Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Best Band Ever*

*according to me, at this moment, subject to change

This has been one of my favorite bands for awhile but I was kind of shying away from doing them here because they're a little depressing (and also I'm sure there are millions of people who know more about them than I and I hate being wrong) but with the post punk/new wave vibe of Gang of Four from last night (though the sounds are so different) and the fact I'm still not feeling "not dead" while the sky is still a sad shade of gray, I feel this is as good a time as any. And so Joy Division is the Best Band Ever.*

I think I first heard about Joy Division because of their connection to New Order, a band which I really enjoy, and so when I learned that New Order came from Joy Division I did my whole music research thing. But here's where my chronology gets fuzzy in my mind, whether I learned about Ian Curtis and his suicide (and mystique of dying young and alone) or whether I first heard the title of their song "Love Will Tear Us Apart" and thought it was the most brilliant thing ever. Let's go with the latter path. So this was around I think when I was going through a break up, which wasn't a break up because we didn't care about each other anymore, but that we were young and living across the country and felt it wouldn't be fair to either of us. And so I enjoyed the melancholy notion of love being the thing that can ruin a great friendship and cause irrepairbable divide. But also the fact that, as I felt at the time,relationships can induce boredom and that familiarity breeds contempt, which you can totally read in the lyrics

When routine bites hard,
And ambitions are low,
And resentment rides high,
But emotions won't grow,
And we're changing our ways,
Taking different roads.

Then love, love will tear us apart again.
Love, love will tear us apart again.

Why is the bedroom so cold?
You've turned away on your side.
Is my timing that flawed?
Our respect runs so dry.
Yet there's still this appeal
That we've kept through our lives.

But love, love will tear us apart again.
Love, love will tear us apart again.

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
But love, love will tear us apart again...

Once I listened to the song though I didn't think of such philosophy rather just how different the lightness of the melody,and the acoustic sound of the first guitar strut was from what I expected out of a band led by an eventual suicide and named after those who were forced to be prostitutes in the Nazi death camps.

Love Will Tear Us Apart (download)

Once I had this introduction I was sort of drawn to their other stuff, which was how I discovered what is, according to my iTunes play count, my most played (and thus favorite) song, Warsaw, which kind of surprised me when I learned that fact but then on second sight it made sense because it has that punk feel, it's short and fast and has a nice element of singability especially for a song inspired by Rudolf Hess
3, 5, 0, 1, 2, 5, Go!

I was there in the back stage,
When first light came around.
I grew up like a changeling,
To win the first time around.
I can see all the weakness.
I can pick all the faults.
Well I concede all the faith tests,
Just to stick in your throats.

31G, 31G, 31G

I hung around in your soundtrack,
To mirror all that you've done,
To find the right side of reason,
To kill the three lies for one,
I can see all the cold facts.
I can see through your eyes.
All this talk made no contact.
No matter how hard we tried.

31G, 31G, 31G

I can still hear the footsteps.
I can see only walls.
I slid into your man-traps,
With no hearing at all.
I just see contradiction,
Had to give up the fight,
Just to live in the past tense,
To make believe you were right.

31G, 31G, 31G

3, 5, 0, 1, 2, 5
(350125 being Hess' prisoner number)
Warsaw (download)
which lead me to deciding they were like the greatest band ever. And as I mentioned before in this post and on this site the notion of the doomed and tragic lead singer committing suicide had a kind of morbid fascination (as did the mystery surrounding Ian Curtis' death and what in Iggy Pop's The Idiot or Werner Herzog's Stroszek made him take that final step. I couldn't find it-thank heaven.) And though one obituary said" Now no one will remember what his work with Joy Division was like when he was alive; it will be perceived as tragic rather than courageous" if you just read their lyrics it is not quite a happy picture. Here's Atmosphere (and its gray lyrics and gray video)

Atmosphere (download)
I also loved New Dawn Fades, not only for the awesomeness of the title, though that was the reason at first, or that it fit my image of them but also that guitar crunching strumming is reminiscent of a song I can't place, but one that you can hear in a lot of places.
A change of speed, a change of style.
A change of scene, with no regrets,
A chance to watch, admire the distance,
Still occupied, though you forget.
Different colours, different shades,
Over each mistakes were made.
I took the blame.
Directionless so plain to see,
A loaded gun won't set you free.
So you say.

We'll share a drink and step outside,
An angry voice and one who cried,
'We'll give you everything and more,
The strain's too much, can't take much more.'
Oh, I've walked on water, run through fire,
Can't seem to feel it anymore.
It was me, waiting for me,
Hoping for something more,
Me, seeing me this time, hoping for something else.

New Dawn Fades (download)
Shadow Play

Shadow Play (download)
And two other favorite songs, Transmission and She's Lost Control (which I kind of like as an epithet for myself, or at least as an excuse)

Transmission (download)
She's Lost Control (download)
And so for all those reasons, plus the fact I really am intrigued by Control (and love Samantha Morton) and the fact that to deflect criticism of his band Paul Banks said that he had never heard of them(which is a ludicrous statement for a band so steeped in that tradition) even though they're one of the most influential bands of the last 30 years, Joy Division is the Best Band Ever*

Here are more goodies in mp3 form:
Sister Ray (Velvet Underground Cover)[download]
Something Must Break [download] (Maybe my favorite lyrics of any of their songs**)
Jose Gonzalez- Love Will Tear Us Apart [download]
Nouvelle Vague- Love Will Tear Us Apart [download]
Slumber Party- Love Will Tear Us Apart [download]

**Two ways to choose,
On a razor's edge,
Remain behind,
Go straight ahead.
Room full of people, room for just one,
If I can't break out now, the time just won't come.
Two ways to choose,
Which way to go,
Decide for me,
Please let me know.
Looked in the mirror, saw I was wrong,
If I could get back to where I belong, where I belong.
Two ways to choose,
Which way to go,
Had thoughts for one
Designs for both.
But we were immortal, we were not there,
Washed up on the beaches, struggling for air.
I see your face still in my window,
Torments yet calms, won't set me free,
Something must break now,
This life isn't mine,
Something must break now,
Wait for the time,
Something must break.

(and now I'm not actually depressed.)

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