This has never been my favorite Joy Division record for several reasons. I always preferred Still. I know that's weird because it wasn't written together as a record, but I always felt that it accomplished continuity in a desperate sort of way, which was a good metaphor for the band. However, Closer was where the original version of "24 Hours" debuted, which has always been one of my top 3 favorite Joy Division songs.
Regardless, this record is great. Joy Division was such a subtly diverse band. Casual listeners pass them off as either all too depressing or all too dance-y, and their fame in some circles seems to stem only from their disappointing (to me, anyway) post-Ian Curtis project New Order. This album has some of the more danceable numbers that retain that awkward edge in the vocals that only Curtis could really pull off ("Isolation"), as well as the just as bleak, but less electronic sounds of "Heart and Soul" and the aforementioned "24 Hours" . Listening to this in hindsight, you could see where he would end up, and sadly, he killed himself soon after recording this album (which actually saw release after his death).
The amazing thing about Joy Division is that when you listen to them, really listen to them, it's not depressing at all. Their songs aren't about wallowing in pity, they're about extending a hand of solidarity. The tragic part of it is that Curtis was never able to understand what he was giving some people and gave up, which set the precedent for others to give up as well.
Rhino has re-released most of the Joy Division catalog, with the rest to follow, I assume. For this, the first vinyl of this record since the original, they decided to go with the "why change anything?" attitude, which is a plus. All original packaging, except for an extra sleeve for the record itself, because the printed sleeve is too small to accomodate 180 gram vinyl. This is reccomended if you always wanted this on vinyl. I would hold out on their reissue of Still, which they're asking a hefty $55 for (I saw it in one store in Chicago for almost $70!), though.
Buy It On Interpunk