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Social Production & Musical Analysis of Joy Division's Masterpiece 'Love Will Tear Us Apart'

Maiden Voyage

Gold™ Member
Sep 5, 2014
Warren Huart makes YouTube videos about music. In his series 'Songs that Changed Music', he breaks down the hits through the genesis of the song, the musical production techniques, instrumentation, and mastering. It's quite an amazing feat. I've included links at the end of this post for other songs he's covered. Worth a watch if you enjoy the songs themselves or music production in general.

"Today, listeners are still captivated by “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” its dark authenticity seemingly inseparable from the tragedy that preceded its release. As Len Brown observed for NME in 1990: “Ian Curtis was no more by the time Closer and ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ reached us, which makes it more difficult to measure their true merit objectively. During his lifetime, Joy Division colonised only the Independent charts. After he’d hanged himself, in the early hours of Sunday May 18, 1980, ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ reached number 13 in the UK singles charts, selling 160,000 copies; Closer reached six in the album charts.” However, the song’s legacy extends far beyond that of a dark voyeurism. Its lasting influence has been recounted time and again by both musicians (The Cure, U2, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails) and music critics. NME even named the song the greatest single of all time in 2002. In the earliest moments of the post-punk era, “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and Joy Division offered a radical new sound which enveloped Curtis’ groundbreaking, brutally honest, lyrical writing and would influence generations of musicians to come."

The song:

Other songs covered by 'Songs that Changed Music':


Apr 19, 2005
This is such an amazing song. The video is so haunting, just imagining what Ian must have been going through during that time.

Every time I read the story of his death and how he was under so much pressure to play concerts and even go on tour while in the midst of all of the terrible epileptic seizures, it really gives you a sense of how profoundly difficult life can be on people.
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Feb 2, 2009
I've always respected more than loved JD, which is sorta weird as I've always loved New Order.

I guess the rawness of the lo-fi approach didn't sit that well with me when I was more into the more synthy new-wave bands. Curtis's songs though... he really had something.

Its probably heretical but my favourite version of ceremony is the cover by Chromatics which I think just nails the underlying melancholic beauty of the lyrics. I dunno, it really feels like the perfect epitaph, almost a spirit message.

Note: the linked vi is one of at least 3 mixes/version (Johnny Jewel loves fiddling with stuff) and isn't the best one imho. Still, great though.
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