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"Tears of sadness for you. More upheaval for you. Reflects a moment in time, a special moment in time."

"This is the car at the edge of the road,
There's nothing disturbed, all the windows are closed,
I guess you were right, when we talked in the heat,
There's no room for the weak, no room for the weak.

Where will it end? Where will it end?
Where will it end? Where will it end?"
— "Day of the Lords"
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Unknown Pleasures is the debut studio album by Joy Division, released in 1979. It would be the only full musical album front singer Ian Curtis lived to see released, as he hanged himself in 1980. A posthumous album, Closer, was released following Ian's suicide. Fan favourites from this album include "Disorder", "Day of the Lords", "Insight", "She's Lost Control", "Interzone" and "Shadowplay". While the album failed to chart on initial release in the U.K. Official Albums Chart, it peaked at No. 2 on the U.K. indie chart when it was first published in January 1980. The album peaked at No. 71 on the album chart when it was reissued following Ian Curtis' suicide, as well as topping the indie chart. The album completely missed the Billboard album chart when it was released stateside in October 1980, but received wide critical acclaim.

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Tracklist:

Outside

  1. "Disorder" (3:32)
  2. "Day of the Lords" (4:49)
  3. "Candidate" (3:05)
  4. "Insight" (4:29)
  5. "New Dawn Fades" (4:47)

Inside

  1. "She's Lost Control" (3:57)
  2. "Shadowplay" (3:55)
  3. "Wilderness" (2:38)
  4. "Interzone" (2:16)
  5. "I Remember Nothing" (5:53)

Bonus Disc (2007 Remaster) (Live):

  1. "Dead Souls" (4:25)
  2. "The Only Mistake" (4:12)
  3. "Insight" (3:52)
  4. "Candidate" (2:07)
  5. "Wilderness" (2:32)
  6. "She's Lost Control" (3:47)
  7. "Shadowplay" (3:34)
  8. "Disorder" (3:28)
  9. "Interzone" (2:05)
  10. "Atrocity Exhibition" (6:14)
  11. "Novelty" (4:28)
  12. "Transmission" (3:49)

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I've been waiting for a trope to come and take me by the hand:

  • Accentuate the Negative: The album is depressing throughout.
  • All for Nothing: "Candidate":
    I campaigned for nothing, I worked hard for this
  • Awful Wedded Life: "Candidate":
    I tried to get to you
    You treat me like this
  • The Bad Guy Wins: "Day of the Lords":
    There's no room for the weak
  • Continuity Nod: "Leave Me Alone" from New Order's Power, Corruption & Lies (1983) uses the same chord progression (on bass, at least) as "Shadowplay", albeit in a different key and slowed down a little.
  • Crapsack World: It's a Joy Division album, after all.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The cover art, which suits the album's somber mood.
  • Den of Iniquity: "Day of the Lords":
    This is the room, the start of it all
    No portrait so fine, only sheets on the wall
    I've seen the nights, filled with blood-sport and pain
    And the bodies obtained, the bodies obtained.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: Peter Saville's Textless Album Cover, which is based on an image of radio waves from pulsar CP 1919.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Most songs would apply, most strikingly in "New Dawn Fades" where Curtis sings he's not afraid anymore to make an end to his life.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: "Disorder":
    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?
  • Downer Ending: Not that the album is particularly upbeat anyway, but "I Remember Nothing" manages to be this, being a lengthy synth dirge about the distance Curtis felt from his acquaintances.
  • Driven to Suicide: A theme of the album.
  • Echoing Acoustics: Martin Hannett's production used a lot of reverb, courtesy of then-new digital delay. The echoes give the album a ghostly feel.
  • Empty Shell: Induced by feelings of depression. Particularly prominent in "New Dawn Fades":
    It was me, waiting for me, hoping for something more,
    Me, seeing me this time, hoping for something else
  • Goth Rock: A cornerstone of Post-Punk that influenced the genre.
  • Humans Are Bastards: "Wilderness":
    "I traveled far and wide through prisons of the cross
    What did you see there?
    The power and glory of sin
    What did you see there?
    The blood of Christ on their skins"
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The two sides of the vinyl version are labeled "Outside" and "Inside".
  • Innocent Bystander: The protagonist in "Shadowplay":
    "As the assassins all grouped in four lines, dancing on the floor,
    And with cold steel, odour on their bodies made a move to connect,
    But I could only stare in disbelief as the crowds all left."
  • Letting the Air Out of the Band: The end of "Candidate".
  • Longest Song Goes Last: "I Remember Nothing", which is nearly six minutes long.
  • Madden Into Misanthropy: "She's Lost Control":
    And how I'll never know just why or understand
    She said I've lost control again.
    And she screamed out kicking on her side
    And said I've lost control again.
    And seized up on the floor, I thought she'd die.
    She said I've lost control.
    She's lost control again.
    She's lost control.
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: Assuming that the lyrics reflect Ian's thoughts.
  • Mind Screw: "She's Lost Control":
    And walked upon the edge of no escape
    And laughed I've lost control
    She's lost control again
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: Just an image of radio waves on a black background.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: "Shadowplay":
    I did everything, everything I wanted to
    I let them use you for their own ends
  • Non-Indicative Name: This gloomy album isn't about "unknown pleasures" at all. Or, in a bit of Fridge Brilliance, it is, since those feelings are "unknown".
  • Post-Punk: A cornerstone of the genre.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: "She's Lost Control" was inspired by a woman with epilepsy at Ian's day job attempting to find employment for her, as well as Ian's own experiences with epilepsy. When the woman stopped showing up, he called her home to find she'd died after a seizure.
  • Refrain from Assuming: No, the song is not called "Remember When We Were Young"; it's called "Insight".
  • Religion Is Wrong: "Wilderness" (Though to be fair, it's mostly about atrocities committed in the name of Christ):
    I saw all knowledge destroyed
    (...) The blood of Christ on their skins
  • Shout-Out: The Arctic Monkeys album AM has an album cover that resembles Unknown Pleasures.
    • The Biopic Control (2009), about Ian Curtis, is named after the song "She's Lost Control".
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Peter Hook sings lead on "Interzone", although Ian Curtis does the background vocal.
  • Suicide Is Painless: "Insight":
    And all God's angels beware
    And all you judges beware
    Sons of chance, take good care
    For all the people not there
    I'm not afraid anymore
    I'm not afraid anymore
    I'm not afraid anymore
    Oh, I'm not afraid anymore
  • Tears of Remorse: "Shadowplay", where Curtis feels guilty of letting the assassins "use you for their own ends".
  • Time Travel: "Wilderness", in which Curtis sings as if he's an ancient traveler who saw nothing but mankind's misery and despair around him.
  • With Friends Like These...: "I Remember Nothing".
  • Wretched Hive: The lyrics paint the image of one.
  • You Cannot Kill An Idea: Inverted in "Wilderness":
    I saw all knowledge destroyed.

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