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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 16 November 2007
Being the record by which I discovered Joy Division (and possibly because of that fact) it is still my favourite. I didn't know it at the time, but it's a fairly random collection of studio out-takes from the band's three-year history (the original first vinyl disc) and a live recording of the band's final concert at Birmingham University in May 1980 (the original second vinyl disc). To further confuse the issue, the original CD release, while almost identical, inexplicably omitted "24 Hours" from the live set altogether (it having been omitted from the track listing of the vinyl only, showing up as a sort of anticipation of the DVD Easter Egg on the actual record). Weird: it was by no means the worst quality track on the set (several others suffered, either from poor mixing (Ceremony), synthesiser meltdown (Isolation and Decades) or guitarist correct-chord meltdown (Bernard misses a doozy in the intro to New Dawn Fades)).

And if that were not random enough, this remaster includes another live set, from High Wycombe Town Hall (yes, that legendary Rock 'n' Roll venue - it's almost Tapular, isn't it) in February 1980 plus some material from the soundcheck!

For all that, the (original) record hangs together coherently - the outtakes pace themselves nicely from the creepy foghorns and droning basslines of Exercise One through the near-punk workouts (Ice Age, Walked in Line) to the desolate, stately majesty of classic tracks like The Only Mistake and Dead Souls which represent high-Mannerist Joy Division, the only jolt being, from nowhere, an unexpected live cover of the Velvets' Sister Ray at the end of (original vinyl) disc two.

I love Still, but the cognoscenti don't seem to. Even the liner notes accompanying this new release describe Still as "above all the expression of weakness in the Joy Division sequence of releases" (what on earth were the marketing guys thinking?), but that's extraordinarily harsh, to the point of being plain old horse-manure. Yes Still may represent an un-chaperoned wander through the band's unreleased catalogue, and sure, there are no radio singles here (but then, nor are there on Unknown Pleasures or Closer: Joy Division *never* released radio singles on studio albums) but there are certainly standout tracks, and as (ahem) a *closer* (noun) - that is, a summation of what Joy Division were about, a precis, plus a snapshot of where they ended up - I can't think of how else one might have done it, without ripping off the fans by recycling material already available.

I have heard people complain bitterly about the quality of the Birmingham live set, but for my money it's a banker in every respect. There's more bottom end than usual in Peter Hook's bass and Steve Morris' drums, Bernard's guitar is rich and full, and Ian Curtis's vocals are superb (when audible - there are a couple of occasions where the mixer has a melting moment and forgets to push the faders up). I've heard several other Joy Division live sets, and the Still set is easily the most assured performance, and the cleanest recording. The crowd is on fire. Added to that is the frisson derived from the fact that this really was THE last time Joy Division ever performed as Joy Division, and Ian Curtis ever performed at all. Great gig to go out on. A historical performance.

The High Wycombe gig - I suppose thrown on to persuade mugs like me to acquire yet another copy of the same record (I now have four) is interesting artefact, but not much more: The band is certainly tight, and the performance sounds a lot closer to - well, Closer - although I found the distant, icy arrangements on that album a little *too* spartan, and the recording quality isn't a patch on the Birmingham gig. Love Will Tear Us Apart is surprisingly faithfully executed - after three years and some 120 gigs, Joy Division had turned themselves into tight musicians - but the crowd's reaction to the songs: polite, but clearly appreciative applause - sounds more like an audience than a moshpit. Perhaps the High Wycombe Mayor was on hand to keep an eye on the Kids, it being the Town Hall and all.

Lastly, credit to Factory, who have maintained the Peter Saville feel of the original album, and which I now own in four versions, including, I'm proud to say, an original pressing vinyl with the Hessian sleeve ... and the missing Twenty Four Hours!

Olly Buxton
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on 29 May 2001
Some say "Still" is a bad album, but this simply isn't true! The first half is a collection of rare songs/outtakes which have been given some post production by Martin Hannett - to great results! The second half of the cd is a recording of Joy Division's last ever gig, from May 2nd 1980. The quaility of the content is superb throught the disk, from the magnificent and slightly prophetic "Dead Souls", the errie synth ridden "Something Must Break" to the emotional tidal wave that is the live version of "Decades". Just because "Still" looks like an odds and sodds album don't dismiss it. It's a fantastic showpiece of an album, that perfectly highlights just how good a band Joy Division really were. I Definately Recommend this album to all fans of Joy Division, New Order and alternative music in gerneal.
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VINE VOICEon 9 November 2007
If I were to buy this it would be the 3rd purchase of an album that I first bought in 1989, on double cassette in a neat purple cardboard box and later the CD about 10 years ago. The cassette version luckily has 24 Hours on it, as would the vinyl versions.
It seems strange that they've added another live disc which effectively makes this a triple album, as the original CD was also a double album.
Surely 24 Hours could've been included just by applying a bit of digital compression to make it fit? This would've had almost no impact on sound quality but never mind...OK, that's enough said about 24 hours now.
Still is a useful collection of songs, with tracks like Dead Souls, The Only Mistake, Sound Of Music and Insight being amongst the standouts. The(original) live disc is patchy, though it does include one of only 2 known versions of Ceremony which was of course later rerecorded by New Order along with In a Lonely Place. Shadowplay also packs a punch live as does Passover, but as the disc wears on the performance quality seems to diminish, with tracks like Transmission and the closing Digital sounding quite weak. To be fair though, that's to be expected given the issues Ian Curtis was facing at the time, plus of course it turned out to be their last ever live performance. Still can certainly be recommended to any Joy Division fan, perhaps as a 3rd purchase after getting the 1st 2 albums if you're new to them.
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on 13 December 2003
This album has been rendered redundant by the Heart & Soul box set and the subsequent live releases. The studio material - the important part - is contained in the box set. The live material is not top-drawer despite its obvious historical interest (most of it comes from Ian's, and the band's, last gig).
Newcomers are warned that:-
`Sister Ray' is - for a band not averse to white noise (q.v live versions of `Atrocity' and `I Remember Nothing') - disappointingly tame.
`Ceremony' is missing its opening verse - a complete version can be found on the box set.
Sumner seems to be missing an awful lot of notes on guitar (which almost ruins `New Dawn Fades' - consult the Bains Douches CD for the best-ever version of this song). And he has to contend with an out-of-tune synthesizer (which almost ruins `Decades').
Note - my vinyl copy has an unlisted bonus track - `Twenty-Four Hours' - inbetween `New Dawn Fades' and `Transmission'. Is this also true of the CD?
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Third - and final album - "Still", originally a compendium of unreleased material and a recording of the final JD concert, now contains a second full live show. That said, who's complaining at the surfeit of material? Admittedly, "Still" still suffers from missing one song deleted due to space restrictions from the CD version (which has, criminally, still not been rectified by some minor resequencing), but that's a mere quibble. The studio portion of "Still" offers unfinished / unreleased songs from Joy Divisions catalogue, remixed and finished by the remaining members of the band, to create an uneven listening experience : drawing on material from the bands earliest days to their final recordings, "Still" lacks the sense of narrative and sonic cohesion of the other records, and sounds exactly like the compilation from varying eras that it is. That said, Joy Division were always in an excess of creativity, and the album contains some classic songs that sadly never found a home during the band's life - such as "The Only Mistake". As an appendix, "Still" serves its purpose : to beat the bootleggers that had swarmed around the bands mystique following Curtis' demise with a definitive collection of unreleased material presented in superlative quality, alongside the final Joy Division concert recorded in Birmingham. Aside from a minor microphone problem during the opening number, the set is technically a perfect recording (the performance is not superb, as the primitive home-made synthesisers are not always in tune, nor is Curtis' health sufficient to a full performance, though this is barely noticed on vinyl).

The second disc again features a full, unreleased performance (including soundcheck) from High Wycombe mastered from a 1st generation cassette tape. It's an interesting moment in the band's history (and well worth investigating), but one does have to question the validity or point of re-issues that further complicate the groups discography : in some respects, it would have been preferable to release a boxed set at a similar price featuring all the recordings not featured on the album canon of "Unknown Pleasures", "Closer", "Still" and "Substance". That said, it's a minor quibble : these remasters are excellent value for money, containing a weighty selection of almost all the bands work spread across three studio albums and four concerts that are ideal as a starting point for someone who is looking to acquire almost everything Joy Division released quickly and easily. The quality of the music in these discs cannot be faulted either : Joy Division are, quite rightly, hailed as legends, and on the strength of their recorded legacy they deserve it.
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on 17 January 2002
An album well worth acquiring for the Joy Division Collector. It is not a finished article. Yes in parts you may be disappointed - there is variable quality and some frustrating sound and performance in the live section, but to deny yourself would mean missing some classic tracks. In particular Sound of Music repays repeated listening. One of their saddest songs New Dawn Fades is even more intensely poignant in its live format. Yet the most powerful track (and in my view their finest moment) is Dead Souls, a monumental work of metallic musical art (originally difficult to get hold of). All in all well worth the money!
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on 26 November 2015
I only recently discovered that this has a bonus cd of Joy Division's High Wycombe Town Hall gig. I was there. It's funny to hear it again with the knowledge of what was to happen soon afterwards. It all sounds amazing knowing the songs from Closer but at the time it sounded very cold and harsh. You can here the crowd just claps politely at the end of every song. It actually was cold in the Town Hall that night (it was February) and there was a lot of waiting between bands. And after all the waiting and expectation JD only played 8 songs. My main memory of the night was that the only music played between the bands was Elvis Costello's Get Happy. I think this was a joke by the dj with a band line-up of Joy Division, Killing Joke and A Certain Ratio. Ultimately though this cd is worth having just for Dead Souls - a song that was released with a limited edition of about 1500. If you didn't get on release that was it - you could only listen if you heard it on John Peel. Kids today - they don't know they're born!
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on 6 November 2012
I still have the cloth covered vinyl given to me for my 16th birthday. Too many slag this album off for being odds and sods but for those who never saw them live this was a much prized possession and this reissue reminds just how much.
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on 5 October 2008
Joy Division are legendary, important, brilliant, but they did only actually release two 'fully formed' albums and two proper singles. Thus, all this 'Collector Edition' rubbish is in truth a blatant, commercial rip-off and brazen film tie in with the Ian Curtis biopic 'Control'.

Still has always been the ugly duckling of Joy Division releases; not a fully fledged release, more a tidying up exercise and part cash-in for Factory after the death of Curtis and his elevation to sainthood (and subsequent commercial profile).

That said, I have always had a bit of a soft spot for the original issue of Still. Well, ok, the studio half or nine tracks which manage out of a collection of assortments to sound somehow cohesive; when I first heard these tracks years ago I imagined that they had been taken from sessions JD had been working on before Curtis's death and that they had been exploring a more abrasive, hard rock edge. I now know differently, but the first half of Still does actually work; the less said about the original concert the better!

The logic of these so-called and so-mistitled 'Collector Editions' defies belief. There is no artistic logic to them, they all detract from the original concepts of the albums, including even this 'odds 'n' sods' collection. Most Joy Division fans recognise this, but for some of them, such is their love and obsession with the band, they cant quite bring themselves to fully say this. When will people recognise the simple difference between Joy Division (good, more than good), London Records curation of their catalogue (criminal).

Joy Division released two proper albums and singles. Any reorganising of their catalogue should be centred round this. Surely this is not beyond the insight of a record company.

Joy Division's back catalogue release logic should be:


This logic would make perfect sense - and sometime in the future someone will return to it - with the next set of reissues - as dont for one minute think this is the last word in Joy Division. These reissues may stink, but when they do, there will be a better lot along in a wee while!

The record business is filled with brilliant music butchered by record companies. The Stones Decca/London Records are one of the worst - now on their third set of reissues and showing no sign of getting any better. The Sex Pistols is another case in point - one album and four singles - and Virgin and other labels have made it into a complex discography. The number of issues of the admittedly majestical Beach Boys Pet Sounds or Miles Davis Kind of Blue has reached epidemic levels!

Joy Division with a small, but once perfectly formed back catalogue have entered this league of shame. What were London Records thinking of?

If you love or are even just curious about Joy Division do not buy this album or the other 'Collector Editions'. There is a cheaper reissue of each release sitting in the record shops by their side.
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on 13 December 2002
This album doesn't have the polish of Closer or the atmosphere of Unknown Pleasures ... it does have some wonderful music. Although many of the tracks can be found on other albums, the style (and often live) nature of what is on this album still make it a worthwhile addition to a Joy Division collection.
Dead Souls almost feels like a suicide note by Curtis himself, a brilliant dark and depressing masterpiece, as others point out it is hard to find elsewhere.
I'd say the quality of that one alone makes this album worth owning.
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