Ten Songs Keeping Me Sane This Week: Ian Curtis Edition

May 18th marked the 35th anniversary of Ian Curtis’s death. Joy Division is a band that has influenced many of my favorite musicians, and one I have at least started to explore on its own. 

1. “Shadowplay” by Joy Division

Probably one of my favorite Joy Division songs. The bass line seals the song for me as it’s so droney. I really like how it sounds like it was recorded in a place that echoed.

2. “Dead Souls” by Nine Inch Nails

My first exposure to Joy Division was Nine Inch Nail’s cover of “Dead Souls” for The Crow soundtrack. I didn’t actually know at the time that it came out it was a Joy Division cover. I had it on a mix tape and this was before the internet. I just assumed it was Trent being Trent. It definitely fits his style.

3. “Ian Curtis” by Thursday

Geoff Rickley was greatly influenced by Joy Division. He wrote a song in tribute to Ian off of the first Thursday album. It was the first time I had actually heard the name Ian Curtis, or at least when it first stuck in my head.

4. “Karma Police” by Radiohead

Radiohead are disciples of Ian Curtis and Joy Division. Though the sounds are not completely 100% similar, you can see where the stylistic comparisons can be made.

5. “All These Things That I’ve Done” by the Killers

Another band that has covered Joy Division, The Killers owe a lot of their sound to Joy Division. Brandon Flowers definitely channels Ian Curtis in his performances.

6. “A Day Without Me” by U2

Contemporaries with Joy Division and New Order, U2 took a lot of their cues from Joy Division. This song was written about Ian as well.

7. “Assimilate” by Skinny Puppy

A lot of industrial and goth bands credit Joy Division as a major influence. Skinny Puppy has always scared me but I love their music.

8. “Almost with You” by The Church

My favorite song by the Church. I definitely enjoy the jangly guitar and the lead singer’s voice.

9. “Porcelain” by Moby

Moby seems to capture the perfect mood music for depression in this song. I don’t know how to explain it exactly. It just fits.

10. “Say Hello to the Angels” by Interpol

My favorite Interpol song. This whole album definitely seems to be an extension of what Joy Division would sound like in the early 2000s. Interpol is one of those bands that I wish got more love in the U.S. press than they do.

35 years of Ian’s influence on music proves how important he is in the history of rock and roll. Excuse me while I go listen to Unknown Pleasures all the way through.

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Queer Pop Culture Junkie in the Northwest. Addicted to Coffee, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Fantasy Sports, The Mountain Goats, and Tottenham Hotspur.

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