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Editors’ Notes

As strange as it may seem, until Total, no record had ventured to tell New Order's story in the context of their previous incarnation. The five Joy Division songs included here wisely highlight the elements (melodic basslines, frosty synths, swirling atmospherics) that would become central to the later group's sound; meanwhile, the New Order selections paint a concise picture of a band skilled in the art of graceful reinvention. The through line of it all is a parade of some of the most unforgettable hooks you'll ever hear.


Formed: 1977 in Manchester, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '70s, '80s

Formed in the wake of the punk explosion in England, Joy Division became the first band in the post-punk movement by later emphasizing not anger and energy but mood and expression, pointing ahead to the rise of melancholy alternative music in the '80s. Though the group's raw initial sides fit the bill for any punk band, Joy Division later incorporated synthesizers (taboo in the low-tech world of '70s punk) and more haunting melodies, emphasized by the isolated, tortured lyrics of its lead vocalist,...
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