|Studio album by|
|Released||July 18, 1980|
|Studio||Britannia Row, Islington|
|Joy Division chronology|
Closer is the second and final studio album by English rock band Joy Division, released on 18 July 1980 by Factory Records.Produced by Martin Hannett, it was released two months after the suicide of the band's lead singer and lyricist Ian Curtis.
The album reached No. 6 on the UK Albums Chartand peaked at No. 3 in New Zealand in September 1981. Closer was also named NME Album of the Year. It was remastered and re-released in 2007. Today, Closer is widely recognised as a seminal release of the post-punk era.
Following the release of the non-album single "Love Will Tear Us Apart" in June 1980, the remaining members re-formed as New Order.
The songs on Closer were drawn from two distinct periods. The earlier guitar-driven compositions were written during the latter half of 1979: "Atrocity Exhibition", "Passover", "Colony", "A Means to an End" and "Twenty Four Hours". All were played live during that year, with some being recorded for various radio sessions. The album's other songs were written in early 1980, and included more prominent use of synthesisers: "Isolation", "Heart and Soul", "The Eternal" and "Decades".Most songs were written or structured during jam sessions in the band's practice room.
Bernard Sumner, recollecting on Ian Curtis's mindset during the recording sessions for Closer. October 2007.
Regarding the album's lyrical content, Bernard Sumner recollected: "We'd go to rehearsals and sit around and talk about really banal things. We'd do that until we couldn't talk about banal things any more, then we'd pick up our instruments and record into a little cassette player. We didn't talk about the music or the lyrics very much. We never analysed it."
Closer was recorded between 18 and 30 March 1980 at Britannia Row Studios in Islington, London.It was produced by Martin Hannett. His production has been highly praised, with Pitchfork describing it as "sepulchral." However, as with their debut album, both Hook and Sumner were unhappy with Hannett's work. Peter Hook later complained that the track "Atrocity Exhibition" was mixed on one of his days off, and when he heard the final product he was disappointed that the abrasiveness of his guitar part had been laden with effects and toned down. He wrote; "I was like, head in hands, oh fucking hell, it's happening again. Unknown Pleasures number two ... Martin [Hannett] had melted the guitar with his Marshall Time Waster. Made it sound like somebody strangling a cat, and to my mind, absolutely killed the song. I was so annoyed with him and went in and gave him a piece of my mind but he just turned around and told me to fuck off."
The 1970 collection of "condensed novels" The Atrocity Exhibition by J. G. Ballard was an influence on the album, and shares its title with the opening track.
The album cover was designed by Martyn Atkins and Peter Saville, with a photograph of the Appiani family tomb in Genoa's Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno adorning much of the sleeve.The image itself was taken by Bernard Pierre Wolff in 1978. In a 2007 documentary on the band, designer Peter Saville commented that he, upon learning of singer Ian Curtis's suicide, expressed immediate concern over the album's design as it depicted a funeral theme, remarking "we've got a tomb on the cover of the album!"
Closer was released on 18 July 1980 by Factory Records, as a 12" vinyl LP. The album reached No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart.It also peaked at No. 3 in New Zealand in September 1981. Closer was also named NME Album of the Year. The album, along with Unknown Pleasures and Still , was remastered and re-released in 2007. As with Unknown Pleasures and Still, the remaster was packaged with a bonus live disc, recorded at the University of London Union.
Factory boss Tony Wilson was pleased with the final album and predicted it would be a commercial success. Sumner recalled him saying at the time, "You know, Bernard, this time next year you'll be lounging by a swimming pool in LA with a cocktail in your hand." Sumner was less optimistic and "just thought it was the most utterly ridiculous thing anyone had ever said to me."
|Christgau's Record Guide||A−|
|Encyclopedia of Popular Music|
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|
|Spin Alternative Record Guide||10/10|
At the time of release, Sounds critic Dave McCullough wrote that there were "dark strokes of gothic rock" on Closer. He described the album as "breathtaking rock music, a peak of current peaks, a sharing of something that's in [...] others at this time, but at the same time defining those black notions and leaving them unmatched."Writing for Smash Hits , Alastair Macaulay described the album as an "exercise in dark controlled passion" and wrote that its music "stands up on its own as the band's epitaph". Writing for Melody Maker , Paolo Hewitt described the album as "probably some of the most irresistible dance music we'll hear this year [and] a far cry for sure from the almost suffocating claustrophobic world of the debut album," adding that "the best (and most subversive?) rock music has always dealt head-on with emotions and thought rather than clichéd, standardised stances; that's what makes Closer and Joy Division so important."
At the end of 1980, Closer was voted the 22nd best record of the year in the Pazz & Jop, an annual poll of American critics published by The Village Voice . 's Mikal Gilmore, in a 1981 profile of the band's work, wrote: "The music turns leaden, gray and steady because it means to fulfill a vision of a world where suffering is unremitting and nothingness is quiescent." 2005 book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die defines Closer a "quantum leap" in terms of progression when compared to the band's debut album. According to Colin Larkin, Closer has since been "deservedly regarded by many critics as the most brilliant rock album of the 80s"; Larkin himself found the record flawless, writing in his Encyclopedia of Popular Music (2011) that it showed Joy Division at their creative peak and "maturity in every area" of their music. In his review of the 2007 reissue of the album, Pitchfork critic Joshua Klein described the album as "even more austere, more claustrophobic, more inventive, more beautiful and more haunting than its predecessor", calling it "Joy Division's start-to-finish masterpiece; a flawless encapsulation of everything the group sought to achieve."Robert Christgau, the poll's supervisor, deemed the album an improvement over Unknown Pleasures in a retrospective review: "Curtis's torment is less oppressive here because it's less dominant—the dark, roiling, off-center rhythms have a life of their own. And if last time the dancier material had hooks, this time even the dirges have something closely resembling tunes." Rolling Stone
Closer has been highly acclaimed, and is often cited as Joy Division's finest work, being considered by music critics such as Mark Fisher to be "the crown jewel of post-punk" 's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.and receiving praise from artists such as George Michael. The album was voted number 1 in the 1980 Albums of the Year poll conducted by music magazine NME , and would be listed as number 157 upon the Rolling Stone
By 1982 Closer had sold over 250,000 copies worldwide, with the posthumous single "Love Will Tear Us Apart" having also sold over 160,000 copies.
In 1995 Closer was ranked one of the top 100 alternative albums ever to be released by Spin magazine (placing at number 69).In 2002, the American online magazine Pitchfork listed Closer as the 10th best album to be released in the 1980s.
The album placed at number 72 on NME 's list of the 100 greatest British albums ever to be released. In addition, Q magazine placed Closer at number 8 in a list compiled of the 40 greatest albums to be released in the 1980s. In 2012, Slant Magazine listed the album at number 7 upon their compiled list of the best albums of the 1980s.
All songs written by Ian Curtis, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris and Bernard Sumner.
|5.||"A Means to an End"||4:07|
|6.||"Heart and Soul"||5:51|
|7.||"Twenty Four Hours"||4:26|
Note: the original vinyl disc only contained a small etching on the disk marking the A and B sides.
|3.||"A Means to an End"||4:01|
|4.||"Twenty Four Hours"||4:06|
|9.||"Love Will Tear Us Apart"||3:14|
|New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)||3|
|UK Albums (OCC)||6|
|Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)||68|
|Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)||124|
|Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)||27|
|German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)||13|
|Hungarian Albums (MAHASZ)||13|
|Irish Albums (OCC)||31|
|Italian Albums (FIMI)||31|
|Polish Albums (ZPAV)||23|
|Portuguese Albums (AFP)||43|
|Scottish Albums (OCC)||4|
|Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)||39|
|Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)||23|
Joy Division were an English rock band formed in Salford in 1976. The group consisted of vocalist Ian Curtis, guitarist/keyboardist Bernard Sumner, bassist Peter Hook and drummer Stephen Morris.
New Order are an English rock band formed in 1980 by vocalist and guitarist Bernard Sumner, bassist Peter Hook, and drummer Stephen Morris. The band formed after the demise of Joy Division, following the suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis; they were joined by Gillian Gilbert on keyboards later that year. New Order's integration of post-punk with electronic and dance music made them one of the most acclaimed and influential bands of the 1980s. They were the flagship band for Manchester-based independent record label Factory Records and its nightclub The Haçienda, and worked in long-term collaboration with graphic designer Peter Saville.
Ian Kevin Curtis was an English singer-songwriter and musician. He was the lead singer and lyricist of the post-punk band Joy Division and recorded two albums with the group: Unknown Pleasures (1979) and Closer (1980). Curtis was known for his bass-baritone voice, dance style, and songwriting typically filled with imagery of desolation, emptiness, and alienation.
Peter Hook is an English singer, songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. He is best known as the bassist and co-founder of English rock bands Joy Division and New Order. Hook often used the bass as a lead instrument, playing melodies on the high strings with a signature heavy chorus effect. In New Order, he would do this, leaving the actual basslines to keyboards or sequencers.
Bernard Sumner is an English singer, songwriter, musician, and record producer. He is best known as a founding member of both Joy Division, for whom he was the lead guitarist and keyboardist, and New Order, for whom he is the lead vocalist and guitarist. He has also been credited with advancing UK dance music and popularising the use of sequencers. In the early 1990s, he formed the duo Electronic alongside The Smiths' guitarist Johnny Marr.
Unknown Pleasures is the debut studio album by English rock band Joy Division, released on 15 June 1979 by Factory Records. The album was recorded and mixed over three successive weekends at Stockport's Strawberry Studios in April 1979, and was produced by Martin Hannett, who incorporated a number of unconventional production techniques into the group's sound. The cover artwork was designed by artist Peter Saville, using a data plot of signals from a radio pulsar. It is the only Joy Division album released during lead singer Ian Curtis's lifetime.
Monaco are an English rock band, originally formed in 1995 as a side project of New Order bassist Peter Hook, together with David Potts, the only remaining member of Hook's previous New Order side project, Revenge. The group is best known for the 1997 single "What Do You Want from Me?" and the album from which it was taken, Music for Pleasure, which sold over half a million copies. Hook and Potts currently perform together in Peter Hook and The Light.
"Ceremony" is a song by Joy Division, released as New Order's debut single in 1981. The song and its B-side, "In a Lonely Place", were written and recorded as Joy Division prior to the death of Ian Curtis. Both were re-recorded and carried over to Joy Division's re-formation under the name New Order.
Movement is the debut studio album by English rock band New Order, released on 13 November 1981 by Factory Records. At the time of its release, the album was not particularly well-received by critics or audiences, only peaking at number thirty on the UK Albums Chart. However, retrospective critical reception has been very positive.
Still is a compilation album by English rock band Joy Division, consisting of previously released and unreleased studio material and a live recording of Joy Division's last concert, performed at Birmingham University. It was released on 8 October 1981 by Factory Records, and was intended to both combat the trade in bootlegs and give fans access to recordings that were not widely available at the time.
"Love Will Tear Us Apart" is a song by English rock band Joy Division, released in June 1980. Its lyrics were inspired by lead singer Ian Curtis' marriage problems and frame of mind before his suicide in May 1980.
Substance is a singles compilation album by English rock band Joy Division. It was released on 11 July 1988 by Factory Records. It is the companion to a similar singles compilation by their subsequent band New Order, also entitled Substance. It peaked at number 7 on the UK Albums Chart and 146 on the Billboard 200, the band's only chart appearance in the United States. It also reached number 15 in New Zealand and number 53 in Australia in August 1988.
"Isolation" is a 1980 song appearing on the post-punk band Joy Division's second and final album Closer. The song is based on an electronic drum beat by Stephen Morris, accompanied by a thin, trebly keyboard part by Bernard Sumner. Midway through the song, a rushing drum and hi-hat motif come in, propelling the song toward its dramatic end.
Permanent is a compilation album by English post-punk band Joy Division. It was released in the United Kingdom on 8 May 1995 by London Records and in the United States on 15 August 1995 by Qwest Records and Warner Bros. Records. The album charted for three weeks and peaked at number 16 on the UK Albums Chart.
"Atmosphere" is a song by English post-punk band Joy Division. It was originally released in March 1980 by the Sordide Sentimental label as the "Licht und Blindheit" package, a France-only limited edition single featuring the track "Dead Souls" as the B-side. Following Ian Curtis's death two months later, it was re-released as a 12" single by Factory Records with "She's Lost Control" as the B-side.
"New Dawn Fades" is a song from the 1979 debut album by Joy Division. The song opens with a backwards and heavily modified sample from a previous song, "Insight", presumably added by Martin Hannett, post-production. The song relies on an ascending guitar riff by Bernard Sumner played against a descending bass riff by Peter Hook. The song uses the same progression throughout, but grows in intensity as the song progresses, reaching its peak with Ian Curtis singing "Me, seeing me this time, hoping for something else", and ending with a guitar solo. The song closes side one of Unknown Pleasures. It's also one of few Joy Division songs with two distinct guitars playing, one distorted and one a clean electric guitar picking notes from the guitar chords.
The discography of English rock band Joy Division consists of two studio albums, four live albums, twelve compilation albums, three extended plays, and five singles. The list does not include material performed by former members of Joy Division that was recorded as New Order or related side projects.
Peter Hook and The Light are an English rock band, formed in May 2010 by bass guitarist/vocalist Peter Hook, formerly of the influential post-punk bands Joy Division and New Order. The band also features Hook's son Jack Bates (bass), as well as Andy Poole (keyboards) and Paul Kehoe (drums), who both played with Hook as part of Monaco, one of Hook's previous groups. From the first gigs in May 2010, Nat Wason was the group's guitarist, however in July 2013 he was replaced by David Potts, another former member of Monaco.
"Atrocity Exhibition" is a 1980 song by Joy Division, the opening track on their second and final album Closer. It was produced by Martin Hannett, and recorded at Pink Floyd's Britannia Row Studios, London.
Young men in dark silhouettes, some darker than others, looking inwards, looking out, discovering the same horror and describing it with the same dark strokes of gothic rock.