Monday, December 10, 2007

Losing it. A "Control" review.

As a pop culture fiend, one of my favorite hobbies is turning folks onto new things they may otherwise never hear about. With "Control," I get a two for one deal.

In the 70's, a band by the name of Joy Division came about that seemed destined for great things. Their music was dark, brooding, melodic and often uplifting in a reverse-therapy sort of way. A little punk, a lot of rock, and a hell of a lot of emotion came together to create a unique sound that demanded people stop what they were doing and pay attention. This was greatly thanks to lead vocalist Ian Curtis.

Nowadays, music that ends up on TV or the radio primarily comes from what I like to call popcorn bands. Cheap, gimmicky collections of decently trained musicians who, though sometimes fun for a listen and the occasional toe tap, lack anything resembling substance. The hooks are generic and the lyrics are written by anyone but the person singing them.

Joy Division stands above these masses in how much of the musicians gets poured into each song. Curtis, for one, emptied his heart and soul into every line he ever wrote or belted out.

I'm going to assume most who read this have never heard of the band Joy Division or the movie Control, chronicling the life of lead singer Ian Curtis. I recommend you do some homework. Download a few tunes and see if Curtis speaks to you. If you find yourself picking up what he's putting down, I recommend you find a theater specializing in independent film and clap your peepers on Control.

Control is a thoughtful flick with stellar performances all around. It also proves to be a fantastic directoral debut from Anton Corbijn. It's clear Corbijn has an intense love for Joy Division's music as well as Ian's story and thus provides an equally compelling film.

As Curtis states in Control, Joy Division's music is not always meant to be beautiful. As such, Control casts an unflinching eye set to an appropriate black and white film to create a movie that is both beautiful and sometimes hard to watch.

Check out the band. Check out the movie. Be moved.


Anonymous said...

Playing blackjack the other day at Slots A Fun in Vegas (go there! don't ask why!), I met a gentleman named Chris from near Manchester who had seen Joy Division twice. I asked him if I could touch him and he said yes. It was a wonderful experience. I took my bass guitar to the shop t'other day and I've been trying to play exclusively Joy Division songs. You're so right that more people should know them and love them, but then people don't know what's good for them, do they? Did you know that Bono once said that he hoped one day that U2 could fill the void that Joy Division left? Just Bono being an ass again, but it just shows the influence JD had on the music world. Listen to "New Year's Day" and tell me where that kind of bass line comes from. Tell me!
Love ya.

-Ryan Winslett said...

Good thing I'll be heading to Vegas in all of one-point-five weeks. I'll look the place up. As for Bono, fuck'im. That's right. I said it.
I still get a bit blue when I think what Joy Division could have progressed into were it not for Curtis' unfortunate decision. Ya know?