The Eight Least Depressing Joy Division Lyrics

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No one’s questioning the fact that Joy Division’s catalog isn’t exactly the most positive, uplifting group of songs out there. Although the band’s time together was eye-blink fast, they left behind a discography and legacy that’s undeniably great but equally dark.

But in dark subject matter, there’s always a lighter side. We’ve pored over Joy Division’s discography to take a look at some of those moments. In honor of what would be frontman Ian Curtis’ 56th birthday, we’ve compiled a group of the band’s tracks that are the most uplifting—er, the least depressing. Take a look below, and let us know what we missed in the comment section.

8. “She’s Lost Control”
Confusion in her eyes that says it all
She’s lost control
And she’s clinging to the nearest passerby
She’s lost control

Sorry Lady Gaga, but decades before you couldn’t “see straight anymore” and clung to a dancing passerby on “Just Dance,” Curtis and co. penned a feel-good number about a young woman’s night out on the town. Well, it’s either about that or one woman’s struggle with crippling addiction—that’s the listener’s call.

7. “Insight”
Guess your dreams always end.
They don’t rise up, just descend,
But I don’t care anymore,
I’ve lost the will to want more,
I’m not afraid not at all,
I watch them all as they fall,
But I remember when we were young

Sure, it’s a bummer to find yourself in your mid-20s and realize that you’re not going to be a pro NBA player. But as Curtis points out, it can be pleasant enough just to reflect on those memories without being crushed by reality.

6. “A Means to an End”
We fought for good, stood side by side
Our friendship never died
On stranger waves, the lows and highs
Our vision touched the sky
Immortalists with points to prove
I put my trust in you

On paper, the first two verses of Closer’s “Means to an End” would definitely be the most uplifting material to come out of the English foursome. With Tony Robbins-optimistic lines like “Fought for good, stood side by side/Our friendship never died,” it takes Curtis’ dry, wailing delivery to make you realize something about this relationship went way wrong.

5. “Love Will Tear Us Apart”
When routine bites hard and ambitions are low
And resentment rides high but emotions won’t grow
And we’re changing our ways, taking different roads

Then love, love will tear us apart again
Love, love will tear us apart again

“Love Will Tear Us Apart,” probably Joy Division’s most recognized track, is sort of sweet, depending on how you look at it. Although the song’s trademark line has been endlessly argued and interpreted, for me it’s always meant sacrificing a loving relationship for the greater good of two people. And while it’s not super romantic, at least it’s the act of an emotionally stable person.

4. “Exercise One”
Turn on your TV,
Turn down your pulse
,
Turn away from it all,
It’s all getting too much

The bleakness of any given song is all in a given interpretation, and we certainly don’t see anything depressing or wrong with relaxing with a little bit of the tube.

3. “I Remember Nothing”
Me in my own world, the one that you knew,
For way too long.
We were strangers, for way too long.
We were strangers,
We were strangers, for way too long.
For way too long

In “I Remember Nothing,” Curtis describes realizing you have way more in common with an acquaintance than you knew. And if Curtis is describing his first meeting with Joy Division members Peter Hook and Bernard Sumner, I have to guess the conversation this was based on went something like this, but with less karate and more distorted bass. “Do you wanna make emotional, influential music that will inspire legions of musicians for decades in the garage?” “YUP!”

2. Transmission
No language, just sound, that’s all we need now
To synchronize love to the beat of the show and we could dance
Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance to the radio

“Transmission,” a Joy Division fan favorite, touches on the idea of music as therapy. Although the song overall explores dark themes in lines like “We would have a fine time living in the night/left to blind destruction waiting for our sight,” we like to think Curtis has found salvation in “the beat of the show.”

1. “You’re No Good for Me”
I do lots of good – surprised at what you would
Don’t call me no crud – I really think I’m good
Yeah you think you’re something but you’re no good for me

“You’re No Good for Me” was originally released under the band name Warsaw, which featured all the same founding members of Joy Division save drummer Stephen Morris. The track shows the band drenched in their punk roots, with bassist Peter Hook’s trademark fuzzed-out parts doing most of the heavy lifting. It’s the band at their cockiest, and it comes through Curtis’ surprisingly self assured lyrics with lines like “Don’t call me no crud – I really think I’m good.” Here’s a track to crank out the next time you get dumped.

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