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by Joy Division

Released July 18, 1980 via Factory Records

Reviewed July 23, 2020

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Atrocity Exhibition (45%), Isolation (38%), The Eternal (35%)

On Joy Division’s second and final album, the post-punk pioneers created yet another genre-defining masterpiece. Released two months after lead vocalist and songwriter Ian Curtis’ tragic suicide, Closer’s thematic content feels especially harrowing. The band’s ability to encapsulate feelings of deep despair and isolation over uncannily catchy instrumentals is something countless have tried to replicate, but few have matched. It is an unquestionable masterpiece, the ultimate blueprint for gothic rock, and arguably the blueprint for post-punk – even as all-encompassing as that label may be. Closer took punk and made it something much more complex than many had ever imagined. It took pure anguish and encapsulated it with such precision. And it forever cemented the legacy of Joy Division as some of punk’s finest innovators, despite a career that wouldn’t have lasted long enough to make it through college. – Dominick (10/10)

Closer feels like a peek into the mind of the unwell, a cavernous display of depravity and depression. Claustrophobic walls of textures are layered upon groovy instrumentals, creating an uncomfortably different experience. The darkness continues within lyricism that pulls no punches. It is a direct record that doesn’t hold your hand, the moment you begin you are thrusted into its’ world and before long, it spits you out on the other side in a completely different mindset. Though they only lasted two albums, Joy Division’s impact on music will never be forgotten and many will try, but fail, to replicate what makes their two releases so special. – Jared (10/10)

Joy Division’s Closer begins as a tense and somewhat apprehensive sounding album, and through only nine tracks, beautifully settles into a groove-laden, serene atmosphere of expressive melodies and powerful guitar riffs. Both sides of the coin are equally moving and the unstated bit of commentary that the combination of these halves give is a great example of how important this album is to Joy Division’s legacy. The sensibility of Closer is amplified even further by Ian Curtis’ suicide shortly before its release, and the tragedy of his death puts many of the lyrics of this album into an even more evocative perspective. Yes, their tenure was short-lived, but the levels of raw emotion, energy, and infectiously haunting music that the band was able to create in their time is simply remarkable. – Pax (9/10)

Joy Division's second and final studio album is shrouded by misery and torment. The final days of frontman Ian Curtis were on the horizon and the album's subject matter reflects this state of emergency, although not too far from their first album Unknown Pleasures. Skeletal drums, brooding basslines and haunted ambience saunter Curtis' worse for wear diction, as the band create a piece that quite literally exists within a league of its own. There aren't many full experiences in the music world where everything ties in as tightly as Closer, for better or for worse, as the events that surround the band around this period are intrinsically tied. Some beings and events are unfortunately, but sometimes beautifully, out of reach. The Holy Grail of gothic rock. – Peter (8.5/10)

Ben (Synth): 10/10 | Dominick: 10/10 | Jared: 10/10 | Enth: 9/10 | Hadley: 9/10

Cam: 8.8/10 | Peter: 8.5/10


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