A thought that never changes
Remains a stupid lie
It's never been quite the same
No hearing or breathing
No movement, no colors
Just silence

Rise and fall of shame
A search that shall remain
We asked you what you'd seen
You said you didn't care

Sound formed in a vacuum
May seem a waste of time
It's always been just the same
No hearing or breathing
No movement no lyrics
Just nothing

The sign that leads the way
The path we can not take
You've caught me at a bad time
So why don't you piss off


Lyrics submitted by numb, edited by brian

Your Silent Face song meanings
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18 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentI think that this song is about how they felt about Ian Curtis offing himself:

    "A thought that never changes
    Remains a stupid lie
    It's never been quite the same
    No hearing or breathing
    No movement, no colors
    Just silence"

    Joy Division were on the doorstep of making it big and heading to the US to tour, but after Ian killed himself it never happened, so Bernard could only think of what could have been and since it never changed it became just a stupid lie. Ever since Ian died nothing has been the same for them


    "Rise and fall of shame
    A search that shall remain
    We asked you what you'd seen
    You said you didn't care"

    Not so sure about this part, but perhaps it refers to how big they had gotten and then the fall after his suicide. Then the search to get back to where they were [which obviously they were able to].

    "Sound formed in a vacuum
    May seem a waste of time
    It's always been just the same
    No hearing or breathing
    No movement no lyrics
    Just nothing"

    Now that he's dead there's nothing there, no movement and no lyrics, just nothing.

    "The sign that leads the way
    The path we can not take
    You've caught me at a bad time
    So why don't you piss off"

    This part could be about how Joy Division were ready to hit it big time but now they can't take that path, and they are rather pissed off about that and losing Ian.

    The title itself, "Your Silent Face", maybe after his death all they saw were photos of him everywhere...hence "your silent face"
    lonelyAsAnEyesoreon June 30, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentBernard Sumner said on stage at the concert in Chicago on Oct 12 that this song is about raising a teenager, as opposed to Here to Stay, which he said is about raising a child. So... straight from the horse's mouth.
    rynoweisson January 15, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm far from being sure about the point of this one, but I'm gonna try to find it anyway...

    Well, I think it's about a person who is trying to find a new meaning for his own life after witnessing (or even taking part in) something shameful ("Rise and fall of shame / A search that shall remain / We asked you what you'd seen / You said you didn't care"), so he put himself in a kind of meditational trip, which has really bothered his friends ("The sign that leads the way / The path we can not take / You've caught me at a bad time / So why don't you piss off") 'cos now he's living a life in 'black&white' and practically without communication for trying 'to see the light in the end of the tunnel' at last.

    Regarding more specifically these lines below, I think Barney meant he's so busy at that 'trip' that he cannot even for a second consider other opinions, nevertheless their friends still have some hope about his return to mental sanity.

    "A thought that never changes
    Remains a stupid lie
    It's NEVER been quite the same
    No hearing or breathing
    No movement, no colors
    Just silence"

    And their friends are almost giving up for trying to bring him back to the reality ("Sound formed in a vacuum / May seem a waste of time / It's ALWAYS been just the same")...

    In short, I think Barney is making a mockery of that 'guru' thing, despite the solemn tone of its melody...
    circusjuggleron October 15, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm thinking it's about the evolution of the band after Curtis' death--the struggle to find their direction, the experiences with recording Movement (which is one of the most uneasy albums I've ever heard, much as I love it for that very reason), maybe even Barney's struggle to write lyrics and find his own voice. "Sound formed in a vacuum" might refer to the process of recording in a studio vs. playing live.
    FAC33on January 04, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song. Not exactly sure what it's about but maybe about someone who doesn't take life seriously.
    Somaliveon January 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm sure this song is about apathy
    like.herodon April 19, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI meant "nevertheless HIS friends still have some hope about his return to mental sanity" and "And HIS friends are almost giving up for trying to bring him back to the reality". I insist on distracting myself when I must write possessive pronoums...
    circusjuggleron October 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe lyrics are overwhelmed by the majestic keyboards and Bernard Sumner's melodica playing; the words therefore seem, at first listen, like nonsense. However, the song may be about the moment someone dies. With typical New Order black humor, even in death ("no hearing, no breathing, no movement, no colors, just silence"), the song's narrator is still able to deliver an insult ("why don't you piss off").
    JasonReeheron May 29, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIts about Ian Curtis.
    The lines
    "You caught me at a bad time
    So why dont you piss off"

    is in reference to the fact that Bernard Sumners vocals on New Orders first album 'Movement' were being compared to Ians. There you have it.
    repeatclickson December 19, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat a magnificent song! The synthesizer provides a grand atmosphere.
    However.... what's the meanings behind?
    brilliant_greenon January 06, 2009   Link

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