Half and Half
P. Zane | New Jersey, USA | 06/15/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Still is a decent album for what it is, half and half. Half of the album is comprised of remains, leftovers that didn't make it on an album. While these songs are outtakes, they are strong on their own. While some will argue against the flow of these songs, I personally never had a problem with it. They fit fine in my mind.
The other half of this Half and Half album is a live recording, Joy Division's last concert, about 2 weeks prior to Ian Curtis' suicide. This concert has it's moments, but it is the novelty of being the final live Joy Division recording that makes it interesting.
Finally, there is the Sister Ray. A Velvet Underground cover from another concert entirely, and appearently a closer or encore of a show. You either like this song or hate it. It seems out of place to me.
I find a few faults with Still.
First off, it is a shame that the opener of the final concert live material is so badly recorded. It cuts in after the song has kicked off and there were mic to soundboard issues which leave the first verse a quiet ambient echo from the audiance. Sadly the song they kicked off with was Ceremony, a great tune that hadn't been fully developed in the studio yet. There is a demo studio version of this song on Heart and Soul (from my understanding) but really it will be remembered as a New Order tune.
Secondly, on the vinyl there is an uncredited song within the live material, that being Twenty Four Hours. A great song which doesn't make it to the CD, because it wouldn't fit. Knowing that the concert is incomplete bothers me, as does not having one of my favorite songs from the tape I had of my friend's vinyl copy circa 1987.
Next up, Sister Ray. Sister Ray, for what it is worth, is completely out of place. They could have cut Sister Ray out and put in Twenty Four Hours, but no, they didn't do that. Sister Ray serves to break up the flow of the album (The live stuff starts with Sister Ray, obviously a concert closer)and it is pretty bad in my opinion. Some people love it, I find it hard to listen to. Half of the time it gets skipped when I listen to the CD.
Finally, there are just some spots in the concert that Curtis wasn't up to form. There is a spot where he must have left his mic behind and wandered off, still singing.
Even with these shortcomings, Still is still a good album. Ceremony is a great song regardless of the technical difficulty, most of the live stuff is heartfelt and top form, and the studio remainders are fairly decent songs in there own right. Because of this I recommend buying this CD."
Not for the faint of heart....
Christopher Wilson | Ny, Nj | 07/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Joy Division were never a technically proficient band. For this they are either notorious or revered, depending on the person. I myself am of the latter persuasion. With this being said, I find Still to be a very difficult listen. The album's inadequate production has been well documented in many of these reviews. The inadequacies further exacerbate the band's lack of technical skill.
I myself happen to love Joy Division MOST for their unique approach to their instruments and songs. But to the uninformed, this cd makes them sound like the worst band ever. Peter Hook's bass is nearly impossible to hear on the average stereo system. It lacks a fullness that drives the album recordings. Since Hook's melodies are such a crucial aspect of the band's songs, I feel this is the worst part of Still's sound. Also, Ian Curtis' vocals on Ceremony are silent until the very end of the song, destroying any excitement one might glean from hearing such a rare recording. For these reasons, the album as a whole is not an easy listen.
So why do I give it five stars? Because Joy Division have influenced me tremendously. Despite all of it's shortcomings, Still communicates the band's final performance. It stands as a historical document to the world, an empowering testament to critics and fans alike. The imperfections in the band's performance bring the realization that it's members were indeed mere mortals. It gives hope to those of us who one day may wish to create something as beautiful and compelling as those brief years of Joy Division's life."