Thursday, July 19, 2007
Joy Division - She's Lost Control
Joy Division, "She's Lost Control (12 inch mix)" (YSI link)
Joy Division, "She's Lost Control (live at The Factory, Manchester July 13, 1979) (YSI link)
Joy Division, "She's Lost Control (live at The Lyceum Ballroom, London Feb 29, 1980)
Grace Jones, "She's Lost Control (long version)" (YSI link)
Grace Jones, "She's Lost Control (dub version)
What better place to start this look back at the 80s in the UK than with a look at Joy Division. There's not a whole lot to add about a band that has been mythologized and written about more than most, which is shocking when you consider that they existed for only three years. I guess the best I can do is cut through the myth and remind people what amazing fucking music Ian Curtis and company made. For me, these guys made music that sounds so right, so unique and unlike anything else. "She's Lost Control" has always been the quintissential JD song to me; while "Love Will Tear Us Apart" might be their best and is definitely their most famous, "Control" best conjures up the darkness at the core of their music. It's all in the drums for me, the reverbed mechanical drums that are so cold and dead. They suit Curtis' almost monotone vocals, a striking contrast to the lyrics about a woman losing control of her life, her sanity, whatever. There's something almost frightening about the song and it gets at why I respond so much to their music.
I also included some live versions of the tune, mainly to remind you to stop what you are doing and buy the Heart and Soul 4CD boxed set immediately. It's one of the great documents, a must for any fan of good music imo. It's not the greatest sound ever, but it's good enough, gives you that Grateful Dead audience tape feel, like you're there in the crowd.
Since this is Pound for Pound, it only makes sense that I give you a disco cover of Joy Division. Ms. Grace Jones, legendary disco vocalist, for some unknown reason decided to cover "She's Lost Control" and turn it into a reggae-tinged disco number. Okay, let's get it out of the way: this is not on the same level the original. It's like when Hollywood remakes a classic film noir or something, it takes all of the darkness and death and coldness out of the work. But, that doesn't mean that this isn't fun and one of the more bizarre songs you'll hear. It all starts off normal, but around the halfway point, Jones begins to crack up. You get background laughter, Jones shouting out the main phrase repeatedly, huge bass bubbling up, car crash sounds, like whoa. Give it a listen, it won't hurt I promise.