Substance is a singles compilation album by English rock band Joy Division. It was released on 11 July 1988 by Factory Records. It is the companion to a similar singles compilation by their subsequent band New Order, also entitled Substance. It peaked at number 7 on the UK Albums Chart and 146 on the Billboard 200, the band’s only chart appearance in the United States. It also reached number 15 in New Zealand and number 53 in Australia in August 1988.
Substance compiles the four singles released by the band that did not appear on albums — “Transmission”, “Komakino”, “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, and “Atmosphere” — as well as most of their B-sides. It also collects tracks released on extended play singles, the band’s first release An Ideal for Living, and two samplers issued by Factory Records, A Factory Sample and Earcom 2: Contradiction. The single “Atmosphere” had been originally issued in France as “Licht und Blindheit” with “Dead Souls” on the B-side. Following the death of Ian Curtis, it was reissued as a posthumous B-side of the “She’s Lost Control” single in an alternate version from the track that had previously appeared on Unknown Pleasures. The vinyl version omits the single “Komakino” and does not include the complete titles from the extended plays.
Later CD pressings issued by London Records contain a previously unreleased mix of “She’s Lost Control” that is slightly different from the original single release. More guitar is mixed within the song, the synthesizer melody is shortened and starts at a later point, and the ending of the song is extended by 15 seconds and does not fade out.
Substance was digitally remastered in 2015 containing the alternate mix of “She’s Lost Control” and two additional tracks: “As You Said” (the second b-side of Komakino) and the “Pennine version” of “Love Will Tear Us Apart” (originally released on the B-side of the original single).
The cover features Wim Crouwel’s New Alphabet typeface. The letters used actually spell “Subst1mce”, rather than “Substance”. Brett Wickens, who worked on this cover whilst a partner at Saville Associates, claims this was for aesthetic reasons. The 1991 cover was different, featuring new art.