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YMMV / Joy Division

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  • Angst Aversion: As noted below, True Art Is Angsty. If you don’t want to listen to unsettling lyrics mumbled by a suicidally depressed man set to haunting and claustrophobic music, do not listen to Joy Division.
  • Broken Base:
    • The production of Martin Hannett. Most people, including Ian Curtis, are fond of his sterile production style, while many fans who heard the band's live material are surprised by the raw energy and prefer Joy Division as a live band. In interviews Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook themselves that they only initially wanted Unknown Pleasures to sound how they sounded live and were initially unhappy with Hannett's style. Some fans love both styles of the band, the studio style and the live concert style.
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    • Which is better, Unknown Pleasures or Closer? The latter is commonly considered the band's masterpiece. However, some prefer the less experimental, more rock-oriented style of the former and dislike the experimental, synth-heavy direction on the latter with its comparatively dry production. Again, there are fans who love both albums.
  • Creator Backlash: As mentioned above, Sumner and Hook (and Morris as well) were not fond of the production on their albums, claiming that Hannett took them too far away from their live sound. Hook and Morris eventually came around and are quite fond of the albums' overall sound now, but Sumner never has.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Curtis. Control hypothesizes that after having a verbal altercation with his wife (chasing her out of the house) and watching TV, Curtis suffered another grand mal seizure and collapsed. When he came to again, he crossed the horizon — and was Driven to Suicide as a result.
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  • Fandom Rivalry: Oh god, Joy Division fans vs. New Order fans. Joy Division fans argue that the band is nothing without Ian Curtis's dark, poetic lyrics, while New Order fans argue that New Order has the energy, song-writing prowess and experimentation that made Joy Division great or was lacking in Joy Division. Of course, many more fans enjoy both bands.
  • Gateway Series: A lot of people discover Post-Punk with this band.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff:
    • Joy Division has a strong cult following in New Zealand. When Ian Curtis died, a fan had painted a tribute to him on a wall in Wellington, which still remains today, although it had been relocated and re-painted a few times. Chart wise, the band's first album reached number 1 there (in comparison, it peaked at 5 in the uk) as well as two number 1 singles.
    • Joy Division had a cult following almost immediately in America coming off the notoriety of Ian Curtis' suicide, becoming a critical favorite and receiving coverage in prestigious publications like The New York Times and Rolling Stone. Closer and "Love Will Tear Us Apart" made The Village Voice 1980 Pazz & Jop Critic's poll as imports before their official U.S. releases the following year, as did "Atmosphere", which did have a U.S. release. "Love Will Tear Us Apart" also charted on Billboard's disco chart, of all places. (New wave was mostly heard stateside in dance clubs at the time.) The band would prove a major influence on Alternative Rock on the other side of The Pond throughout the decade and beyond.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Most of Ian's lyrics are ominous but "In a Lonely Place" stand out. It never actually came out in Ian's lifetime, but New Order re-recorded it as a B-Side. The verse that stands out "Hangman looks round as he waits / Cord stretches tight and it breaks / One day we will die in your dreams / How I wish you were here with me now" Yikes.
    • Though not a Joy Division song, Throbbing Gristle's song "Weeping" become more chilling than usual when taken into account that it's not only about suicide, but one of Ian's favorite songs, to the point of singing parts of it during phone calls with TG members.
    • In 2017, Chris Cornell, former lead singer for Soundgarden and Audioslave, also hung himself on May 18... the same date as Ian's suicide. Some fans do not think his choice of method and date was at all a coincidence.
    • The first two sentences of Melody Maker's review of Unknown Pleasures: '"To talk of life today is like talking of rope in the house of a hanged man." Where will it end?'
    • The tombstone on the cover of Closer, which was released just weeks after Ian Curtis' suicide. (The art was created before his death.)
    • The artist responsible for the artwork for the "Love Will Tear Us Apart" single release said he only realized in retrospect that Curtis had intended the artwork to resemble a headstone.
    • The surviving band members have straight up admitted they never thought too hard about the lyrical content of Ian’s song writing, and they have all expressed regret at never reaching out to him.
  • Hype Backlash: A lot of people are annoyed at seeing the Unknown Pleasures cover everywhere.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Ian Curtis. Yes, by many accounts, he wasn't the easiest person to deal with, but given how much he suffered in life, it's nearly impossible not to feel sympathy for the guy. He had severe depression, very, very bad epilepsy (with regular tonic-clonic seizures), and of course, this was at a time when nobody understood it enough to effectively help him. His widow recounted emotionally abusive behavior toward her. The pills he was prescribed only exacerbated his depression, and the constant performing with the band only made his illness worse. There's also the fact that Curtis frequently felt like his audience only came to shows to watch him have epileptic fits instead of trying to get the message of his band's music. His life was not a very good one.
  • Mainstream Obscurity: More people have seen the cover of Unknown Pleasures than have actually heard the band.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Narm: Okay, maybe "narm" is too a harsh word to describe a band of this caliber, but let's be honest: Ian couldn't sing well. At all. If you can get past that, though...
  • Nightmare Fuel: Has its own page.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: Ian Curtis' suicide cast a long shadow over the band's music.
  • The Scrappy: Fans tend not to like Peter Hook due to his feuding with the other band members, seemingly being hell-bent on cashing in on the band's legacy and eradicating whatever mystique the band possessed.
  • Serious Business: Much like Kurt Cobain, Ian is remembered as a tragic tortured figure, but his bandmates remember him as a rather goofy, kind-hearted individual. Stephen Morris recalls in one book how he would drop Ian off at his house after gigs in the early hours and then Ian would take his dog for a walk in the middle of the night.
  • Signature Song: "Love Will Tear Us Apart."
  • Short-Lived Big Impact: Only released two albums (and quite a few EPs) during their three-year run, and are nowadays considered the most influential Post-Punk band.
  • Sophomore Slump: Closer is a notable aversion, being considered the band's masterpiece.
  • Tear Jerker: Has its own page.
  • Too Cool to Live: Ian Curtis. A supreme wordsmith with a uniquely captivating stage presence, who took his own life at only 23.
  • True Art Is Angsty: Both of their albums received unanimous critical praise, and their music is extremely gloomy.


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