Underrated Albums - Unknown Pleasures - Joy Division
Okay, this album is not really underrated, but it is one of my all time favorites and a true classic, which i think can use some more attention by the new generation of music lovers.
A generation that wears the old skool shirts that they buy at H&M department stores, but also a generation that do not really know the music or the albums that these merchandise promotes.
Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division is one of those
Joy Division was 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.
Joy Division created a sound which made them the pioneers of the post-punk and wave movement
Lead Singer Curtis suffered many problems, and he committed suicide in 1980
The remaining members regrouped under the name New Order. They adopted a more electronic sound and were successful throughout the next decade, they blended post-punk with electronic music influences.
The debut album of Joy Division was recorded & released in 1979, the album now 40+ years old, but the music really stood the test of time.
Unknown Pleasures has a very famous cover, it is designed by Peter Saville (which designed a lot of covers for factory records) and the image is based on an image of radio waves from pulsar CP 1919, from The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Astronomy.
- The album included ten songs, and the initial print was just Ten thousand copy’s
- "Day of the Lords"
- "New Dawn Fades"
- "She's Lost Control"
- "I Remember Nothing"
Initial Reviews and response
September 1979, Mary Harron was not impressed: "I found at least half of [Unknown Pleasures] to be turgid and monotonous, and the vocals heavy and melodramatic
Melody Maker called Unknown Pleasures an "opaque manifesto" and musically described it as "Gary Glitter meets the Velvet Underground".
Rolling Stone Magazine said, “ a doleful, deep-toned sound that often suggested an elaborate version of the Velvet Underground or PIL”
Retrospective critical writing on the album has been virtually unanimous in its praise.
In 1994, Jon Savage described the music as "a definitive Northern Gothic statement: guilt-ridden, romantic, claustrophobic".
Music journalist Richard Cook remarked in 1983: "sex has disappeared from these unknown pleasures; it is an aftermath of passion where everything's (perhaps) lost".
Stuart Maconie of Select deemed Unknown Pleasures "music without a past or a future but with the muscularity of all great rock" and "one of the greatest first albums ever."
In relation to the remastered re-released album in 2007, the British music magazine NME described the album as "simply one of the best records ever made, and is still powerful enough to floor you 28 years on"
where does the name joy division comes from?
During the Second World War, Nazi officers stationed at concentration camps used the expression “Joy Division” in reference to the younger women imprisoned there – women that they frequently raped.
Ian Curtis, Stephen Morris, Peter Hook and Bernard Sumner settled for that name because all their fathers had fought in World War II. They just wanted a name that had some kind of connection to that armed conflict, as a way of referencing its true weight and how it had touched the lives of their parents.
The fact that the band rechristened itself “New Order” after Curtis died sometimes makes people think that the band had some kind of Nazi affinity – the concept of “New Order” was actively featured in Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”. But that is a mistake. There were no Nazy sympathies of any kind at play. As a matter of fact, the band didn’t even pick the name “New Order” themselves. It was chosen by Rob Gretton, the band’s manager at the time after reading an article on a newspaper about Kampuchea and “the new order” of people living there.
FULL ALBUM (on the 1979 vinyl)
And an interesting video about the cover of the album