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could it be that joy division...isn't any good?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Brad Barker, Jan 16, 2005.

  1. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    yeah, over the past couple of months, i've been getting into stuff like the cure and the smiths.

    and i've heard that joy division is THE band of that sort.

    but...listening to the clips on amazon... it just doesn't sound good. ian curtis makes robert smith sound like morissey!

    i just...i just don't know what to make of it.

    maybe it's cuz i don't have an appreciation of vocalists who don't have a good voice?

    disappointing, because i really wanted to like it, too.
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    In answer to your question, no. :) I'd have to respectfully disagree.

    I don't think you can lump all those three bands together, and say bands 'of that sort'.

    Ian Curtis wasn't the technically best singer around. But he put more emotion and soul into those songs than most singers ever do. I'd listen to Ian Curtis pouring his heart out over the soulless singing of Whitney Houston / Mariah Carey any day.
    Joy Division have always been, and remain, one of my favorite bands. The drummer was rock solid and creative, Hooky was an idiot savant on bass, and Barney was a surprisingly inventive guitar player.
  3. I took me a little bit to get into Joy Division, but they are so great. I've been getting more and more into singers who don't have the best voice but put so much soul into their music (Billy Corgan, Ian Curtis and Henry Rollins come to mind) rather than those who hit every note but do it so flawlessly, all the soul is sucked out of it.
  4. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    yeah, joy division needed maria carey to sing for'em. :D

    it's not that ian curtis is bad. it's just that he's intolerably bad to my ears.

    just wanted to hear the dissenting opinoins. :)
  5. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    I wouldn't go dismissing a band solely on the strength of just a couple of clips. You might be checking out the wrong tunes for one thing. To me, "Love Will Tear Us Apart" is one of the darkest anthems in the history of roicka dn it moves me every time.

    I'll tell you one thing, though. You're smart to check out some of the bands being namechecked by todays' indie bands. I think that if you investigate Gang Of Four, New Order, early Cure, Buzzcocks, early XTC, Magazine, Wire and Mission Of Burma you will easily indentify the origins of Interpol, Hot Hot heat, Snow Patrol, Franz Ferdinand, The Killers, Modest Mouse (who are old enough to know who they're ripping off) and a ton of other current popular bands. Even a band like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who I happen to find very original, owe a huge debt to patti smith and early Blondie.

    It's just a great thing when you discover that there is always a whole world of amazing music you've never heard. I've been a pop fan for my whole life, spent years of my life plowing through used record stores and I discover new things all the time. I just got an anthology of the Nazz- Todd Rundgren's first band- that is completely blowing my mind.

    Every now and and again I think of the fact that there's somebody discovering the first Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers album somewhere and it makes me happy.
  6. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca

    yeah, that's one concern, that i'm not getting the complete picture. i'll keep my roommate on the lookout on iTunes. (gotta love college.)

    as far as why i'm getting into early-80s melancholic music isn't really to see the influences of modern bands. i really don't care.

    in ~october 2003, hewlett packard used "pictures of you" by the cure in one of their ads.

    what a shallow way to get into such a great band. :oops:
  7. Tecx

    Tecx Radio Rock Leads To Sterility

    Jun 9, 2002
    Halifax, NS, Canada
    Joy Division where one of the greatest bands of all time. Period. If you think about all the bands they effected at the time, and afterward. Not to mention what they did for the "scene" and Factory itself.

    And I beg to differ on Ian's vocals. I think they are beautiful, they added to the fragility of the music itself. Ian's vocals are a very important dynamic of Joy Division's sound, everyone did their part to make the band what it was - and that was beautiful. THAT is why after he dies Joy Division ceased to exist, and New Order was a completely different project.

    End rant...

  8. Against Will

    Against Will Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Big Sound Central
    It takes some people longer than others to get into Joy Division. It took me a while to get used to them because they always sounded so skeletal to me (Ian Curtis' voice was also kind of weird). But the bass and drums are stunning on all of their recordings.
  9. Hmmm... all this Curtis talk and yet it was Hooky's intrepid rule-breaking basslines that did it for me. First time I heard JD I went "holy sh... the bass is the main part! This guy is nuts!" The guy did wonders on that Hondo Rick copy until he broke it trying to hit some jerks at a club.

    Actually though my faves come from Substance, which includes Joy's earlier punkier stuff as Warsaw.

    Curtis couldn't really sing properly due to his epillepsy and depressive conditions. But it was ALL REAL!

    Cure and Smiths are on another vector, more melodic and melancholic while Joy was chaos and darkness.
  10. genderblind


    Oct 21, 2004
    Seems like Interpol thinks that Joy Division were alright judging by their copycat act that sells as original thanks to the nostalgia marketing gurus and an uncritical audience.

  11. Tecx

    Tecx Radio Rock Leads To Sterility

    Jun 9, 2002
    Halifax, NS, Canada
    Peter is the main reason I LOVE JD, I was just defending a dead man... :smug: But seriously, I have spent the last 5 years of my life looking for a Shergold 6 string... Plus I always teach my students hooky's parts... So I am with ya bro!


  12. Tecx

    Tecx Radio Rock Leads To Sterility

    Jun 9, 2002
    Halifax, NS, Canada
    Actualy, I found their first album a nice homage to JD, but their new album is the FARTHIST thing from their first album. They are wearing their influences further up their sleaves...


  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    This is the kind of thing that makes me glad I grew up in the heyday of music-making and not now, when it seems to be all about instant gratification, download a clip onto the next thing!! :meh:

    Joy Division are all about mood,atmosphere - creating something emotional and moving - you can't get it from listening to a clip on your PC!! :scowl:

    I can remember buying "Closer" on vinyl and it was all about the whole experience - fantastically stark, but beautiful cover art - then put the album on and listen to it as a whole on a good Hi Fi system, loud!! - an intense work of art!!

    Not something that can be conveyed by exceprts - an amazing experience and totally unlike anything else going on at the time!
  14. I have difficulty listening to Joy Division, but I love New Order.... it is just a matter of personal taste. To each his/her own. :meh:
  15. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I love New Order too, I'll buy any record with their name on it, but to my ears their stuff doesn't have anywhere near the same emotional impact as JD stuff did/does.

    Brad Barker,
    buy/rent the movie '24 hour party people' if you can. You'll hear more complete JD songs, as well as learning the backstory of New Order / Joy Division.
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I saw one of New Order's first ever gigs - a secret (unadvertised) gig in Brighton, not long after Ian Curtis' death.

    It was a small basement club with no real stage and I was standing a few inches in front of Peter Hook - there was incredible intensity in the performances and they were almost indistinguishable in feel and mood from Joy Division.

    They only really started to diverge with the release of the dance mixes of Blue Monday - I was totally stunned when I first heard this on the radio and thought it was like "disposable pap" compared with what they were doing before - although I've since come to love it!! :)

    I think the real point is that their music (both JD and NO) requires time and effort on the part of the listener - which is why I say that downloading the odd clip, is missing the point, big time!!! :meh:
  17. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I suppose it depends on your definition of "good".

    I've heard all those bands and yes **I** would lump them together as "similar" at least in terms of mood (depressed!). Of the three, JD is the least complex musically, they could barely play their instruments and the production of their records was bare bones.

    I can't say I'd agree with JD as "one of the greatest bands of all time. Period" as they were pretty derivative...mix in some VU, some Leonard Cohen and some Roxy Music and there you go.

    Like all pop music you're going to either like it or not. I certainly enjoy spinning "Love Will Break Us Apart" and "Blue Monday" now and then but I'll never be tempted to go shopping for every JD and NO title I can get my hands on. Then again I'd rather hear them than Britney :D
  18. keb


    Mar 30, 2004
    I was big into NO/JD some 16-17 years ago, but they kinda lost me after Technique. They were an inspiration though. Hook didn't influence me too much though, strangely enough (though my brother, also a bassist, loves Hooky.)

    As flawed as Ian's and Barney's voices are, the songs just wouldn't be the same without them. Like Rush without Geddy Lee's wailing, the Smiths without Morrissey's droning, etc.
  19. Tecx

    Tecx Radio Rock Leads To Sterility

    Jun 9, 2002
    Halifax, NS, Canada
    Wow, we finaly agree on not 1 but 2 things Bruce!!! I tip my hat to you sir, both points are absolutly true...



  20. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I think you're right about how they started in the British Punk movement - but by the end of their career, Joy Division were a long way from this point!

    If you listen to "Closer" it is a masterpiece of production by Martin Hannett and the playing is truly original - Hook's bass lines are unusual, central to most songs and were copied by many other bassists after that. The keyboards are not about virtuosity but are layered and atmospheric.

    Listen to later works like "Atmosphere" and you have a band on the cutting edge - starkly symphonic - shimmering keyboards, mournful but tuneful vocals and interesting drum and bass rhythms.

    By the time of Ian Curtis's death - the band members and Gillian were ploughing a unique and original furrow of music that was copied by hundreds of other bands.

    Textures by Gillian and Barney, unusual drum patterns and rhythms - Hooky playing six-string lead lines on customised basses - it was far from their humble punk beginnings!!