Joy Division - She’s Lost Control (12” Recycle mix and master, 1981)
The Joy Division/New Order Recycle blog describes its project thusly:
A careful restoration of Joy Division/New Order’s years on Factory Records (and maybe a little before and after).
All tracks were taken from the best/earliest possible sources to avoid modern mastering techniques which crush the dynamics. Tracks sourced from vinyl have been carefully cleaned and EQ levels have been tweaked for consistency. The artwork was scanned at the highest possible resolution and the type was reset when possible using the original fonts.
All of these singles are out-of-print. Many of the tracks have never appeared on CD. This was a labor of love from a small, devoted circle of fans.
The post accompanying each single contains scrupulously detailed historical information about the release and recording of the songs on that single. For instance, we learn about the 1980 rerecording of “She’s Lost Control” (emphasis mine):
Perhaps only the late Tony Wilson knows why Factory asked the band, already at Strawberry Studios, Stockport in March 1980 to re-record Love Will Tear Us Apart, to also record a new version of their already-a-classic She’s Lost Control. The story goes that it was intended to launch the band in the US dance clubs, and while we’ll never know if it would have worked due to intervening events, it did give the world a new, fresh interpretation of the track. And the story also goes that Martin Hannett used this track to audition some new production techniques he’d been working on.
Two distinct variants (due either to perversity or poor master reel labeling, nobody knows for certain) eventually were issued. The original, what we are calling the 12” Version, is what was released August 1980 in the US and one month later in the UK as FACUS2. The alternate Full Mix - and it’s definitely a different mix, more in a moment - first appeared on UK copies of 1988’s Substance, while US copies retained the earlier 12” Version. The Full Mix also appeared on 1991’s Martin compilation, issued by Factory to memorialize the late Martin Hannett, which is where I sourced the version presented here. 1997’s Heart And Soul featured the Full MIx as well, though several other compilation or soundtrack records post-1997 featured the earlier version.
They are definitely different mixes: the 12” Version is more claustrophobic and dense than the Full Mix, it has a longer keyboard/synth part (essentially, it comes in earlier in the mix), and the entire track fades out prematurely. The Full Mix has a different mix of acoustic/electric guitars, as well as some of the underlying electronic sounds/effects.
It’s really quite astonishing to the hear the difference as I alternate between my Substance-ripped version of the full mix and this 12” remaster. Although I haven’t heard any of the 2007 album reissues, this recording is basically the best I have ever heard Joy Division sound.
The Top 35 Or So Songs of the 80’s
#08: Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart
Personally, I like my Joy Division like I like my coffee: a pool of stark and shining blackness, dangerous and borderline painful if consumed inappropriately; it should make you a little uncomfortable—that’s the price you pay for heightened awareness and sharpened sensation. “Love Will Tear Us Apart” is a milky and mild anomaly, but it’s also Joy Division’s most popular and enduring song. Many JD diehards begin their love affair here, and for better or worse, the cult of Ian Curtis starts here as well. The song deserves backlash for the Big Tragic Mythology it inspires and for the tepidly fashionable fandom it attracts—not to mention a million boring covers that hijack the original’s profundity to compensate for a lack of inspiration or emotion. “LWTUA” has been thoroughly fetishized—it’s indie product placement now—and the double whammy of writing this song and killing himself is the smartest business move Curtis ever made.
That sounds horribly cynical, I know, but that’s the state of affairs. This is precisely why “LWTUA” has been this site’s bête noire since I started a year ago. For a postpunk niche blog, it’s the most popular song I could ever post. I could simply post the title in Wingdings or Braille and find a surge of positive response. I’ve always refused to feature or write about the song because it’s critically unapproachable on its pedestal. It takes a lot of legwork to get past the myths and swan-song clichés, and just think about the music. Let’s see if I can do just that.
For a band that dramatizes bleakness and disorder, “Love Will Tear Us Apart” is a lovely change of pace. This is the anomaly—the first pitfall into hagiography—the music is just so warm and upbeat, right?! But Ian Curtis sounds like a confused automaton—the robot of “love”? what is “love”?—and his monotonous delivery betrays the break-up lyrics. There’s talk of functions, routines, dead emotions, and the matter-of-fact “love will tear us apart”, but he’s not apathetic or detached. I hear a struggle to maintain composure amidst a vicious cycle—in this respect, it’s an incredibly human performance.
The softer-side cliché is worn-out, I realize, which is why I call attention to the Curtis’ lyrics. This is every bit a song about pain and control and disorder as any of the band’s classics, but the desperation is muted here:
Do you cry out in your sleep, all my failings exposed?
Get a taste in my mouth as desperation takes hold
Is it something so good just can’t function no more?
This is an awful scenario—disruption, failure, unwelcome spectacle and sensation, loss of self-control, unanswered questions—we’re just a few steps away from the claustrophobia of “Digital”, the sideshow agony of “Atrocity Exhibition”, and the seizures of “She’s Lost Control”.
That this song communicates romantic fatalism astounds me. This is a song about cognitive dissonance and disillusionment. The stripped-down Peel session incorporates blasts of guitar noise to offset the sugary synth, but Curtis actually croons on the chorus despite trailing off in the verses on that version. The soft and warm music here is the misleading anodyne and daydream for an anguished lover. Much of the romantic interpretation stems from the “yet there’s still this appeal that we’ve kept through our lives” line—but that’s mere appeal. Others might point to the significance of “again”—love will tear us apart again—but that begs the crucial question: Is this love at all? Probably not. It’s the fleeting, momentary illusion of “love” that tears them apart again and again. Which brings us full circle to the dilemma of Unknown Pleasures of “Disorder”: I’ve got the spirit, lose the feeling, take the shock away.
Joy Division - Transmission
Joy Division - Disorder (video mashup with 2001: A Space Odyssey)
What a brilliant combination! (via numbersixspeaks)