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Flashback Friday

June 7, 2013 - Nicholas Terry
It's Friday. A work week has come and gone for most of us. Let's do things a little different for Fridays on this little corner of the Internet. Let's also be cliché and call it “Flashback Friday”. If only because I haven't racked my brain for a better title yet. I'm rather young in age, but I've got an old soul and appreciate what people before me have gone through and created so that everyone else can enjoy. This is my attempt to do a little justice to those artists and spread the knowledge of their work to the next generation, or to people that overlooked little bands who made an impact larger than I'm sure they could have imagined.

1979 was a pretty good year for music. At least that’s what I’ve read seeing as it was about a decade before I was born. The Clash released the timeless “London Calling”, Stiff Little Fingers released a personal favorite of mine with “Inflammable Material”, and The Undertones taught about the Teenage Kicks. Joy Division is a band that a lot of people know of now, it remains to be seen how much they were recognized back then. The image of their album “Unknown Pleasures” has been parodied into Disney Products and upside down crosses, neither of which I think their signer, Ian Curtis, would have approved of.

That album deeply effected me when I heard it. I remember I was just starting to get into underground music and was set on listening to all “classic” and “influential” albums of the artists I was listening to. I saw a poster of someone wearing a shirt that said Joy Division on it. I saved up money, and went out and purchased Unknown Pleasures. I remember being unsure if I had the right album due to the artwork not revealing the name of the album or band. Just a black background with thin white lines making what looks like mountains. It’s a simple, yet thought provoking piece of art. I bought it in the summer of 2003, if I can recall that far back. I put it in my bulky cd player, slid my headphones on, and just listened. The opening soft yet frantic drumbeat of “Disorder” started, then the guitar kicked in with the infamous riff. Ian Curtis started singing in his haunting, yet beautiful voice of desolation, suicide, and disconnection from the world. I remember getting goosebumps despite the 90 degree weather. This is a dark album, but if one can appreciate the dark and macabre as I do, they will see how amazing this album truly is.

Ian Curtis had problems, and it seems music was his therapy. His lyrics are sometimes difficult to interpret. They mean what you get out of them. The only person who truly knows what they mean is Ian, and even then he might not have known. There’s something about listening to Ian sing his lyrics that connects you to his tormented soul. Sadly, he took his life in 1980, which only makes one feel the pain of his lyrics further. Some of the songs have a faster pace like “Disorder”, for example “Shadowplay”. However, most of the songs are slow brooding. Building up to a climax that sometimes doesn’t even arrive. It’s this anticipation that keeps the listener engaged. I can’t listen to one song of this album. This is something I wait until night comes and put on to sit back and relax. I always feel a little disconnected from the world, just like on that summer day a decade ago. You step into Ian’s world for a little while, and what a world it is.


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