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Joy Division - Closer (1980)

A harrowing, relentlessly bleak album that appeals to the depressive in me, it is also a masterpiece of so-called new wave/goth/'dark' music, and of music in general. I think Joy Division were totally unique. No one has sounded like them before or since. The bass used as a lead instrument, the clippity-cloppity martial drumming, the weird swathes of white noise and keyboards, and that voice: Ian Curtis was only 22 years old when he recorded this and then committed suicide, but he sounds so world-weary, so old inside, so fragile. This record is certainly a bit morbid, it has a certain tangible feeling of decay to it. If you're depressed, this is the perfect soundtrack to the horror and despair. If you want to be depressed, just put it on and, as if by magic, you will be...
Stand-out tracks to give you goose-bumps include the sharp shock of Isolation, and the amazing last three tracks: the stunning Twenty Four Hours, the achingly beautiful, elegiac funereal march of The Eternal, and the claustrophobic, swirling, hopeless melodies of Decades, slowly fading out and then coming to a sudden halt - it's almost too much to bear. Side 2 is like a voyage towards the darkest recesses of the mind: an incredible achievement in popular (?) music. Forget popular, this is basically classical music. It's too profound to be pop. They were from another planet.


Sarah Morgan