For non-fans, “Love Will Tear Us Apart” is the only Joy Division song. Released well after lead singer Ian Curtis’ suicide, it was their first single to make the main UK chart and any US chart and so it is, for most people, Joy Division’s one hit. (Unless you live in New Zealand.) Fairly uncharacteristic of their sound (it sounds more like New Order), its success is the kind of thing that annoys fans of influential cult bands who have one mainstream hit. But it’s their hit and so it is Joy Division’s most-covered song many times over.
Nevertheless, Tennessee singer-songwriter Amythyst Kiah, whom you know from Our Native Daughters, thinks we need another version. This version is something you would expect from a member of Our Native Daughters, just guitar and voice. There is no catchy synth hook, so you’ve been warned. Kiah slows down the pace just sings the lyrics with no frills. She plays with the intonation of the lyrics in the verses, making it a little harder to spot until she gets to the chorus. The main focus is on the emotion in her powerful vocals due to her simple guitar part and nothing else in the arrangement.
It’s a gorgeous version of the song, one that focuses on the universal emotions in the lyrics of the song, rather than focusing on the moodiness or danceability of the original arrangement. Check it out below.