Artist Poll, Poll — August 17, 2020 at 6:45 am

The absolute best of Joy Division: All 51 songs ranked by Slicing Up Eyeballs’ readers

We’re back today with the results of Round 7 of our sporadic Slicing Up Eyeballs artist poll series, a ranking of all 51 songs written and recorded by post-punk icons Joy Division over the band’s sadly truncated career, cut short by the death in 1980 of frontman Ian Curtis.

A little refresher: We asked readers to vote for up to 10 of their favorite songs recorded by Joy Division, choosing from a ballot that listed the band’s singles, album and EP tracks, and compilation cuts.

RELATED: Playlist of all 51 Joy Division songs, ranked — minus 8 not on Spotify

Because Joy Division’s output is relatively limited, we included any officially released versions of songs by the band, including demos of two songs later recorded by New Order, an original song only ever recorded live, and material later released from sessions when the group was still called Warsaw.

Not included on the ballot: live versions of songs already on the list, radio-session recordings, demos and remixes that duplicate songs already on this list, and no cover versions, either.

Based on a total of nearly 16,000 votes, the results are presented below. Garnering 1,228 votes, the No. 1 selection topped the No. 2 pick by a mere two votes, one of our closest top finishes. This poll also featured just one tie — “The Sound of Music” and “Wilderness” — which we settled with a coin flip.

One note, however: As a sharp-eyed — sharp-eared? — Slicing Up Eyeballs reader pointed out, we goofed on the ballot by including both “Walked in Line” and “They Walked in Line,” which are the same song. And the band apparently had two different songs named “The Kill,” and we only included one. Voting was already underway, though, so it wasn’t possible to adjust that, and we decided to just go ahead and present the results as they came in.

PREVIOUS ARTIST POLLS: The Cure | The Smiths | R.E.M. | Depeche Mode | New Order | Siouxsie and the Banshees | Next…? (Send suggestions to info@slicingupeyeballs.com)

As always, thank you all so much for participating.

And now, the results:

 

THE ABSOLUTE BEST OF JOY DIVISION: ALL 51 SONGS, RANKED

 

1. “Transmission”

Non-album single (1979)

 

2. “Love Will Tear Us Apart”

Non-album single (1980)

 

3. “She’s Lost Control”

Single; appears on Unknown Pleasures (1979)

 

4. “Atmosphere”

Non-album single (1980)

 

5. “Shadowplay”

Appears on Unknown Pleasures (1979)

 

6. “Isolation”

Appears on Closer (1980)

 

7. “Disorder”

Appears on Unknown Pleasures (1979)

 

8. “Dead Souls”

Appears on “Licht und Blindheit” single (1980)

 

9. “Ceremony” (Demo)

Appears on Heart and Soul (1997)

 

10. “New Dawn Fades”

Appears on Unknown Pleasures (1979)

 

 

11. “Heart and Soul”

Appears on Closer (1980)

 

12. “Digital”

Appears on A Factory Sample EP (1978)

 

13. “Decades”

Appears on Closer (1980)

 

14. “Twenty Four Hours”

Appears on Closer (1980)

 

15. “A Means To An End”

Appears on Closer (1980)

 

16. “Warsaw”

Appears on An Ideal for Living EP (1978)

 

17. “Atrocity Exhibition”

Appears on Closer (1980)

 

18. “The Eternal”

Appears on Closer (1980)

 

19. “These Days”

B-side of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (1980)

 

20. “Day of the Lords”

Appears on Unknown Pleasures (1979)

 

 

21. “No Love Lost”

Appears on An Ideal for Living EP (1978)

 

22. “Leaders of Men”

Appears on An Ideal for Living EP (1978)

 

23. “Interzone”

Appears on Unknown Pleasures (1979)

 

24. “Colony”

Appears on Closer (1980)

 

25. “In a Lonely Place (Detail)” (Demo)

Appears on Heart and Soul (1997)

 

26. “Passover”

Appears on Closer (1980)

 

27. “Ice Age”

Appears on Still (1981)

 

28. “Insight”

Appears on Unknown Pleasures (1979)

 

29. “Something Must Break”

Appears on Still (1981)

 

30. “Novelty”

B-side of “Transmission” (1979)

 

 

31. “I Remember Nothing”

Appears on Unknown Pleasures (1979)

 

32. “Exercise One”

Appears on Still (1981)

 

33. “Walked in Line”

Appears on Still (1981)

 

34. “Komakino”

Non-album single (1980)

 

35. “The Sound of Music”

Appears on Still (1981)

 

36. “Wilderness”

Appears on Unknown Pleasures (1979)

 

37. “The Only Mistake”

Appears on Still (1981)

 

37. “They Walked in Line”

Appears on Warsaw (1994)

 

39. “Glass”

Appears on A Factory Sample EP (1978)

 

40. “Candidate”

Appears on Unknown Pleasures (1979)

 

 

41. “Incubation”

B-side of “Komakino” (1980)

 

42. “Auto-Suggestion”

Appears on Earcom 2: Contradiction EP (1979)

 

42. “The Kill”

Appears on Still (1981)

 

44. “From Safety to Where…?”

Appears on Earcom 2: Contradiction EP (1979)

 

45. “Failures”

Appears on An Ideal for Living EP (1978)

 

46. “At a Later Day” (Live)

Appears on Short Circuit: Live at the Electric Circus (1979)

 

47. “The Drawback”

Appears on Warsaw (1994)

 

48. “You’re No Good For Me”

Appears on Warsaw (1994)

 

49. “As You Said”

B-side to “Komakino” (1980)

 

50. “Inside the Line”

Appears on Warsaw (1994)

 

51. “Gutz”

Appears on Warsaw (1994)

 

 

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14 Comments

  1. Great list. Then again, how could it not be?

    I noticed that vote tallies were not listed as they have been in the past with similar polls. Any particular reason? They would be interesting to see.

  2. Transmission at #1 = excellent choice, SUE voters. That song still blows me away after hundreds of listens.

    Top 5 songs are unimpeachable. Anyone else prefer the Pennine version of LWTUA? And the album version of She’s Lost Control?

  3. Scott R Stalcup

    Driving the Tri-State onto 80/94 in Chicago (or the reverse of that) during the 11 months of winter people in the GCA experience to “Transmission” at top volume is a religious experience. I had a lot of them.

  4. Failures at #45? WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE?!?!? ;)

  5. Not to be negative, more out of curiosity…anyone else think the #1 isn’t that special? Always seemed like a great rock track to me, but one that any great band could create and doesn’t represent the band like #2, nor does it have the lyrics to beat #2.

  6. Andrew Brooksbank

    Dead Souls should be number one. Stunning, simply stunning. The lyric is from somewhere else.

  7. @Andrew…while it is hard to argue with Transmission at #1, I’m with you…Dead Souls is quite an experience each time I listen to it.

  8. Scott Stalcup

    Matt,
    The problem with “Love Will Tear Us Apart” being at #1 is, despite the lyrics and melody, it’s achieved “Phil Collins”-level saturation among fans of the group over the last forty years. A lot of folks love(d) “In the Air Tonight,” “Easy Lover,” and the No Jacket Required/Invisible Touch albums, and how cool was it that Phil played both Live Aid concerts? Come the late ’80s/early ’90s with the Buster soundtrack, We Can’t Dance and But Seriously, people were burnt out. “Okay, Phil. You need to go away.”

    Between 24 HPP, Control, and the Grant Gee doco, and the endless covers (Calexico, Swans, Fallout Boy, Bush, The Cure, Nerina Pallot, Wonderlick, Paul Young (without the Q-Tips), “Love Will Tear Us Apart” needs a similar rest for a lot of folks. I’m surprised it reached #2. Had it been #1, the backlash would have been severe in the comments. People’s grandmothers know “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” It’s the one song most people wearing the Unknown Pleasures t-shirt know (annnnnnnd usually the ONLY song most people wearing the Unknown Pleasures t-shirt know).

  9. @Scott…yes…a Wonderlick reference!

  10. Scott Stalcup

    @JerseyJoe Oh, you’re a fan of Tim and Jay’s side project? Brilliant! Love the new Too Much Joy EP. Waiting on the contract for the new job so I can contribute to the campaign for their new album. “Clowns” has never lost its relevance to the world situation.

  11. OH yeah, I forgot people suddenly lose the ability to see historical relevance if they’ve heard the song one too many times. Good point. or bad point depending on how you feel about these people haha!

  12. Scott Stalcup

    Matt,
    Even songs, amazing as they are, are not immune to “Familiarity breeds contempt.” All the same, if you’ve not heard this BBC Radio 4 programme with Simon Armitage and Hooky, it might be of interest: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00b4wty

  13. Be with us – the only Polish site devoted to Joy Division and cold wave art – updated daily

    #factory records #iancurtis #coldwave #postpunk #art #literature #poetry #music #darkwave #nostalgy #Manchester @joydivision #joydivision

    http://isolations.blogspot.com

  14. Alan Lukaszek

    I believe ALL Joy Division songs should be #1!!!

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