One of the most gut-wrenching songs ever written, Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” is
regularly included in lists of greatest rock songs of all time. And on their punky new cover, Pennsylvania quartet the Districts update the dark classic. Many artists have covered the 1980 post-punk classic, but the Districts brings a 2018 sound to the track, with a less pronounced bass and synthesizer. And although some old schoolers will contend what made the original so great was Ian’s non-standard voice, I’d argue the Districts’ vocals are a significant improvement.
Without knowing the words and just listening to the original Joy Division effort, you immediately feel Ian Curtis’ pain that transcends his voice. The Districts version is more musically polished and doesn’t convey that musical sadness. However, when you piece together The Districts music with the content of the lyrics, the dichotomy brings a different understanding of the song’s sadness. The Districts version gives a less overt sadness but just as powerful especially when you know the history of the song and Ian Curtis’ fate.
The way The Districts recorded this cover, it could be possible for more kids today to get hooked on this song. The song has a great sound, a great hook, and a tragic story behind the lyrics. Who knows, maybe this will pave the way for a new generation of New Order fans too.