|2. Leaders Of Men|
|6. She's Lost Control|
|8. Dead Souls|
|10. Love Will Tear Us Apart|
|11. No Love Lost|
|14. From Safety To Where|
|17. These Days|
I am reviewing (and recommending) this record because if someone out there wants and introduction to Joy Division, they would be hard-pressed to get a better deal than the well-priced Substance LP. Sure, if you've got the dough go ahead and pony up for the beautifully realized box set (designed by Factory Records mainstay, Peter Saville).
Substance has all the singles that any American has probably heard on any good jukebox. Atmosphere, Love Will Tear Us Apart and She's Lost Control are all here and sound great for a 1988 release. You'll get a better recording on the box set versions, but that's your 60 bucks compared to your 11 bucks. The main draw of substance is, like the box set, the nice mix of tunes from the band's brief and brilliant time together. A task not as easliy done as one might think. Some of the best bits, are earlier, yet rougher tracks like, Warsaw. The band were finding their sound and making new incredible music all at the same time. Later songs, like Love Will Tear Us Apart, are far more polished, and a bit more accessible to the masses, but none-the-less, great. All in all, this is a great addition to any post-punk, brit-punk, alternative, indie music fans' collection. I give it my highest praise, and I think you might too.
The songs themselves are flat-out great, of course. But Hannett's production always worked better when he pared things down rather than expanding them (hence the genius of the minimalist Unknown Pleasures).
A classic illustration of this is Atmosphere. On the Heart and Soul collection, there's a haunting early version of the song featuring what sounds to be a simple organ line in the background (it might have been a synth, but it sounds like an organ). Simple, sad and beautiful. Hannett's single, however, features many layers of synth strings that make a song of bitter disillutionment overly sentimental.
Ditto for the dance version of She's Lost Control. I admit that this version works alot better in a pub, but it doesn't compare with menacing proto-grunge guitar of the album recording.
Of course, these are the greatest rock songs ever written, so take what I've said with a grain of salt.
There's no doubt that here lie some of rock's cast iron classics.
"Transmission"and its unflagging energy will induce generations to come into springing from their seats and follow the song's suggestion"Dance,dance,dance to the Radio".
"She's Lost Control"will forever remain the ultimate song about insanity,featuring Ian Curtis as the unequalled voice of Despair;the hypnotic mantra and a riff which let alone could haunt one for months all contribute to form a gem of sheer bleakness.
The rage towards routine of"Digital"("Day in Day out"repeated ad infinitum in an increasingly enraged manner)is as justifiable and current as ever.
"Atmosphere"is one of those songs that once listened to,it'll walk by your side for the rest of your life,the plead"Don't Walk Away in Silence"couldn't be more poignant and the occasional drop of light in the shimmering background still hint at hope.In Michael Winterbottom's "24Hour Party People" "Atmosphere"is used(with an impressive result)to punctuate a scene briefly after Ian's suicide resulting in the film's top scene and emotional centre.
"Glass" could have been used as soundtrack to an horror movie.