Joy Division - The Best of Joy Division (Rhino)

With the recent releases of the biopic Control, which focuses on the life of frontman Ian Curtis, and the documentary, Joy Division, interest in the legendary Manchester post-punk band has been as great as ever since Curtis’ tragic suicide in 1980. If for some reason you do not own the group’s two groundbreaking studio albums, Unknown Pleasures (1979) and Closer (1980) (both have just been given the Rhino Records deluxe reissue treatment), this compilation serves as an excellent introduction. While initially inspired by the manic punk energy of The Sex Pistols and The Buzzcocks, Joy Division explored much bleaker terrain. The combination of Curtis’ tortured lyrics and the band’s moody soundscapes, often dominated by Peter Hook’s haunting bass rumblings, led some to call Joy Division the godfathers of goth rock. It’s hard to pick out highlights from a band that was never short of amazing, but some personal favorites here include the dark disco vibes of “Transmission” and “She’s Lost Control,” the orchestral epic “Atmosphere,” the pummeling “Shadowplay,” and, of course, the band’s most famous track “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (see video above). As a side note, it’s nice to see that my all-time favorite track, “New Dawn Fades,” made it here after being ignored on some previous best-of collections.

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