Saturday, July 19, 2014

Track of the Week: Joy Division, "Day of the Lords"

This week has brought no end to heartbreaking news.  A bomb killed scores of people at an Afghani market.  A man was choked to death by the NYPD during an arrest.  Israel bombed then invaded Gaza.  Russian separatists in the Ukraine downed a passenger airliner (and the bodies have been looted).

It has been hard not to get emotionally involved in it all.  In times like these I often turn to music for solace and contemplation, and this week has been no different.  Over the past few days I've kept going back to "Day of the Lords" by Joy Division, a dark song even by their standards.  It's the second song on their first album, and one that grabbed me the very first time I listened to it.  Bernard Sumner's distorted guitar sounds absolutely sinister, and Ian Curtis' vocal more foreboding and troubled than usual, growling traumatized about "the bodies obtained."  The drums sound less played than dropped, staggering like a person stabbed in the gut.  In an oblique way, the song seems to be about wartime atrocities, and Curtis screams out in horror "where will it end?"  My thoughts exactly.

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