Tag Archives: Bernard Sumner

Control and Joy Division (DVD)

Control DVDControl (Weinstein Company)

Joy Division (Weinstein Company)

It’s easy to forget sometimes how effortlessly someone can fade from a person to a legend. It can be as simple as a good story, an early death, and a little time. Twenty-eight years after his death at age 23, we have more of his story.

A dual release of rockudrama Control and traditional documentary Joy Division attempts to fill in the colors of an unfinished sketch and ends up as grey and haunting as the Manchester location that dominates Ian Curtis‘ story.

Wracked by the onset of grand mal seizures, rocketing fame (in a decidedly anti-fame scene), increasingly demanding touring schedules, a faltering marriage, fatherhood, and the general depression that often surrounds guys in their twenties who are struggling to figure out who they are while putting on a good face, is it any wonder Ian Curtis danced like a spastic?

Both films focus on Curtis as the center of the story, and it’s hard not to when your hero’s end is tragic, but you’re left wondering about the other three dudes—who went on after Curtis’ death to form New Order, one of the most influential bands of the 80s and 90s. Still, there’s only so much time and Curtis is a fascinating figure.

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To Do Anything New Ordery…

Uh oh, things are getting nasty over in New Orderville. A brief recap. First, bassist Peter Hook said the group had broken up. Bernard Sumner and Stephan Morris immediately said, “Oh really?”

Well now, old Hooky has responded to Sumner and Morris regarding the idea of them carrying on without him on his myspace blog:

never assume anything! This group has SPLIT UP! you are no more new order than i am! you may have two thirds but dont assume you have the rights to do anything NEW ordery cos you dont ive still got a third! But am open to negotiation.

Just in case you hadnt noticed weve not had a “PERSONAL” relationship for a long time now…years in fact! whenever you contact me its through the management(like hale and pace eh?) i did exactly the same you all knew what was happening re the split! in FEBRUARY! using cannes and mojo as some excuse to at last get your own back is wrong.

Not entirely sure what he’s talking about re: “cannes and mojo” but I’m pretty sure it’s mean.

Electronic – Get the Message: The Best of Electronic

Get the Message: The Best of ElectronicElectronicGet the Message: The Best of Electronic (Rhino)

Just consider the pedigree: one is a founding member of Joy Division and the voice of New Order, the other is arguably one of the most influential guitarists of a generation and one half of the songwriting duo that launched the Smiths. When Bernard Sumner and Johnny Marr announced their new partnership as Electronic in 1989, expectations were higher than anyone could possibly meet and quickly tempered when Marr proclaimed they’d be recording “dance music you could listen to.” While Morrissey was still on tour in flowery shirts urging mopey teens to “hang the DJ,” his former songwriting partner was donning gold chains and penning “Feel Every Beat.”

Bernard Sumner’s songwriting ability hinges not on adroit lyrics or blissful melodies, but on his knack for conveying so much by saying so little and in what are sometimes laughably sentimental nursery rhymes. Half of his lyrics, removed from the trappings of song, border on inane ramblings and nonsense, but within the framework of the right sonic elements, hit that sweet spot that defines good pop music. When they miss though, the songs stumble out as pap foolishness.

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