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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still Perfection
When i first listened to this album, i spent days with songs like Atrocity Exhibition and Heart And Soul playing on repeat. The music is so well crafted, the lyrics are unbelievable and ian curtis' delivers the whole thing off in a way that is impossible for you not to feel emotionally charged. The change from their early days is evident and i personally feel that it is a...
Published on 10 Sep 2001

versus
3 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great album but don't buy this version
It's a wonderful album but I've had two copies of this version and neither played on the PC nor would they load to itunes. They would both play on a normal CD player so I'm guessing copy protection.

There are other versions that are probably better, even given the low price of this version.

If you're looking for an introduction to Joy Division,...
Published on 23 Jun 2010 by Hector Munro


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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joy Division's Closer, 30 Nov 2002
This review is from: Closer (Audio CD)
“Closer” is terrifying. The opener Atrocity Exhibition stands as six minutes of ferocious tribal drum beat. Isolation, A Means to an End (post-punk’s very own Can’t Get You Out of my Head) and Heart and Soul are oddly danceable to, despite their myriad themes of infidelity (“Mistaking devotion and love”), betrayal (“Surrendered to self-preservation”) and self-dstruction. Passover continues the trend. It is a gorgeously delivered lament for the passing of innocence and the onset of self-doubt, centred around the idea that “it all falls apart at the first touch”. Colony returns to the vicious, jagged assault seen on “Unknown Pleasures”, before ending with Curtis wailing accusingly in the desert, ever the anti-prophet: “God in his wisdom took you by the hand. God in his wisdom made you understand.” Twenty Four Hours is schizophrenic musically - raging at some points, then cutting back to slow, exhausted sighs - but has a sad sense of lyrical purpose throughout: “So this is permanence - love shattered pride, What once was innocence, turned on its side.” The Eternal is like little else Joy Division ever produced. An impossibly resigned death-waltz, with a sparse haunting piano line providing the only musical accompaniment to Curtis, other than Morris’ unfurling drum beat. Decades concludes the album as a smash up between a military parade and a 19th century ballroom dance, played out on synthesisers. Over this nauseating mix Curtis tiredly mumbles “Weary inside, now our hearts lost forever. Can’t replace the fear or thrill of the chase.”
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars These pleasures and waiting distractions., 19 Feb 2006
This review is from: Closer (Audio CD)
This is astoundingly beautiful album. Without knowing anything about Ian Curtis, it gives an insight into his mind before his suicide. The subject matter is bleak but more meaningful than any processed sanitized pop records. It begins with atrocity Exhibition and a drum roll which mimics a machine gun firing. Ian Curtis recoiling at the horror of war. The music is often slow and melodic, however this fits the themes and mood of the lyrics perfectly. Ian Curtis voice acutely articulates his despair and although maybe not conventionally brilliant singer it’s perfect for the atmosphere of the album. Any illusions to higher human goals and aspirations are striped away as he mockingly sings ‘God in his wisdom took you by the hand, God in his wisdom made you understand’. The big questions are asked ‘existence what does it matter?’ without seeming overblown or pretentious. Most people have only heard of ‘Love will tear us apart’, but this is truly their masterpiece and shouldn’t be ignored.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars closer to the heart of Ian Curtis, 19 April 2005
This review is from: Closer (Audio CD)
closer must have one of the best opening track ever "atrocity exhibition" is a dark moody infectious song with drums and bass that pound away with ian singing in his unique drone that doesn't make you turn the CD off it interreges. "isolation" is another one of my favorites you can feel the pain in most of these songs Ian puts his heart and soul into this album. all i would say is that it will take you a few listen to get used to his singing but once you do. you won't stop listening and it will be one of your favorites like me and i have over 700 cd's
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MORE THAN A STEP CLOSER, 14 Jan 2003
This review is from: Closer (Audio CD)
If Joy Division weren't so highly regarded it'd be easy to write them off as a bad pre-goth group. But listening to this album you just can't, they're far more than that.Most bands around today take two or three albums to alter their sound significantly, but back in the early 1980s when groups had to produce an album a year, things changed faster. And Joy Division certainly changed, in the space of just a few months. If you listen to this album after "Unknown Pleasures" the change in sound is obvious. The flat drums are gone, and the basic sound is far more electronic. Standouts include "Isolation", "Heart & Soul", "The Eternal" and "Decades". "Closer" is definately a much stronger album than the first and encorporates much more style and depth to the music. "The Eternal" paints pictures of a wet country garden at night with it's icey piano and narrative lyrics. "Decades" hints on a new band altogether with synths taking over the atmosphere and completely mezmerising you. My advice would be to listen to this record very loudly through headphones late at night feeling rather than listening.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What can I say?, 22 Oct 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Closer (Audio CD)
Its hard to explain the immense weight of this composition, especially in the light of the multitude of adoring fans who have seen fit to quite rightly accord this piece 5 stars.
Objectively as a piece of music this work is definitive and masterful. It is painfully revealing and oozes the desperation of a tortured and confused soul who went on to engineer his own infamy in a carefully planned suicide. Whilst the album uncomfortably states the state of mind of the composer, the work of Messers Hook and Sumner are phenomenal. The greater allocation of auditory time to both bass and drums has allowed both Morris and Hook to blossom and never have I heard such an integrated perfection of those two instruments put down on tape. This is a powerful, solemn piece of work which hints at genius, especially with the likes of Isolation, Means To An End and my personal favourite, Decades. It is interesting to note that this album does not listen well split up, but is infinitely better listened to from beginnning to end. Just remember to take a happy pill after.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best album of all time..., 25 July 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Closer (Audio CD)
I was born in 1980, when this was released. I am now nearly 20 and I have to say that this album is the best (and almost the oldest) that I own. It is a testament to this fabulous band that the first time I listened to it, It felt like magic - nothing I have ever heard before or since has matched it. The 1981 album 'Still' is also a must, hand-in-hand purchase as the two are peerless.
An absolute classic.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "This is the way, step inside.............", 19 May 2007
By 
Kevin Clarke "kevin17566" (Birmingham UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Closer (Audio CD)
Joy Divison's best album opens with 'Atrocity Exhibition', which is damned uncomfortable listening wherever you sit. Brusque, rolling drums and shards of strangulated guitar punctuate Ian Curtis's grim scenario of degradation - "For entertainment they watch his body twitch/ Behind his eyes he says 'I still exist'"

Next up is 'Isolation', built around a futuristic metal dance beat, this is the track that most anticipates the direction New Order would take after Curtis's death. As it spirals to a close, we find the first of the album's introspective explorations of self, 'Passover' - "This is a crisis I knew had to come/ Destroying the balance I'd kept." 'Colony' is not in this class, its fractured, staccato beat making it an arduous listen.

'Means To An End' is a different matter. With its stomping drum beat and descending bassline, it's almost catchy. Catchy, that is, until Curtis's accusatory tone of voice chills you to the bone - "I put my trust in you" he declares, leaving no doubt that that trust has been betrayed.

'Heart And Soul' is underpinned by clipped, brisk drumming and a subdued, repetitive bassline. Silvery synthesisers wash in and out of the mix, and the heavy echo on the vocals compounds the sense of eerie dislocation.

'Twenty Four Hours' is 'Closer's centrepiece, its most poignant, anguished moment. The song features a beautifully melodic Peter Hook bassline and the song is superbly structured, alternating between aggressive highs and quieter lows. "A cloud hangs over me, marks every move/Deep in the memory of what once was love" laments Curtis, utterly alone in his despair.

'The Eternal' is a funereal dirge with mournful piano playing and a snails-paced bass. Some critics think this is the best song on the album: I find it just TOO grim and verging on self-parody.

The album concludes with 'Decades', second only to 'Twenty Four Hours' in my opinion. Listening to the lyrics, I always imagined Ian Curtis was writing from the point of view of some scarred, shellshocked, First World War survivors - "Watch from the wings as the scenes were replaying/ We saw ourselves now as we never had seen." The song ends majestically, gathering pace before fading out with crashing cymbals and a haunting synth refrain.

Shame, guilt, despair, loneliness, betrayal. Joy Divison didn't shy away from difficult subjects. Perhaps their ultimate 'crime' was to take their music utterly seriously. But now, 27 years after its release, in our jaded, cynical, postmodern times, we can appreciate 'Closer' for its stark, unalloyed beauty.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrible beauty, 5 April 2013
This review is from: Closer (Audio CD)
Joy Division's eternal masterpiece. Claustrophobic, very sad, yet hauntingly beautiful with agonisingly self aware lyrics from a young man in his early 20's (much like the lyrics of that other doomed young genius Nick Drake) who knows he is not going to make it:

"Mother I tried please believe me,
I'm doing the best that I can
I'm ashamed of the things I've been put through
I'm ashamed of the person I am"

"This is a crisis, I knew had to come
Destroying the balance I'd kept"

"Can I go on with this train of events?
Disturbing and purging my mind
Back out of my duties when all's said and done
I know that I'll lose every time"

"Cry like a child, though these years make me older
With children my time is so wastefully spent"

"Existence, well, what does it matter
I exist on the best terms I can
The past is now part of my future
The present is well out of hand"

The superb music mirrors Curtis's troubled mind - it is spare and futuristic, sometimes tortured (Atrocity Exhibition), sometimes wistful and sad (on The Eternal) and sometimes seems to be yearning for another world (Decades). It is about as far from rock and roll as you can get.

Ian's girlfriend Annik (part of Ian's troubles no doubt as his affair with her was a major factor in the breakdown of his marriage)was discussing Closer with Tony Wilson before Ian died. Annik thought that Ian meant every word he was saying and that it was in effect a suicide note. Tony Wilson's point of view was that it was "art" and that Ian did not mean what he said. If only Tony had been right. And yet at the same time Ian has left us with one of the most heartbreakingly beautiful and brilliant albums ever which he probably couldn't have achieved if he wasn't on the brink. A paradox. And a terrible beauty indeed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bleak majesty, 1 Jun 2010
By 
J. Jenkins (Dudley Port, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Closer (Audio CD)
Beginning with Atrocity Exhibition, and what sounds like the incessant grinding of the death machine, Stephen Morris' martial drumming locks into Bernard Sumner's churning riff in a muscular rhythmic interplay that sets the tone and tempo for the album to come; taut yet dirge-like, propulsive yet funereal. Although Curtis' lyrics are always going to be the focus of Closer, the musicanship is spectacular, the brutal sparseness punk as it should be played, arresting from the first bars.

The shiny, metallic pop of Isolation comes next, a song which sounds simultaneously of it's period yet still futuristic now, combining with Curtis' robotic litany of despair to evoke the dystopian futurescapes of JG Ballard or Phillip Dick. All that follows, from the riff heavy title track to the rain swept gothic majesty of The Eternal, is sonically masterful.

Then of course there's Curtis, remorselessly poring over the final indignities of existence. Whether or not he had reached a state of absolute despair when he wrote the lyrics here, he renders depression with an awful exactitude. The distinction between personal failings and wider, societal injustices erodes. The causes of upset blur, then concentrate as one. Curtis captures this strange, askew clarity with the precision of a collector driving a pin into a butterfly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Leaders of Men', 22 Dec 2007
By 
This review is from: Closer (Audio CD)
Though still years ahead of its time, 'Closer' has a reputation for coldness, for despair, and for grim Northern doom-and-gloom - but I don't hear anything like that.
I hear tough, life-affirming, BLAZING rock music; and while there's not much in the way of fun to be had here, it's not obligatory to have to take it so seriously.

The songs are reflective and searching, sure, but none are 'dirges'. You could possibly dance to a couple of them - although you might struggle, knowing what happened just a few short weeks after 'Closer's completion.

Martin Hannett's production is excellent, giving each song a clean clear-ness which allows every detailed lyric to bite home and reach every nook and cranny of your psyche.
In every sense, we must participate in the pain but we know that ultimately, by suffering it, this music (and very few others) breathes victory into our lives.
Its beauty cannot bring anything but positives to our existence.

A lot has been written about 'Closer' in an attempt to mystify and mythify it - often gleefully encouraged by Wilson and co at Factory Records - and while I'm not going to de-bunk all that, you should really take it all with a pinch of salt for what it is: a (brilliantly successful!) marketing ploy.

Which is not to say 'Closer' is meaningless, devoid of point - far from it. It means more to me, and a lot of other people, than I can possibly describe in a few short (admittedly brilliant!) paragraphs.
A big part of my life (still...sorry.), and always will be, 'Closer' is a true great, not stained in any way by the decades (sorry again) of hyperbole which have followed it around.
Buy it twice.
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Closer
Closer by Joy Division (Audio CD - 1999)
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