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The Killers VS Joy Divison- Two Bands, One Review

January 25, 2012

(Note: In case people ask about why I am writing so many blogs….. #1 I am no longer wasting my time on certain online sites I no longer frequent and #2 I often times pre-write my blogs on the weekends and set them to publish later on in the week….that’s why. I have several pre-written blogs- plus since I love writing so much, it only takes me a few minutes to whip up a blog :). BTW…..more video beer reviews are up (yay) but two hate lists were rejected for being too long. Also, I might make the last two private/vip only. Who will have access? Will I post my never before published beer review? Stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion!) And now this:

*Joy Division*

Anyone who knows me knows that Joy Division is one of my all time FAVORITE bands of all time!! Right after Interpol, The Doors and David Bowie is Joy Division. This 1970-1980s Manchester band is king of all post-punk from which bands like Interpol derive from and, many people will say that Interpol is a younger clone of Joy Division. In fact, it is extremely common for Interpol fans like me to be huge fans of Joy Division. How similar is Interpol to Joy Division? Well take a look at this and then decide:  Joy Division   and      Interpol (well, not my favorite Interpol song but very similar to Joy Division’s Disorder song)

*The Killers*

This Las Vegas, USA band plays a variety of music. With a lead singer, equal in charisma to joy Division’s Ian Curtis- The Killers played a great tribute to one of my favorite Joy Division songs Shadowplay.

Joy Divison wrote Shadowplay in the 70s, a song about playing out your death, looking for the one who will join you there. This song exudes passion and desperation! How could the upbeat and bubble gum Mr. Brightside singers (The Killers) cover/redo such a depressing song like this?

To the centre of the city where all roads meet, waiting for you,
To the depths of the ocean where all hopes sank, searching for you,
I was moving through the silence without motion, waiting for you,
In a room with a window in the corner I found truth.

In the shadowplay, acting out your own death, knowing no more,
As the assassins all grouped in four lines, dancing on the floor,
And with cold streel, odour on their bodies mad a move to connect,
But I could only stare in disbelief as the crowds all left.

I did everything, everything I wanted to,
I let them use you for their own ends,
To the centre of the city in the night, waiting for you.
To the centre of the city in the night, waiting for you.

They somehow did it and turned it into a well planed tribute.

Here is the original Joy Division Shadowplay and my favorite song by them:

Here is The Killer’s Shadowplay tribute cover:

My take:

Joy Division is classic and to some an acquired taste. I was already into heavy punk in my younger days (yeah I had purple hair, jet black hair and tight plaid pants before). Liking Joy Division is natural to me. Others may like songs like Love Will Tare Us Apart  which is a very likable songs by the band, others may find Joy Division songs like Disorder more heavy. Maybe those people could find a new Joy Division enjoyment from the Killer’s Shadowplay version.

The Killers certainly made this song their own, while keeping focus on the feel that Joy Division communicated through the rifts of the song. Although The Killer’s version is more upbeat and bubbly at times, the guitar is sexy, like a saw that cuts into the happy tones and brings it back down into a purgatory of who will join your unpleasant demise.

I was impressed by the Killer’s version, but as a punk fan I prefer the Joy Division version. I commend the Killers for taking something perfect and giving it a new dimension. Not to mention that thanks to them, younger fans may know more about the 1970’s and 80’s post-punk pioneers. A talentless band would have not been able to take so many musical liberties with the song and could have only mimicked the same tune with only a few differences. The Killers on the other hand, took the song, broke it down, added and deleted- turned it around, then up all while keeping a significant parallel to what Joy Division expressed through song.

Basically, this is one of the best tributes a band could have done to Joy Division. Hardcore Joy Division fans like me are not truly converted towards the Killer’s version (in fact many of us hate it) but we must give credit where credit is due and admit that The Killers put a lot of their talent into this version and gave the world a very decent version.

Take for example the other tributes to Joy Division which are mostly for the song No Love Lost (from when Joy Division was still called Warsaw). These versions are identical to the original song. The Killers went beyond the bubble to bring new levels to an already amazing song. Like it or not, they did go all the way out to bring us new joyful sounds to our ears possible.

Let’s break it down:

The Killers made the song both Joy Division’s and yet the Killer’s (like two songs that are both the same and different at the same time)
The Killer’s song had an upbeat bubbly tune at times which might attract some people but it does not fit in with Joy Division’s depressed and desperate mood
They did try to balance the happy and sad with the interrupting saw sound of a guitar.
The Killers may add new Joy Division fans by providing younger listeners to an older classic band.

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