Thursday, July 12, 2007
Joy Division : Summer Hits
The first heat wave has passed through Brooklyn. Summer is here. And Glenn Fry (no link necessary) is singing in my head, “The Heat is On.” And boy is it ever, especially when I’m in transit from home to work, where in Manhattan with its reflecting glass towers might mean getting zapped by the sun’s rays into a puddle sack of flesh. I move cautiously, trying to preserve my energy, trying not sweat to death. So for relief and calm guidance, I listen to cool music, which brings me to Joy Division, a late 70s post punk, gothic rock band. Their lead singer, Ian Curtis, sings with a droll apathy, a style akin to Peter Murphy from the Bauhaus, or a sedated version of Fred Schneider from the B52’s. Its essence is: I’m alive, I’m dead, I’m singing. Curtis sings on the straight and narrow and it’s cool. Dead cool.
So as I dodge the sun’s rays while walking to work, I like to listen to Joy Division’s second and final album — Closer. This album spits and taps with moribund sheen, a cool and sweltering line between life and death, where I find myself on every upbeat wanting to live. Thus, a good, I’m baking on the streets, I should listen to this while walking to work, sort of jam.
There are three songs that I like to listen to on the final stretch of my walk. The song, “A Means to an End,” has a straight four four beat, where Stephen Morris, the drummer, sticks the high hat and snare with a hissing spit tap, a gut rock beat, while Curtis sings his way up to the chorus, “I put my trust in you. In you,” and it’s like that, a cold jab love; it keeps my feet moving, a straight four four. Then Peter Hook, who usually plays bass, plays guitar on “Atrocity Exhibition,” and plays like he’s scrubbing the strings with a pipe; it’s a screwy sound, a perfect reflection of the sweltering day. And all the while Curtis is chanting, “This is the Way, Step Inside.” Indeed it is, for I’m getting closer, closer to work. And then the final song plays, a processional song, “The Eternal,” where the synthesizer sprays the air like a garden tap sprinkler and shivers its way to the end sounding like a summer’s eve forested with cicadas. Back in the sun’s rays, I take my final steps before opening the work doors, and listen to Curtis as he sings, “Try to cry out in the heat of the moment, possessed by a fury that burns from inside.” And I nod my head, thinking, yeah, that sounds about right. I grab the hot steel knob of the work door and pull, silently stepping inside. It’s cool. Real cool.
A Means to an End
BONUS SONG (An F-Yeah song):
No Love Lost