The most complete anthology of these post-punk gods ever compiled! From the early demos they made when they were still known as Warsaw to their essential albums Unknown Pleasures and Closer , this 4-CD set contains everything they ever released along with a plethora of rarities (flexi-disc versions, outtakes, radio sessions) and unreleased recordings. You'll get multiple versions of essential songs like Love Will Tear Us Apart and She's Lost Control plus unreleased live 1979-80 performances of Dead Souls; The Only Mistake; Insight; Disorder , and more! The massive booklet tells the full Joy Division tale. 81 tracks!
Though Joy Division's anxious, angular songs echoed time-honored art-school obsessions from the Doors through Eno, they never stooped to cheap nostalgia or pretentious condescension. Neither bridge nor battering ram, the band's music--haunting and hypnotic, with an emotionally naked core as bleak as it was compelling--has transcended disposable pop culture past and present; leader-vocalist Ian Curtis's 1980 suicide only underscored the notion that Joy Division was a band out of time, figuratively as well as literally. In just over two years, the Manchester, U.K., group constructed a legacy whose influences have surfaced with the surviving members' New Order through macabre, psychically-damaged Curtis/Cobain parallels to the sonic atmospherics of Radiohead. And if their recorded output was limited, it has long been ill served by the record industry's worst Cuisinart instincts. Thus, this artfully designed four-disc, 81-track box should reign as the band's definitive recorded history. Journalist Jon Savage collaborated with band members Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook to assemble Joy Division's legacy into four subtly different chapters. Discs one and two center around the band's albums, Unknown Pleasures and Closer respectively, culling singles, demos, and outtakes. Disc three gathers BBC and Peel sessions and more than a dozen previously unreleased outtakes. The final chapter may be the most artistically revealing: 17 live tracks that represent not only the best of the band's darkly compelling songs, but show their riveting stage presence during a performance peak that spanned but seven months. The accompanying booklet presents an almost Rashomon-like take on the band, from its spare, impressionistic imagery through its multiple essays and, crucially, the lyrics of Ian Curtis, starkly presented as the candid, disquieting poetry that was the essence of Joy Division's murmuring heart and troubled soul. --Jerry McCulley