Songs I Wish Everyone Knew: “Dead Souls” by Joy Division

As far as indie heroes go, Joy Division are as big as it gets. The quartet formed in Manchester during a time when music was going through a subtle, but historically important and universally lauded transition sometimes known as “post punk,” sometimes expanded into “new wave.” Joy Division, although short-lived, was at the forefront of it all. The group had a dark, atmospheric sound that swirled around Bernard Sumner’s decorative guitar and keys, Stephen Morris’ spacious percussion, Peter Hook’s virtuoso bass (almost a lead guitar part in its own right,) and especially Ian Curtis’ howling baritone vocals. Sadly, the pressure got to Ian, who took his own life in 1980, only a few short years after the group’s emergence. The other three members, in addition to Morris’ girlfriend (now wife) Gillian Gilbert, carried the group on as the legendary New Order. Despite Joy Division’s rather compact discography, there are more incredible gems tucked in there than most acts produce in a 20 year career. Probably the most noteworthy of their “obscure” tracks is “Dead Souls.” The song, in the world of Joy Division, is as regarded as any of their (few) singles or iconic album tracks. To keep it simple, the track, more or less, is a b-side, but it’s often grouped into the category of their more important work. “Dead Souls” kicks off with an over 2 minute intro that really showcases the raw, inherent talent of the group’s instrumentalists, all before pretty much repeating the whole thing for a second run through with Ian’s possessed vocals layered on top. The track is, without a doubt, an immense masterpiece that deserves to sit next to songs like “Love Will Tear Us Apart” and “Transmission,” despite never being given a proper pack-removing push. It’s pretty important that you know this song.




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