• Justin Nuckols

For The Record: Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures (40th Anniversary)



For Fans Of: The Cult, New Order, Bauhaus, Killing Joke

Genre: Post-Punk, Goth Rock, Dark Wave

Released: June 14th, 2019 [original release June 15, 1979]


In front of one of the most influential albums in the last 40 years of rock music, is the distinguishable album design by Peter Saville; and today, the band’s and Peter’s original design plans, white-with-black accents, are realized in the limited pressing of “Unknown Pleasures” to celebrate the iconic record’s 40th anniversary. The anniversary edition is pressed on beautiful 180g ruby red vinyl and packaged with an alternative white sleeve.

“Unknown Pleasures” possesses all the depth and complexities that make tangible music, such as vinyl, worth appreciating in 2019. The somber, cavernous journey that these 40 minutes take listeners on, is complemented by the impressions of massive sonic space, echo, and reverb. This album is one of the most intense cerebral experiences that keeps you on edge, tense, and constantly anticipating till the final note.


For a rock album to lean so minimally on guitar leads and rather allow the mid-range bass guitar and distant-sounding drums to support the melodies, there is good reason why Joy Division is credited for influencing the stylistic elements of indie rock and post-punk revival. The depth and significance in lead singer Ian Curtis’ lyrics is meant to be interpreted by each listener - lyrics were never distributed with the original pressings. Due to its ominous and haunting chill, this album shines new on every listen, symbolizing its timeliness and versatility.


To recount the recording and production of “Unknown Pleasures” requires a look into producer Martin Hannett’s vision and techniques. Stories abound online of Hannett’s unorthodox approach, such as turning the air conditioning to levels that possibly give this record its “cold” feel, tracking all drum heads separately so as to produce the purest percussion sounds, and innovative uses of tape echo and guitar played backwards. While the group disagreed over the contrast from their typical live shows, which were aggressively loud, the final output resulted in a 10-song collection that was publicly hailed in 1979, and still today.


Get your hands on one of rock’s most influential debut albums of all time, and purchase your copy of the 40th anniversary edition of “Unknown Pleasures” by Joy Division by clicking here. Additionally, as part of the 40th anniversary commemoration of “Unknown Pleasures”, 10 directors will create new music videos for every track on the album. Watch the video for “I Remember Nothing” and follow the band’s social media below.

Joy Division - I Remember Nothing (Reimagined Video)


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