The Sounds Of Inspiration, Part II: New Order/Joy Division

Today’s musical nugget of inspiration comes from one of my favourite bands of all time, New Order. The song is called, “In A Lonely Place,” and I first heard it as a cover by Bush on the soundtrack to The Crow: City of Angels. I was instantly taken with the song, and used to play it over and over again. Later on I bought a collection of New Order songs and discovered that the original is even more haunting and beautiful.

I knew that New Order consisted of the remaining members of Joy Division after singer Ian Curtis’s tragic suicide, and I loved many songs by both bands. However, I was surprised when I discovered that “In A Lonely Place” was actually one of the last songs written by Joy Division before Ian’s death. Since the song’s artist was always listed as “New Order,” I never questioned its origins. Yet it makes sense that such a brooding, sad, and beautiful song had Ian Curtis’s hand in it. The lyrics speak to an aching loneliness which surely must have been surrounding Ian in his final days.

This song puts me in the right frame of mind for creative melancholy. It makes sense, as I am most productive when I’m “in a lonely place.” Thousands of stories and settings spring to mind whenever I hear the dark opening notes: love lost, love rekindled, darkened rooms, echoes at night, somber rituals, suffering and pain… this haunting melody leads me down so many different roads. It speaks of an emptiness that I immediately long to fill with my thoughts. When I am at a loss for words, or when I simply wish to be alone and meditating on my emotions, I reach out to this song and the lonely ghost of Ian Curtis for inspiration. Neither ever fails me.

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