My Top 1000 Songs #79: Ceremony
The lyrics are cryptic, yet as haunting as anything else Curtis conjured during his tragically short life. "Avenues all lined with trees/Picture me and then you start watching." But the music elevates it above the darkness, a prime example of Peter Hook's melodic, chiming bassline contrasted against Bernie Sumner's jagged guitar washes, propelled by a bravura syncopated beat from Stephen Morris.
It's stunning from start to finish, heavily weighted by the suggestion of what heights Joy Division might have climbed had they continued in this direction, while uplifted by its rousing introduction of one of the '80s' most important acts.Live in 1981:The original Joy Division demo:The enduring greatness of the song is attested to by the absurd number of cover versions. Galaxie 500 slowed it down to half-speed to mine the song's haunting atmospherics; here they are live in 1990:Here's a playlist I made of numerous versions of the song: