The 100 Best Debut Albums of All Time

20

'Unknown Pleasures'

Joy Division
Courtesy Factory Records

Joy Division
Factory, 1979

This breathtaking 1979 set was to punk what The Velvet Underground & Nico was to psychedelia – a reveal of the seething dark underbelly of a cultural movement. Produced by Martin Hannett, who makes the band sound like they're performing in a meat cooler, it introduces Ian Curtis, who wails the Manchester existential blues with a despair so powerful, it somehow transcends hopelessness (when he sings "I've got the spirit," on the amazing Arctic-chunnel of an album-opener "Disorder," it's as thrilling as it is blood-chilling). A model for countless brooding rock bands to come.

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