Crazy Covers: U2 and Arcade Fire, “Love Will Tear Us Apart”

“Love, love will tear us apart….”

Videos by American Songwriter

Arcade Fire webIt’s a heartbreaky kind of day here at the American Songwriter news desk (don’t ask), which is why last night we found ourselves trolling for Arcade Fire videos on YouTube at 3 am. And that’s how we happened to find a fan-made video of Arcade Fire and U2 banding together to play Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” at a 2005 Montreal concert. (We had a laugh at how one commenter said they enjoyed it, until Bono got all Bono on it in the second half. Yeah, that’s called going up an octave, buddy. It’s a pretty standard musical procedure.)

We were only mildly familiar with this mope-rock classic to begin with, which is sacrilege in certain circles, we know. But today, the chorus is implanted firmly in our brains.

And so this morning, we checked out the real thing, and were amazed to find how the verses are so understated, how Ian Curtis’s singing is so flat and unskilled, and the how chorus, while simpler than simple, has such a magnetic pull.

Maybe the best part is the cognitive dissonance in the chorus — isn’t love supposed to pull you together?

Okay, so all of this might be the equivalent of saying “Hey Jude” is a pretty catchy tune. But let us know what you think of the song, and U2 and Arcade Fire’s version, if you’re so inclined.




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  1. An absolute disgrace. Arcade Fire needs to stick to their own music and Bono has no business even trying to sound like Ian Curtis. This is the absolute worst cover I have ever heard (except maybe Arcade Fire doing other covers of Joy Division and New Order)

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