Mendelsohn: I love the Great List if for no other reason than its complete lack of musical semblance. One minute we are rocking out to James Brown and the next we get pitched a curve ball of an album by Joy Division. I’d like to think I could step up to the plate and hit this one out of the park, but the off-speed pitch that is Closer, has left me wanting. So I’ll defer to you. Can you make this foul ball of a record make sense for me?
Klinger: You may have confused the hard-S Closer for the soft-S, ninth-inning-pitcher closer. Happens a lot. But let’s try for a little context. By 1979, punk had revealed itself to be pretty much a dead end. Turns out there are only a finite number of ways to play four chords. Instead of making a beeline for the dogma of hardcore, some savvy bands recognized that there were two potentially better paths: you could expand your palette, like the Clash did with their glorious Technicolor panorama London Calling, or you could double down on the darkness, and that’s what Joy Division did. Both of these approaches had attributes that did a great deal to create what became the sound of the next decade. And Closer further refines the sound that Joy Division began developing on their debut—the brittle drums, chattery guitars and hard, upfront bass all became a hallmark of the 1980s. And that’s not even factoring in Ian Curtis’ doomy intonations yet.