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The Best of Joy Division

Joy Division

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Album Review

Now that Unknown Pleasures, Closer, and Still have been given the deluxe two-disc reissue treatment — which coincided with a movie, Control, and followed, throughout the previous 20 years, the Substance and Permanent compilations, the Heart and Soul box set, a couple live discs, a BBC disc, tribute sneakers, a tribute Zune, and tribute bands (few of which performed actual covers) — there might as well be an official point of introduction with a straightforward title. Just happening to coincide with the release of Grant Gee's eponymous documentary, The Best of Joy Division is a 14-track, 55-minute grab bag of scattered tracks from the band's discography. It is impossible to call these the best, or even the highlights, when the band recorded no obvious lowlights and (only in a relative sense) a handful of midlights. Not including alternate mixes or demos that have floated out in various forms, Joy Division recorded short of 50 songs, none of which would be completely unjustifiable on a single-disc summary. Beyond the no-brainers "Love Will Tear Us Apart," "She's Lost Control," "Transmission," and "Atmosphere," the program doesn't lean in any one direction, pulling fairly evenly from the two proper albums while offering seven tracks that were compiled originally for Substance. It is kind of strange, however, that the somewhat slight instrumental "Incubation" was chosen over "Atrocity Exhibition" and "A Means to an End," and that there is nothing from An Ideal for Living (the band's first release, a four-track EP), especially when there were 25 minutes of available space on the disc. While this is one of many ways to become acquainted with a body of work that adds up to some of the most tense, precise, and powerful rock music made, the best solution is to get as much as possible at once and submit.

Customer Reviews

Not again

I liked this when it was called Substance. Shame on you London Records. Don't support this release, buy Unknown PLeasures, Closer and Substance. Another "best of" is really unneccesary for a band that only released two albums. And where is "Means To An End?"

Well,some have to start somewhere

If your new to the Joy Division scene,this cd is the best location for you to start.While i wouldn't say all of this is their best,it's the stuff that's most popular.As for us Joy Division long timers,well,there's nothing new to see here(there hasn't been anything new since 1995's Permanent if you think about it).As for you newcomers,if you happen to recognize the beauty that is happening here and want more,i suggest Permanent to be your next step.Then proceed to the true Joy Division albums,Unknown Pleasures and Closer.After that,if you're a true lover of Joy Division,go out a find a copy of Substance,their original "Best Of and B-Sides"album. "This is the room,the start of it all..."(If you don't understand,you'll learn later)


May Ian Curtis rest in peace. He made the world of music a better place.


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,...
Full Bio

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