Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Joy Division: Unknown Pleasures [Factory, 1980]
With Ian Curtis having hanged himself from the apex of a love triangle well before this 1979 U.K. debut came out in the States, it's hard to pass off his depressiveness as affectation even though critiques of his sincere feelings are definitely in order: the man is idolizing as fast as he oxidizes, a role model as dubious as Sid or Jimbo for the inner-directed set. Nevertheless, it's his passionate gravity that makes the clumsy, disquieting music so convincing--not just a songwriting stroke like "She's Lost Control" but gothic atmosphere like "Candidate" and "I Remember Nothing." Do what he does, not what he did. A-