The Cure

Sissies.
*special introductory paragraph!
*Three Imaginary Boys
*Boys Don't Cry
*Seventeen Seconds
*Faith
*Carnage Visors
*Pornography
*Japanese Whispers
*The Top
*Concert: The Cure Live
*The Head On The Door
*Standing On A Beach: The Singles
*Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
*Disintegration
*Mixed Up
*Wish
*Lost Wishes EP
*Show
*Paris
*Wild Mood Swings
*Facepaint
*Bloodflowers
*Join The Dots: B-Sides & Rarities 1978-2001
*The Cure
*4:13 Dream
*Hypnagogic States EP
Unquestionably the kings of teenage angst (unless you actually LIKE The Smiths), The Cure have spent the last two decades forging their way into the hearts of bajillions of fifteen-year-old girls dressed in black the world round. And how? Dark melodies, see, but danceable! And "goth" chicks, oh man, they gotsta dance. Actually, I made that up. I don't really know jack crap about "goth" chicks. I don't even know if they still exist!!! I was a punker in high school, so this kinda girly nonsense was "anathema," which means something negative, though I've never quite gotten around to looking it up. But see, I'm 23 now and open to many a new idea, including the prospect of The Cure being a worthwhile band. So I opened up my heart and started listening to all these old tapes of my girlfriend's (she used to be "goth," apparently), and discovered (much to my chagrin, quite honestly) that I love this damned Cure band, bastards.

They aren't girly!!! They're dark and catchy and moody and poppy and beautiful and bouncy and drug-ridden, like the early Moody Blues or Doors!!! And all this time, I thought they were a sissy band!!!! Oh sure, they have their moments of girlihood (like the entire Japanese Whispers album, for example), and the singer wears make-up all the time, but what has "macho" ever done for rock and roll anyway???? Don't answer that. The Cure aren't a heavy metal band - they're a gloomy pop band who have come up with more memorable hooks in their twenty-year career than most bands come up with in an entire decade!!!!? I'm not trying to be snotty here, by the way. It's just that I honestly have gone through my entire young adult life hating The Cure simply because this silly girl I drove to high school in the eleventh grade used to always eject my Dead Kennedys tape to listen to The Smiths, Violent Femmes, or these fellows. Well sir, I intend to dislike The Smithers and Femmers for as long as possible, but I've given up on denying The Cure their place in my heart. If nothing else, they're WAAAAY too similar to The Fall for me to ignore their pop genius any longer. Their newest album is kinda weak, but maybe it's just a temporary thing. What do you think?


Three Imaginary Boys - Fiction 1979.
Rating = 8


They started off as a trio that sounded a lot like Gang Of Four or Wire, if you've ever heard them. Real scratchy and raw guitar sound, very few (if any) keyboards, and basically just sort of minor-key weird upbeat rock songs. Pretty cool stuff, and there's no way you'd be able to guess that they would take the goth-pop turn they soon took! At first, in fact, these "hooks" don't feel like hooks at all, but just poorly-thought-out guitar runs, but, as with most good music, it just takes a few listens to make an impression on your hand. You'll soon grow to love the utter dismalness of it all. Is "dismalness" a word? Look it up and let me know. Anyway, side two starts off a little weak, with three joke songs clogging up the gearshaft, but it picks back up with the beautifully ugly "Fire In Cairo" (with its delightful refrain, "F-I-R-E-I-N-C-A-I-R-O!") and all is good again. No qualms.

You know what this also sounds like? Early U2 - another band that had to become more poppy before they hit it big. Basically, this isn't the catchiest Cure stuff ever, but it's probably among the most creative. Say, did I mention that singer Robert Smith reminds me a lot of Ric Ocasek of The Cars? Well, he does.

Reader Comments

eggplant47@hotmail.com (Mike Hiltz)
Neat! This was the third or fourth Cure album I picked up, and was I shocked. Well, I already had "Disintegration" and "Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me". So this was a little different. This is freakin' Wire! Tense, nervous, jittery little 3 minute tunes about all kinds of stuff. Durn fine chord changes and guitar sounds to boot. I highly reccomend this to any post-punk, pre-new wave guitar pop fans. And on a side note, the 5 somg demo that our boys did when they were called the Easy Cure is even more punk than this. Check it out for songs like "I Want To Be Old" and this album's "Meathook".

WellsD@halcrow.com (David Wells)
Brilliant album - some very offbeat but superb pop songs - I went off the cure sometime after the kiss me album but this was one is streets ahead of the lot.

Check out Fire in Cairo, 1015 Saturday Night, Meat hook - cracking little songs.

takac@panet.co.yu
Janko from Serbia currently enjoys this marvelous beer from Slovakia and sez:

Well you see, it was too late to be punk rocker in 1978, so to claim originality artists adopted even better style: "Art school intelectual, college dropout, conceptual, anti-pop (thats also quasy-pop), sparse, black-atmorpheric, dark-humored, too complicated to be instantly understendabe, but too simple to be admired as significant artistic feat" or in other words - style that we know as POST PUNK.

And The Cure were one of that bands.

Robert Smith understood the "spirit of time" and reversed things by going back to His adoration of that Hendrix guy, rather than looking out for inspiration in the (then quite tired) punk circle.

Alas, Robert couldn play like aforementioned black fellow (it took him about 24 years to come close on 'Trilogy' show encore) - so He and his band tried to search for 'inbetween ethos" that has proven really good.

Many of You compared the TIB sound to Wire, many called The Cure "southern Buzzcocks", but the thing is - we know now that it was merely superficial thing and that there were much bigger things in the heads of Bob, Lol and Michael.

The songs on the album are just a bit too lite to be more important than PIL's "Metal Box" which as we know it started the whole post punk thing (and gave it authority bigger than punk' s).

All songs stood up the test of time. All are equally good. Maybe "10:15.." stands as nowdays classic, but...

Ben
used to think this was nothing more than the first Cure album, or the one with "Three Imaginary Boys" and "Fire in Cairo". Hearing it again recently (I just got the reissue), I realized not only do I like it better than the next 3 or 4 albums after it (It's better than "Pornography" and might be as good as "The Top"), but it's a lot more fun than I remember. Those two songs being the only ones I liked, completely ignorant of "10:15 Saturday Night", Object", "It's Not You", "Grinding Halt" and "Accuracy". Only one I don't like here is the rather boring "Another Day" now that I think about it.

Add your thoughts?

Boys Don't Cry - Elektra 1979.
Rating = 8


Damn Americans!!! This is the American version of that last album, see, and for the most part it has better songs, see, but the problem is that they stuck this really great bouncy pop song called "Boys Don't Cry" right at the beginning, and (as you well know from my last review) none of the other songs are even in the same genre!!! As such, the unsuspecting listener thinks he has purchased himself a delightful Monkees-like pop album, and is bored senseless by the scratchy minor-key rock songs that make up the rest of the record!!!! Bad programming decision, if you ask me. Plus, although the replacement tracks "Killing An Arab" and "Jumping Someone Else's Train" are pretty great, "Plastic Passion" and "World War" are nearly worthless. Still, all you have to do is skip track one or play the darned CD on random and you'll get the point, so I don't know what the heck I'm complaining about.

"10:15 Saturday Night" and "Another Day" are phenomenal slow songs, by the way - the first creepy, the second beautiful, the third unmentioned.

Reader Comments

bthom@turbonet.com (Ray Thomson)
Boys Don't Cry was alright, 7 maybe. It's too short, and the songs get old. But here and there it shows flashes of the Cure's brilliance.

azitelli@stevens-tech.edu
It's a fun listen when you're in the mood. "Boy's Don't Cry" is good pop, but sounds crazy in the mix. Love "Jumping", though...an 8.

CMBU@chevron.com (Chris McCarthey)
I have only a few things to say. First, glad you tuned into the Cure. Second, The drugged out, zone out, dark aspects, the especially dark albums like Faith really hooked me. But if you go back and listen to Boys Don't Cry, you will discover that the Riffs are short and too the point, unique and right on, as in, perfect for the mood they were trying to create. I had a few friends over one night eight years ago back in college and we had this album blaring from upstairs. We were all downstairs just hanging out making some munchies (if you know what I mean) and then blam....out of nowhere is this screech! It was subway song. I'll be damned, when I go back and listen to that song it kills me. These guys were definitely having fun, writing silly stuff, butt it works, it has its place. It's great stuff. Favorite song has to me Three imaginary Boys - Spooky as shit on acid.

richbunnell@home.com
Listening to this album, I really don't see what makes it any worse than later Cure recordings....and apparently, neither do you! In fact, I'd go so far as to say that every song on the album, or at least nearly every song, is good. Especially "Killing An Arab." I never could've imagined that there could be any workable combination of Arabian music and punk, but somehow this song proved me wrong. Plus, you're right! "Fire In Cairo" rules! I may be slightly overrating this, but I'd give it a nine, or at least a high eight. It's really that enjoyable!

frazzymeister@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
I used to think this album was very boring compared with later Cure material because it wasn't heavy or particularly dark, and the production is extremely minimal with no nice layered melodies and thick, full sound,but I just listened to it again and it's great! A solid debut with lots of neat arrangements and Robert Smith's guitar work is endlessly inventive. All the songs are catchy, but you can already sense the melancholy present here which would soon develop into full blown depression. That having been said, it's a very accessible album and probably one of the best to come out of the whole post-punk movement of the late 70's.

katsman7@hotmail.com (Madd Hunter)
I love very much the song "Boys don't cry" (because of its catchy guitar, I think). Never heard the whole album, though.

Zophael979@aol.com
Anyone who's just heard Disintegration and nothing else is bound to be surprised by this record. They're such opposites. Disintegration is a really long record and the majority of the songs are long epics. Boys Don't Cry is a really short record and few of the songs here exceed three minutes. Disintegration has loads of synths and programming and a crapload of soundscapes. Boys Don't Cry is stripped down rock and roll, albeit with an eerie, atmospheric vibe on a few songs. Just guitars, bass, and drums for the most part. Disintegration was recorded by like ten guys. Boys Don't Cry showcased the original band as a trio. I could bore people with these comparisons all day! Point is that this record is a completely different animal, right down to Robert's voice, which was wicked monotone in these early days. This is the poet all the kids in black worshipped while he was still in his fetal stages as a songwriter.

As for the songs themselves? Well, they are some good ones and then there's some filler. All the best stuff here happen to be the singles inserted into the album for the American release (same thing is true for the first Clash record, btw). The title track is a great little pop number that will remind many of the early Beatles. It's a nice little guitar-driven naive love song (say that ten times fast) that Rob wouldn't attempt to duplicate for several years. By then, the band was all into synths and shit, so it lost the nice, minimalistic pop song vivbe. Kinda sad. Other speedy little pop numbers that can be found here are "Grinding Halt", "Plastic Passion" and "Jumping Someone Else's Train. All are at least decent with the later song standing out as particularly good.

Then there's the slow, atmospheric stuff like "10.15 Saturday Night" (which features an actual guitar solo, an event that rarely occurred on an early Cure record. And it's a good solo!), "Fire in Cairo" (pretty, kinda catchy), "Another Day" (decent, a bit overlong) and the closer, "Three Imaginary Boys" (which foreshadows the direction of the next record both musically and lyrically).

Anything I did not mention I did mention because it sucks. "So What" is funny the first time you hear it, but then it gets old. Ditto for "Subway song".

Believe it or not, this was the record that got me into the Cure. I had to enjoy the darker, minimal stuff first before I could enjoy the rest. Overall though, it's a middling Cure record. It's not as good as their more epic albums or as effective as their darker ones, but I'd rather listen to this than the majority of the synth-pop records they made in the mid 80s. I give it a 7.5

takac@panet.co.yu
Janko from Serbia currently enjoys this marvelous beer from Slovakia and while cleaning his fingers from potato chips grease, he sez:

Who caress? American or not. 'Boys Dont Cry' was beautyfull corporate move.

You see, The Cure were known (rather than famous or big) in UK and west Europe. But not in US of A. That big and wealthy country up north.

And then, they just had massive hit with "Boys Dont Cry" \ "Plastic Passion" in summer of 1979. So, why not make some fame outthere where there's cowboys and lots of corporate money?!

So as this Morrissey guy sez "November Spawned a Monster". The Cure hit the USA and set foundations of their long standing fandom...

Fandom that has proven bigger than that in Cure's homeland that is Canada (Quebec to be precise). Even Celine Dion has forgotten her's adoration of The Cure.

ventas@dime.com.ar
"Boys don't cry" is a 10.

Ben
Though this album's existence is unnecessary, there's still some phenomenal stuff here. Shame you don't like "Plastic Passion" and "World War", the one I don't like is "Another Day". It is better than that Paul McCartney song, but of course not as good as the U2 song.

Add your thoughts?

Seventeen Seconds - Elektra 1980.
Rating = 8


Darker, Mr. Parker. A little more keyboard, slower rhythms, a bleaker album cover, and more emphatic crybaby vocals all work together to make this one a total "goth" experience!!!!! I'm assuming everyone knows what "goth" is, but if you don't, I'll just tell you that it's not very happy music. It's not ANGRY, mind you. Just real depressed and suicidal-sounding.

But see, regardless of what worried mothers might try to tell you, little girls and boys do not listen to The Cure and bands like them because they enjoy being depressed. Rather, little boys and girls who feel alienated, lonely, and misunderstood (i.e. most of them!) turn to music like this because it absolutely feels like what they are already feeling, and, as such, it provides a very comforting and welcoming sense of community. "Wow," the sad little boy or girl says, "Somebody else feels as horrible and hopeless as I do!" And he or she is happy and content listening to these sorrowful sounds that so frighten his or her Christian parents. These emotions are real, by the way. I had them, and you probably did too. Growing up and coming to terms with the sickness of the world is difficult, and sometimes art and music are the only consolation available. Personally, I turned to punk rock and sarcastic humor, but had I known about this stuff earlier, who knows? Maybe I'd have ended up wearing eyeliner too! Luckily, I'm 23 now and old enough to completely ignore the disgusting world of shit in which we dwell.

So anyway, the record! Well, I guess it sounds like Joy Division, but I don't care, because a lot of the songs are really catchy. It might be a little too samey and one-dimensional, but, listened to in small chunks, it's totally satisfying, no matter how overdramatic and silly the darkness may seem at times. "Play For Today," "A Forest," and the title track are the best, if you ask me. But I suppose you didn't. But I'm asking you!!! What are the best, in your opinion?

Reader Comments

chrispina@tamu.edu (Christina Catlin)
Seventeen Seconds is currently my favorite Cure album (it changes every few months or so). "M" is a wonderful song... nice and gloomy and heart wrenching. Those newer Cure fans who have only heard post-Disintegration stuff should really check it out to get a better idea of the band.

fake_e-mail@win.bright.net (burntsoap)
I really really really love this band and I was able to see them live and it rocked! I for one love Seventeen Seconds and it is one of my favorite Cure Albums. I am currently infatuated with the songs "At Night" and "In Your House". I recently picked up Paris which was a real treat and I would recommend it to any serious Cure fan.

Burney2061@aol.com
I agree, although I would put "17 Seconds" (title track) at the top. My girlfriend (when I was in high school) and my wife (different person) hate it when I start listening to my Cure tapes/CD's, it still gets me in a dark mood after all this time.

Burney2061@aol.com
I don't know why, but I was here again--this is my second fave Cure album, behind Disintegration. 17 seconds still tugs my heart after all this time...I don't know why?

rderby@erols.com (Robert Derby)
Alright, I'm gonna be the first detractor here. The record really lacks any energy( even for mope rock!)because Lol Tolhurst sucks as a drummer.( almost as much as a keyboardist I might add....)Yes I know that there is a generous amount of drum machine here, but it's boring! More than half of the songs are strong compositions but they are recorded with lifeless rhythm sections and gobbs of reverb drowning the proceedings. Faith suffers from the same problems. Mike Hedges productions sounds as if he really didn't care, totally asleep at the wheel.

Thornally finally made the drum machine a bit more interesting on Pornography.( I'm getting a little ahead here.......)

CMBU@chevron.com (Chris McCarthey)
Whomever brought up about the production not caring and too much drum Machines etc. I have to ask if you have ever heard any live tapes of the cure from the late seventees early eighties when they played small venues, when you can hear the fans talking to the band and the band talking them asking what they want to hear. They were a Live Band. Some people are studio musicians, some are better live like the Dead and Phish and some have both like Hendrix. The Cure in the early days were a Live band. They later became great studio musicians as well. But you have to hear this depressing stuff live, in a dark room at night on Halloween.

richbunnell@home.com
Maybe this stuff is good live, but as a studio release, it's a huge falloff from the cool catchy postpunk stuff on the debut. Too many of the songs are nothing but dreary synth plastered with repetitive, mechanical-sounding drums and maybe some barely-audible vocals from Bob - notice that I didn't include the word "melody" in that description. That said, "A Reflection" is a pleasant, short opening instrumental which really helps ease you into the album, "Play For Today" and especially "A Forest" are awesome dark tension-builders, and "M" is pretty cool too. The rest is kind of generic. It isn't bad, but it isn't very good either. On the Mark-o-Meter this is a six.

takac@panet.co.yu
Janko from Serbia currently enjoys this marvelous beer from Slovakia and while thinking of his class tomorrow he sez:

They toured. Toured a lot. They were 21 for God's sake! And they drank. And they slept in bus stations and cars. And they had car accident. The were lost in the woods in Germany. They had few festival gigs with Motorhead for cryingoutloud!!!

So next album, the hard and always unpredictable SECOND ALBUM was tough!

It had "Play For Today" and "A Forest" that spiritually belonged to T.I.B., but then again it had "At Night", "A Reflection" and the rest of the album that set the grounds for the stuff we call krautrock. Dont we...

Also, Bob sacked Dempsey guy that foung his daily bread with The Associates and addopted this guy that sold His soul to the devil in order to stay forever young and goodlooking - Simon Gallup (from Lockjaw). And then, there was Matthieu Hartley! The chubby guy! The keyboardist! Ha, ha...

ian_pillar@hotmail.com
Hello guess who has just spent the past 12 months touring with Joy Division???

notomich@gmail.com
I would not call myself a Cure fan. Not really. Good band, sure, but Smiffy's histrionics are, well, histrionics - and grate over the long term. And I have never liked Boys Don't Cry all that much either.

I really like this album a lot, though. Oddly enough, so does Steve Albini.

The sound of this album is really cool. All the drums are processed to sound as cold and un-drumlike as possible (they were mic'ed with contact mics - there is no "live" drum sound on the album - and then ran through effects), to the point that people regularly mistake Lol Tolhurst's machinelike drumming on this album for a drum machine. Hell, the rhythm section was occasionally looped to make it sound even more mechanical and inhuman (like on "A Forest"). The entire album was built around the drum sound - cold, mechanical, lifeless, reverbed, quiet, grey, rainy, off-in-the-distance, depressed. Part of what I love about this album is how subtle and un-rock it is. The band never raises the decibel level once. It's all of a piece. It was recorded in a week - the band were sleeping in the studio - and Robert Smith wrote all the material for the album in about two or three days on a Hammond organ. It's unsurprising that the album sounds so droney and so uniform.

For whatever reason, though, I'm a particular sucker for the sound, and the songs are actually really catchy for the most part, in a subtle, rainy, grey kind of way. Plus, it helps that Robert's airy, reverbed, tense guitar is higher in the mix than his voice.

There's filler on the album, but it fits in with the sound. So, overall, this albums gets an 8.

Ben
I agree with the Joy Division comparison. This album sounds like a more focused and professional "Three Imaginary Boys". Not a great album (I think it's worth around a 6.5), but it is one of the more interesting albums by the cure. "Play for Today", "In Your House", "A Forest" and "At Night" are the ones I go for.

Add your thoughts?

Faith - Elektra 1981.
Rating = 9


The depression seems more genuine here, and the hooks are better, too! Plus, the upbeat rocker "Primary" is one of those "I-can't-believe-I've-lived-my-entire-life-without-ever-having-heard-this-amazing-song" songs that pop up out of the ether every once in awhile. What a smashing bass line that ditty boasts!!! Nothing much else to say, really. Still just a few keyboards, lots of jangly little sad guitar lines, and mopey-guy vocals. Slow and somber, but consistently catchy all the way through! Again, this is the exact reason I love the old Moody Blues stuff so much; it may seem ridiculously overblown if you're in a crowd of happy folk, but listened to alone in your shadowy abode, it's almost weepily pretty enough to make you hold off on the razorblade cocktail for another night or two. Sigh!

See, The Cure were never about phenomenal musicianship. You don't listen to them so you can go "Ooooh! What an innovative drummer!" or "Wow! Slide bass!!!!" You listen to them because somebody in the band (probably Rob Smith, but maybe not!) has one heck of a brain for fine chord sequence. And, as many a Cure fan will tell you, that brain was in full effect during the penning of these fine songs. Lonely, cold, upbeat, even angry ("Doubt" certainly sounds pissed off to me!), these eight tracks are among the finest they've ever done. And they kinda sound like The Cars!!! Ever heard "Moving In Stereo???" Ooooooo!

Reader Comments

eggplant47@hotmail.com (Mike Hiltz)
It sounds just like the cover. Really. A hazy, foggy, grey sound that is some of the most somber, moody stuff these guys ever put to vinyl. Not angry like "Pornography", but depressed as a shaved monkey at the North Pole. This is dark, gorgeous stuff. And I HAVE to agree with Mark as far as "Primary" is concerned. Where the hell did that come from? It's so damn great! If you liked "Seventeen Seconds", this is like the hangover to that. Wait, no, a hangover on heroin. Yeah, that about covers it. It's great, and it deserves every one of those nine points.

dleonrd@itsa.ucsf.edu
"All Cats are Grey" is awesome - nothing else quite like it. I have had to turn this album off I think during "The Drowning Man" because I was getting too freaked out. This was many years ago and I was probably quite stoned. The early Cure stuff is certainly original if anything and much better than most of my friends would admit that it is. It is super bleak though no doubt.

WellsD@halcrow.com
I have recently played this album for the first time in living memory. Mind you I have the memory span of a goldfish so I may play it every day. The Holy Hour is my favourite here - it just works as a track and I seem to remember seeing them do this live. Never one of the most popular Cure albums it works as an album. None of the tracks can be described as filler and there are some classics - other voices and primary - are mine. Might play this again before too long.

takac@panet.co.yu
Janko from Serbia currently enjoys his second bottle of marvelous beer from Slovakia and sez:

Ah, it was the beggining of 80's man! Who in the world could say that the decade that started so good (just listen to music that was made then! Wattie from Exploited didnt wrote that song UK82 in wain! Big things were made!) would develop in such horrendous manner!

Faith was made after Bob had his stint with cruising churches and masses (for some reason).

So influenced with three kinds of drugs (Johnny Thunders's one, Betty Fords's one, and Bob Dylans's ('Slow Train Coming' era) one) -

The Cure went into solemn, dark, self-hating, self-denying phase that made the world turn slower and stars shine brighter than ever before.

Awoid the Primary (the song that is good but she just doesnt belong here, or anywhere!) and the album will bring you countless pleasures!

Ben
I don't get this one. I liked it the first time I heard it, but then I slowly realized I only liked three songs. But I really like those three songs and (like you said) think they are among the Cure's best songs: "Primary", "The Holy Hour" and "Doubt" (my personal favorite). I find the others boring and too indulgent. Even the album cover is just as boring as this album is.
Add your thoughts?

Carnage Visors - Elektra 1981.
Rating = 7


One twenty-seven-minute long instrumental. Apparently, it was originally meant to be the soundtrack of some movie or something. Whatever. It's kinda cool, but you really have to be in kind of a nervous mood when you listen to it or it won't have any effect (aside from boring the puppy out of you). If you're stressed out about some broad or you're worried about your poor little moose or something, this might be a good soundtrack for about a half-hour of your life. Otherwise, the tortoise-paced two-chord thumpin' will just seem like the really long theme song to some crappy new hospital show.

Reader Comments

eggplant47@hotmail.com (Mike Hiltz)
Hmmmmmmm, I'm torn on this one. Yeah, it's a great mood piece (I won't give the same description Mark does, it's too good). And like he said, it's perfect IF you're in the right mood. But if not, it's still incredibly long! And 2 chords? C'mon!! But when it's good, it's perfect, so I'll go ahead and give it a 7 right now, but if I were strung out I'd give it a nine.

takac@panet.co.yu
Janko from Serbia currently enjoys this marvelous beer from Slovakia and sez:

Well, lets not be "sloppy old cunts" and lets just say that this soundrack will be good for you if you are into it, and bad if you arent into ole' drugs, dark and cavernous rooms, introspection and ulcer.

Made for film. Used as replacement for opening act on Faith tour. Were bands so inadequate back then?! I dont know, but it sure left more time for Bob, Lol, Mathieu and Simon to get more drun... I mean relaxed and ready for the gig.

Add your thoughts?

* Pornography - A & M 1982. *
Rating = 10


This must be some sort of goth landmark. Sloshy death keyboards intertwined with pounding suicide rhythms, throes of agony vocals, out-of-tune echoing noises of despair flowing throughout the background, and some really catchy guitar lines! This is definitely the record that most successfully transforms the original Cure sense of hopelessness into musical expression. Eight tracks of four-chord droning anguish (okay, "A Short Term Effect" is almost happy, but the rest don't even come close) that drag on and on and on and on and on until you don't know whether to scream in agony or have what we in the business call an "orgasm." Me, I choose neither, but you're not quite as emotionally well-balanced as I am, so you'd best just friggin' pick one.

This album blows me away, by the way. Sad sad sad, and dense with a cathedrally keyboard-created "wall of sound" that makes every day feel like another Valentine's Day alone! And, even more so than on Faith, these emotions actually feel REAL! Cool, dude. Let's boogie!

Reader Comments

aske@interport.net
Boogie, sir? I think not. "Boogie" is not the sentiment inspired by the morosely melodic sounds of Pornography. Rather, self-mutilation, suicide, random violent acts, masturbation, ingestion of rat poison... These are the types of urges uncovered by exposing this dark music to one's dreary ears. You make a mockery of this almost-holy rendering of death-angst-rock. It's as if you had described Poe as saying, "Hello birdie!"

You suck and you can ram your cock into a bowl of mint jelly, asshole motherfucker.

Sincerely, a real cure fan

fake_e-mail@win.bright.net (burntsoap)
This has to be the one of the coolest albums of all time. It is soooo depressing. I love this more than anything. I would also put this out with a warning: this album will engulf you in a world of depression and gloom and if you are already depressed it can screw you over for a long time. Which can be also be an equally interesting experience. But nonetheless a GREAT album. Amazing guitar work. Robert has this textural quality that no one has yet been able to match.

bthom@turbonet.com (Ray Thomson)
Pornography was amazing, but not quite amazing in the way that would make you want to listen to it. I think your ten is misplaced. If you want to listen to Pornography right, you have to turn out the lights for forty uninterupted minutes and do nothing but listen. Still, many of the tracks survive on their own, too. I'd give it an 8.

bjkrieger@juno.com
I cried harder watching A Day at the Races. "In a high building there is so much to do?" Come on! Robert Smith has a way with song writing, but the lyrics on this album are a complete joke. Smith was so drugged out recording it that he can't remember a thing. Then there's the fact that each song opens with the same friggin' drum track with a few exceptions.

Then again, some say laughter is the best medicine. If that's the case, even Droopy could end up in stitches listening to this waste of a record. Otherwise, the guitar drone on the opening song kicks ass.

rderby@erols.com (Robert Derby)
Good bye Hedges....hello first real Cure record! Meaty, heavy, thrashing( well, eighties thrashing) The bending, squealing guitar that open "A Hundred Years" sets the tone. Great!!! I love/hate, hate/love this album...I think you know what I mean.

geowi@voyager.net (Eddie W.)
Wow! That hardcore the Cure fan really sounds like he/she lives the gothic lifestyle! You can just imagine the terrifying black cape, and milky white face, with the midieval regilia! I bet your bondage that they are a REAL vampire too! Those goths! The tortured soul probably already comitted suicide because "all the poseurs are into Marilyn Manson now!"

Heh, heh! Remember that time Poe said "Hello Birdie"? That was a riot! It made me want to Boogie to the Cure and do that thing with the mint jelly!!!

bougopgs@eckerd.edu (Gregory S. Bougopoulos)
No way is this a 10, more like a 6. Granted, "one Hundred Years" and "Hanging Garden" are classics, but the drums are the same throughout the whole damn album, and not in any real amzing way. Besides, the albums begins to slip on the second half.

pumpkinhead_27510@yahoo.com (Michael Burrus)
I'll tell ya, I'm not one for goth music, but this, my friend, kicks ass!!! This is really bleak stuff. I'd hafta say my favorites on here are "One Hundred Years", "The Figurehead", and "Cold". this album blows me away every time I listen to it. I love it, although I wouldn't give it a ten because the title track sounds like a lot of noise and it grates on my nerves. umm, I guess I would give it a 9.

pmtapia@worldnet.att.net (The Chameleon)
This deserves regular old 7 at most. It's not that great and you have to kind of be in the mood to listen to it. I really like track 4, 5, 6, and the last track. The rest are okay but really don't catch my ear. The slow depressed mood of the album drags a long and gets pretty old quick. I'd give this album maybe two points higher if the drums did more interesting things. The drum rhythms are just so damn lame. It starts off with a beat and it never changes the whole song. I can tell it's not a drum machine either...god, poor drum he must have got bored off his ass during the recording of this. This album has it's moments but overall it's not that great.

frazzymeister@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
Holy, what happened to these boys?? Major mood swing after listening to the debut...did they have to devour the roasted bodies of their mothers or something?? Extremely morbid album, but brilliant in conveying this mood starting right off with dense, swirling atmospherics created by minor key shifts, forboding keyboards, and no-frills drumming that makes a loud slapping noise. Real heavy album...not necessarily in terms of volume, but certainly in mood. Awesome, and not a pop song anywhere. I disagree with the common complaint by other commenters about the drumming...yes it's simple and repetitive, but that's the point. Any sort of flash would have detratced from the hopeless despair soundscape that they were trying to create...it has to sound cold and deathly, and the style of drumming conveys that perfectly. Mark, you're right about it being a goth rock landmark...any self-respecting goth must own this album, and any idiot thinking Marilyn Manson created the genre should look back at these old Cure records, along with similar early 80's goth bands like The Sisters Of Mercy, Bauhaus, and Siouxsie And The Banshees.

jersyboy5@hotmail.com
Unlistenable pooh. I know, I listened to it.

airsces@yahoo.com
This is a 10 for sure, I agree with Mark. But get the re-mastered version, it sounds WAY better than the original version. Rhino and Fiction collaborated to released re-mastered versons of all the early Cure albums. There's much more headspace, the rhythm section is given more low-end, Robert's voice is given much more depth, etc etc...plus there's a "bonus disc" with a bunch of old demos/outtakes/live shit/what-have-you from the Porno-era, including "Airlock" which is a really long, creepy, nightmarish avant-guard mood piece. It's basically really drugged-out disorienting noise, so if you're into that kind of stuff (like me) check it out. The demos are awesome too...the demo of "Hanging Garden" in particular sounds almost like a totally different song. Okay...back to the ALBUM Pornography...it's catchy, depressing as shit, angry, melodic, and every song rules! In fact, the album works so perfectly we! ll as a whole, that I couldn't even favor one song over another. It all ties together very well. The dark, haunting mood of the album stays fresh, never sounding forced or contrived, and the guitar/bass lines? Genius! Musically, it stays fairly simple and tastefully subtle, but there's always something cool going on. The insane guitar wailing on "One Hundred Years", the strange, quivering guitar on "Short Term Effect" (I have no idea how they made it sound like that), the weird backwards symphonic keyboard washes in "Hanging Garden", the harmonics in "Siamese Twins"...I could go on, but you get my drift. They (or Robert) came up with SO many weird, creative ideas and deliver them in such a subtle way that one should give this album a lot of time to sink in if he/she is new to it, because there's really is a lot of cool shit gong on in these songs. People may complain about the repetitive drums, the droning noises, simple song structures, etc...but come on, it's the Cure! Listen to that guitar tone, hear the melodies, get in the mood, and every single one of these 8 songs should eventually grab you. This should always be heard all-the-way-through.

takac@panet.co.yu
Janko from Serbia currently enjoys his third bottle of really marvelous beer from Slovakia and he sez:

What a record! Well you cant go further from this without being ridiculously catathonic, suicidal or actually in the band called SUICIDE.

Album was concieved in december 1981 when Bob tired from the Faith tour; sick with drugs, apathy, freezing winter and cold relationships - thought of "Freshly squashed flyes..." and "Something strange falls out of your mouth...".

There is legends being spread that the recording sessions with Phill Thornally were living hell soaked with alcoholic stupor interrupted by moments of creative writing by Simon (his bass lines hold whole LP tight together). But whatewer they say this album is living proof of existance of (Freuds term) "subconcious". Robert actually claims that he doesnt remmenber any of the recording sessions.

So, to conclude - quintessential RNR record. Makes all of them Stones, Beatles, Dylans - sound like goddamn liars!

WellsD@halcrow.com (Dave)
Back when I was young this was one of the first albums I ever purchased and like Faith (see above) one that in June 2005 I had not played in an awful long time. So at the Wells household one recent rain lashed evening Mrs Wells and I settled down for a game of scrabble to the tune of Robert and his boys. "Hm" said Mrs Wells after side 2 "that was about as cheerful as a cemetery in Chesterfield (a grim town in the UK)". And I always thought that was the upbeat side. I should of course point out to the younger of you that this was one of the great big black 12" CDs with no remastering. Sad to say that after the rendition of the other side this has now been added to the list of albums that I can only play when Mrs Wells is out (everything by the Fall and Metal Box by PIL are on this list) or when I get round to buying some headphones. On the plus side I had forgotten how good 100 years and a strange day are and there is a lot of strong material here worth checking out if you have got other Cure records. To my view it is not as strong as Faith whatever Marty Prindle states. Sad to say I also saw the Cure on the Faith tour - and very good they were too although the audience was keener on material from 3 imaginary boys (another fine album).

_c3994783@wanadoo.nl
This album is undeniably a classic! Not only does every hardcore curefan thinks so, but the sheer impact and raw power of this album hits you like a ton of concrete. It makes Marilyn Manson look like a 6-year old dressing up in his miniature darth vader suit! It knocks the shit out of all these silly goth/black metal mean grunting brace-wearing poofsters around nowadays... It must be frustrating for metalheads to hear you can create much more evil and mayhem while not trying to strum the shit outta your guitars or trying to punch holes into your double bassdrums!

This album is great as an A to Z listen, where the last song is the utter apocalypse following pure dark beauty! Whereas "Faith" sounded like a beautiful exercise into tragedy, melancholia and sadness, this one will rip your heart out with a black ironclad fist! It is without a doubt the most savage record i ever came across, and still one of the most listenable.

From the very start the tone is set with "A hundred years", and the beginning line "..it doesn't matter if we all die". Yes!! Stupid mindless little insignificant ants, there's surely some kinda truth in that statement. But whereas other bands make these kinda nihilistic utterations sound pointless, wimpy or laughable, the Cure show themselves master of this genre (gloom) and Smith literally spits the words out into the mic! He certainly sounds like he's on something..

More so with the next couple of songs, the hanging garden standing out as being the "lightest" songs of these, with a haunting tribal drums sound. Minimal, but all the same still hammering into weak bluesrock listening hippiebrains, haha!

By the time you get to "Figurehead" and "A strange day" you've either turned the cd off because you're really afraid of this kinda depression and sheer minimalism, and you're longing for some familiar beegees tunes or the mamas and the papas.. in that case we wish you asleep, beddiebeddiebye!! The rest will have turned up their volume and sit or lie in their rooms with jaw-dropping disbelief/ adoration. Is this much gloom even possible? Could an album be tuned utterly in D-minor and still be aggressive and uplifting as hell?? Yes, fellow dark-hearted, it can! And daddy Smith takes you by the hand personally to show you what the inside of the beast looks like. "A strange day" is easily one of the Cure's best tracks, at least one of their most classicly composed. With beautiful chords following each other like it's raining pearls (black pearls however).

The following two last tracks are to awesome to even describe in words.

People who think that darkness is within Black Sabbaths "black sabbath" or Joy Divisions "Decades", or NINs "head like a hole" are sorrily mistaken. The Cure sees them all home with this inkblack duo (especially the title track). If you play this aloud, I will bet anyone that he or she will feel eerie! At the same time it surprisingly never becomes really uncomfortable... the gloom is executed with enough craftmanship and devotion to really become annoying or unpleasant, like some of the Swans' work does. In my twenties I just to smoke a lot during the listening of these earlier records of the Cure, and they never gave me bad trips! The music is just too compelling for that.

OK, to cut it all short, I agree with Mr. Prindle 1100%! This album definitely deserves 10 out of 10! And is, together with the Joshua Tree and New Gold Dream the best to ever come out of the eighties, or any musical era!! Disintegration follows as the bands second best offering though, and is quintessential on a whole different level of emotions.

TBrunt@trimbos.nl
Monumental dark shit from the crow and sons! This record will kick ass compared to any respective goth or wave band you pluck out of the closet... Simply because it is this good, and it is the band that outgrew all the doompregnant contemporary bands trying to make their nihilistic little statement.

Of course it is Joy Division that comes closest (with closer, huhuh), but JD is too minimal and too music-unfriendly to be matched with the cure against the sickness, or the sickness to blow away the cure.. oh well, good fuckin' album anyway! At least a 9 out of ten I recon.

hunt125@msn.com (Hunter)
Honestly, I don't see what the big deal is about this album. I mean, I'm certaintly not saying its BAD, and as far as pissed off "evil" sounding Cure those, this is about as evil and pissed as they come, but I prefer my Cure mopey and/or poppy, with a side of fries. And why does everyone rant and rave about "The Hanging Garden"? Why isn't "100 Days" more renound as a Cure classic? 8/10

marc.kreienbrink@gmail.com
...or "P'nugruphy", as Robert would say it.

"My dear brothers, never forget: when you hear the progress of enlightenment vaunted, that the devil's best trick is to persuade you that he doesn't exist!" - Baudelaire

This album is satanic at its core: nihilistic, hopeless, damaged, lonely. Whatever Robert was trying to achieve with this, it worked.

7/10

Add your thoughts?

Japanese Whispers - Sire 1983.
Rating = 6


Girl music. Totally sissy bouncy dance pop. Sounds as dated as Madonna's debut, but not nearly as memorable. This is actually a compilation of sorts, I guess, with some singles and some tracks from an EP called The Walk. If all Cure sounded like this, I wouldn't be a fan. It's still not exactly "happy" music, but it's definitely light, fluffy, danceable, and full of silly early-80s synthesizer noises. "Let's Go To Bed" and "The Love Cats" are kind of considered to be classics, but that's not my doing. Some folks consider this to be their best work. I prefer the darker stuff. And is there a guitar anywhere on this album? All I hear are irritating fruity keyboards. Okay, I'm sure there ARE some guitars, but they sure are muted. I'm not sure what forces may have driven the band to change so drastically in one year, but I'm not gonna sit around and ponder it. This is, after all, their only album that sounds like Wham.

Did you notice how none of the sentences in that last paragraph flowed worth a poop? I'm not sure how that happened, but let's pretend I did it on purpose.

Reader Comments

rderby@erols.com (Robert Derby)
What makes a band change so much in a year? Can you say NEW LABEL! Time wore crap except "Speak My Langauge" and "Lovecats".

TVIIIpiggy@aol.com
I finally just found this album, along with The Top. I really like this album. Sure, the stuff is really poppy and, well, a bit girly, but I like it. The 3 best songs on here are, of course, the 3 hit singles, but the rest aren't bad. speak my language and just one kiss are great.

bunfluf@hotmail.com (Fluffy Bunny)
Yeah, If I'd heard this album before Pornography, I'd never gotten any further. As a guitarrist and fruity keyboardist, this one [Japanese Whispers] blows on both calls. Still after repeated listening to R Smith's albums before he got fat (or in between days of tubbo-ness)I can hear this CD without cringing. It really should have a warning label:

"If you don't like wussy sounding music, Please get Pornography or 17 Seconds and listen repeatedly before this - If you like Wham, giddyup, this is for you"

airsces@yahoo.com
Dance, dance, dance! I like going to parties, ejecting whatever generic dance/hip-hop is playing (which is, sadly, the only stuff most college kids today feel confident enough to dance to) and put this album in and watch them try to dance to it. It's perfectly danceble for sure (maybe not by today's standards, but we all know those standards are all WRONG), and the songs are decent, but I have to admit it's SO dated and fruity! But it's okay, see, cause the melodies are really solid and for that, I give it a high 7. I first listened to this expecting horrible 80's synth pop, but you know what? For such a superficial and dumb style of music, this album somehow works. I would say this album has more in common with early Depeche Mode than it does Wham.

Sure, this album is obviously a let-down considering that it came right after Pornography, but as it stands, it's really not so bad...and also it was a pretty ballsy move on Robert's part. Most of this stuff is just Robert actually, (or so I heard) because allegedly he got in a fistfight with Gallup or something (who won? anyone know?) on the Pornography tour and then disappeared into the abyss by himself to record this album.

Back to the album..."Let's Go to Bed" is a silly pop song that Robert has admitted he hates but I kinda like it...it's catchy. I would never call it a classic, though. "Dream" is decent zany electro 80's pop that somehow succeeds due to the weird quirky rhythm and some awesome synth melodies. "Just One Kiss" is a really beautiful and dreamy song. It's got an addictive driving beat and sports a dark, more Cure-like mood than most of the others without sounding out-of-place. Both "The Upstairs Room" and "The Walk" are both fairly decent songs ridden with cheesy synth melodies, then a really slick jazzy tune called "Speak My Language" comes out of nowhere with a fucking great bassline, and I love the way Robert sings it. "Lament" is a decent gloomy number even though it actually kinda sounds out-of-place, but I really like the mood of it. It ends with "Lovecats", which is incredible, and easily tied with "Just One Kiss" for the best track on here. So there went my two cents. I say it's a fine album! It may not be drenched in moody flanged-out guitars, floating somber keyboard-lines and 6-string basses, but I think any serious Cure fan should give it a chance. If you heard the singles from this ep elsewhere and liked them, then it's surely worth getting.

takac@panet.co.yu
Janko from Serbia currently enjoys this marvelous beer from Slovakia and while munching potato chips he sez:

Well, it was this or daimnation. It was weather to remain cult band (such is for this example Joy Division) or go further and reach the stars. Fortunetally Bob choose the second!

While Lol pranced around new found dark-wave circle producing bands (such are "...And also the trees", "Baroque Bordello" ...) - Robert went to concieve some sort of swindle. He made "Lets Go To Bed"! Deliberatly! He thought of it as rubbish! Junk! Crap! Duran Duran style for God's sake!!! Damn...

He really took one for the team!

BUT!

Whoever says that 'Japanese Whispers' suck - deserves to die in really horrid manner. Becouse although it was well concived swindle - damn those songs were cachy radio frendly tunes! Whoever says thet "The Walk", "The Dream" "Just One Kiss" or (Oh, blasphemy!) "Lament" were bad songs - he's just moron! ("Yes, yes you.I dont Care! Whatewer your mommy says, you're stupid!")

halbert@utc.msstate.edu
One of my jobs in college was a disc jockey gig at an "alternative" radio station which only played new music at the time(early 80's), no Top 40 bullshit allowed. I stumbled across this album and thought it was an Ep instead of an Lp because it was so short in time length. It didn't really impress me because I was more into the harder rock and cutting edge bands like U2, REM,Husker Du,Wall of Voodoo,etc. but I liked the song" The Walk" for some odd reason. I guess it was one of those songs you couldn't force out of your mind, so I started to give it some airtime during my shifts.Later on I gave "Let's go to Bed" a try,mainly because of the title, and kind of liked it also.Soon after, I gave "Caterpillar a try and became frustrated trying to sing along with the stuttering style of singing by Robert. I saw The Cure on their supposedly "Farewell Tour"(Disintegration?) and one of the songs that got the crowd going was "The Walk", I couln't believe it! but it happened. Strange lyrics like"--?- looked like a Japanese baby, in the distance, I remember eveything, everything"

Overall, not too impressed with it. "5"

fatmanosman@googlemail.com
I figured I'd get my hands on everything the Cure have done and session it so I could join this here party. I've got them, Killing Joke and The Swans on a big fat random play and it was all running along so smoothly untill some gross 'plinky plonky' thing popped up: "The Dream" and sure enough this is the offending album...er...however at this precise moment some "Filth" era Swans is giving my senses a good seeing to...suddenly cute, goth, pop tunes seem so very far away...ah..."Requim", order has been restored.

Add your thoughts?

The Top - Sire 1984.
Rating = 4


Well, it certainly sounds like The Cure but, like I mentioned earlier, the entire appeal of this band is "melody." Well, mood too, but mainly melody. And most of these melodies could not be duller. They kinda try to mix the old sorrowful style with the newer synth-ridden style while tossing in elements of hard rock and adult pop, and it doesn't gel very often. See, there ain't no real sense of hurt here. It sounds like they're trying really really hard to sound upset, but it doesn't work. In fact, it sounds totally contrived from start til end, much like a Phil Collins record but without the bald guy. A total drag. For once, instead of turning depression into bliss, the drug addict alcoholics (or so the rumor goes....) create the most angering pile of uninspired slop since, oh, some hymnbook or something. I had originally given it a 1, but that was probably just out of bitterness. It's not THAT bad. It is pretty boring, though, aside from two or three really cool songs.
Reader Comments

TVIIIpiggy@aol.com
I finally found this album. It's not a bad album. Its actually quite good. It doesn't compare to their best work (disentigration, head on the door, kiss me kiss me kiss me) but it is a good album. My favorites from it are "Shake Dog Shake," "The Wailing Wall," "The Caterpillar," and "Bannafishbones." I can see why it wouldn't please all Cure fans. Some of the music on here is very strange an unusual. I would give it a 7. well, maybe a 6 1/2.

frazzymeister@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!! I can't believe how underrated this album is! Nobody ever talks about this album, and even Cure fans don't seem to know much about it. It's a sprawling, wildly adventurous album, just chock-a-block with bizarre arrangements, shifting rhythms, and tons of different instruments (violin, piano, keyboard, organ, etc) playing nifty little oddball melodies that sometimes veer into dissonant and atonal territory. It's a fascinating listen, and definitely the most experimental Cure album by miles. And it all works!! This is the only Cure album where I can without doubt say that all the songs are winners. In some parts it reminded me a bit of Frank Zappa! Very diverse, with none of the songs the same stylistically. I'm probably the only person in the world who thinks that this is probably their best album. An avant garde pop masterpiece.

kezzbynoza@hotmail.com
ooooh, i'm kinda disappointed you pooped on The Top. i think this one's great! a personal cure top 4 album along with 3I.boys, Porno and Head on the Door.

i mean just listen to Shake Dog Shake. this is a trademark, Cure classic! or the Cocteau Twins-like bassline in Wailing Walls. you ever heard the Cocteaus?? my favorite band!

anyhoo, my two favorite tracks on here are Caterpillar and Bird Mad Girl. thrrrrrrrrilling. brrrrrrrr... it's music history, right here. oh oh, almost forgott Miss Piggy in the Mirror! come to think of it, FUCK YOU FOR NOT DIGGING THIS ALBUM!!! nah, seriously i respect yer opinion it's just that these tunes move my soul in a BIG way. i'm so happy i feel this way cuz that makes me feel special. HA-HA!

now, go on! throw yer Top-record in the garbage. c'mon everybody; DO IT!

evileric13@hotmail.com (Eric Miller)
I'll join in on defending The Top. Its not their absolute best, but i think its about as good as Head on the Door. They both are similar in their whole experimental pop-rock sound, and The Top is definitely more than half as good (which is whats implied with its 4 rating to Head on the Door's 8). I give them both 7 1/2. Almost all the songs on this album are good, besides a couple towards the end that i don't like as much. Everything from "Shake Dog Shake" through "The Caterpillar" (and yes, including "Give Me It") is good, with "Birdmad Girl" "Wailing Wail" and "Dressing Up" being some of my favorite mid-period Cure songs. Definitely recommended.

clauc000@mail.uni-mainz.de (Vlad)
The Top is surely not an easy album, but a worthy challenge. If the title track and "Dressing Up" would change places, it could be divided into a more strange, and a more melodic side.

The initial "Shake Dog Shake" is the weakest song in my opinion. This rework of "World War" sounds a bit, as if it was originally chosen for Pornography, but removed as too harmless.

I needed to listen to a live version of "Bird Mad Girl" with a louder keyboard to like this song, but then it never let me go again. One of their first flamenco experiments (listen to "The Exploding Boy"!), and the refrain is catching, if heard more than two times.

"Wailing Wall", lately covered by the Bates, is Mr. Smith on vacations. The sound effects try to awake an oriental mood, which sometimes sounds threatening.

"Give Me It" - Yeah! Cure go Birthday Party.

"Dressing Up" - The most imaginable opposite to "Give Me It". A nice little tune to play, when you're either alone with a girl, or alone with the imagination of a girl. A little bit it foreshadows the stuff, Cure played in later days, when Mr. Smith's voice lost it's magic (just as Siouxsie Sue's did)..

"The Caterpillar" tries to be something familiar from Japanese Whispers. The Cure licked blood, as they had their chart hits with the "Love Cats" stuff. Well, I like "Love Cats", I like "The Upstairs Room", the bass line on "The Walk" and especially the jazz punk of "Mister Pink Eyes" (sadly forgotten on "Japanese Whispers"), but "The Caterpillar" sounds a little too smooth to match them.

"Piggy In The Mirror" is one of my all time Cure favourites, allthough it largely lives on Lol Tolhurts keyboards in the refrain (The demo version lacks them), which nearly haunt as much as those in "The Funeral Party" (although, of course, nothing ever can match "The Funeral Party" and "Charlotte Sometimes" for their intense melancholy). Mr. Smith trys to swing, but well, he might have sound better, if he felt a little more depresseds on the microphone.

"The Empty World" is really GOOD. Sounds like melancholy after the apocalypse.

Harmonica horror on the beginning of "Bananafishbones" - Something like an earworm pop song for zombies.

"The Top" is not that brilliant as the three tracks coming before it; The Cure might better have replaced it with "All I Have To Do Is Kill Her". Sounds like an old man sitting lonely in his room in a home for the aged with nothing but the stereotype grandfather clock and ghosts outside the window, remembering the good ol' times.

Viewed as a whole, The Top is something of a patchwork, where the band tries to find a new direction after the crisis following the departure of Mister Gallup. Japanese Whispers wasn't a regular album, but a compilation of single tracks, largely written and performed by Mister Smith, with some contributions of Mister Tolhurst, and those tracks were computer pop experiments, as The Cure did not really persist anymore at that time (Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Glove, Fools Dance). The success they had, could not have been neglected for The Top, and so this album is far more less homogenic, than, let's say, Faith or Pornography. While some tracks could have evalotuted from Pornography (e. g. "Shake Dog Shake" or "The Wailing Wall"), others are children of their charts singles (e. g. "Dressing Up" or "The Caterpillar"), which already foreshadow The Head On The Door. I like both of them, and well, I'd spend eight to nine points for The Top.

jersyboy5@hotmail.com
The Caterpillar- easily the best cure song ever, well, pretty much. I can't imagine any other band coming up with something like this. Can YOU?

takac@panet.co.yu
Janko from Serbia well into his third botthe of this marvelous beer from Slovakia and he sez:

Album made during the wild days of Bobs second stint with Siouxsie and the Banshees ('Hyaena' LP). The Cure were without Simon (he left the band after Pornography tour and a barfight and on-stage-fight with Bob) but they adopted the drug provider and marvelous drummer Andy Anderson. And the prodigal son Porl Thompson came back to the band (He was in The Cure when they werent The Cure yet...) - well the merry bunch made this completely at night, in an remote willage hotel, and with Bob coming and going from and to another studio session with SATB (completely insane!).

BUT

Whoever says that this is a bad record - deserves to have Britney Spears for a wife! And Christina Aguilera as a mistress. And that aint a good thing! I know! Yes I do! ...

The Top is a "connecting period" album. This LP makes connection between early darkwave and later darkpop expirience. Yes, just the thing that made The Cure fans to write letters to Bob that said things like "Why, why did you get famous?! ... " and such. Becouse you know - "J.W." singles stole The Cure from bunch of cult followers that knew the band from 1979 to 1982 and felt betrayed with furter work of The Cure. Everybody loved "Lovecats". Wery few knew "Strange Day". It was intimate thing that went in the open, so fear for the band going commercial was truly great!

All of the songs on The Top are beautyfull! I dont need to tell you this, but The Top is my favourite album.

Bananafishbones indeed.

WellsD@halcrow.com
Christine and Britney have asked me to tell Marko form Serbia to lay off - they still have the negatives......

The Top - listened to it for the first time in ages and found it awash with disappointment. As one of the reviewers above (Vlad the impaler) says this is an album which looks like a band is about to change direction. Caterpillar is absolutely fabulous but the rest struggles with especial low points "Shake dog shake" and "banana fish bones". I started hating "Bird Mad Girl" but grew to like it on a second play and Wailing Wall sounds like it has so much potential that is doesn't quite realise. Most of the other songs are OK at best - forgettable at worst. This is not a great Cure album and is unlikely to be played in the Wells household for a while.

_c3994783@wanadoo.nl
I disagree with the meager reviews this record gets.. There are enough highlights on this to make it a good cure-release. Shake dog shake is a weird song for the cure, because they used a traditional hard rock riff.. for the first and only time i think. But it's a very good riff! Shows you how talented mr. Smith and his pupils really were.. Wailing wall and Give me it are quite good songs too. They would compare easily with the best stuff most brit alternatives nowadays write, so fuck the lame "heard it all before" attitude. They were among the first to write such demented little pieces :)

Caterpillar is one of the cure most catchy songs, but it isn't really headachely nausea-evoking like love cats or go to bed for instance. It's more comparable with their properly written pop melodies like in between days or catch... just on the edge of brilliant and annoying, like a proper cure hitsingle is supposed to sound like, haha!

Empty world and the top are more dark offerings that actually are quite ingenious constructed. Don't see a lot of so called talented groups writing such songs, neither before or after the cure. They really made the underground sound mainstream and vice versa. Which is an unique achievement in my book!

And even on their less spectacular record they succeed in putting out more substantial material and real songs than for instance a pixies does (which is mainly filler-material and 3 proper popsongs). So why not show a little respect for a band that put out so many classic popsongs, so much material as a whole and a whole lot of kick-ass darkness! Not so many bands succeeded in getting mainstream while still remaining true to their alternative roots...

ommo.wilts@gmx.de
I really love this record! really sweet, shrieky and haunting at the same time. It covers a variety of new wave styles. The Cure would have been a winner in the batcave with that record I think. Goths who are into Virgin Prunes, Sex Gang, Lene Lovich or cinema strange might come to like this. Especially shake dog shake perhaps. This is really not the cure known in the public. Rather sounds like early Christian Death. The title track is more "like" the cure. completely eerie, nightmarish. brilliant bizarre gothic record!!!

halbert@utc.msstate.edu
Not great, but headed in the right direction, is how I describe this effort. The highlights for me on this one are "Shake Dog Shake" and the industrial sounding "Give Me It". In my review of "Japanese Whispers" I mentioned "The Caterpillar" when I meant to type "Love Cats". "The Caterpillar" is a tough cut to sing along with , due to the intentional stuttering by Robert Smith. The band is on the threshhold of greatness following this release.

ventas@dime.com.ar
"The Top" is at least a 9.

Add your thoughts?

Concert: The Cure Live - Fiction 1984.
Rating = 9


A fantastic live album! Kind of an iffy era, you understand, what with The Slop having been the newest studio record and all, but this live stuff - yeah! The main problem with most live records is that the production is generally pretty much nonexistent and the sound too tinny. Well, get out your hand job, because somehow, The Cure have managed to sound even MURKIER on this live recording than they do elsewise otherwhere! And I don't mean like incomprehensible noise murky - the production on this one sounds pristine enough to be a studio recording - but "moodwise," holy COW, are they bringing down the wallflower!

Tubular song list too, mother. I kinda snooted my nose up when I noticed a couple of Top tunes on the back cover, but they actually don't sound like shit on here! "Shake Dog Shake" is a bassy d ruggy mess like I like it, and "Give Me It," well, even that stupid faux metal track sounds pretty good in this context. Essentially, The Cure are goth gods here. I know that they'd already moved into their slightly happier pop phase, but they must have felt some angst calling them back to the Porno era because this great live document sounds exactly like the cover looks - dark and shadowy, obscured.... And catchy!

Reader Comments

Burney2061@aol.com
I agree, this is killer--if you see "In Orange" I imagine it when I listen to this...

Add your thoughts?

The Head On The Door - Elektra 1985.
Rating = 8


Finally admitting their escape from young adult angst, Rob and company reemerge as a full-grown happy pop band. Not dated synth dance crud, but clean solid sparkly guitar/keyboard pop rock. Real nice stuff. "In Between Days" and "Close To Me" (which sounds a HELL of a lot like The Cars) are the classics, but "Push" and pretty much every track on side two grab my mcgillicudy just as handily. They haven't quite mastered the form, as "simple pop rock" requires a heck of a lot more melodic ingenuity than the repetitive dirges of old, but, aside from some bleak numbers in the middle of side one, they do a fairly impressive job, especially compared to that Top poop. Perhaps you've heard Smashing Pumpkins' cover of "A Night Like This?" Well, the original is about six jillion times better. How about them apples? I didn't know him from Dick's hatband! Might as well; can't dance!

I disagree with all them mothers who say that this is The Cure's finest moment, but it's a darn fine way of introducing a new style (and far less jarring a transition than Pornography to Japanese Whispers), and a decent collection of hooks to boot. Or boots to hook, if you're not a very good fisherman! Ha! I've made myself pretend to chuckle!

Reader Comments

bthom@turbonet.com (Ray Thomson)
I'll agree that most of the reviewers who suck Head On The Door's dick are wrong. They just wish every group was Michael Jackson and put out pop songs all the time. But that gets old. However, I think you underrated it a little. The songs are much more interesting than the ones from Boys Don't Cry, and are better to sing to, as well as hear. This is an 8.

markc@javanet.com (Mark Cybulski)
I'd give Head on the Door an 8 too. It was the album that turned me (and a lot of people) on to The Cure. "Push" is awesome, "Six Different Ways" is lovably goofy. "Close to Me" has worn thin after 12 years and about 1000 listens. This is the kind of Cure I like (though I love Disintegration). I can take a few of the goth songs on Staring at the Sea, but sorry, I just can't sit through a whole album of it.

TVIIIpiggy@aol.com
HELLO. I REALLY LIKE THIS ALBUM. IT IS PROBABLY MY SECOND FAVORITE CURE ALBUM. ACTUALLY, IT IS A TIE WITH KISS ME KISS ME KISS ME FOR MY SECOND FAVORITE. ANYWAY, IT HAS "IN BETWEEN DAYS" AND "A NIGHT LIKE THIS." WHAT MORE COULD YOU ASK FOR? ITS TWO OF THE BEST CURE SONGS EVER. BESIDES THE SONGLES FROM THE ALBUM, EVERY OTHER TRACK ON HERE IS GREAT. "SIX DIFFERENT WAYS" IS MY LEAST FAVORITE TRACK ON HERE. I DON'T HATE IT, BUT I CAN'T REALLY GET INTO IT. ITS JUST TOO GOOFY FOR ME. MAYBE IT'LL GROW ON ME. MY FAVORITE TRACKS ARE "IN BETWEEN DAYS," "A NIGHT LIKE THIS," "THE BLOOD," "PUSH," AND "KYOTO SONG."

rderby@erols.com (Robert Derby)
Bobby grows up. Goth rock made listenable for the rest of the world. A pinch of pop, a hook or two, some clever concise arrangements, and a dose of hopeful misery. Oh, and finally A REAL DRUMMER. Here lies the first steps to superstardom for ol' Bob. Nice production also from Mr.Allen. The keys and guitars really work together here as they do on Allen's next two giant albums...which are...?

richbunnell@home.com
A pretty good pop album Ė the only major problem that I have with it is that there's kind of a lack of cohesion between the songs; a problem which everyone says the next album has, but the complaint really seems more appropriate here. The bad songs? Well gee whillikers, there really arenít any bad songs here tune-wise; I even like the amazingly cheesy "Six Different Ways"óhowever, the material is still extremely lightweight at times and dabbling in cheesy Ď80s effects, such as the electronic hand-clapping in "The Baby Screams"(otherwise an awesome track) and the formula Ď80s instrumental bridge sax solo in "A Night Like This"(also otherwise an awesome track). See, thatís the ideaóthese songs are all great but marred by slight problems with production and Ď80s gimmickry. I give it an 8/10, since otherwise the album is really good and I canít deny the greatness of "In Between Days," "The Blood," "Screw," and the charmingly minimalist "Close To Me," which was given a more full treatment (with shuffling drums and a slower beat) on the bandís Mixed Up remix album, but the original is still fine in a funny little bouncy way. And it sounds nothing like the Cars, Mark. Give it up, the two bands sound nothing alike!!

frazzymeister@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
That last guy who commented that the Cars and the Cure sound nothing alike may be right overall, but ya gotta admit that Rob Smith's and Ric Ocasek's voices are frighteningly similar...before I was very familiar with both band's styles, I couldn't really tell them apart because the singers sound so alike! Anyways, I guess this was the Cure's first big mainstream success, and it's quite a good album indeed. Originally I feared that "Close To Me" would be the only good song on here because that's the only one that ever gets played, but the whole album is solid and diverse, even though they substituted the experimental leanings of the awesome The Top album for a more mainstream pop rock sound. But it's awesome pop rock and proof that pop doesn't have to be simple, bland, or predictable. 9 out of 10.

bergand@odeon.it (Reznored)
this album is fine, i mean, catchy pop music. when you want to party and get drunk this is the perfect stuff to listen to, beside Sopor Aeternus. my favourite track is "Sinking" because it completely destroys the happy mood of the record and it's kind of funny how it seems that Robert Smith really feels like dying right at the end of an ultra mega pop album. the lyrics and the music really suggest you the fall of smith's persona and the voice is scary and ghostly. brilliant. maybe a lot of people know this and don't give a hell, but don't you think that "six different ways" sounds a lot like "swimming horses" from siouxie and the banshees' "Hyaena"? Robert played guitar on that record and maybe didn't remember it.

anyway 8 out of 10.

opeth1213@yahoo.com (Eric D)
After listening to this album recently, i have decided it's more like a 9 of 10. Many classic songs here... Kyoto, Blood, Push, In Between Days, Close to Me, and A Night Like This. I also like that bass intro on Screw, and Sinking is a great closer. Definitely 9. Still think The Top is underrated too.

takac@panet.co.yu
Janko from Serbia currently enjoys this marvelous beer from Slovakia and feels betrayed by fourth bottle that just doesnt feel enough malty. He bitterly sez:

Great reconciliation album. Simon came back to the band. Boris Williams replaced Andy Anderson (that couldnt bare long tours and bad food). Also Lol turned his interests towards booze slightly more than he should and it made him put away bottles and bottles away every day.

HOTD was the first album that brought the band into the mainstream of the 80's. Many songs on this album are masterpieces that sound like somebody really signed some papers and owes something to somebody later on...

'Six Different Ways' is THE song that makes sinth - pop worth a mention in the great history of pop music. Forget Depehe Mode! What A - Ha?!

halbert@utc.msstate.edu
I think this is the release where the band is a five piece unit, or is does it happen on "Kiss Me" ?

Anyway, the band branches out in a variety of ways during this recording by adding horn sections to its mix and the results are positive. "In Between Days" is a tune that has a clever drum roll that opens the track and continues throughout the song. Another highlight on this CD is the tune "A Night Like This" which includes a Sax solo in it, "Close To Me" is a quirky number which features a keyboard effect that sounds like a Vibraphone and a horn section with a muted Trumpet solo that closes out the song. My favorite cut is probrably " Blood", with it's spanish guitar flavoring sprinkled throughout the song and some passionate vocals and lyrics supplied by Mr.Smith.The videos from this selection are excellent also.

ian_pillar@hotmail.com
Listen to "In Between Days" and then "Dreams Never End" by New Order - infact I could point many other Cure songs that sound a bit to much like New Order for comfort .... This is one of my fav Cure albums as well while where at it this is how pop albums should sound like.

Add your thoughts?

Standing On A Beach-The Singles - Elektra 1986.
Rating = 8


See, the problem is that, due to personnel shifts and Robert Smith's capricious whimsy, The Cure by this point in their career had already meandered their way through three distinct brands of music-making. You see where I'm going? Scratchy post-punk, morphine lipstick blues, and bouncy boy pop just don't go very well together. That's my opinion anyway. Most of the songs are phenomenal, but some of 'em just don't SOUND phenomenal because there's no cohesion at any point in the record. And where the hell did that "Charlotte Sometimes" pile o' weed come from???? Is that a Top outtake or something? Bleah!

But now then.... I suppose this would be a good place to start if you're just interested in finding out what The Cure are all about, but if you already know you're a fan, you'd might as well just pick up the individual albums. Most of 'em are really good! The cassette has all the B-sides (most of which are pretty weak), and the CD has some bonus tracks too, I think, but who needs 'em???????? Me? No! Not me! Perhaps you, but not me!!!!

Reader Comments

mattias@diariodopovo.com.br (Alexandre Linhares Matias)
Hate the Cure, but respect them. Or at least Fat Bob. He fuses equal parts of David Bowie's Low (or Brian Eno, you decide), Joy Division, technopop, duo synths, Baudellaire, teen angst and punk rock in a recipe difficult to pair. This is one of the best 80's albums, by elimination. It sounds just like itself - and nothing more. And if 1985's Concert is one of the prettiest jewels of Smith's carreer, it's because it begins with "One Hundred Years" - one of the best album beginnings of all time (besides "Black Sabbath", "Smells Like Teen Spirit", "Wouldn't it Be Nice", "Police On My Back", that one from Loveless (MBV) and "Devil's Haircut").

jlehgoss@erols.com (Eric Goss)
I have to contest your dislike of those B-sides. In the case of The Cure, their B-Sides are often better than the A-sides. It frustrates the heck out of me that they don't appear on the CD version.

bthom@turbonet.com (Ray Thomson)
Actually, I'd say that the Cure went through 4 changes, the first three you mentioned as well as their gloomy, yet melodic phase from Head on the Door to Disintegration. Other points: Ok, "Let's Go to Bed" aside, "The Walk" and "The Lovecats" are great songs. "Charlotte sometimes" is pretty good too. I don't have a clue what you have against that, It's right out of their goth period, only it sounds like an actual song. All in all, this is a great album. Pleased to see "Play For Today". For me, the transition through each brand is smooth, making the experience like a story if you listen to it straight through. They probably should have left off the Head On The Door stuff though. It doesn't belong. 9.

kcellis@pacbell.net (K.C. Ellis)
I agree that this album does not flow well, but as the first Cure album I ever bought, it was a perfect sample of what to expect from the other albums I would later buy. BTW, how can you say the CD add-ins are meaningless---"A Night Like This" is possibly my favorite Cure song along with "Plainsong". "Charlotte Sometimes" is a decent song but pales in comparison to "Primary" and "Other Voices", who precedes it.

TVIIIpiggy@aol.com
I WOULD GIVE THIS A 10. IT INTRODUCED TO ME TO THE CURE. THE PUNK PHASE ISN'T BAD, THE GOTH PHASE IS REALLY GOOD, BUT THE POP PHASE IS MY FAVORITE. IT FLOWS WELL TO ME. I THINK THE B-SIDES ON THIS ALBUM ARE REALLY GOOD. "CHARLOTTE SOMETIMES" IS A GREAT TRACK. THE JAPANESE WHISPERS MATERIAL IS GREAT. I LOVE "LOVECATS" AND "LETS GO TO BED." "THE WALK" IS GOOD, TOO. THE HEAD ON THE DOOR MATERIAL IS MY FAVORITE FROM THIS ALBUM. "A NIGHT LIKE THIS" AND "IN BETWEEN DAYS" ARE TWO OF MY FAVORITE CURE SONGS EVER. I HAVE A QUESTION. WHY IS THE TOP ALBUM SO HARD TO FIND?

Muggwort@aol.com
Although the cure are my type of band I can't really say much about standing by the sea: the singles. Mark was right the different styles don't go well together, but I must say that "boys don't cry" and "the hanging garden" are both incredible songs, good enough to make me want to investigate further into the cure.

5/10

clauc000@mail.uni-mainz.de (Vlad)
Charlotte always! One of their most intensive moments ever, this track is missing on the Faith album, where it chronologically belongs to (the next relative might be the also outstanding "The Funeral Party" - Never heard ANY band EVER performing as intense melancholic tracks as these two). By the way, the B Side "Splintered In Her Head" is also worth listening to (If you imagine, what could happen after the end of "The Subway Song", it might sound this way).

If there is one song that deserves to be on a Cure compilation, it is "Charlotte Sometimes".

austintayeshus@hotmail.com
While I'm not really a fan of greatest hits or best of compilations either, I think this one does a good job of chronicling the bands "hits" up until that point, and is a good introduction for someone wondering about their early days.

However, my main reason for emailing is your comment on the b-sides, which I strongly disagree with. I don't think the band has ever put anything on a b-side that wasn't fairly strong. And some of their best songs are on the b-sides collection that the tape issue of this album offers. "The Exploding Boy," "Another Journey By Train," and "Throw Your Foot" are all among some of their best b-sides (and just overall best songs) they've ever done. I think you should really go back and give them another listen because they are far from throwaway tracks included to fill up space.

WellsD@halcrow.com
This is a compilation of all their early singles and to my mind illustrates the fine potential of the band. Some bands play the same rubbish for years but this shows some great changes in direction. Some songs show up better here - "other voices" for instance - than on the album. This is probably one of the finest singles compilations about - I love the early "punk" period material, the miserablist period and hey the poppiness of Caterpillar, Love Cats and the Walk. Unfortunately after buying this I don't think I ever bought a Cure album again although I possess kiss me (x3) somewhere. May give that a listen.

halbert@utc.msstate.edu
When someone puts together a compilation disc, I usually think some good cuts are missing, and this one is no different. But this disc is put together better than most because some excellent cuts are included like "Killing an Arab" which I think was banned from the airwaves soon after its release.

"10:15 On a Saturday Night" with its "Drip Drip Drip" line and "Jumping Someone Else's Train" outright rock as cuts from their early period. The new wave period highlight fo me is ths cut "A Forest" which also sounds good years later on the Mixed Up CD, but I like the original better. The compilation also takes a peak at the "Head on The Door " pop guitar period also.

I would recomend this disc to any Cure newcomer as a taste of early Cure.

Add your thoughts?

Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me - Elektra 1986.
Rating = 8


If they hadn't made the darn thing so friggin' long, this could have been The Cure's pop masterwork. Instead, about fifty-five minutes into it, it begins to seem like a bunch of meaningless soulless little ditties with no reason to exist except to irritate my secondary reproductive organ. And therein lies the rub! For the entire first album of this double-vinyl set, you, the listener, are flabbergasted by the strength of these boys's Beatle-esque pop sensibilities, drifting as they do between dark angry lost-love mookies ("The Kiss"), beautiful ballads ("How Beautiful You Are"), and smiley pop americas ("Just Like Heaven," one of the greatest songs ever written).

Then, all of a sudden, every track on album B begins to sound the same, even when they're trying to reach out and tackle some wild new genre. You know exactly how every track is going to go after hearing the first ten seconds. And you don't even care, because the songs just don't seem as strong as the ones you heard not twenty minutes ago on that other album. And dammit, the band sounds dumb and creatively extinct. Thank God for album one!!!! Perhaps album one isn't even that much better. Maybe it's just that eighty minutes of simple pop tones is just too lengthy a time frame for any band to master. So why did they try? There's really no overriding theme here! Just happy song followed by darker song followed by dancy song followed by another happy song followed by another darker song and so on and so forth.... It definitely has enough great moments to qualify as a "really good" album, though. Maybe borrow it from somebody and tape your favorite songs. You don't need all eighteen of them, do you? Hah? By the by, I have very little contact with actual Cure fans, so their opinion may be a lot different than mine. I'm only telling you how I, a punk rock and catchy pop freaker, react to this sort of entertainment. By moshing, dude!!!!!!! Skank ahoy!!!!

Reader Comments

bthom@turbonet.com (Ray Thomson)
I completely disagree. Maybe you need to hear it on CD or something, without the break, because if you shuffle this baby, it's brilliant. I adore the fact that it's long (with the exception of crap like "The Snakepit"). This one just keeps getting better and better. 9.

TVIIIpiggy@aol.com
I'LL AGREE THAT I THINK THIS ALBUM IS TOO LONG. I THINK THAT SOME OF THE TRACKS COULD HAVE BEEN LEFT OFF. IT IS HARD FOR ME TO SIT THROUGH OVER 70 MINUTES OF THIS. NOW DON'T GET ME WRONG, I LOVE THIS ALBUM. I JUST HAVE TO BE IN THE RIGHT MOOD TO SIT THROUGH THE WHOLE THING. MY FAVORITE TRACKS FROM IT ARE "JUST LIKE HEAVEN," "THE KISS," "CATCH," "WHY CAN'T I BE YOU," "LIKE COCKATOOS," FIGHT," AND "HOT HOT HOT!!!."

rderby@erols.com (Robert Derby)
Aw Mark, this record is brilliant. It's The Beatles White Album of modern rock. Think about that. Every strength, every weakness, every accolade, and every dissing could be compared to that '68 classic. Mind you, even though I have high regard for Bobby and his band...The Beatles were more relevent.But, in some regards, The Cure were The Beatles of the 80's( the highest personal honor I can bestowe upon them!)and this album is what set them apart.

I really think that The Cure is foolishly overlooked as trend setters and this album is foolishly overlooked as a relevent work.A masterstroke. A classic. Too long? Hell no! 9 and three quarters stars.

bougopgs@eckerd.edu (Gregory S. Bougopoulos)
Definitely too long, but I happen to like the pop songs more than the moody stuff. For example, I don't care much for "The Kiss", "Snakepit", and "Fight". Too flawed. Still, this gets a 7 because it has some great singles, and some great album tracks. It just would've been nicer if Ol' Robert reviewed his material before releasing it.

richbunnell@home.com
Hoo boy am I in disagreement on this one. Itís wild, itís stylistically varied, itís long, itísÖ.ummÖ..long, and itísÖwellÖlong. The funny thing is that unlike most double albums there really isnít much filler on hereóthe only two tracks that I can really say that I dislike are "The Snakepit" which does not deserve to be the albumís longest song whatsoever, and "If Only Tonight We Could Sleep," which has barely any melody, basing everything on Robertís whininí and some wannabe Indian instruments. And wow! Both of those are on the first half of the album! I like pretty much all of the second half, particularly "Fight," "Hot Hot Hot !!!," "Like Cockatoos," "Shiver And Shake," and of COURSE "Just Like Heaven." Highlights on the first half include "Why Canít I Be You?," "How Beautiful You Are," "Torture," and "The Kiss." Hell, theyíre all great except for those two that I mentioned! One note thoughóregarding "The Kiss," if someone listens to it not used to the goth sound, that person will be REALLY disgusted at Robertís endless whining, "GET YOUR F'N VOICE OUT OF MY HEEEEEEAAAAAAD!!! WAAAAH!! WAAAAH!!!!" Then again, the vocals never really were the best part of the Cure, though they are distinctive. The grade? Iíll easily give it a high 9 and declare it my favorite Cure album. Not a 10 since thatís too generous, but right next to it.

frazzymeister@hotmail.com (Roland Fratzl)
Originally an ambitious double album on vinyl. This one yielded several more mainstream pop rock hits, and while it's quite long and gets a bit weaker towards the end, it's overall another winner by this band with lots of amazing, unique songs on here with great writing and musicianship. Rob Smith's unique smooth and jangly guitar style is in full force here, with a bit more distortion thrown in. Sometimes, as on tracks like "Torture" and "How Beautiful You Are" they sound a bit too close to U2 for my tastes (now there's a band that sucks the bag), and stuff like "Why Can't I Be You?" and "Hot Hot Hot!!!" sounds like something Prince would have composed, but they are still great. Nifty sitar work on "If Only We Could Sleep" though! Again, no bad material here, but the last 4 or 5 songs don't really stand apart from the first half...if they had left these off then I think it would be a 9, but as it stands I'd rate it a low 8.

clauc000@mail.uni-mainz.de (Vlad)
I don't know, why this album reminds me of The Top. Perhaps the combination of more weird moments and quite neat pop songs? It is a period, where The Cure were high in the charts, and they seemed to feel quite uneasy there (Although The Head On The Door is really a brilliant piece of work, sounding more like a compilation, than a regular album).

"The Kiss" seems to look back to Pornography and The Top with it's guitar noises. But they are not combined with a fast beat, and so this track already foreshadows Disintegration

"Catch" is a rather harmless (but still nice) pop song in my opinion, and it must be some sort of joke to place it inbetween "The Kiss" and "Torture". Has Robert Smith been in love with a girl these times, who only did exist in his dreams?

"Torture" again reminds me of good old "Pornography" days.

"If Only Tonight We Could Sleep" - Not my favourite song on this album. I guess, I never have been a fakir in one of my suggested previous lives.

"Why Can't I Be You?" - "Close To Me (Single Version) Part 2" with "Love Cats" lyrics - Yes, they WANTED to be in the charts! A bit too obvious for me.

"How Beautiful You Are" - Very good, even literary text. Could have been one of their greatest pop moments, if they just would get familiar with the concept of refrains.

I never ever could imagine, I could fall asleep inbetween poisonous reptiles, but "Snakepit" made me change my mind.

"Hey You" - Well, sometimes tracks can be too poppy to be pop.

"Just Like Heaven" - Of course something like "Boys Don't Cry, Part 2", but one of the most deserved Cure Single A Sides ever, although it failed to hit the charts in my home country. And the B sides are also catching ("Snow In Summer"!!!). Robert Smith has definitely been in love with a girl from dreams ("Just Like Heaven" and "Snow In Summer" circle around this motive, as long, as I have understood the text correctly, and even "Sugar Girl" may be interpreted this way). As I have been a goth with a faible for dark romantic themes in those times, the 12" has been very often on my record player.

Weird guitars and a sad synthesizer (and somewhere drowned a piano) mark "All I Want". I like this one, too.

But I can't say that about "Hot! Hot! Hot!". It's always obvious, that the Cure aren't really a funk band, no matter how they try. But then, it's charming, that they tried.

"One More Time" - What's that? The Cure have STOLEN! Epigones! The keyboard part in the second halfth of the song is nearly identical to the instrumental refrain of OMD's "Never Turn Away"! And the pipes come from "Dressing Up". But nevertheless, it is still a breathtaking song to listen to (when you're in love with dream girls?), and among the best moments on this album.

"Like Cockatoos" sounds like an outtake from "The Top" album.

"Hanging Garden" style drums and "The Walk" style bass on "Icing Sugar" - The Cure searching for a musical direction? The text tries to be aggressive, but - well - Robert Smith seems not to be the right choice to sing lyrics like this.

"The Perfect Girl" with a sitar played as guitar. It would have been a better single than "Catch" and "Hot! Hot! Hot!" in my opinion.

Why does "A Thousand Hours" remind me of "Plainsong"? Just because of the use of the same synthesizer?

"Shiver And Shake" - And The Cure try to be aggressive again, this time more in the tradition of "Give Me It". If an angry Robert Smith stands in front of me, will I manage not to giggle (especially if he utters the word "screaming")?

"Fight" is the third one about anger.Perhaps the best among them, although the slowest. The synths give a feeling of unease, and the refrain really fits.

In retrospective, "The Three Kiss Me's" sounds like The Cure coming to an end. A lot of older styles mix together into a puddle of uncoherent material, when no new development is in view (except for the use of violins). Everything seems possible from now on. Although I have learned to like Disintegration, I wished, they would have chosen another one of all those possible paths. Or, at least, would have moved on several roads, so that after Disintegration still changes in the style would have been possible. But then again, it's only my own private opinion.

stephen.dohnberg@sympatico.ca
definitely in your corner on this being a bit too long. akin to Zeppelin's Physical Grafitti somehow. worth a 7 however for yielding these three great master popcraft pieces: Just Like Heaven, Catch, Like Cockatoos. after this record the Cure lost me forever. I did see them during the Blood Flowers tour though and have to say, as much as I expected to leave annoyed, angered, and a pissed off curmudgeon, the second half of the set was all pre-84 material which left me completely placated and satisfied. fortunately they didn't mix up their great stuff with all the garbage that all the aging tarts, jock-goths, and bimbos whose favorite Cure songs can be released on a 5 song EP.

a band that definitely deserves some credit for the many other genres it contributed to aside from that horrid 'goth' subgenre (ie: you can't say that indie rock songwriting wasn't influenced somewhat by the Cure...Shipping News via 17 Seconds, Low via Faith, and so on...)

takac@panet.co.yu
Janko from Serbia currently enjoys this marvelous beer from Slovakia, burps and sez:

Lol went boozing his brain further so Roger O'donnel was invited (for the first time) to fill in.

This album is just prancing around the place! The guys knew that they are really really good and mighty full of ideas - so they made a double album that really doesnt sound like an excuse to stay a bit longer in that mansion that they rented for sessions...

'Just Like Heaven'. What can I say. Just like Heaven.

That song alone, makes a life worth living. At the end of the day, when civilisation ends and aliens come to earth - this song will prove them that there were some decent people living on this planet...

'The Kiss' - song that makes every decant Hendrix fan - pull his hair out in envy! I'm sure Jimmy Page never heard this song - becouse he's still playing guitar. He shouldnt!

'If Only tonight we could Sleep" - what could I say?! This is pop music that redefines itself 'in vivo'.

TBrunt@trimbos.nl
I must review this one or my girlfriend will disembowl me..

Let us say that "kiss me kiss me kiss me" has a few of the best and catchiest songs by this band on it. Take a song like "just like heaven" or "catch", really sweet popmusic without becoming a bore like so many other popsongs do. How the cure does that I don't know, but they have a special talent for writing energetic and uplifting popmusic that doesn't sound copied and rerun from every band that came before them in the hitparades.

A lot of bands coming out of the UK right now (and the US for that matter) could take an example here.

My favorite songs are the strange "the snakepit", "one more time" and "if only tonight we could sleep". The last one is a real beauty, showing why this band is so special and a lot other bands just need to learn a lot more from them in terms of diversity!

Now I can go to sleep reassured again without being castrated, pfooh..!

halbert@utc.msstate.edu
This is probrably my favorite because there are so many styles displayed on this disc. the band had extra time to put these songs together and didn't want to leave anything out , so they made it a double. The previous studio release featured horns and this one also includes horns but adds violins to the mix. My favorite cut is entitled "How Beautiful You Are" an excellent number which includes a violin, and accordian to go along with the band,. This cut also features one of Robert's most vivid lyrical moments as well as a great bass line and little piano ditty throughout the song.

I love the sitar influence in the number"If Only Tonight I Could Sleep" and the horns of "Why Can't I Be You?" The band begins to add some muscle to their music on cuts like "Torture" and the funky "Hot,Hot, Hot". The teeny-bop anthem "Just Like Heaven " doesn't excite me , but it gets the girls up and dancing when the band is in concert. I witnessed it firsthand and knew I'd better start dancing if I was going to get some action later on that night, even though I really didn't like the song. I'll give it a 9, because there are some dull cuts on this one, but the good ones outnumber the dull ones considerably.

Philip
agree with mark's review for most part, it's about 1/3 too long, but the 2/3 are full of whimsical magic, some of the songs way ahead of their time. take snakepit: like most of the above commentators, i used to hate it upon the first listens. however, it grew on my soul! check out the rhythm and the guitar playing, it's tops and not at all too long. like cocatoos is also genius, so is if only tonight... with its "touch of eastern flavour", icing sugar with its touch of free jazz etc, etc... they (he) trully were the beatles of the 80s, methinks.

Ben
I totally agree. I'd cut out the last half of "The Snakepit" and "Icing Sugar" and maybe another song on the second half. But the first half is excellent. Full of great songs. If there's only one Cure album people should own (aside from a greatest hits or something) it's this one. Has a great mixture of everything the Cure did best.

Add your thoughts?

Disintegration - Elektra 1989.
Rating = 8


2008 UPDATE: I lowered this grade from a 9 to an 8 because I finally realized that my then-girlfriend/now-wife (2012 UPDATE: now-ex-wife) was absolutely right: a lot of this material sounds like adult contemporary music. Tracks 1 and 3 in particular sound like easy listening peaceful Yanni music or some SHIT. It's still an 8 though. Here's my excitable early review:

Oh man!!! This one is a total score!!! A home run!!! A touchdown!!! Goal-tending!!!! A safety!!! A touchback!!!! A technical!!!! A ground-rule double!!!! What has happened in Robert Smith's life to allow an album this somber to rise out of his psyche after the loop-de-loop entertainment of Kiss My Butt and The Head On My Butt? I don't know, and I don't give a hangman's noose, 'cuz this is heaven. And not that delightful sissy pop heaven of "Just Like Sissy Pop Heaven," either!!!! This is the sorrow of an aging child forced to leave his youth behind. Sure sounds like it anyway. Pornography going through a midlife crisis. And how!

Strong production, effectively drab keyboards all over the joint, and just about the most consistently draggy drum lines that can be created by mortal man without having to kick him in the arm to wake him up every few songs. My gal hates this one, claiming that it sounds to her like adult contemporary music. If so, this adult is in some serious need of a little psychological counseling. Surely everyday life can't be this deadening at age 32? Ho well. I don't care as long as I get to revel in the beauty of his self-obsessed pain. All you people who say, "I can't stand newer Cure; they're too happy!!!" need to give this one a good solid couple of listens. It ain't no picnic. Sure is mesmerizing, though. Like a soap opera. Remember "Fascination Street" with that awesome bass line? That's on here. So is "Love Song," the biggest hit they ever had (#2 in America!), even though you probably can't remember how it goes. Don't worry; you'll recognize it when you hear it. It's faster than the rest, but still really unhappy and, get this, the keyboard line sounds a lot like something The Cars would have done!!!!

Reader Comments

cos@syrinx.com (Caress Of Steel)
"The Same Deep Water As You" is the most fucking brilliant depressing music I've ever heard. Listen to it when it's dark and raining, and you've taken a couple of shots of Jack. Ok, don't. But listen to it anyway. Fuck, damn, the whole album is awesome. "Lullaby"'s keyboards are cool as shit.

bthom@turbonet.com (Ray Thomson)
Your assessment of Disintegration is right on the money, except this one is my 10. It's pure genius, and I've never heard anything that could touch it.

markc@javanet.com (Mark Cybulski)
I'd give Disintegration an 8. The first half is absolutely amazing, but the album loses it a bit during the second half (especially with "Prayers for Rain" and "The Same Deep Water As you"). Some of it is also way too long (even "Pictures of You" measures in at over seven minutes!). I love the heavy synth and slow beats, though. It's irresistable.

dpotts@trinity.edu
Man you are so right! This is the baddest ass album of theirs', don't get me wrong I love all of their albums. Every song rocks, you can play it and it wil totally relax you and get you thinking about life.

Burney2061@aol.com
I agree 100%, couldn't have put it better myself, this is perhaps my all time favorite album, I can't think of one that is better at the moment. "Same Deep Water As You", "Disintegration", "Prayers For Rain", "Homesick", even the moderately upbeat "Lullaby" are all awesome!!! 4, uh, 4 HUNDRED stars!!!

TVIIIpiggy@aol.com
I GIVE THIS ALBUM A 10. THIS IS MY FAVORITE CURE ALBUM. THSI IS THEIR "LONG AS HELL SONGS" ALBUM, BUT IT WORKS. "LOVESONG" IS GREAT. "LULLABY" IS DOWNRIGHT CREEPY. IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE VIDEO, CHECK IT OUT. "FASCINATION STREET" HAS ONE OF THE BEST BASS LINES I'VE HEARD IN A SONG. THIS IS DEFINITELY ONE OF THE ALBUMS TO LISTEN TO WHEN YOU'RE DEPRESSED.

rderby@erols.com (Robert Derby)
10,10,10,10...bravo.The Cure's zenith.Mope rock masterpiece.Love it! The first review I read of it was funny as hell, I forget who it was, but he said...sounds like Yes played at half speed with Rodan squlking over it....I didn't agree, but the anology was humorous.

richbunnell@home.com
Not quite a 9, but definitely an 8. The title track is really great, a perfect example of the Cureís ability to fill up eight whole minutes with nothing but one guitar riff and never have it seem like a retread. Thereíre tons of good songs also, "Plainsong" is fittingly elegant, and "Pictures Of You" is pleasant and probably the peak of the band's watery guitar sound. As for "Lovesong," I have no idea how it hit #2, but itís a very well-made and nice-to-listen to tune. Now if only Janet Jackson didnít exist so it wouldíve been a #1 hit. The only weak tracks are the ones that I canít remember at all after I listen to themói.e. a couple on the second half. Itís still a late-period mope rock masterpiece, though.

robchaundy@yahoo.com (Robert Chaundy)
This could quite easily be my favourite album one day. It's already in the top few, and I can only see it rising.

I get a little bit tired of people dismissing any songwriting which shows honest emotion as 'teenage' and 'teenage poetry' - first up, teenagers often write quite decent poetry, and they are human beings too. It's such a lazy criticism, and I've heard it aimed at everyone from Roger Waters to Bob Dylan and back again. Some of Smithy's lyrics are nebulous and repetitive, but that's deliberate - he's doing the 'voice-as-fifth-instrument' trick that Yes turned into such an art-form in the 1970s.

What can I say? This record speaks to me in a way other 'heartbreak' albums (I'm thinking primarily Blood on the Tracks and Us) just don't. It makes sorrow and yearning sound incredibly beautiful and even enjoyable - which, if you can learn to understand yourself in a certain way, they are.

I'm fairly sure it's the template for October Rust, if anyone's interested, but it's much better than that record. And the (wonderful) cover bears a striking resemblance to Enya's Watermark and All About Eve's Scarlet and Other Stories - there was a lot of good stuff going on in the late 80s.

There are only two weak-ish tracks here, Homesick and Last Dance, but even they are good by most standards. And the centrepiece, the eighteen-minute stretch of The Same Deep Water As You and the title track, is absolutely perfect.

I've not heard Pornography, but I find it hard to believe that it is as good as, let alone better than, Disintegration. I'm not going to bother with the detail of how great it is - you all KNOW that - but an important thing here is that Bob's voice has finally grown out of the high-pitched, wavery quality it had even until Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me. He sounds deeper, more serious and generally a better singer, and would improve even more on Wish.

So no hesitation at all in calling this one of the best albums of all time. It surely is.

seerup101@hotmail.com (Devin Lawrence)
I really loved this album. And then I turned 14.

Rojasandres6@aol.com
This album, with some of those sounds that are like, I don't know, Can I say pop of the 80s? I guess that the "goth" girls that you see at Hot Topic love it(Maybe not). Anyway, is good. I was 4 years old when this came out so I didn't listen to it then. But since I've heard "Pornography", "Kiss me" and "The head on the Door", I can imagine people saying "What the fuck happened to Smith?"

takac@panet.co.yu
Janko from Serbia currently enjoys this marvelous beer from Slovakia and slurtingly sez:

This album established the band on the top of the world. The glory days that lasted untill the end of 1992.

Possibly the best album ever made.

Album that shouldnt be talked about. Its something you think of all the time. Its something that makes you realise that life really could be a happier affair.

steve.robey@mindspring.com
I just recently listened to this again after about a 10 year hiatus. Man, this has really aged well. I used to love this album, and when it came out in '89 when I was in college, it was the alternative rock fan's dream (and a nice epic-length supplement to Daydream Nation, which came out within a year before this). Being older and wiser now, I listened to it again, mainly just to get off on that Fascination Street bass line (fuckin fuck!), but I ended up listening to the whole thing and I finally realized why it's such a good album. On the surface, most every song just has one or two chords repeating over and over, with dreamy vocals never really hitting a catchy melody ("Love Song" being the notable exception). But in actuality, every single song has at least one, usually two or more, AMAZING melodies either on the guitar or the keyboards, filling out the often extended instrumental introductions and spaces between the verses. Every one of these melodies is melancholy, wistful, and entirely memorable. I can't think of any other Cure album that accomplishes that melodic feat so well. So while this album is known mostly for being a depressing wave of atmosphere and sonic fullness, the real appeal lies in the fact that they can take a 6 minute song, repeat the SAME MELODY over and over, layer it with other melodies, and make it work. Incredible.

hunt125@msn.com (Hunter)
The ten! No doubt one of the most epic, beautiful, and uplifitingly sad albums I've ever heard. That said, I've only heard probally around 550 albums in my short life, but still! And while yeah, it is a bit long in the middle, I find this to be one of those albums were although individual songs are great, the thing is best heard in its track sequence, so it all gells together like a frosty teenage-break up snow cone. And further more, anyone seen that video of "Pictures of You"? Is that not the PERFECT visual effect for the song, with it being all snowy and such? Actually, really, snowiness fits in with the entire album's mood as well; cold, but not unfeeling. Wait, hold on, that was really smug.

Great album, th' best.

Mcshane123321@aol.com
No, Mark, neither an 8 nor a 9 does this justice; this is by far the Cure's (well, Bobert Smith's) best work. You and your wife = wrong, wrong, wrong. This one pips Playboynography for two reasons: 1. the melodies are generally stronger, and 2. the drum patterns aren't all exactly the same. Well, those two, and the fact that the gloominess feels much, much more real, more natural and less forced.

The songs? All fantastic. My favourite here is "Fascination Street" with that utterly killer bass riff. One dude I know told me "Lullaby" gave him a nightmare after I recommended the album to him, and it's not difficult to see why. "Love Song"'s the hit, and for a pop(py) song amongst atmospheric gloom it fits in remarkably well.

So yeah, great, great album. I'd say more -- and I could if I wanted to, and part of me does -- but Steve Robey's comments pretty much nails it perfectly. My only complaint is that the lengthiness of the songs, whilst not inherently a bad thing, means that I rarely get the chance to sit down and listen to it.

marc.kreienbrink@gmail.com
I love ďDisintegrationĒ. Itís tortured and beautiful. The songcraft is outstanding. Instruments are wonderfully played: the parts are simple, yet effective. For me, itís perfect during the winter, when itís cold. I ditched school to get this album and it was worth it. Heck, most things in life are worth skipping school for, including fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. Those threethings just happen. You canít schedule THAT magic!

One of the greatest musical memories I have is from one of their shows. Usually, you have an energetic opener for a concert, or if they start off mellow, that song eventually picks up and you have that Ďreleaseí. No, not the Cure. The lights go down, the chimes start and continue for a minute and ten seconds, and then BLAM! ďPlainsongĒ, in all its majesty, power, and slowness. That opening was one of the best concert openings ever.

One of my favorite albums of all time. Personally, I give it a 10. I canít believe you downgraded your 9 to an 8. ďDisintegrationĒ gets an 8? Your wife influenced that rating?!? WHAT THE HECK, PRINDLE?!? When it comes to music, you should never listen to your wife. Never. Thatís like lettingÖ

Sorry, gotta go. My wife tells I need to wash dishes. More later (if I'm allowed).

Ben
As much as I'd like to bitch and moan about how this album is too long and monotonous (among other things), I just can't wrap my head around how good it is. Though it isn't as good overall, this album just seems a lot more focused than its predecessor. Some of the songs here are just wonderful. "Pictures of You", "Love Song", "Lullaby", "Prayers for Rain" and "Plainsong" are all pretty top rate. Other than "The Same Deep Water As You", "Last Dance" and "Closedown" there's nothing on here I don't like. "Untitled" makes a great closer too.

Add your thoughts?

Mixed Up - Elektra 1990.
Rating = 8


A bunch of remixes of already recorded material. They ruin "Close To You" by slowing down the drums, but a couple of tunes ("A Forest" might be one?) are actually IMPROVED by some cool electronic noises and such. "Never Enough" has always sucked though and, for the most part, the songs aren't really altered all that drastically. It's neat to hear songs you know by heart presented in a slightly different context, but I'm not sure it's worth $16!!! See if you can find a used copy for $6 like I did.

Reader Comments

FCarter@endosonics.com (Frank Carter)
Artistically this remix CD adds nothing. But if you are into high-end audio this CD is great to test your system. The bass is huge and the highs shimmer with great detail. Track 4 is pure "earcandy."

clauc000@mail.uni-mainz.de (Vlad)
I never ever listened too much to this album, as it sounds to... well... commercial in my ears. Rave was popular then, and so "Close To Me" has been turned into a rave song... Aargh! The Farm's "Alltogether Now" is the only track from this pop episode, which I consider worthy of being remembered (Yeah, stone me!).

I agree, as "The Forest" gets some new magic after the remix (The same for "Primary" on the flipside of the "Close To Me" 12"). Probably the best track on this album. But mostly, I prefer to listen to the original version.

Then this inspirationless "Never Enough" - Why did they ever have chosen this as an A- Side instead of the "Harold & Joe" singalong with it's funny whistle solo? It's just standard Cure, and things like this they had done better in other times.

"Love Song" and "Pictures Of You"... The type of song I like, when I listen to it the first time, but afterwards they begin to bore me more and more. I don't know why; might it be, they are a little too tame? At least, for me, Mixed Up is a bad example of marketing strategies. Whenever a DJ asks you to remix one of your songs, be sure to wear a shotgun with you!

takac@panet.co.yu
Janko from Serbia currently enjoys his fourth bottle of really marvelous beer from Slovakia and sez:

Remmember the nineties?! What a decade huh?! And quite lame one...Grunge?! Prodigy?!?! What Oasis?!

Well, 'Mixed Up' was more like end of 80's record. And a nice one! Something that should be taken seriously, but ment for certain purposes - such are standing in the corner of the dicoteque, feeling lame becouse you cant dance, being depressed becouse all the people look like complete idiots, and gulping a beer after beer.

Discoteque probably was only decant place for this record. And I really dont remmember those days before "techno-rave-house clubbing" thing, so could somebody say to me: How did this record sound in those really big discotheques?!

Add your thoughts?

Wish - Elektra 1992.
Rating = 8


A really mature version of Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me. That's a good description. It's got some Distintegration-style languishing molasses clouds like "From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea" (which must be like forty-seven minutes long) and "Trust," but it doesn't dwell on them, choosing instead to pop up its dancey glee voice in a godlike ripoff of "Just Like Heaven" called "Friday I'm In Love" and try out some stylistic reaches like the funky "Wendy Time" (which sucks) and the angry Brian Adams rocker "Cut" (which sucks ass) to give it more of a song-by-song experience than the theme concept that characterizes their finest work.

Still, the wide majority of the songs-by-songs are pretty gantastic, if you axe me. Rob (by this point the sole original member) is still crankin' out the charmers, regardless of what all them fair weather friends who turned up their noses at the dippy single "High" might try to tell ye. Mostly sad and lovely, with touches of optimism gracing the lyrical scope every now and later, mmmm, delightful fruity candy!

Reader Comments

bthom@turbonet.com (Ray Thomson)
I'd give Wish a 5, if it weren't for "Deep Green" and "Trust". As it is, it's a 6. But the thing is, it could've been great. Wish should have been the happy to Disintegration's sad. The songwriting's all there. Problem is, except for the two above, there's no inspiration, no soul in any of the music. (Except for "Friday I'm in Love" which really works. I forgot about it.) It's sad watching a band with so much talent decline like that.

k4w7@marisrb.marist.edu (d')
"end" is a marvelous song. i try to play it as loud as possible.

Burney2061@aol.com
I gotta draw the line here, I agree with the ranking of this album but I really dug "Wendy Time" and "Cut", probably because they are a bit of a departure AND YET they still have a bit of that Cure flavor.

richbunnell@home.com
I wholeheartedly agree with the 8; in fact, this album seems MADE for an 8. "Open" and "From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea" have a great hard-edged dark sound while happier songs like "Doing The Unstuck" and of course "Friday Iím In Love" lighten the mood. Still, thereíre some weak onesóSmith seems to be set on endlessly attempting to top "Just Like Heaven" through weak songs like "High," and "Apart" goes on for waaaay too long, just not in the good way that "Deep Green Sea" does. "Wendy Time" is admittedly pretty dopey and weak, but I canít see whatís so wrong with "Cut" or whatís Bryan Adams about itóit just sounds to me like a really fast-paced relentless rocker, and not even a Cure "departure" as one reader comment says. On another note, "End" is awesome. As I said, 8/10.

pumpkinhead_27510@yahoo.com (Michael Burrus)
I really like this album! The only song I can't stand to listen to is "Wendy Time". I really like "High", "Apart", "From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea", and "End". Wow, "End" is great! I would give Wish an 8! But man, "Wendy Time" SUCKS though! I wonder what Smith was on when he wrote that peice of garbage! "Cut" is not very good either, though not bad. But anyways, great review!

isamu99@pacificnet.net
any1 who says wendy time sucks is on crack! WT kicks ass! Wish as an album is pretty good. WT, cut, end, open and 2 wish impossible things R my favorite tracks. i give it a 8. is there another way of giving revies without having to email U?

iwonas@dodo.com.au (Monika)
you think "cut" by the cure (wish, in case you've forgotten) sucks ass????!!!!???? no! no! NO!!!!!! come ON here, thats the term i use for complete shite, and fine, you have fairly good taste in music from what i can see, but this song was me and all my tortured teenage pain at seventeen! you've broken my heart, dear boy.... in two... excuse me while i weep my black mascara and pale-as-all-shit face powder off.

robchaundy@yahoo.com
Pretty much a cross between Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me and Disintegration, with the added quality of several years' accumulated experience and technique (The Cure just get better and better and better as they get older, which is one of the things I like about them most).

I find this one to be very underrated in general. A lot of people seem not to like it at all, which I can't really understand. I'll admit that it doesn't altogether flow as an album in the way its predecessor did, and that the whole is maybe a bit less than the sum of its parts, but when the parts are as good as these ones, that doesn't bother me too much, frankly. It's a different kind of listening experience, not necessarily a worse one.

This is the last album of great Cure pop songs (the pop songs on Wild Mood Swings sucked, and there weren't any at all on Bloodflowers), and in my opinion the pop songs here are just about the best of the band's entire career. I'm guessing Friday I'm In Love wasn't quite as big a hit in the States as it was in England - in England it remains, to this day, one of the most famous and instantly recognizable songs in the whole world of popular music, which makes me glow with pride in a silly sort of fan's way. Virtually everyone who has heard it loves it, and you can't say that of too many songs, now or ever. It is perfect, in my opinion - a modern-day nursery rhyme sung over a backdrop of the Smiths jamming with the Beatles in heaven.

(Was that pretentious enough?

I thought so.)

'High' is in the same vein - some hate it, but I love it. 'From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea' is absolutely amazing - it has a title that belongs on Disintegration, but the music is something completely new, and brilliant - I would have loved Smith and the guys to mine this particular artistic seam a little deeper... but you can't have it all I suppose. 'Doing The Unstuck' is a superb song, as is 'A Letter To Elise' - whose guitar solo just tears my heart out. Some of the melodies on these songs - and the production as a whole - are so incredibly strong... they're a pleasure to listen to, even if they don't particularly 'do it' for you on an emotional level.

There are a couple of duff tracks, but all things are relative - they aren't that bad, and they don't detract from the overall experience at all in my opinion. The only slight regret is that this album really doesn't flow or cohere in any meaningful way; it's a collection of songs, and nothing more. They're good songs, though, which has to help.

This is only bettered by Disintegration, but even that album didn't have the songwriting strength of Wish. Creating a lengthy soundscape is one thing, writing an instantly memorable three-minute pop song quite another. I'm just thrilled that this band could do both, so completely brilliantly, and that without being conspicuously gifted musicians - gives hope to us all somehow.

Can you tell I like this album? I do! I'm fairly confident it'll be given its due in the course of time, even if it's ignored rather at the moment. Blimey - an album as good as Wish being IGNORED?? This must be a great band.

takac@panet.co.yu
Janko from Serbia currently enjoys this marvelous beer from Slovakia and shouts at the neighbour that listens to football match too loud and disrupted he sez:

The Cure At The Top Of The World!!!

Whoever barely knows of The Cure - he will instantly come up with 'Friday I'm in love' theme. Then there is "A letter To Elise" another massive hit! Personal favourite from 'Wish'.

Roger O'Donnel left the band (first time, he was thrown from the band again just these days) so the band made a interstellar excess inviting A ROADIE to play guitar and keyboards. He was called Perry Bamonte.

'Wish' is a guitar laden album.Iron Maiden-style! Some songs have 4 guitars on them for Gods sake!!!

MTV sucked a lot of blood from 'all things cure' those days, Concluding with the best MTV unplugged performance!!!

Twas a real swansong for The Cure of that era (yeah, just like 'Pornography') band had to take different direction after this. Also I really think that 80's ended in 1992 and that this album belongs to that decade too.

After this album, band went on a really LONG tour and then they died for a while.

stipendsteve@yahoo.com
Iíve never heard the original mix of ďHot Hot Hot!!!Ē, but Iíve gotta say, the version on here is pretty ridiculous. The dated New-Wavey extended funk groove feel of the whole thing and the goofy ďsexyĒ vocals make the whole affair feel like the unholy musical love child of Rick James and New Order. (Which is not to say it isnít a good songÖit just seems hilariously out of place for Robert ďGoth King Of The UniverseĒ Smith. Then again, I havenít heard a ton of The Cure, so maybe this sort of sound was normal for them at some point. For that matter, I haven't heard a ton of Rick James or New Order, either. So I guess what I'm saying here is that this analogy is looking stupider by the minute. Never mind.)

Add your thoughts?

Lost Wishes EP - Fiction 1993
Rating = 4


Sound effects. Sound effects and onion rings, that's all they give us these days. But not The Cure! Not today's British The Cure! Fuck no! Hell yeah! Instead, they give us a non-retail cassette tape featuring four boring instrumental outtakes from Wish.

If you remember that old arcade game Make Trax, then you'll wonder why The Cure chose to "make" these "trax" instrumental rather than spending an extra one minute to write some shitty lyrics about a girl and turn them into complete songs. Three are slow ballady things (one melancholy, two lovey-dovey), and the fourth is a swishy driving rocker that never changes and doesn't go anywhere. Say, that reminds me of a little joke!

What never changes and doesn't go anywhere?
A man with one outfit and no urinary tract!

The finest Cure-inary track here is definitely the somber "Cloudberry," with its haunting bass chords and multiple guitar overdubs both electric and acoustic. The other three are so static that freshly dried socks literally fly through the air to stick to them. Where was Robert Smith? His heartfelt vocals could've taken them over the Topps! You bet your Donruss they could've! Have no Fleer that that wouldn't be the case!

Add your thoughts?

Show - Elektra 1993.
Rating = 7


One of two live Cure albums that came out around the same time, this one shows the poppy happy side of The Cure. Ehhh.... I mean, it's good, but I prefer the mopey side my own self. I wants happy, I toss on some Wings!!!!!
Reader Comments

bthom@turbonet.com (Ray Thomson)
It sucks. It's Wish with the soul, but without the other thing the Cure needs - good production.

takac@panet.co.yu
Janko from Serbia currently enjoys the fifth bottle of the most marvelous beer from Slovakia and sez:

'Show' is just showing off! Yeah - you're big! Yeah - you rule. Yeah - Your fans are mad for you. Yeah - Your fans are all romantic and beautyfull...

Prancing around. Made for vider audience.

Add your thoughts?

Paris - Elektra 1993.
Rating = 8


The other live album, this one starts off with two great mopers from Pornography and never lets up. Sounds great. If you're looking for a good Cure compilation, I think I'd even recommend this one over that Standing On The Beach thing, because they've placed these songs in such an order that none of 'em sound out of place. Yahoo! Alta Vista! Twelve songs, sixty minutes, and Smitty Chrysanthemum. That's my new name for Robert Smith - Smitty Chrysanthemum. And I hope he likes it, 'cuz he's earned it!!!!!!

Reader Comments

takac@panet.co.yu
Janko from Serbia currently enjoys beer and potato chips and he sez:

'Paris' is just the bands recognition of his huge fanbase that wants a lot more from them than a batch of hits...

Personally, I think that there are NO bands that would do things like this! But as I said - they were on the top of the world so they could do whatewer thay wanted at the time!

Half of the money went for red coss\crescent!

Heard THAT mr. Bono?!?!

Add your thoughts?

Wild Mood Swings - Elektra 1996.
Rating = 5


Well, this is a fine flip me a bird! I finally get interested in the darn combo after years of loathful leanings, and they repay me by releasing a cheerful horn-inflected pop album!? Seriously, some of these numbers are so horrifically bubbly that it's hard to imagine mopey songwriter Smitty Chrysanthemum even being able to listen to them, let alone write them! The "dance" U2-soundalike "Club America" MUST be the worst song they've ever recorded, and "Round & Round & Round" isn't too far behind. One single, "Mint Car," is among the most lifeless pop songs they've ever tried to spit at us, and the other, "The 13th," is only rendered a hair more interesting by some silly Caribbean drumming.

Hold it up against every album ever made and it sounds okay, but hold it up against The Cure's fine back catalog and you got a real depressing little cassette tape -- ironic considering it's their most upbeat collection ever. The bookends "Want" and "Bare" far surpass normal Cure melody standards, but almost everything in between is substandard, sad to say. But they've done this before!!! Maybe their next album will be better, eh?

Reader Comments

COBrandi@aol.com (A ticked off Cure fan)
Hey idiot! What the hell was that review on Wild Mood Swings about???? If you didn't have your head so far up your ass you'd know that this album was excellent!! The Cure, unlike most bands these days, are actually staying true to the music and not going along with all the main-stream bull-shit! Bands do not always stay the same, they grow, and try new things. Which is exactly what makes The Cure one of the greatest bands I've ever had the privilege to hear, and see in concert! Maybe you should set aside one afternoon and take a real good listen! The music is up&down, and many of the lyrics are very intense. I would really like you to change your opinion about this matter, because the ability to grow, change , and try new ideas does say a lot about the band!

bthom@turbonet.com (Ray Thomson)
WMS sucks the big one. "Want" even more than most, even though everyone else likes it. These tracks were likable (but not too much)- "Mint Car", "Jupiter Crash", "Return", yeah, that's it. The melodies aren't good. The music sounds like a synthesiser set on "calypso". What the Hell? 4.

mprohner@digiconn.com (Muddy Buddy)
I thought 'Treasure' was an incredibly moving song. Maybe i'm just a really corny person... :)

Burney2061@aol.com
This is the only one on the list I don't have, I guess I should get it but it sucks.

bougopgs@eckerd.edu (Gregory S. Bougopoulos)
What the hell is this?! It's nice that the Cure decided to revisit the 80s with songs like "Strange Attraction" but for most part their too silly to be taken seriously. Some of the other more serious-sounding material basically sucks as well. A 5, even counting great ones like "Mint Car."

WISKER23@webtv.net (GRAYAGE)
if you thought that the cure sucks or still does, then you're really fucked up!!!!! i am 18 years old and have listened to the cure since i was 15. i think that the goth stuff is cool and i don't dress in black or dress all freaky. i am just an average normal person, dressing in regular average normal clothes. just because robert smith wears make-up doesn't mean he's a girl, make up on a guy is sexy, if it's freaky,black make up, and that says a lot about a guy. you can't judge a book by it's cover, so know what you're saying before you say it. THE CURE ROCKS ON!!!!!!, CURE FAN!!

richbunnell@home.com
Itís not THAT bad, itís just that itís not that good either. "Club America" certainly isnít their worst song ever, though I do agree with the comparison to late-period burned out U2. Donít listen to the song first on headphones like I didóthe noise almost completely overwhelmed my ears. "The 13th" on the other hand, is incredibly lameóWHY do bands insist on releasing crap for singles when they grow older? Itís not like R.E.M. who release uncommercial singles while the singles are still good, "The 13th" is just a lame, boring attempt at Caribbean music. On the good side though, "Want" is the one-chord seemingly un-ending kind of song that Smith seems to be the expert at writing, and "Strange Attraction," while shamelessly pop, isnít pop in the kind of way thatíd actually sell albums but good nonetheless. "Mint Car" isnít that bad, even though itís yet another attempt at an acoustic pop song (when will Robert STOP this?) that partially fails. The album actually has a bucketload of great, classic Cure songs, but it doesn't fit together as an album at all and the low points are REALLY low ("Gone" is such a stupid song! And it was a single!). Probably a lowish seven.

clauc000@mail.uni-mainz.de (Vlad)
I have to admit, that I did not like Disintegration until their final tour, when they only played stuff fitting to the style presented there, and the comparably light "Inbetween Days" inbetween really sounded out of place. The Cure never recoverd after Disintegration - In my view, they always tried to do something similar and forgot everything they've done before. Maybe they were shocked, as so many people got unconsious in their concerts during Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me nights, that they became afraid of uptempo songs?

"Want" is an example for this. Instruments are played loud, which should better have been decent.

"Club America" is a joke, but a good one. A cool Robert Smith as a predator in a discotheque. Yes, it sounds a bit like the late, degenerated U2, but I can't remember any U2 songs after Achtung, Baby, sounding quite as good. The melody of the refrain even has something catchy on it (though it's basically a very simple one).

"This Is A Lie" is a string piece. Melancholic, but far away from the intensity of the Faith Album. It would have sounded quite good, if the young Robert Smith would have sung to it.

"The 13th"... I still feel amused listening to that. Good, if a band doesn't cling too much to the style, it is used to.

"Strange Attracion" is a nice little pop tune with Mister Smith living out his faible for literature (just as in, e. g. "How Beautiful You Are").

"Mint Car" is pop, and Cure have become afraid of goth. I'd really would change my opinion of Britney Spears, if she had done this song, but Cure can do better.

"Jupiter Crash" with it's mood of disillusionment sounds very typical for this album.

The same for "Round & Round & Round" - Not very spectacular, but not bad either.

Why has "Gone!" been a single A side? It also does not strike in the context of this album. "Club America" or "Treasure" would have done much better in my humble opinion. But then, most of their most brilliant compositions have never been on the A side of a single (Stone me! Stone me! Stone me!).

"Numb"'s first seconds remind of Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me times, but, sadly, it turns into another average post "Pictures Of You" song. "Return" tries to be something like "Friday I'm In Love" (I know, this track would become a single just by reading the lyrics) or "Doing The Unstuck", but it is too drowned after four average tracks, as that the energy jumps over to me. Should have been the opener of the album. "Trap" also tries to rock, but again this is one too much average to really catch me. The fire is almost out, and there is nothing left to burn...

Yes, I like "Treasure". I like it! I like it! I like it! So sad, so pretty! But as "In Mysterious Ways" from John Foxx is one of my favourite "pop" albums ever, I must declare guilty of having a tendency to kitsch, as long, as it is very, very intensive (Yes, and Church' "It's No Reason" is another favourite of mine). "It's better to forget than to remember me and cry" - Tracks like these make sure, that The Cure will not be forgotten (Stone m... Ah, you know already!).

"Bare" again is the average post "Pictures Of You". I always think, it ends, but then there comes the guitar again... and again... (running towards nothing?)

"It Used To Me" (Bonus Track on the Japanese pressing and also on the "13th" single) also fits perfectly in the dominating mood of resignation. And again, it doesn't end, when I think (or hope?), it does.

The Mood is neither wild on this album, nor does it swing too often. I like it more than Wish, but it's really depressing to listening to it after earlyer stuff. The combination of loud noises and slow pop songs is always very difficult. But they have learned from it on Bloodflowers, which is consequent again and a very worthy ending (Yes, I neglect the standard pop of "Cut Here" and the nothing named "You Gotta Say Yes").

robchaundy@yahoo.com
Sounds like an album of half-finished songs. From my biased perspective there's no such thing as a bad Cure album, either in practice or theory, and whilst this one comes close that's all it does - come close. There's not one song on WMS which doesn't have an interesting lyric, riff or melody, the problem is that not many of them have more than one of these things, and the whole project sounds rather under-produced. There's none of the layered cathedralness of Disintegration or the hi-energy shimmer of Wish.

But for the defence: 'Want' is an absolutely magical song, maybe this band's heaviest, most thrilling moment bar none. Or almost none anyway. The way it makes you think you're about to hear the best Cure album yet is cruelly misleading, but that doesn't detract from the song itself.

The sad songs - Jupiter Crash, This Is A Lie, Bare, Treasure and so on, all work pretty well in my opinion. Not of the same calibre as Smith's earlier (or later) work, certes, but still plenty good enough to justify their existence. It's the less serious material which really disappoints - The 13th, Strange Attraction, Club America. I can't pretend these songs are very good. But I can still listen to them; only a total bounder would pretend they're disasters.

So what am I trying to say... well, this definitely shouldn't be a Cure novice's first port of call. But even if it is, no matter, because if 'Want' is the first Cure song you hear then you're bound to be hooked even if the rest of the record underwhelms you. And if you're an established Cure fan then go ahead and get it - Wild Mood Swings won't be a life-changing experience, but it's got some pretty good stuff on it. Be happy with that!

takac@panet.co.yu
Janko from Serbia currently enjois his sixt bottle of beer and sez:

The time wasnt right.

It was like when "Wish" was out and Grunge was really the main thing. But then The Cure were too big to be suffocated by grunge.

In 1996 - when "Wild mood Swings" came out - after almost three years long pause - Brit pop was the main thing. It was so big that The Cure couldn break out in the right manner!

And how big could it be!

The album itself is "Kiss Me..." all over again!!!

Great song after great song.

'Want' is 'The Kiss'.

'Mint Car' is 'Just Like Heaven'.

...

First single ("The 13th") was a brave decision, but wrong decision. The following tour was a little weaker than expected. It was all going towards redefining the band. They werent big any more!

The time wasnt right!

Gone!

PS

Prior to WMS there were line up changes also ("Duh!" you'd say).

In came Roger O'Donnel and Jason Cooper.

Out went Porl Thompson and Boris Williams.

Add your thoughts?

Facepaint - bootleg.
Rating = 8

I give it an eight!
Reader Comments

jack5603@aim.com
Indeed.

Add your thoughts?

Bloodflowers - Elektra 2000.
Rating = 7

Who gives a shit what I think - this number rating crap is just moronic. I'll like this less or more a month from now than I do now. That's personal growth. Right now I'll tell you that this is a refreshing return to down and out depression - in a lot of ways, you can think of this as a spiritual followup to Disintegration. However, aside from a few really awesome tunes, the stuff in the middle kinda all runs together. But I suppose Disintegration does too and I gave that a nine. Who gives a rat's ass. My girlfriend says it's too jangly but it relaxed her enough to put her to sleep. Right now I'd give it a really high 7, but knowing me, that will probably change to an 8 soon. Fuck you. And me. Together. With a pole. Up the butt.
Reader Comments

richbunnell@home.com
Like all good little freaks, I went out and got myself a copy of Bloodflowers on the week of release, and though the repulsive picture of Smitty Crysanthemum (Good name for Fat Bob, Mark!) on the cover made it a bit hard to open, let me just say that this is a lot more consistent than the last album, which switched peaks and lows so frequently it got really grating. The "band"'s back to dark excess, like Disintegration but more song-based (no soundscapes here) and for the most part, though the album doesn't get past midtempo (the fastest song is the wonderful, dark, poppy "Maybe Someday," Smith's best attempt at an album's 'shiny pop song' since since "Just Like Heaven") the songs still pretty much rule. The lyrics throughout suck (Bob still hasn't realized that being a rock star doesn't automatically make him eligible as 'tortured') and "Watching Me Fall" is a really cool five-minute dirge unfortunately stretched out to eleven minutes for no reason at all, but in my opinion this is probably their best album of the '90s. It's an entirely calculated move and not very tuneful, but overall it's as good of an album as one can expect from the Cure at this point in time. I'd give it an eight.

kimberley.w@sympatico.ca
Bloodflowers is a great album with some amazing guitar work (I play guitar and appreciated the album even more once I learned how to play it). I admit the songs are a bit long, but has anyone noticed that over the past decade their songs have been getting longer and longer? Even though Bob rules the band as a dictator and always has, I think from the late 80s to the mid 90s he had Porl Thompson to keep his rambling style in check. Porl was (and still is) a phenomenal guitarist and I think he was one of the few members of the band who stood up to Bob. It probably helped that he is his brother-in-law as well (MAybe that's why he's gone!. Still, it's a fine album, better than Wild Mood Swings which was a bit too acoustic for my liking. 9 out of 10.

Adrian.Perez@fareastnationalbank.com
Wow, this album has to be one the greatest of our time, stands out as one of the cureís best work, right up there with the disintegration and kiss me album. The arrangement of guitar and strings on this record is just amazing, so haunting, and mesmerizing. All the songs on this record are brilliant, there is no let down, and musically it does not get any better than this, if you look up mellon collie in the dictionary, you should find a picture of Robert Smith. Lyrically is the best cure album in my opinion, Robertís genius in writing good songs really comes out some of the saddest words youíll ever hear are in this album. My favorite song from this record has to be Out of this world, I just cant get enough of this song, one of my all time favorite songs, this is the perfect opening track for this album, the keyboard and piano is so phenomenal, strong drums, brilliant guitar, specially Roberts acoustic really stands out, if I had only one song that I could pick to listen for the rest of my life it would have to be this one, its that dam good. The last day of summer is just the most depressing track on this record, but man anyone can relate to what Robert is feeling in this song. The loudest sound is just one of those songs that you can just close your eyes and visualize the music, the guitar is so powerful, and the strings so southing. Bloodflowers is the last track on the album and itís just fucking awesome, it is just a great song to end this record, itís sort of like a roller coaster to put it in perspective. I highly recommend this record even if youíre not a fan of the group, or even your just looking to hear something new, this is a great album to have in your record collection.

iwonas@dodo.com.au (Monika Fraser)
OK, so i've been a huge cure fan for EVER, and i've never really gotten this one. Maybe its because most cure fans used to be punkers and then turned goth, and i've gone the other way, maybe i'm just too goddam optimistic most of the time, i don't know, it doesn't matter. I'm giving this particular review a 10, with an extra 10 for the final eleven words alone.

well done.

Rojasandres6@aol.com
The Cure is good. Although they have said they are not good. Disintegration is their best in my opinion. This is not "goth". The thing is that many girls that like to dress all in black and all that shit like The Cure but they have said they are not "goth".. Lacrimosa is "goth". (Yes, the same name of Mozart's creation). Well, I doubt that all this "goth" guys and girls admire the Northern Renaissance art. Whatever, The Cure is a really good band.

takac@panet.co.yu
Janko from Serbia currently stopped counting and he slurs very bad:

When 'Bloodflowers' came out I thought: "Yeah, totally best album by the band!".

This is The Cure redefined, refined, back in the alternative circle, back on the undergound road...

"Bloodflowers" as we know it is the bands second attempt. The first attempt to redefine the sound of The Cure was in electro trippy mellow manner ('Loudest Sound' is a song from that sessions) but fortunetally Bob decided othervise and turned his interest onto AOR/AC music. And I applaud!

Where to start?!

The song "Bloodflowers" is probably their best song ever written!

"Where the Birds Always Sing", "39", "The Last Day Of Summer", "There Is No If..." and "Maybe Someday" are such a massive radio frendly hit tunes that it was an act of blasphemy that they all went overlooked!!!

Sin!

Following Tour was a huge succes for the band and it all took them to a whole next level!

hsegstevo@aol.com
I've always thought the opening track and the ending track were killer, two of the best Smith's ever wrote. One quiet, calm, and just a great opener without really needing to jump out of any spaces or do something crazy. And the closer builds up to a FINE vocal performance. On my first time listening, I thought he was being melodramatic as always (Bloodflowers, Smith, really?) but I really love it now. Sort of like some climax in a Shakespeare play.

And the rest of the music fits in well, really giving it all a flow.

Fine, fine album. I'd consider this, 4:13 Dream, Disintegration, and Seventeen Seconds through Pornography as The Cure at its finest.

Add your thoughts?

Join The Dots: B-Sides & Rarities 1978-2001 - Elektra 2004
Rating = 7


For some reason, I really like The Cure. It must be their melodies because it's certainly not all their dumbass '80s synthesizer noises. Join The Dots is the obsessive Cure fan's wet dream - and yes, I DO mean the album Wet Dream by Richard Wright, former keyboardist for legendary progressive rock band Black Boy(d). The reasons why are numerous, so I'll skip them entirely.

Join The Dots is the obsessive Cure fan's dry dream - and yes, I DO mean the album Dry Dream by Jim Carroll, former drug addict and author of the haunting autobiography Hoop Dreams. The reason why is because the Cure have herein compiled nearly EVERY single B-SIDE of ALL TIME -- not just by themselves but by EVERY BAND IN ETERNITY - and piled them on top of each other on four magnificent golden silver discs of music. Then the lawyers got involved and now it's just Cure songs. But WOW! What a Cure song they are! 70 songs total, a few of which you likely already own, but many of which are as rare as the day is at 2:30 AM. One thing to keep in mind, however -- and this seems obvious, but it wasn't to me at the time -- no matter how excited you are to purchase a box set with dozens and dozens of songs you've never heard by one of the greatest "goth-esque" bands of all time, these songs are B-sides and outtakes for a reason. Yes, there are some amazing works on here that only missed album inclusion due to incompatibility with the rest of the record or a feeling that the albums were already too long (particularly during the Kiss Me/Disintegration era), but there are also some tunes that just aren't any good at all (not surprisingly, many of these date from the Wild Mood Swings sessions!).

The four discs are presented chronologically, and it's interesting to see exactly how clearly the eras are delineated re: Smith's musical interests. Here, let me start with disc 1, then continue forward in a fashion similar to that of the numerical system outlined by the Arabs and Indians so many years ago, before they started flying airplanes into our buildings. Disc one covers 1978-1987 and is composed mainly of (a) songs you probably already know because they were added to the band's debut LP for its U.S. release as Boys Don't Cry, (b) songs you probably already know because they were included on the singles compilation LP Japanese Whispers, and songs that you may already know because they were included as a bonus entire side of the Standing On The Beach (c) cassette (dammit!). This was the height of their light in the britches '80s synth "brapp" years, but the songs themselves (ranging from uptempo rockers to funk disco jokes to Dead Milkmen-sounding instrumentals to dark tribal stompers to jazziness to romance to wiggly synths to ugly morose garbage and MORE!) quite often declare Robert Smith and his friends as "fine songwriters of their day." Still, there's some real shit on here. I absolutely refuse to name names and distort your own view of the LP, but "Do The Hansa," "I'm Cold," "Speak My Language," "New Day," "A Few Hours After This," "A Man Inside My Mouth" and "Stop Dead" are songs that only fuckin' retards would be into. On a minister's scale of 1 to 10, disc one receives a high 6.

Disc Two handles the reins of 1987-1992 and features more phenomonal sad pop songs than you or I deserve to hear on any B-sides collection. This is by far the strongest disc of the set (high 8 out of 10), highlighted by sober pain, very strong melodies, beautiful lead guitar lines, three hilarious covers of "Hello I Love You" (a dreamy, draggy 'psychedelic mix,' a version that 'takes the piss' by playing up the song's similarity to "All Day And All Of The Night' and an 11-second hardcore joke that'll will have your Train Of Giggles laughing all the way to the station) and one particularly horrendous track called "Out Of Mind" that sounds like Momentary Lapse Of Reason-era Pink Floyd trying to play traditional blues (with today's hottest synthesizer technology!).

Disc three continues our journey through the backwash of The Cure's soda bottle by sharing a collection of incredibly moving, slow, lush, melancholy suicide soundtracks from the 92-96 era. Unfortunately, about halfway through this tear-jerking disc, your entire body is suddenly dunked into a barrel of human discharge as you hit two "ill-advised" (by the person who advised them) Hendrix covers, a Bowie cover that completely forsakes all the good things about the original version, and a couple of abominable soundtrack songs that sound like the director outsourced the project to a Cure tribute band sweat shop in India. As a whole, a high 6.

Disc four is the final disc out of four and brings The Lousy Cur up to date by taking us through the bitter, fatigued and instantly forgettable half-hooks of Wild Mood Swings and "nice, sad but nothing new" dreamscapes of Bloodflowers. Lowlighted by an 8-minute truly not good dance song, yet another Cure-by-numbers soundtrack submission, a Depeche Mode cover and a dopey macho duet with some woman named after a spice, this let-down disc makes it all the more surprising that The Cure's self-titled 2004 studio album actually turned out to be really good.

In summation, let me conclude by finishing things up.

Reader Comments

Robert.Chaundy@zephus.com
Don't own this yet, but I'd thought I'd just pass comment on the song 'Cut Here' (which may or may not be on this, but I know for a fact it's not on Bloodflowers or 'The Cure' so here is as good a place as any) - I think it is a really great, classic Cure pop song, although for some reason I turned my nose up at it for a long time. As you point out, Just Say Yes is a silly piece of fluff, but Cut Here has the lot. It's 'up there'.

And while I'm making irrelevant points, I'd like to say a few words in praise of Simon Gallup, e.g. 'talented', 'creative', 'cool', that kind of thing. He is the one reason why I will never fully accept the oft-vaunted idea that The Cure are a one-man band. His basslines define a surprisingly large percentage of what The Cure is all about, especially on the mopey stuff from the early 80s and Disintegration. They never made a Classic Pop Song that didn't rest heavily on his bass guitar and that's worthy of comment I think. He's far better than contemporaries like Peter Hook and, er... they all know who they are.

I will submit my report on Lol 'Rick Wakeman' Tolhurst soon...

takac@panet.co.yu
Janko from Serbia currently sips coffee and blurry he sez:

4 disc adventure that came as heavenly food to all of us mortal curefans.

Probably just 2 or 3 (tops) bands on the world can come up with such great and relevant b-side collection.

Lousiest songs here can totally kick ass to 90% of current Billboard "hits".

As I heard to this songs I thought: "Any of them could be an album track. Any of them could be single".

"Yeah, even "(Flexipop) Lament".

("Hey, that WAS a single!")

almighty.boognish@gmail.com
R.I.P. Rick Wright
Add your thoughts?

The Cure - Geffen 2004
Rating = 8


This is exactly the direction I was hoping The Cure might take at this aging point in their elderly career. Not only is it stylistically diverse and full of awesome young-Cure energy, but the production is aphotic (dark), atramentous (dark), caliginous (dark), crepuscular (not sure what that one means), stygian (crepuscular), tenebrous (caligula) and filled up to the shitbowl of your ears with all sorts of odd bass/treble frequencies, cryptic noises and echo/flange/phase/distortion effects. After a decade of flawlessly performed, slickly overproduced and increasingly lugubrious synth-wash releases, it's exciting to hear such reminders of The Earlier Cure as the hypnotizing dissonance of "Lost," the "Screw"y funk/dark bass thumps of "Us Or Them" and the unexpectedly effective combination of distorted bass, Duran Duran synth drum pelts, echoed dark piano and up-down keyboard strangeness of "Anniversary."

Unfortunately, as (my) we(e-wee) learned from The Top and other shoddy records, interesting production work is an insufficient substitute for another guy; it looks pretty tall, but its heels are high. In other words, regardless of how the songs sound, they'd be worthless if they weren't also sound songs. Luckily, most of them ARE, even if it takes a few listens for them to win your heart (as it did me -- I originally gave the album a 7 until I listened to it in a rental car and went, "Holy Bejeezus! I like these songs a lot!" But up until that point, I was underwhelmed by what I still sort of consider to be a disappointingly few number of "AMAZING" songs. Part of the problem is that most of the verses are far hookier than the choruses. Here, let me give you an example from real life. One time I was flying to the moon on a magical zebra and

Here, let me give you an example: "alt.end" is a song of dying romance (one of several on this record actually - is Robert's marriage falling apart or is he just B.S.-ing for teenagers and other emotional infants?) that revolves around an uncomplicated yet immediately memorable guitar riff. So it's good, right? Well... sort of. But see, the song -- like several others on here -- develops no further. A second guitar is brought in for some echoey, flabby high noise during the chorus, but there's no rising action or climax to be found anywhere. It's just that immediately memorable guitar riff played over and over in various states of undress until you're fick and sucking tired of hearing the dodgamned thing. Same with the "eastern-tinged" (sounds like an Indian restaurant) "Labyrinth" and the one track on here that I can honestly say I completely dislike - the 10-minute, almost aggressively boring "The Promise." Here's an important note for aspiring songwriters: A one-riff song is okay if the one riff is so astonishing that it can carry an entire song ("Primary," for example). If such is not the case, take care to add a chorus that is MORE (a) emotionally effective or (b) creative than the verse (The Guess Who's "Hang On To Your Life," for example). Otherwise, your song will begin at its peak and ride a long, depressing slope to nowhere for the next five minutes.

Lyrically we're looking at lots of decayed relationships and one interesting take on the Iraq War controversy ("I don't want your 'us or them,' I don't need your 'us or them,' As the only way this ever ends is 'me'"). Vocally, Robert is way too loud in the overall mix, but it's not like he's Elvis Costello or some other ass-mouthed shit gargler so who's to complain and why? One complaint I DO have, though: he could have spent a bit more time on the vocal melodies. Aside from some impassioned screaming in two or three different songs, and a wonderful little thing he does at the end of each chorus in "Before Three" (you know the part I'm talking about! you've been down that road!), it doesn't sound like he put much thought into his performance.

To end where I began, I like the direction a hellar large lot - a messier, younger sounding and less predictable Cure! - even if there are a few hooks that fail to catch my fish with their worm, if you know what I'm saying.

(Fish = Penis)

(Worm also = Penis)

(Oh alright, Hooks = Penis too. To be honest, the whole sentence was just a pornographic fishing pole fantasy I've been having.)

Reader Comments

mirutis@centras.lt (Rimis Mirutis)
For me as non-english speaking person it was a kind of practice while reading this review "filled up to the shitbowl" with new words.

takac@panet.co.yu
Janko from Serbia tired and sour sez:

Good?! Bad?! Bland?!

Certainly, only time will tell the answer! I was totally bemused by this album and the atmosphere surrounding it.

Only when I heard the songs that dropped out from it I realised : "Robert has gone mad. Totally!".

There are neither catchy, neither standout, neither good, neither bad songs.

Its just wall of sound and screaming Robert.

Or, there is popy experiment that leads nowhere.

Or old song blatantly reworked.

I dont know. I must be stupid. Or iliterate. Fuck yeah.

Recantly, The Cure became three-piece again. It might bring whole new direction. Who knows?!

I dont.

hottiez@bigpond.net.au
The 2004 self titled album is great. The only song I haven't completely fallen in love with off this album is The Promise. Don't get me wrong, I love it! But not as much as the others. Robert's voice is great on this album! Ross Robinson (producer of the album) made The Cure record the album all together - meaning they all played their instruments at the same time in one room. Instead of like, Robert doing the vocals, then the guitar, Jason doing drums, then Simon doing bass. etc. and then putting it all together. In an interview, Robert said that he was forced to sign alot louder because of this, but try not to scream.

Again, his voice is perfect on this album. Full of emotion.

ALL tracks on this album are stand-outs, except maybe The Promise.

Add your thoughts?

4:13 Dream - Geffen 2008
Rating = 8


This thing's getting 4:13 REAMed by the press (even Stephen Thomas Erlewine gave it a negative review! and he likes EVERY ALBUM EVER RECORDED!), and I completely understand why: it's basically Wish II: Wishier. Unlike their surprisingly unorthodox 2004 release, 4:13 Dream sounds exactly like The Cure is expected to sound: full of thick fuzzy/echoed guitars, moods both jubilant and suicidal, catchy simple hooks and Robert Smith's caterwauling. There is no hint of stylistic progression to be found.

But oh, those songs! Let the fatcat critics in Washington compare them to past Cure classics of historical yore; I'm content to bask in what I'm surprised to say is an honestly original batch of Cure melodies. Furthermore, I'll be good and bygummed if they don't thrill the living socks out of my ears!

Now that we've reached the third paragraph, first things first: when Robert Smith of The Cure announced that his new CD would be 'all upbeat material,' I literally vomited a shoe out my dick. I don't mind a "Friday I'm In Love" or "Just Like Heaven" every now and again, but a whole ALBUM?! Surely that could only mean 52 gayfer rewrites of "Mint Car"! My hopes further diminished upon hearing first single "The Only One," a useless predictable retread that not only confirmed my fears but went above and beyond, thoroughly insulting the intelligence of anyone who's followed the band for more than five years. So imagine how high my hat flew off my head when I listened to the full CD and discovered like ten great new songs hidden between the two pieces of crap and the one okay one!

(The other piece of crap is "This. Here And Now. With You." Go back to Wild Mood Swings where you belong, asshole!!!)

As for Smith's 'upbeat' claim, here's how the songs sound to me:
4 dark rockers
3 happy poppers
3 quirky oddballs
2 sad songs (One is also long and slow, like Disintegration!)
1 sweet short ballad

This breakdown isn't exact: a few of the songs shift mood between verse and chorus, for example. But my point is that 4:13 Dream is by no means the 'bunch of happy songs' that Smith would have you believe (and me fear); it features the same range of emotions and colors you'd find on any mid-era Cure album. And the hooks are hooky, I'm telling you! The guitarwork is filled with character too, something worth noting in this era of slick machine-like chord blocking. Whether Robert and Porl are playing note runs, arpeggios, slides, wah-wah or just loud distorted thrash-strumming, they sound like human beings - not faceless session musicians. Isn't it awful how many session musicians are born with no face? I feel terrible for their mothers, but what can you do? Feed 'em up the ass and kick 'em out the door - that's my motto!

Say, here's something I should've mentioned in the first paragraph: this is the first Cure album to feature guitarist Porl Thompson since.... why, Wish! He was actually a founding member of the band, but left before they recorded Three Imaginary Boys Don't Cry, later rejoining for The Top. Furthermore, Bassist Simon Gallup has been around since Seventeen Seconds, and drummer Jason Cooper since Wild Mood Swings. I'm not sure who the hell this "Robert Smith" character is though, sounds like some asshole trying to cash in on their success Fuck you "Robert Smith!" You're no Perry Bamonte. But hey, you know my motto - "Feed 'em up the ass and kick 'em out the door!" Honestly it doesn't apply to very many situations.

In conclusion, if you want to know what 4:13 Dream sounds like, sing Wish to yourself but with different melodies, fewer ballads, more quirkiness and louder guitars. And buy it, damned you! I just damned you!

Oh, also it's called 4:13 Dream because they're big fans of Friday The 13th, Part 4. That's why they all die at the end of the album. In the next one, you'll think it's The Cure the whole time but then it turns out the album was by an ambulance driver. Then after that, they all come back as zombies and kill Ron "Horseshack" Palillo.

Reader Comments

megatug@gmail.com
Mark, baby, sweetheart, I enjoyed your opinions on the new Cure album! When I originally sent you an illegal download link to it I hadn't even listened to it yet, now that I have, I would like to weight in on my opinion as well. I'm one of those guys who actually enjoys post-disintegration Cure and I'd even say that Wish is one of my favorite Cure albums, quite possibly top three. That said, I don't feel that this album is as strong as Wish, but you can really tell that Porl Thompson is BACK with a vengeance because his guitars come whistling and ejaculating out of every track. This was supposed to be a happy, poppy album but this is a band that recorded shit like Pornography, Faith, and Disintegration so to me everything they've done besides those albums sounds like Robert Smith is having the happiest, fattest day of his enormous life. A lot of the tracks sound like rewrites to me, the lead single is basically a shittier version of Just Like Heaven(but it's still good! You're wrong about that one!) and the first track is beautiful but is basically the same song as tracks 1 off kiss me, disintegration, and wish.

Anyway, the album is definitely pretty swell and everything, but to me it's the kind of album that is put out by a band that could collapse or start sucking really bad any day now. I'm sure if Robert Smith stopped eating so many cows and porkchops whole and stopped drinking the blood of Hot Topic dwelling 14 year old girls he might be able to put out another whimsical album of masturbation before he finally croaks from obesity but we'll never know. Think he'll still be dressing like a huge clown now that's he damn near fifty years old? Robert Smith is fat.

OH I FORGOT! one last thing! Can someone tell him to stop mixing his vocals so loud in the mix? His vocals have always done their job the best when he's simply complimenting the beauty of the music around them, not as the driving force of the song. Can you even remember the vocal melodies to stuff off of disintegration or pornography? You just remember the doo-dee-doo-dooooo-doooooooo-dee-doo-doo of the keyboards and the guitars. I've noticed this trend since Wild Mood Swings and it just has to go!

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Hypnagogic States EP - Geffen 2008
Rating = 4


Ever searching, searching, for that new idea.... that lost chord.... that unimagined musical enigma.... Robert "Bob Dylan" Smith woke bolt upright one London evening in his chamber and shouted to the eternities, "I'VE GOT IT!" Moments later, he dashed down to his drawing board, set feather to ink and dashed out the most revolutionary idea of his performing career:

And so it was decreed that: Jared Leto of 30 Seconds to Mars would turn "The Only One" into a gross squiggly pile of crap with way too loud vocals; Jade Puget of AFI would convert "Freakshow" into a bitter electronic piss factory; Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance would replace all the instruments in "Sleep When I'm Dead" with a synthesizer; and two members of Fall Out Boy would make "The Perfect Boy" sound like The Strokes after they've all had strokes.

Unfortunately those assholes in 65daysofstatic then showed up and did good remixes of ALL FOUR of the songs. Pricks.

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