The 1979 début album from the post-punk band: Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures, is widely regarded to be one of the greatest albums of all time.
Taking their name from the infamous "comfort women", Jewish women who were forced to work as sex slaves by Nazis during World War II, Joy Division courted controversy since their inception. Joy Division were only able to make two albums before Ian Curtis committed suicide on the eve of their American tour in 1980. The rest of the band, continued on under the "New Order" name and became very successful through their dance synthesizer rock, which was a sharp contrast to the depressing music of Joy Division (listen to the song "Age of Consent").
The album begins with the dance drum-beats of "Disorder", seguing into a simple yet captivating bass line on the right and a distorted guitar on the left. However, the moment that hits you the deepest is when the crooning baritone vocals of Ian Curtis finally come in, "I've been waiting for a guide to come and take me by the hand/Could these sensations finally make me feel the pleasures of a normal man?" From that moment on, the album never loses its hold on the listener.
The simple black and white artwork represents the album with the fullest extent. Every song feels as though there is no color left in the world, as if there is only a dreary grayscale. The album uses only basic instrumentation to achieve this depressing effect, and does so with vigor.
Ian Curtis, though not the most technically gifted vocalist ever, inflects upon every word with the emotion of a man dealing with depression, giving each song a dreary and depressing mood. He is able to represent anger, the sadness, and the depression of the times of a world that has gone through a punk revolution and is only four years separated from the end of the Vietnam War. This is not an uplifting album, this is not a mindless punk album; it is an album distilling the pure angst and depression that the youth of Ian's time felt. You can simply lose yourself within any song on this album. Whether its "She's Lost Control" or "Day of the Lords".
Choice Picks: "Disorder", "Day of the Lords", "Shadowplay", "She's Lost Control"