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on November 20, 2007
Not much I can write about Closer which hasn't already been said--many times over--in the 25+ years since it was first released. It's a likely choice as the most essential post-punk recording (a difficult decision, given the competition, from that fertile era: how can one not mention Gang of Four, or Wire, or...?)

While Unknown Pleasures is great; Closer is near perfection. Among its rare qualities: brilliant sequencing, with many of the most emotionally-wrenching tracks held back until nearly the end. (So many mediocre LPs have been front-loaded with singles, followed by crap which shouldn't ever have been released).

Then there's its depth: how it continues to reward attentive listening, even after you've heard it hundreds of times. I never felt capable of truly understanding "Decades" until I'd lived a few decades myself.

It was nothing less than a work of genius, how Ian Curtis (in his early-to-mid-twenties) went so deeply inside the dark core of his psyche. Not merely his own, but the human psyche. Few dare to introspect with such painful clarity, and Ian's history indicates the journey was too hazardous, as I imagine it would be for most of us.

When someone you love takes their own life, the question "why?" is always close to the surface. But when you hear Ian's songs on Closer, you never wonder. You KNOW his inner world was an eternal grey void too painful to endure.

If your own soul is bent and brittle, you feel the odd comfort (like a familiar friend) of knowing: someone else has struggled under the same inexplicable weight. Other times, it's too much--too close to home--and you need hit "stop" and shut it off.

The packaging of this reissue evokes memories of Peter Saville's graphic design on the original LP, while avoiding misguided attempts to fully mimic that format in miniature (cardboard sleeves are a poor choice for CDs; the discs tend to get scratched, and it's no small bother to remove and re-insert the CDs each time you listen).

One quibble: hopefully the liner notes are fascinating, but I can't read them. The text is almost microscopic! I'll be forced to put the booklet on my scanner, in order to get the words on my PC's screen at a readable size. (Those of us who heard Joy Division as teens are now reaching bifocal age.)
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on December 12, 2007
I'm sitting here two weeks before Christmas debating whether to buy this CD for my 21 year old son. He loves rock and roll, and he's in a band and writes music, and he is as of now blissfully unaware of Joy Division.

Is it right to give this record to somebody? Is Christmas the right time to do it? People who have heard this record will know exactly why I ask these questions. There is no more gut wrenching work of art in existence in all the world than "Closer." Period. "Decades" is the most gloriously sad moment of human emotion ever captured for posterity. The despondent and exhausted refrain of, "Where have they been," repeated deep amidst the swirl of ether-like synths is so bone-chillingly haunting that it simply cannot be described. It must be heard to be believed.

I always imagined "Decades" to be the final cut on the record. It would seem most fitting there. But the album lists no A or B side to confirm it. Such obfuscation only seemed perfect at the time. It was better not knowing. It wasn't important which side got played first, by the time both sides had been played, the listener came out the other side feeling the same way. The sadness and the pain saturates, it permeates, it envelopes and there is no, repeat, no redemption or hope anywhere in the process. This is as complete and stunning an impression of personal and internal despair as you will ever find.

Don't listen to this record if you are depressed or suicidal! It is too painful.

And, yet, remarkably, it is great rock and roll. The production is coldly distant, as if recorded in a church. The arrangements are simple, rhythmic, spare, and repetitive, and each instrument comes through the ambient reverb with stark and remarkable clarity. Ian Curtis' vocals fly through like arrows. The band has punk energy and can slash like a chainsain one moment and then chunk and lurch the next. This is a first class rock band churning out first class rock and roll songs. And then the band can bathe you in the lushness of "Decades."

It is important that anyone who loves rock and roll, or even art, at some point listen to this record. For a full of understanding the human condition, it is that important. Whether to own it, and to listen to it repeatedly is healthy, that's an individual thing.

So, still I'm left, wondering if this makes a good Christmas gift. Well, maybe not. It seems that a Christmas gift ought to be a bit more joyful. But at some point, this record will end up in his collection.

Scott
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on July 16, 2013
Closer is a very good album, and contains many of Joy Division's best songs. However, the version listed as Closer [import] is an unacceptably flawed pressing. Every single song skips in intervals of seconds, and there is massive static distortion throughout. I have received two pristine copies, one from the original order, and one replacement, and both had the exact same problem. As of writing this review, I am in the process of trying to get yet a third copy of the album, but I have absolutely no doubt that the problem will persist. Amazon's shocking lack of quality control on this particular listing is what I find most annoying.
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on July 9, 2008
Amazon's song list is incorrect. This is the correct listing:
CD One: Closer
"Atrocity Exhibition" - 6:06
"Isolation" - 2:53
"Passover" - 4:46
"Colony" - 3:55
"A Means to an End" - 4:07
"Heart and Soul" - 5:51
"Twenty Four Hours" - 4:26
"The Eternal" - 6:07
"Decades" - 6:10

CD Two: Live at ULU 8 February 1980
"Dead Souls" - 4:58
"Glass" - 3:42
"A Means To An End" - 4:00
"Twenty Four Hours" - 4:05
"Passover" - 4:53
"Insight" - 4:01
"Colony" - 4:04
"These Days" - 4:17
"Love Will Tear Us Apart" - 3:13
"Isolation" - 4:41
"The Eternal" - 6:30
"Digital" - 3:14
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on June 9, 2016
I'm sad to say this critic's favorite was a miss for me. I loved New Order and was so ready to love Joy Division, but... alas, it was not to be. The music was dynamic, interesting, and pleasing, but the vocals sounded like the lead singer had dubbed them over his favorite background tunes with a hand-held tape recorder in his parents' basement. I don't mean disrespect to him or to them; I am aware of the history of the band, and the reason of the change from Joy Division to New Order. I just can't figure out why he was selected as the front man in the first place. Wish I loved it but I don't.
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on November 4, 2007
A remastered version of Joy Division's second [and last] official album. The second disc features a live show from 1980--unfortunately there are few left in existence and sound quality is always an issue. Great to have another one however.

Recommendations for JD in studio, etc. still are the 'Heart and Soul' box [if you can afford it] and 'Substance' [if you can't]. 'Closer' is a great album, but I prefer JD without P. Hammett strangling their sound. You will get tracks from it on both of these compilations.

Speaking of a live disc, the best is still 'Les Bains Douches 18 December 1979'. Absolute classic that captures the amazing power of this band.
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on September 4, 2013
This is one of the most chilling albums ever made, with droning guitars, icy bass lines and stentorian vocals. And that's not even considering the lyrics, about singer Ian Curtis' epilepsy and failing marriage. When Curtis hanged himself at 23 on May 18th, 1980, Closer officially became the stuff of rock legend.
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on October 30, 2007
It was Detroit in the early 80's. The desolation of the Motor City has sometimes been compared to the dreariness of Manchester. Maybe that's why Joy Division, and "Closer" seemed so familiar. Those winters in Detroit were marred with potholes, vacant buildings and a Reagan-era economy that left no place for factory workers or their sons and daughters. Namely, it sucked living in Detroit in the early 80's.
There were many bands that we listened to at clubs like Todd's and Bookie's. The Cure, Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy. But the one band that cut through all the eyeliner and posing was the one from Manchester that was actually not together anymore. Not together because their singer had committed suicide. That was more real to us than was comfortable.
"This is the way, step inside", Ian sang. And he was dead. Was he inviting us to join him? You had to plan to be a survivor if you listened with any regularity to "Closer".
And today it is looked back upon by the critics and filmmakers and music historians as the masterpiece album it is. But were they really there at the time when putting on a pair of Koss headphones in your bedroom in your parents' house and listening to Joy Division did not lead to hopeful conversations of the opportunities in life. The music? The greatest Joy. The lyrics? The biggest heartbreak. Like opiates themselves. We had to be careful. I'm not sure we knew what we were getting into.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon June 28, 2015
This is an absolute classic, even if you're not a Joy Division super fan or you were born after it was released (like me:), i believe this record is a must have for any music lover, its a part of history ;) I read some of the reviews, the only negative one seems to be about sound quality / flaws on the imported version. I have an imported version as well, made in Spain, and there are no issues whatsoever with it. No skipping at all. So im thinking they may have just gotten a dud, unfortunately. Mine is near perfect - the only thing I mind about it is that there is no song list on the cover or on the vinyl itself, just the name of the band and album, but other than that i love it.
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on July 13, 2013
I recently purchased the version of this CD that is currently for sale on this page, an import version that has "London Import" listed as the label on the Amazon page. The actual CD states that it was manufactured in Germany. This CD had significant audio quality problems when I attempted to play it. All of the tracks were distorted by static over the music, rendering the CD unplayable although it was purchased new and was in pristine, unmarked condition. Disappointed, I decided to purchase another Joy Division CD and chose their singles collection "Substance," which was also listed as an import with "London Import" listed as the label (I should have been smarter!). When I received that CD, it was also manufactured in Germany and had the very same audio quality problem as "Closer" and was also unplayable as the sound was so bad that the CD sounded damaged although it was brand new. I buy a lot of music and I have purchased CDs in the past that have this defect and all of them were manufactured in Europe and were purchased as imports from overseas. I would strongly caution other buyers to think twice before purchasing the "import" version of "Closer" or any other Joy Division CD that has "London Import" listed as the label and is manufactured in Germany.
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