You cry out in your sleep,
All my failings exposed.
And there’s a taste in my mouth,
As desperation takes hold.
Just that something so good just can’t function no more.
“Love Will Tear Us Apart Again” – Joy Division
If there are more devastating lyrics than these in a love song, I don’t think I have heard them yet. The second server we are rolling out this Fall at Reclaim Hosting is named after the Manchester legends of post-punk: Joy Division. As a kid coming of age to music in the 1980s, few bands had a more powerful aura even before hearing their music. Much of this was because of Ian Curtis’s suicide before their planned U.S. tour.* All of which was further reinforced by the band’s dark, ambient sense of an emotional world lost—which adds further fuel to the narrative that associates them with a whole new gothic sound. The 1980s pastiche Stranger Things didn’t miss the psychic hold this band had on a generation, and I was taken by the fact they chose the song “Atmosphere.”
I spent time listening to this song a bit recently, and I was struck how this song seems to provide a roadmap for The Cure’s 1989 masterpiece Disintegration. Take a listen at minute 1:25 of the video above, and then listen to minute 1:20 of The Cure’s third song off that album, “Closedown,” below.
Not identical necessarily, but one is so heavily influenced by the other that it seems The Cure took that one song and turned it into an entire album—speaking volumes to the depths of Joy Division’s sound. And as I was listening and reading around the topic online most folks point to producer Martin Hannett for the distinctive sound you find in songs like “Atmosphere,” “Transmission,” “She’s Lost Control Again,” “Love Will Tear Us Apart Again,” etc. There is a cool video of Hannett talking about post-production and his creation of an “Imaginary Room” of sound with Tony Wilson on YouTube that is worth watching if your interested:
Martin Hannett’s production of Joy Division’s sound is also referenced in the brilliant film 24 Hour Party People (the story of Tony Wilson and Factory Records) and the scene at the end of the following video suggests even Joy Division accepted Hannett produced their signature sound that would go on to fuel a generation of Goth! 🙂
Interestingly enough that actor who plays Hannett (Andy Serkis), also plays Gollum in LOTR—so he has a long tradition of playing medieval emo Goths 😉
*The apocryphal legend often repeated at the local Long Island record shop was that Ian Curtis had hanged himself slowly by standing on a block of ice and waiting for it to melt.This was just a few years after the fact, and it already had taken on mythic status an ocean away.