My Top 1000 Songs #119: Atmosphere

If you're looking for the essential confirmation that producer Martin Hannett was essentially a fifth member of Joy Division during their brief tenure, look no further than "Atmosphere." The pulsating bass and echoing percussion, that tinkling synth that sounds like a rain of confetti; the song is as much about its, well, atmosphere, as it is the music and lyrics. It was one of the last songs they recorded before Ian Curtis' passing (released as an obscure single before later surfacing on various compilations), and he laid down a vocal track for the ages. And sure, like much of JD's work, it's dark and haunting and "goth," but it's also an incredibly moving and embracing piece in its own way.
New Order avoided playing Joy Division songs for many years, but they finally relented... here they are with a live "Atmosphere" in 1998: