Closer is the second and final studio album by English post-punk band Joy Division. It was released on 18 July 1980, through record label Factory, following the suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis two months earlier.


Closer was produced by Martin Hannett.

The Atrocity Exhibition by J.G. Ballard was an influence on the album, and the novel shares its title with the opening track.

The album cover was designed by Martyn Atkins and Peter Saville, with photography by Bernard Pierre Wolff. The photograph on the cover is of the Appiani family tomb in the Cimitero Monumentale di Staglieno in GenoaItaly.

In a 2007 documentary on the band, designer Martyn Atkins commented that he, upon learning of singer Ian Curtis's suicide, expressed immediate concern over the album's design as it depicted a funeral theme remarking "the album cover... it's a tomb!"

When Closer came out, Sounds' Dave McCullough remarked that there were "dark strokes of gothic rock".

Track listingEdit

All songs written and composed by Joy Division (Ian CurtisPeter HookStephen MorrisBernard Sumner). 

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Atrocity Exhibition"   6:06
2. "Isolation"   2:53
3. "Passover"   4:46
4. "Colony"   3:55
5. "A Means to an End"   4:07
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "Heart and Soul"   5:51
7. "Twenty Four Hours"   4:26
8. "The Eternal"   6:07
9. "Decades"   6:10


Closer was released on 18 July 1980, through the Factory Records label, as a 12" vinyl LP. It reached number 6 on the UK Albums Chart. It also peaked at number 3 in New Zealand in September 1981. It claimed the number one slot onNME Album of the Year.

Closer, along with Unknown Pleasures and Still, was remastered and re-released in 2007. As with Unknown Pleasures and Still, the remaster comes packaged with a bonus live disc, recorded at the University of London.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic [3]
Robert Christgau A−[4]
Pitchfork 10/10[5]
Q [6]
Rolling Stone [7]
Spin [8]
Uncut [9]

In their review of the 2007 reissue of the album, Pitchfork remarked, "Closer is even more austere, more claustrophobic, more inventive, more beautiful and more haunting than its predecessor", calling it "Joy Division's start-to-finish masterpiece; a flawless encapsulation of everything the group sought to achieve".


The album has been highly acclaimed, and is often cited as being Joy Division's finest work. Pitchfork listed Closer as the 10th best album of the 1980s. It was placed 72nd on NMEs list of the one-hundred greatest British albums ever. In 2003, the album was ranked at number 157 on Rolling Stones list of the five-hundred greatest albums ever. In 2006, Q magazine placed the album at number 8 in its list of the forty best albums of the 1980s. In 2012, Slant Magazine listed the album at number 7 on its list of the best albums of the 1980s. Sonic Seducer listed it 2nd in their list "10 Key Albums for the Gothic Scene".

Closer was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.


Joy Division

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