Review Summary: Unknown Pleasures Remain Unknown...3 of 24 thought this review was well written
There are some albums that have been unfairly immortalized. Albums that, if not for the circumstances surrounding the bands that released them, would have gone unnoticed and without praise. Both of Joy Division's albums, "Closer" and "Unknown Pleasures", fit into this category of albums that receive far more praise than they deserve. This is cold, careless, boring music, that has achieved legendary status because of Ian Curtis's tragic suicide.
Here's a little history on Curtis, for those of you who have managed to avoid the countless retellings of his life story by the hipsters hanging out in the vinyl section of your local record shop:
Ian Curtis was a white man that lived in England. He was in a band called Joy Division. He wrote bleak lyrics and sung them over the bands bleak musical arrangements. He had epilepsy so sometimes he suffered seizures on stage. Oh, and he was also depressed. Anyways, one night he listened to "The Idiot" by Iggy Pop (which the hipster reciting this history for you would undoubtably point out is a fantastic album, maybe even handing you a vinyl copy that he carries around to add extra effect to this story he recites daily) and then Ian hung himself and died.
So that's the story of Ian Curtis's tragically brief life. Sad right? It's a shame he felt the need to snuff out the candle flame that was his life, but that shouldn't effect how you view Joy Division's music. Despite what you've heard, this album, along with the bands other album "Closer", is filled with boring, droning, monotoned, snores of songs that constantly border on painful to listen to.
Opening track "Disorder" is one of the few bright spots on this album. It features an infectious bass line paired with a catchy (that's the only time you'll see that word in this review) guitar riff that really give this song some strong momentum. Even Mr. Curtis himself seems to put his best foot forward, as towards the end of the song he wails "I've Got The Spirit, But Losing Feeling" a few times to end the song. His performance on the rest of the album goes downhill from here. If the whole album was more in the vein of this song, maybe it would actually deserve some of the praise that is continuously heaped upon it.
Throughout the next few songs the listener gets to suffer through some painfully dull and droning guitars as Mr. Curtis mumbles some bleak things about this and that. This is basically the template for the majority of the songs on the album. "Standout" track 'She's Lost Control' is considered by most to be one of the high points on this album. Supposedly the lyrics are outstanding, they are mostly made up of Mr. Curtis saying things that "she" has done, then pointing out that she's lost control again. As with most of the tracks on this album, "She's Lost Control" is very boring, very dull, and is always bordering on painful to listen to.
Throughout the rest of the album the listener is greeted with more cold (I know I've said that alot, but that is the main adjective I can think of to describe this album), sterile sounding songs full of more dull sterile lyrics. So what exactly makes this album the classic that nearly every critic and thick rimmed hipster on earth insists that it is? Beats me. I'm sure if one Mr. Ian Curtis were still alive most of those critics and hipsters would have already forgotten that this album even exists.