Would ‘In Utero’ be so stark and disturbing if Kurt Cobain was still alive and well living on a farm? Probably not, which is why we love praising musical martyrs of depression.
Kurt’s lyrics have more than a little in common with those of Ian Curtis. You can never be quite sure what they mean but know there is something there that expresses every bit of your sub-conscious. The fact that the music complements it in a way Nirvana never could makes it all the better.
What we’ve got is basically a greatest hits just packaged as Peel sessions, plus 2 extra tracks repeated “She’s lost Control” and “Transmission” as they were recorded for “Something Else” on BBC2. Which quite amusingly got a pile of complaints from viewers adamant that Ian was on drugs, because of his trademark jitteriness and general screwedup-ness.
It is impossible to listen to what is undoubtedly one of the all-time great sons “Love will tear us apart” without a feeling of incredible loneliness and anguish. There is no optimism, it can hardly even be considered a love song. Ian (or Kurt) didn’t write about bad relationships they documented total misery, publicly showing their agony in a much more articulate way than carving ‘People=Shit’ on your chest every will.
It should probably be mentioned the way that the Joy Division sound shaped so much of today’s modern music. We can probably blame them for ATB, but that was probably more New Orders fault, certainly Trent Reznor is severely in debt to their pre-acid house beats.
As it is not as good as the proper albums ‘Unknown Pleasures’ and ‘Closer’, it’s only of real interest to the completists (which is probably all Joy Division fans). Better off spending your money on the box set as an introduction, then only ever leaving your bedroom to buy this, the live album and a noose.
Oh yeah there’s an interview on it too. Ian laughs and seems to be having a good time, probably best to never listen to it, it might ruin illusions.
8Tim Whitehouse's Score