. With only sparse drums, minimalist guitar lines, a bit of synth, and a dash of hall reverb, Ian Curtis and company construct an endless cavern of solitude and isolation, a melodic landscape built a single note at a time in the darkness. The MO is clear from the start with the fake-out cheerfulness of 'Disorder,' a 3.5-minute death spiral perked up by a singular, catchy bass line. It's all downhill from here through the various melodic fugues and monotone pleas from Curtis. Less is more as the bright, trebly guitar rebounds off seemingly infinite space, sneakily bolstering the minimal instrumentation while increasing the sense that these are the last dispatches from some place of emptiness and desolation. 'Shadowplay' manages to feel so immense only because it's the first song on the LP to let actual full chords ring out - by holding so much back, the album imbues the song's 3-note solo with more import and feeling than entire tracks on modern releases. Much like Nirvana's 'In Utero,' knowing what comes next in Joy Division's short history paints this LP as an obvious warning sign of Curtis' failing state. Even without the grim context, however, it's clear to see the album exudes darkness and singularity from the cover art to its musical core. Perfect albums are often personified as having a unifying soul at their core, but 'Unknown Pleasures' wears its dark, bleeding heart on its sleeve instead.

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Tue Aug 16 2022
5

Manchester had proven itself to be the nucleus for innovative music by the late 70s and its status was further confirmed by the release of one of the all time greatest debut albums and one of the more essential pillars of the post-punk sound, Unknown Pleasure. Almost 45 years on, it's still providing the blueprint on how to execute ice cold emotion and abstract, unconventional rhythms that convey meaning that goes beyond t-shirts and thousands of notes of the album cover gif on Tumblr. Regardless, if the band had never made another album they would still be classified as one of the most important bands that ever came out of Manchester. Godspeed Ian Curtis, Godspeed Martin Hannett and Godspeed Tony Wilson.

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Sun Mar 21 2021
4

Another depressing album. I mean this is expected from Joy Division. But this is a great listen, it's tough to get through as it doesn't have the 'pop-y' lyrics or face melting guitar solos or crazy drum beats. They keep the instrumentals down played and this keeps the down trodden mood that Joy Division is know for. Sometimes you feel down and just want your listening experience to mirror that and this does that so well.

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Wed Jan 12 2022
1

I suppose you had to be there in 1979. Didn’t understand this music or style. Pretty depressing if that’s what they’re going for.

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Thu Mar 03 2022
1

Not for me. Didn’t love the singer’s voice or gloomy lyrics or instrumentation. I can see why people would like this, but I personally couldn’t get through it.

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Sun Jul 02 2023
1

When will it end? It got worse as it went on. So dark and blah. not for me

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Wed Jun 16 2021
5

Gloomy as all hell but fantastic. Ian Curtis's voice really makes the album.

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Wed Jan 27 2021
5

While other albums, most notably 1977's Suicide S/T, could be considered more ground-breaking, Unknown Pleasures holds a significant place for its influence while holding up as a fantastic album in its own right. I especially note the songcraft and song variety even while keeping a consistent tone.

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Mon May 10 2021
5

New-wavy, Post-punk goodness. I’ve listened to this a bunch already but I feel like it just clicked. My only complaint is I feel like the end of the album is kind of abrupt. I think it deserves a little outro like Pet Sounds or Sgt. Pepper’s, but hats off anyways.

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Tue Jun 22 2021
5

Not really much to say about this album. One if the most important albums in my life. Incredible sounds, incredible poetry, incredible production, incredible mood. In my top 10 favorite albums ever. 5 🌟

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Wed Oct 06 2021
5

Probably the most influential album on the music of the last four decades, super easy five stars.

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Thu Nov 11 2021
5

I mean. What can I say? This is an album I've listened to too many times to count. It's just perfectly moody, or at least it was for my teenage years. This album alone managed to influence music to this day, and you can really tell while listening to it. Ian Curtis voice is also perfect for what it does. Just a perfect album, would listen again and again and again and again.

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Wed Dec 08 2021
5

I knew this album was influential but this is actually my first time listening. New Order is one of my favorite new wave bands, and it's mind-blowing to learn that New Order was formed by the rest of the members of Joy Division

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Thu Jan 20 2022
5

a true classic, it can seem hard to get into initially but with a degree of perseverance you unlock a great album. Many layers and astounding writing.

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Sat Feb 19 2022
5

Another favorite! Had a bootleg German pressing of this that fetched me some nice $$$ when I sold it. Minimal, dark and brooding. The sound of depression. Ian Curtis’s suicide note set to music. Meant to be listened to in its entirety. Highlights: Disorder & She’s Lost Control

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Tue Mar 15 2022
5

3 brilliant albums in a row,? Surely not! Well yes. Joy Division wrote a brilliant album. It got some really powerful songs on it. Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but if it is, it’s bloody brilliant tea. Really enjoyed this. And the album cover is really special, it use of negative space and monochromatic colours make it really impressive and catch the eye superbly

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Tue Apr 12 2022
5

Look up post punk in the dictionary. This is the album you’ll find. Ian Curtis and crew craft doom punk and goth rock that is equal parts dark and foreboding as it is springy and catchy. An all-time classic without doubt.

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Mon May 30 2022
5

It's fucking Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures, of course it's good. Goddamn every song still hits to this day. It's super depressing, headbobbing post-punk that every band after has been replicating. One of the most important albums for me.

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Thu Jun 23 2022
5

The template of post-punk. Or, should I rather say, the first temple, given the peculiar 'space' felt throughout this record, which is wide-sounding and yet claustrophobic at the same time. Martin Hannet's production ideas were one of a kind, for better (most of the time) or for worse. Yet the band also had a very dark vision of how late-20th century music should sound after punk, no matter how many times Hannet pulled the rug from under their feet with his off-kilter ideas (like putting that simple, propulsive yet very melodic bass forward in the mix, instead of the guitar--with great effects on tracks such as "Disorder", "Insight", "She's Lost Control"). From this battle of minds, some essential spark came forth. And this spark fully transcended the bum notes here and there, a few clumsy rhythm transitions and some off-key instruments in short yet clearly discernible moments. Ian Curtis had such a powerful presence anyway, such a sepulchral aura, both vocally and as a lyricist (not to mention his persona onstage), that all those minor flaws up there didn't matter anymore. And they still don't today. This record (with admittedly a very few others down the line, by Wire, The Cure, Gang of Four, or Siouxsie and the Banshees) gave birth to a whole genre. Of course, it's got to be a mandatory listen... Number of albums left to review or just listen to: 881 Number of albums from the list I find relevant enough to be mandatory listens: 64 (including this one) Albums from the list I *might* include in mine later on: 29 Albums from the list I will certainly *not* include in mine (many others are more important): 27

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Mon Jul 11 2022
5

I listened to this album for the first time when I was a teenager and I hated it. Fortunately, tastes can continually evolve. At the point where I am now, I can say that it is one of the best albums that life can offer us. It's the definition of "dark, but uplifting". "I've been waiting for a guide to come and take me by the hand, Could these sensations make me feel the pleasures of a normal man?". It's one of the best album opening line ever, isn't it? It's also unbelievable that they came with a so mature and accomplished sound/lyrics in their early twenties. Ian Curtis' voice, words and interpretation are so neat and refined. Unknown Pleasures is a timeless masterpiece without a doubt.

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Sat Jul 23 2022
5

The first masterpiece by a team of extraordinary musicians. This is their rawest, with synths used sparingly to create the atmosphere rather than form the base. Instead, that role belongs to the intricate and repetitive basslines and punchy drums that really slam in your face the gloominess of it all. The synths do get their time to shine, such as the intergalactic-sounding, anxiety-driven "Insight" and the fun "She's Lost Control." The instruments are well-mixed, with everyone being heard well, and the drums and bass strong enough to produce their intended dramatic effects. Some may complain about the rawness as it sounds like they're being played through a filter, but I think it works to their advantage to create the fearful atmosphere. My only wish is that it was louder... it's too quiet on max volume on my speakers, but that might just be Spotify's problem. Ian Curtis is one of my favorite vocalists. Speaking through a black hole, his deep and monotonous voice can express hopelessness, desperation, content, and so much more. It's a fairly innovative vocal style of its time, to be adopted by the gothic rock and synthpop movements among other genres. In fact, my interest is maintained throughout each song by a curiosity to see where the emotions are carried, most represented by Curtis's vocals. Every song is a masterpiece. They're not reusing formulae. Each song has a unique hook that pulls you in if you're into this sort of gloomy music, with periods of dance, introspection, or heavy emotion. I'm a huge fan of the track order, with the highlights well-dispersed, pulling in audiences with the memorable "Disorder", and immediately sliding into the moodier "Day of the Lords" which has an accessible hook to intrigue listeners not used to this kind of music. I think it's greatest weakness is that people could lose focus after "Shadowplay." It could feel like that with "Wilderness," but "Interzone" reminds us this is a post-punk album. And I love Peter Hook's vocal contributions, reminds me of the more energetic New Order tracks they'll produce. But by far "I Remember Nothing" is one of my favorite closers, gloomy and distressing with its effects and prolonged ending that takes forever to finish. Favorites: Disorder, Day of the Lords, Insight, New Dawn Fades, Shadowplay, I Remember Nothing

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Tue Aug 09 2022
5

This is one of those albums that is so incredibly influential and important that music that followed would undoubtedly taken a different turn had it not been released. 'Unknown Pleasures' is a post-punk statement piece and remains probably the best known album from that genre. The music itself is ominous and driving. The use of echo gives the impression that the band is playing in an empty warehouse, further adding ambience to the loneliness and isolation expressed in Ian Curtis' lyrics. Ian Curtis' delivery reminds me of Jim Morrison including the charisma. The vocals here become a steward of isolation, guiding the listener through dark soundscapes. The closing track is phenomenal and drives home the separation and detachment the album so skillfully conveys.

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Tue Aug 16 2022
5

Superb. Dark, brooding, melancholy, this is one of the all-time greatest indie records ever made. Ian Curtis' haunting vocals forbode a terrible demise, but the genius is timeless.

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Tue Sep 13 2022
5

Fucking classic album. One of my all-time favorites. Beautiful and haunting from Ian Curtis Great guitar work from Hooky and Sumner Morris' drum work is like a machine. The production is spacey and really adds to the sound.

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Tue Oct 11 2022
5

I reckon a lot of things sound better if you make it dark, moody, and punk rock, and this is no exception. The thing that strikes me the most about this album is the fact that it sounds insanely fresh, while also sounding exactly like the building blocks for alternative, synth-pop, new wave, punk, rock, - you name it. Also the bass guitar sounds delicious! Favorite tracks are Day of the Lords, Candidate, and New Dawn Fades.

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Sat Oct 29 2022
5

Definitely my favorite album of the two. The atmosphere is spare, with the perfect amount of texture. Similar to the iconic cover in that sense. The reverb and mixing give it so much space to breathe and envelop you. I enjoy all the experimental flourishes throughout, and delighted by the dark hypnotic power they wield when they bring the tempos down. The stiff soulessness of it is like narcotic to me. Perfect pairing of artist and producer, and great example of how big a difference a producer can make. Practically pulled a new genre out of them.

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Fri Feb 03 2023
5

Somewhere, Stephen Morris is still practicing that drumbeat on the roof.

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Tue Feb 21 2023
5

Oh no. How could they do this to me? 15 minutes before I leave for work on a cold cloudy Manchester Monday morning this pops up. Bleak, industrial, grandiose and intensely emotional, this is the genius of Ian Curtis and Martin Hannett together with the style of Peter Saville and Factory producing an album inside and out that still resonates today. My favourite album. Always has been. There's no pose and total integrity. This is one of the elite.

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Wed Mar 01 2023
5

Excellent album. Jagged, dark, mournful, forceful guitar music with mild industrial electro on occasion. More deep, existential and serious than the 80s goth movement that it spawned. True nihilist post punk. Musical, lyrically unique and quietly compelling. Think grey, hopeless, northern, gruelling, yet - despite what The Wombats want you to believe - actually quite good to dance to.

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Tue Sep 19 2023
5

Flawless can be as boring as a diamond in a vault or as overwhelming as a Frank Auerbach landscape, and Joy Division’s debut is dead on the latter. While I respect how distinctive and groundbreaking Hannett’s production was, I prefer most of these songs on the posthumous official bootleg, “Les Bains Douches”, most especially Curtis’s coruscating Insight.

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Mon Jun 07 2021
4

Have to admit that I’ve been trying to like the actual songs on this album (as opposed to just the mythology, artwork, etc.) for a really long time. Thankfully, it finally “clicked” this past year. This is one of those albums that definitely works better the louder you play it for whatever reason - perhaps because of how many songs are constructed around the bass guitar? At any rate, I get it now. And can see all the tendrils touching so, so many other bands I love. Highly recommend the podcast on Spotify that delves into all things Joy Division/New Order, as well, if you haven’t listened yet.

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Thu Sep 30 2021
4

Talk about mood music. A mouthwatering combination of surly bass, rolling drums and Debbie-Downer vocals that coalesce into a dark and gnarly record of the very fact of existence. My FIANCÉE said from a distance it sounds like some Soviet anthem, which isn't a bad way to frame it, perhaps. This is the music of walking through cities with the same sets of soulless tower blocks, greyed out people being put through a machine, and the watching eyes of big brother, and feeling your own soul vibrating inside you. How do you reconcile the two? Through unknown pleasures.

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Tue Nov 23 2021
4

Is there anything else to write about this? These songs have been omnipresent in my life for most of it. It's good. I can't imagine Ian Curtis discovering ecstasy and making a record like 'Technique' (maybe I would have been surprised) so a fairly limited discography helps permeate the myth. Great cover art though. PS I hate this website's UI. Why is it so hard to use? I was going to write some words about Jethro Tull's 'Aqualung' but rated it before adding comments and it won't let me go back to revise it. So anyway, I was having a prog moment a couple of months back and had a listen to 'Aqualung' and 'Thick of Brick' as part of the albums-I've-never listened-to-but-probably should. There's some interesting things going on by the band, almost a folky Black Sabbath, but it's just a bit too hey nonny nonny for me. Would I have liked this more as a teenager? Perhaps.

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Mon Dec 06 2021
4

The first time I heard this album I didn't like it, but I re-listened to it now, and it turns out it's really good.

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Tue Jan 25 2022
4

Dark, brooding, unrelenting, excellent. A very engaging, if not enjoyable, listen. I'm much less familiar with Joy Division than I am with New Order, but the ingredients of the latter are clear here, despite the very different tone. An album I expect to revisit. 4.5/5

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Tue Jan 25 2022
4

The album that launched a million t-shirts

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Thu Mar 24 2022
4

Rating: B or 80% Standout tracks: She's Lost Control, Wilderness, Day of the Lords, Shadowplay. A very good sophomore effort by one of the best bands in the world. The roughness and ruggedness of this album is undoubtedly untouched and remains in a league of its own. It's disquieting soundscape is lent unshakeable and uncompromising support by Ian Curtis's apocalyptic vocals. And one more thing, just love the cover art, straight up there with Dark Side of the Moon.

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Thu Mar 31 2022
4

She’s Lost Control is still phenomenal

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Sat Apr 16 2022
4

Haunting. An acquired taste. Accomplished, but the lingering question is what might have been.

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Mon Jun 06 2022
4

A classic album, unsettling and grim but darkly lovely in its way. When you hear Joy Division you know them right away, they're such a singular band, but they're also in the bones of so much music that came after them. The lyrics are harrowing, really. They're difficult to hear knowing how this story ends. Fave Songs: Disorder, Shadowplay, She's Lost Control, Interzone, Wilderness, New Dawn Fades

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Thu Jun 16 2022
4

It's taken years but I think I'm staying to appreciate this album.

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Sun Aug 07 2022
4

4.4 + It's hard to think of a record that creates a more dry, dark and austere atmosphere. Amazing how they accomplish this sound with minimal layers and little formal training. But the elements coalesce impeccably. I especially love the unusual bass sound - loaded with gain and played as a separate voicing rather than as pure accompaniment. Ian Curtis adds another off-kilter element with a voice that at times sounds like he's on the verge of a breakdown ("I Remember Nothing"). Standouts: "Disorder", "She's Lost Control."

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Fri Aug 19 2022
4

After track one, the first half is really hard work. Dour drudge after dour drudge. The live versions of all these tracks are far more compelling so I get why the band were pissed off when they heard it. As a Manc and a post-punk fan this should be an instant five stars, but I have to be honest and say it's not quite there. Atmospheric, miserable, almost amazing.

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Tue May 30 2023
4

Simply an iconic album, and cover. It’s astonishing that a bunch of 20 something-year-old kids could have such vision, because they basically created a new genre - post punk and could be so influential for the music yet to come. I think the only other band that can rival them in this genre would be The Cure. Also credit must be given to Martin Hannett for his brilliant production. No band ever sounded like this before - the haunting vocals, the reverb on the drums and death spiral guitar and bass. This band also is remarkable for its evolution into New Order which was a completely different kettle of fish. And did I mention that album cover - one of the greatest ever. Now if I could only find that T-shirt I bought over 40 yrs ago

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Thu Oct 12 2023
4

Highlights: Disorder, New Dawn Fades. Overall: 8/10 Reviewed on 1001 Album Club: 5+ Yet to be reviewed on 1001 Album Complaints

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Mon Jun 07 2021
3

Such a peculiar experience - this is obviously an important and influential record, you can hear its fingerprints all over indie and alt rock that would follow in its wake - but as a listening experience, not really much fun. A strange mix of alienation and slowed-down krautrock for the most part, with some horribly dated production. I'm sure Ian Curtis was a compelling live performer, because the version of him on here isn't pulling up any trees. I'd prefer to listen to some Billy Idol, y'know?

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Sun May 09 2021
3

I'm aware that this is a very popular album, but I didn't get the hype. The lead singer had a good voice, but sounded pretty typical 80s. Some of the mix sounded interesting, but I wasn't blown away. 3/5

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Mon Jul 24 2023
3

Hopelessly miserable, dark, sparse and depressing. It gave me sorrow. Would not listen again. I am not sure about how to rate it, because if I wanted to be desperately unhappy, I would go here. It is a musical feat to compose and arrange music so bleak.

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Sun Jan 21 2024
3

[note to self: Try to go into this review with an open mind.] So, here’s the thing about Joy Division… [second note to self: maybe that old adage was right, sometimes it’s better not to say anything at all]

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Tue Feb 13 2024
3

So bleak it begins to blur while listening.

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Thu Oct 13 2022
2

Kind of weird, I guess this is post punk or new wave or the start of emo I don't know. Appropriately depressing for a dreary, gray October morning.

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Wed Nov 15 2023
2

Bloody, bloody awful vocals. No other way to put it. The music is really good, which is a missed opportunity.

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Sat Dec 16 2023
2

I've always been turned off of this bank because of the vocals. I like the music and other post-punk banks like The Cure. I even like some bands with vocals similar to this. Interzone reminds me of Gord Downie, for example, when he sings the counterpoints. This records is definitely hit and miss. Some tracks wash over me and I don't mind them, but then a funeral dirge hits and I'm like ugh, skip. Overall, I feel like I'm missing the point here or something. I don't think I like it all that much, and for some reason that makes me feel guilty.

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Mon Dec 25 2023
2

No. 77/1001 Disorder 3/5 Day of the Lords 3/5 Candidate 2/5 Insight 2/5 New Dawn Fades 3/5 She's Lost Control 2/5 Shadowplay 2/5 Wilderness 2/5 Interzone 2/5 I Remember Nothing 1/5 Average: 2,2 I personally just don't like Post Punk. Musically this was fine, I just like this talk-singing that they are doing.

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Wed Oct 13 2021
1

Very depressing - Wife said, if you really want to listen to that grab your headphones and make sure there are no knifes or guns around. - Guess that said it all.

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Tue Nov 02 2021
1

If I needed to know not to listen to the Joy Division, this was my sign.

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Fri Dec 03 2021
1

Da der Sänger zu früh verstorben ist, mag es etwas unhöflich rüberkommen, wenn ich folgende Assoziation teile, für die ich um Verzeihung bitte: ich sehe da immer Kermit den Frosch aus der Muppet Show am Mikro. Ich kann der Musik beim besten Willen nichts gutes abgewinnen und halte das gesamte Oeuvre von Joy Division für komplett verzichtbar.

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Mon Sep 18 2023
1

Painful. And not in a good way. Boring. Sounds like dracula took a bunch of quaaludes. I will never trust that anyone could possibly enjoy this. They seem to also be responsible for influencing a lot of shoegazey british droning that came after it, and I really don't understand the draw. Anyone that says they like this has to be just feeling pretentious or something.

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Fri Nov 20 2020
5

Not as good as the follow up

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Fri Jun 04 2021
5

Love it. So moody, so alternative, so unique. Does this mean I should've been a grunge kid?

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Thu Jan 21 2021
5

A great album. Wonderful stuff.

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Fri Feb 19 2021
5

ian curtis was god damn brilliant

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Thu Jan 21 2021
5

This album is amazing. Now I really want to read the book you suggested John!

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Thu Mar 04 2021
5

One of my alltime favorites.

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Mon Mar 08 2021
5

Hey guys which JD album had love will tear us apart on it

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Tue Jan 26 2021
5

Not much comes close to joy Division.

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Sat Jan 30 2021
5

LOVE LOVE LOVE this. Goosebumps every time I hear the start of "Disorder".

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