Decades
Joy Division Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

Here are the young men, the weight on their shoulders
Here are the young men, well where have they been?
We knocked on the doors of Hell's darker chamber
Pushed to the limit, we dragged ourselves in

Watched from the wings as the scenes were replaying
We saw ourselves now as we never had seen
Portrayal of the trauma and degeneration
The sorrows we suffered and never were free

Where have they been?
Where have they been?
Where have they been?
Where have they been?

Weary inside, now our heart's lost forever
Can't replace the fear, or the thrill of the chase
Each ritual showed up the door for our wanderings
Open then shut, then slammed in our face

Where have they been?
Where have they been?




Where have they been?
Where have they been?

Overall Meaning

In Joy Division's song Decades, we hear a reflection on experiences of young men who have faced trauma and degeneration. The opening lines read, "Here are the young men, the weight on their shoulders. Here are the young men, well where have they been?" The lyrics suggest that these young men are burdened with a heavy weight, perhaps symbolizing the weight of their experiences, as they face adulthood. The second line then questions where these young men have been. This line is repeated throughout the song, and we can interpret it as a call to understand the experiences that these young men have had to face.


The next verse deepens the exploration of these experiences. The young men have "knocked on the doors of Hell's darker chamber" and pushed themselves to their limits. We hear a sense of desperation and an attempt to face and overcome the trauma they have experienced. The following line is "Watched from the wings as the scenes were replaying." This line suggests a meta-perspective, where the young men are now observing themselves from the perspective of spectators, perhaps after the fact. The portrayal of the trauma and degeneration becomes apparent as a source of sorrow for the young men, leading them to question their freedom, as they never were free.


The chorus, "Where have they been?" is repeated throughout the song, perhaps serving as a reminder of the gravity of these experiences. The phrase loses its interrogative tone as we progress through the song and takes on a more melancholic, reflective one. The young men that we hear of are now weary, with their hearts lost forever. These experiences cannot be erased or forgotten. Each ritual they engaged in, each attempt to deal with the trauma, only opened the door, then shut it, or slammed it in their face.


* "Decades" was the last song recorded by Joy Division before frontman Ian Curtis died by suicide.
* The lyrics were inspired by a book called "Memories, Dreams, Reflections" by Carl Jung that Ian Curtis had been reading at the time.
* The song was not released as a single until 1981, after Joy Division had become New Order following Curtis's death.
* The song features a dense, atmospheric sound created by layering multiple synthesizers, guitars, and drums.
* The lyrics suggest that the young men referred to in the song are the band members themselves, as they were in their early twenties at the time of recording.
* The lines "Weary inside, now our heart's lost forever" were used as the epitaph on Ian Curtis's gravestone.
* The song appears on the 2007 soundtrack for the film "Control," which tells the story of Ian Curtis's life and death.
* The song has been covered by several artists, including Moby, Interpol, and Morrissey.
* The song's title derives from the idea that society moves into different "decades" over time, each with its own cultural, social, and political climate and challenges.
* The song's haunting, atmospheric sound has been credited with helping to popularize the post-punk genre.


Chords: E, D, A, B.


Line by Line Meaning

Here are the young men, the weight on their shoulders
These young men are carrying a heavy burden that they cannot shake off.


Here are the young men, well where have they been?
We're looking for answers as to where these young men have been and what they've been through.


We knocked on the doors of Hell's darker chamber
We knowingly entered into a place of great darkness and danger.


Pushed to the limit, we dragged ourselves in
Despite the danger, we went in anyway, and were willing to push ourselves to the very edge.


Watched from the wings as the scenes were replaying
As we watched the events unfold from a distance, we began to realize the gravity of our situation.


We saw ourselves now as we never had seen
We were forced to confront a reality we had never considered before, and it was both shocking and eye-opening.


Portrayal of the trauma and degeneration
What unfolded before us was a graphic and brutal depiction of the effects of trauma and decay.


The sorrows we suffered and never were free
Our pain and suffering was ever present, and we were never able to fully escape it.


Weary inside, now our heart's lost forever
We're exhausted and numb from what we've experienced, and we feel as though we've lost a part of ourselves.


Can't replace the fear, or the thrill of the chase
The danger and excitement we felt before going into the dark chamber cannot be replicated or substituted in any way.


Each ritual showed up the door for our wanderings
Each time we participated in these dangerous rituals, we were essentially opening doors to our own destruction and suffering.


Open then shut, then slammed in our face
We were hopeful that the doors we opened would lead to something better, but instead they were repeatedly slammed shut in our faces.


Where have they been?
The question of where these young men have been and what they've experienced is repeated as a reminder of the mystery and danger surrounding them.


Where have they been?


Where have they been?


Where have they been?




Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group
Written by: Bernard Sumner, Ian Kevin Curtis, Peter Hook, Stephen Paul David Morris

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
To comment on or correct specific content, highlight it

Genre not found
Artist not found
Album not found
Song not found
Comments from YouTube:

@derekpugh6819

A song that stays with you during your life time.

@trentriehl4293

I have been listening to them for 30 years. A dear old friend they are, along with my depression. It never gets better, only life goes on until it doesn't....

@Snouty2010

and beyond

@epemsley3787

Sure does.

@TheMillieBurton

So true. I haven't heard it for years but got irresistibly drawn back to it today.

@billtravis2369

Listening to the Closer album is an event that you plan for. You settle into your darkness and feel.

5 More Replies...

@UndergroundRap4eva

This song blurs the line between beauty and pain.

@stormfromxmen3701

HI listen to this song -
miss me by the impures
<
is an underrated gem

@achzayokeeffe9129

@@stormfromxmen3701 Shut up please

@tommyboy9680

Yessss😢

More Comments

More Versions