Posts Tagged ‘Seventeen Seconds’

Being a fan of The Cure requires a little bit of patience and a willingness for devotion. With 13 studio albums, five live albums, ten compilations and singles collections, and nearly 40 singles and EPs, the band has built a daunting discography for newcomers. And that was all achieved before 2009. Though The Cure has continually teased new music since the release of 2008’s “4:13 Dream”, unless they surprise-release something, it’ll have been a full decade without new music from the band. Yet in that time, they’ve still flexed their muscles, headlining major music festivals like Lollapalooza, Coachella, and Riot Fest, as well as playing several nights on their own at Madison Square Garden and Wembley Arena.

A hidden challenge when getting into The Cure is denouncing the stereotypes that have long followed the band. On the surface, a Cure record may come across like a wall-to-wall mope fest, and while there’s truth in that, it’s not the totality of the band’s being. Though it should be obvious from the existence of songs like “Friday I’m in Love,” “The Lovecats,” or “Doing the Unstuck,” there’s a joyful giddiness undercutting much of frontman Robert Smith’s work. Though his art may skew toward the self-serious there’s more to The Cure than what a cursory glance would reveal.

So how does one get into The Cure, a band who has a catalogue that’s not just vast, but full of worthwhile material? And how does one make sense of a discography that includes everything from goth to pop and post-punk to psych? The only way to understand The Cure is to embrace the twists and turns of their discography, knowing that if one part of their sound doesn’t appeal to you, there’s another half-dozen that may.

While it’s important to dispel the myth that The Cure works in a mopey mode, it’s just as imperative to approach that material head-on. As early as 1980, the band was already crafting desolate, despairing songs—and composing the nearly half-hour-long drone piece, “Carnage Visors”, to accompany 1981’s “Faith” but they would perfect it on 1989’s “Disintegration”. Though not constructed as complimentary pieces, the one-two punch of “Plainsong” into “Pictures of You” makes for one of the most evocative introductions ever committed to tape. The two songs lean on one another, with the wintry introduction of “Plainsong” allowing the pop-laced epic that follows it to be graced with an even bigger impact.

No song in the band’s arsenal highlights their ability to marry sprawling ambiance with gentle pop hooks better than “Pictures of You.” Built on Simon Gallup’s shimmering bassline and a simple drum groove, the song pushes forward slowly, allowing swells of synth to add to the song’s desolate aura. Hell, it even uses wind chimes effectively. Like much of “Disintegration”, “Pictures of You” could just as easily have been an instrumental, and for the first two minutes, it’s exactly that. But it’s in that space that The Cure showcases their power, taking a bleak colour palette and imbuing it with soft flashes of light. And when Smith’s vocals enter the fold, with the iconic opening line “I’ve been looking so long at these pictures of you / That I almost believe that they’re real,” it speaks to the band’s ability to work in an esoteric mode and unleash a memorable hook when you least expect it.

You can see the band first playing with this form in the early 80s, with “Seventeen Seconds” and “Faith” offering more compact, post-punk versions of the band’s all-consuming sound. With songs like “A Forest” and “The Drowning Man” in tow, the band was able to position themselves as a leader in the quickly evolving goth scene while still retaining a post-punk snarl. By the time of “Disintegration”, they’d have perfected this sound and have made it a commercially viable pursuit. It’s why, on 1992’s “Wish”, they’d spend half the record working in this mode, turning in glacially slow epics like “Trust” and “To Wish Impossible Things,” only to buck expectations by releasing their bubbliest concoctions to date.

Though 1996’s “Wild Mood Swings” is often seen as the first failure after a decade of highs, it still has songs that are worth digging for. “Treasure” offers perhaps the shortest version of The Cure’s esotericism, and it’s a sound the band would return to fully with 2000’s “Bloodflowers”. Considered the final act in “The Trilogy,” alongside “Disintegration” and 1982’s “Pornography”, the record may not fully measure up to those staggering heights but when it works, it shows that Smith is still capable of making good on his ambition. “The Last Day of Summer” and the closing title track both warrant their length, and even if the 11-minute “Watching Me Fall” sees Smith’s affection for My Bloody Valentine’s “Loveless” taking root in his own music.

While the pair of albums that followed are often seen as minor, they have moments that keep them from being totally disposable. “Lost” opens the band’s self-titled 2004 album, and though it’s got more of a driving chug than anything that came before it, the track builds to a cathartic release that’s as off-putting and powerful as anything the band did in the 80s. While both “The Cure” and “4:13 Dream” suffer from subpar production, songs like “Underneath the Stars” prove the band’s later period still warrants exploration.

See the source image

For a band that made its name on brooding compositions, The Cure has dashed off their fair share of gooey pop gems, too. While picking up a copy of 2001’s “Greatest Hits” could easily satiate a newbie, it’s the way these songs are injected into albums to dip and dart across genre lines that makes them most effective.

“Boys Don’t Cry” is an obvious starting point, culled from the album of the same name, it showcases the band in its embryonic stage, still sounding like a lean, mechanical post-punk band. As iconic as it is, it’s not the only treasure to be found in those early years, as “Jumping Someone Else’s Train” and “10:15 Saturday Night” prove that The Cure can be peppy without losing their bite.

1985’s “The Head on the Door” would be the band’s breakout moment, featuring the now radio staples “In Between Days” and “Close to Me,” alongside such should-be hits as “Six Different Ways” and “Push.” The latter would be the kind of riff-forward song that showcased Smith’s proficiency as a guitarist—something he’s long been underrated for and would be brought to the forefront on the band’s sprawling album from 1987, “Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me”. It’s easy to see how “Kiss Me” would get the band tagged as alt-rock at the time, with songs like “The Kiss,” “Torture,” and “All I Want” being sinewy, rage-filled tracks that could be seen as an inspiration on acts like the Smashing Pumpkins. But here, also, were the band’s giddiest numbers, from the pitch-perfect “Just Like Heaven” to the horn-laced “Why Can’t I be You?” and “Hey You!!!” all the way down to softly lilting “Catch.”

Even those mope-fuelled records still have their bright spots, with “Disintegration’s” “Lovesong” being one of the band’s most iconic tracks, and “Wish” pulling itself out of the pit of despair with “High” and “Doing the Unstuck” . Even with “Wild Mood Swings‘ near universal derision, “Mint Car” is as tightly constructed as any of the songs from the band’s golden era. The same can even be said of “The End of the World” and “The Only One” from the band’s records in the 2000s, which are just as ebullient and infectious as their more renowned hits.

Though The Cure’s first forays into full-on goth music came by way of “Seventeen Seconds” and “Faith”, they were the building blocks upon which the band would create their first full masterpiece, 1982’s “Pornography”. Though the preceding pair of records was increasingly stark and devoid of pop hallmarks, “Pornography” was the sound of human beings bottoming out. “One Hundred Years” opens the record with the cacophonous boom of a drum machine and is paired with guitars that sound like they are warping off the record itself. The LSD-fuelled recording session, paired with Smith’s depressive streak and desire to make the “ultimate ‘fuck off’ record” results in the clearest inspiration on acts like Nine Inch Nails. There is no trace of hope to be found on “Pornography”, and it makes songs like “The Hanging Garden” and the aptly titled “Cold” capable of sucking the joy right out of a room.

Part of Smith’s grand plan was to have “Pornography” be the end of The Cure. And for a brief spell, it was. Simon Gallup left the band at the end of the record’s support tour, and Smith was spending more time playing guitar for Siouxsie and the Banshees. After doing a one-off project called The Glove alongside the Banshees’ Steven Severin, he returned to The Cure and made “The Top”, a record that is as close to a solo album as Smith ever produced. Though not as overwhelming as “Pornography” the inclusion of “The Caterpillar” keeps it from being totally murky—the record remains indebted to its predecessor while also shifting toward psychedelic influences that had previously gone untapped.

The Top” is far from the band’s best, but songs like “Shake Dog Shake,” “Give Me It,” and the closing title track are feral, unhinged freak-outs that demand attention, and show Smith’s capability for expressing pure, unvarnished anger.

The same can be said of deeper cuts from “Kiss Me”, with “If Only Tonight We Could Sleep,” “The Snakepit,” and “Like Cockatoos” sounding inspired by hallucinogens even if Smith had long kicked the habit (though he’d return to it for “Disintegration”). But it also showcases “The Kiss,” as heavy and pounding of a track as The Cure ever committed to tape in their heyday. These songs aren’t always easy listens, as they rarely adhere to a single sonic touchstone, but that’s also what makes them so essential.

See the source image

As noted above, The Cure has a lot of singles and EPs, and while those kinds of releases can often be havens for half-baked throwaways, that’s not the case here. Not only that, The Cure is a completists nightmare, as singles were often released on multiple formats, each with their own unique add-ons, and sometimes those even differed by which region—be it US or UK—that they were released in. As a result, The Cure’s catalogue of deep cuts can dwarf most band’s proper releases. And while there are things that are inessential—most of the remixes, along with the remix album “Mixed Up”, can be tossed aside there’s plenty of tracks that rank among the band’s best.

See the source image

Thankfully, “Join the Dots: B-Sides & Rarities 1978–2001 (The Fiction Years)” does a great job of collecting a bulk of essentials. Though it omits “Cut Here,” a bonus track from 2001’s “Greatest Hits” compilation, as well as the limited edition Acoustic Hits companion piece, which saw the band tackling their most known in a stripped-down format, “Join the Dots” gives you most of what you need. It works through the band’s history chronologically, allowing you to see the band evolve almost in real time. Granted, “Join the Dots” is nearly five hours long, and even if you were just to cherry-pick the very best material, you’d still have a couple album’s worth of songs. From post-punk ragers like “Pillbox Tales,” to the anthemic chorus in “The Exploding Boy,” all the way to the Wild Mood Swings cut “A Pink Dream,” The Cure proves they’re a band worth getting lost in.

The Cure’s catalogue of music that helped shape an era.

See the source image

‘Wild Mood Swings’ (1996)

The Cure’s 10th album sounds like kind of a mess because it was made under stormy conditions. Various members were in and out of the group at the time, and, after scoring the highest-charting album of its career with 1992’s ‘Wish,’ Robert Smith took a four-year break – the longest hiatus between Cure albums at the time – that ended with an overlong, and underdeveloped, set of songs.

The song that effectively closed the book on The Cure as a contemporary commercial force, “The 13th” was a disastrous choice of lead single, never catching a foothold anywhere on radio. It’s not exactly tough to pinpoint . It had nothing to offer ’90s rock audiences in the era of Beck and Oasis, but for Cure fans, its stylistic inscrutability and unpredictability makes it an enduring gem also featuring some of Robert Smith’s most enjoyable schizophrenic vocals, and the group’s best use of horns since “Close to Me” a decade earlier.

If you picked up one of the many copies of Wild Mood Swings available in used racks across the country in the late ’90s, you might be pretty confused from the first track as to why the album was such a clearance regular: “Want” is a perfect opener, a slow-building epic of desperation, its synths dancing around the stereo span like an itch at the back of your subconscious. Truth told, Wild Mood Swings is pretty underrated on the whole just sabotaged by a terrible album cover and an inexplicable choice of lead single.

The glory days were over.

See the source image

‘The Top’ (1984)

If it wasn’t for the slinky “The Caterpillar,” the Cure’s fifth album could be their worst. It’s certainly the most forgettable of all the early records. It’s sludgy, murky, confusing and all over the place musically. Plus, Robert Smith seems scattered and unfocused for most of its 40 long minutes.

Another brilliant title-track closer, best remembered for its steadily quaking bass line, like a bell ringing for an impending doomsday. It’s the ideal note of queasiness to finish one of the band’s most muddled albums, The Top is hardly the full-scale misstep it’s often portrayed as, but it was certainly a transition set, ending the first half of The Cure’s ’80s with the band a little adrift between frolicking pop oddities like single “The Caterpillar” and uninviting gloom marches like “Wailing Wall.” “The Top” seems to almost be addressing the band’s unease with the mainstream breakthrough that lay ahead of them: “This top is the place/ Where nobody goes/ You just imagine…” Wouldn’t have to imagine much longer.

A jewel buried deep in the B-side of the underappreciated album it lends part of its name to. “To Wish Impossible Things” is among the most heart breaking songs in the group’s catalogue, a lyric of merciless nostalgic melancholy summed up in the already-ruined naivete of its title. But for all the song’s vocal yearning and weeping strings, its most indelible melody is provided by the ghostly tapping of its drums  faint, gentle and impossibly sad. It’s just one of the many examples in the Cure’s discography of long time group percussionist Boris Williams improbably stealing the show from his bandmates.

They managed to return with one of their all-time best albums, ‘The Head on the Door,’ a year later.

‘Japanese Whispers’ (1983)

All cats are grey? Hardly. It never got friskier or more colourful for The Cure than 1983’s “The Love Cats,” an absurdly theatrical prance through jazzy new wave. Along with the group’s other ’83 singles, eventually collected on the “Japanese Whispers” mini-compilation, “Love Cats” effectively turned the corner on the band’s darkest period and positioned them as a pop act with blockbuster potential; in the U.K. it was the band’s first top ten hit.

More importantly, it showcased Smith’s versatility as a frontman, preening and pawing with an elastic elan hardly audible on Pornography.

‘4:13 Dream’ (2008)

Some of the songs on the band’s 13th album dated back to the mid-’80s, and Robert Smith had so much material that he considered making it a double record at one point. Instead, he replaced the gloomier songs with more polished and upbeat ones. Not a good move. Like other Cure albums from the period, ‘4:13 Dream’ tries too hard to replicate the band’s best era, but the songs – besides a couple singles – just aren’t there.

See the source image

‘The Cure’ (2004)

The group’s self-titled album from 2004 was co-produced by Ross Robinson, who’s worked with Korn, Limp Bizkit and Slipknot. So, it’s a heavier album than fans probably expected (or even wanted) from the Cure. It’s overlong, and it’s kind of hard to get through, but ‘The Cure’ offers a somewhat new perspective on a band that had recently passed the quarter-century mark of their career.

More influential than all but a handful of bands in modern rock history, The Cure didn’t often let the younger generation return the favour while on his own, Robert Smith would collaborate with acolytes like Crystal Castles or Blink-182, as a collective entity The Cure remained largely monolithic. A fascinating exception was “Lost,” opener to their self-titled 2004 album, which let producer Ross Robinson (Deftones, Slipknot) tap into a discordant rawness that had largely eluded the band in their third decade. Its full-band chug approaches Taking Back Sunday levels as the song crescendos in intensity, Smith howling “IIIII CAN’T FIND MYSELF!” That Smith & Co. never let themselves get pushed further in this direction remains both a missed opportunity and one of the more compelling What-Ifs in the band’s story.

See the source image

‘Bloodflowers’ (2000)

The Cure’s 11th LP was called a return to form following 1996’s messy and disappointing ‘Wild Mood Swings.’ It’s certainly mood-building – one track clocks in at more than 11 minutes, and the average song length is a taxing six minutes – but ‘Bloodflowers’ often comes off like it’s trying a little too hard to sound like a Cure album.

The Cure’s first album of the 21st century aimed to recreate the majesty of the group’s largely unquestioned 1989 masterpiece “Disintegration” but seemed to forget how vivacious that album was in its dreamy sprawl; by contrast “Bloodflowers” was fairly flat in its production and dynamics.

On lead single “Maybe Someday,” that evenness worked to its advantage, allowing the gentle ache of the song’s lyric to gradually deepen over the chorus of its five minutes.

Not necessarily a bad thing, but there’s not much originality here either.

See the source image

‘Wish’ (1992)

Wish actually started out much differently. The songs, Smith admitted, “were moody and slow and I thought it would be pretty dull, really, to bring out a Cure album that was going to reinforce the myth of us being doom and gloom.”

Like 1989’s thunderously melancholy “Disintegration”, the more bittersweet Wish delved into common Cure themes of regret and loss – but this time, Robert Smith made room for glimmers of optimism. It paid off: Powered along by the goofy pop sunburst that was “Friday I’m in Love,” which became their second-highest charting U.K. single ever, the Cure became famous beyond their wildest dreams.

Of course, Wish boasts its elegies (“Apart,” “End”) and its paranoid ruminations on love (“From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea”) – but also its determined affirmations (“High,” “Trust”) and a song that could genuinely be described as jaunty (“Doing the Unstuck”). This blend of alienation and offbeat joy helped the album open at a startling No. 2 on the album charts.

‘Disintegration’ made them worldwide stars three years earlier, the Cure returned with a similar-sounding LP that downplayed the earlier album’s gloomier elements. The result was the band’s highest-charting album, reaching No. 2 in the U.S. “Friday I’m in Love” was the big single, but there’s more to ‘Wish’ than that. Probably the most consistently joyful album the group has ever made.

Three years after their U.S. breakthrough, the Cure had returned with Wish which reached No. 2 – their highest-charting LP. The album’s first single, “High,” is kinda blah. It’s the second single that anchors the album with its wonderfully poppy hook and Smith’s giddy performance – basically, it’s a song that’s as happy as it lets on. It’s the band’s second-highest-charting single in the U.S.

‘Faith’ (1981)

Like the albums before (‘Seventeen Seconds’) and after (‘Pornography’) it, ‘Faith’ forms a trilogy of records that helped seal the Cure’s reputation as gloomy, black-clad artsy post-punks. The songs are mood-building set pieces, so radio airplay was pretty much non-existent. But as doomy, artsy goth, the Cure’s third album is a cornerstone work by a band that excelled at it.

The finest of the band’s early album closers, “Faith” sounds utterly defeated in its slow-rolling saunter, stretching out to seven minutes almost out of a lack of inertia. “Nothing left but faith” shouts an unconvinced Robert Smith into the void, as the song dissolves underneath him — as bleak an illustration of bottomless despair as the ’80s produced.

About as phantasmal as early Cure got, all endless drum reverb and lightly moaning synths and tensely plodding bass — you can practically see the shadows being projected against the back-alley wall. Robert Smith sounds strangely like Brian Eno on this one, letting the soundscape do most of the emotional storytelling as he coos from behind the thick fog, “The columns are all men/ Begging to crush me/ No shapes sail on the dark deep lakes.”

‘Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me’ (1987)

Following the 1985 rebound ‘The Head on the Door,’ Robert Smith led the band through a double-LP extravaganza that included some of his most joyous songs. The excellent “Just Like Heaven” is here and helped drive the album into the Top 40 (a first in the U.S. for the Cure). There’s some filler here – Side Four is a big come-down – but ‘Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me’ set up the group for its masterpiece two years later.

“Why Can’t I Be You?” The first single from the band’s first album to get much notice in the U.S. is also one of its all-time brightest songs – all blasting synth-horns and frontman Robert Smith’s playful vocals just skimming the surface of the springy melody. There’s not much to the song (it’s in and out of there in a little more than three minutes), but it’s a whole lotta fun, dispelling the myth that the Cure are a bunch of moody sad sacks.

While the rest of the singles on The Cure’s U.S. breakthrough album “Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me” seemed to be actively fighting their way out of your speakers, the lovely ballad “Catch” takes one of the lightest touches in the group’s catalogue. Smith in particular comes off so low key, it almost sounds like he’s singing through a vocal filter on this love-that-never-was story.

Its fragile strings and shuffling drums give it a delicacy rare to singles of its period, and allow for unforgettable moments like Smith unexpectedly echoing his “Just rolling about on the floor!”sigh, taken aback by the memory’s power.

Remarkably, “Just Like Heaven” wasn’t the first single released from “Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me”. It wasn’t the second single, either. When it finally started picking up airplay six months after the album came out, the track became the Cure’s first Top 40 hit (it actually didn’t get any higher than No. 40, but little victories, right?) and one of the defining songs of the burgeoning alternative nation. From the rolling, almost tripping-over-themselves drums that start the song to the glorious synths that just sorta drift into space at the fade-out, “Just Like Heaven” indeed sounds like it comes from a most heavenly place.

See the source image

‘Three Imaginary Boys’ (1979)

The band’s debut album is sketchy at times (Robert Smith practically disowned the LP after the record company released it without his approval), but the post-punk moodiness that elevated later records starts here. There’s a conceptual tightness here, too, which carried over to some of their best albums.

After releasing their kinda-dismal debut single “Killing an Arab” in 1978, the Cure followed up a year later with this deceptively cheery breakup song. It sets the template – uptempo rhythm track, bummer words – for some of the band’s best cuts. And how about that spare but striking guitar line that runs throughout the chorus?.

Every post-punk group worth its salt needed its own “Frankie Teardrop,” an eerily understated one-act that ends in absolute horror. The two-minute “Subway Song” escapes novelty primarily on the strength of its bare-bones groove — particularly then-bassist Michael Dempsey’s looping hook, which sticks in your head far longer than Smith’s unexpected shriek to close the song.

Even better: the reworked U.S. version – called ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ and released a year later – which includes some great early singles.

See the source image

‘Seventeen Seconds’ (1980)

A year after their debut, the Cure returned darker, more focused and moving closer to the sound that would help define their reputation. ‘Seventeen Seconds’ comes together as Robert Smith leads the expanded lineup through a group of songs that set the stage for the goth movement right around the corner. The first in a trilogy of landmark records that formed a genre.

Particularly in their early run, The Cure excelled at title tracks, most often using them as closing statements. These titular cappers never went too big with their summations, though: The emblematic “Seventeen Seconds” reads its bitter dénouement matter-of-factly over greyscale guitars and a mercilessly ticking drum machine: “The picture disappears / Everything is cold now / The dream had to end/ The wish never came true.” The song ends with an ambiguous repetition of its title, terrifying in all its unsuggested possibilities.

See the source image

‘The Head on the Door’ (1985)

Robert Smith wrote every single song for the first time, and his singular vision helped get the Cure back on track after 1984’s dismal ‘The Top.’ They try on a few different styles here, with the pop songs – especially the bouncy “In Between Days” – finding new radio-ready textures to cling to. Modern-rock radio was starting up around this time, and ‘The Head on the Door’ turned out to be a perfect fit.

“In Between Days” was The first single from the band’s sixth album, and their first consistently listenable one, is somewhat misleading. It features one of the Cure’s catchiest tunes, but listen closely to the lyrics, and you’ll hear a dude fretting about his future. It’s typical downer Cure stuff, but it’s totally disguised in one of the cheeriest refrains of Cure Songs. Cure’s more playful side often gets overlooked — but Smith’s rediscovery of his sense of whimsy was critical in breaking them out of the goth-rock holding pattern they threatened to get stuck in for much of the early ’80s. “Six Different Ways” almost sounds like children’s TV music with its scale-running flute hook and jaunty piano plunks, but matches that with an off-kilter waltz time signature and a delectably awestruck Smith lyric: “This is stranger than I thought/ Six different ways inside my heart.”

“Close to Me” includes The staccato handclaps, the bubbling bass, the ghostly keyboards and the general wooziness of “Close to Me” add up to one of the most musically claustrophobic songs ever recorded. Smith practically whispers his lines, like he’s afraid of waking some hungry beast that might be hunched over in the corner. Put this one on your Halloween mix.

‘Pornography’ (1982)

The Cure at their gloomiest and doomiest. And no wonder: Everyone was fighting and taking drugs, while Robert Smith was fighting back some major bouts of depression. It all amounts to the pinnacle of the band’s darkest period. ‘Pornography‘ was the final album in the Cure’s trilogy of landmark goth records. Next up was their first real stumble, then a period of renewed creativity and a golden era of hits and music.

See the source image

‘Disintegration’ (1989)

Everything the Cure had learned over the past decade was summed up on their milestone eighth album. ‘Disintegration’ has it all: goth dirges, endless psychedelic jams, super-catchy pop songs. And it made them massive stars, setting up a commercial groundswell for the next few years. Some of their best songs are here – “Pictures of You,” “Lovesong,” “Fascination Street” – but more importantly, ‘Disintegration’ sounds like an album made by a band at the peak of its creative powers.

It spawned four hit singles including this slinking mid-tempo number with nightmare-inducing imagery (“quietly he laughs and shaking his head, creeps closer now, closer to the foot of the bed”). Sweet dreams!.

“Disintegration’s” first single takes a while before it really goes anywhere, rumbling bass pretty much dominates the first couple minutes of the song. But once it kicks in, there’s a ton of things going on in the busy mix. “Fascination Street” is one of the Cure’s biggest modern rock hits and a staple at concerts, where it’s occasionally dragged out for 10-plus minutes.

The Cure had hit a creative and commercial peak in 1989 with “Disintegration”. It’s their biggest-selling album and the first to crack the Top 20 in the U.S. It spawned four hit singles (all of which make our list of the Top 10 Cure Songs), including this slinking mid-tempo number with nightmare-inducing imagery (“quietly he laughs and shaking his head, creeps closer now, closer to the foot of the bed”). Sweet dreams!

“Lovesong” was The Cure’s only Top 10 U.S. hit (it reached No. 2) is one of their most popular songs. Adele covered it on her mega-selling 21 album; stoner-ska goofballs 311 recorded it too. But the Cure’s original take from “Disintegration” remains the definitive version. As the title claims, it’s a love song, and a relatively simple one at that. But the sincere sentiment, coupled with the lilting melody, makes it one of the Cure’s most immediately engaging cuts.

“Pictures of You” was  the fourth single from the Cure’s best album is a brooding ballad that has more in common with the band’s deep album tracks than most of the other cuts on that album. For one thing, it runs more than seven minutes; for another, it’s way gloomy. But Smith delivers it with just the right amount of ache in his voice. And it’s not nearly as self-indulgent as so many of those deep album tracks.

See The Cure’s Robert Smith Perform Three Songs For Charity Livestream

The Cure’s Robert Smith joined the line up for Nine Lessons And Carols For Curious People, a 24-hour-long charity livestream, hosted by comedian Robin Ince.

Created over 15 years ago by Robin Ince, Nine Lessons And Carols For Curious People is an acclaimed science/comedy/music variety night. Each December, along with Robin and Brian Cox’s Christmas Compendium of Reason at the Hammersmith Apollo, the world’s best scientists, comedians, musicians, poets and more come together for a celebration of human endeavour and creativity, and to raise money for a range of charities.

With 2020’s event cancelled due to the ongoing global pandemic, the event was instead broadcast online, free to watch, from Kings Place, London. It featured guests including Brian Cox, Helen Czerski, Chris Hadfield, Helen Sharman, Sharon D Clarke, Josie Long, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Chris Jackson, Jim Al-Khalili, and Eddie Izzard, with Robin Ince hosting for the entire 24 hours.

The event was broadcast by the Cosmic Shambles Network, with all proceeds donated to the charities Turn2Us, Doctors Without Borders, Mind and the Kings Place Music Foundation.

Robert Smith, whose set was pre-recorded, performed barefoot in a studio thought to be his own home studio. Surrounded by amps and a drum machine, Robert Smith performed a handful of Cure classics: In Your House, Play For Today and M, all three of which feature on the band’s Seventeen Seconds record, which this year celebrates its 40th anniversary.

It marks a busy year for Robert Smith, who has been working on a new Cure album and solo project during lockdown, while he also collaborated with Damon Albarn on a new Gorillaz song, Strange Timez. Smith also auctioned off his hand-painted Schecter guitar to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust, and collaborated with the British knitwear brand, HADES Wool, on a range of official Cure jumpers, with the band’s share of profits donated to Doctors Without Borders.And to find out more about Nine Lessons And Carols For Curious People and donate, you can visit their crowdfunder page.


Turntable Kitchen, a Seattle-based company that has a variety of delightful deals like a subscription that brings a bag of coffee beans and an exclusive 7” single to your door every month. Their most ingenious offer though is the Sounds Delicious series, a club that releases limited edition records featuring a current artist covering a full album from the past. To date, that has included Ben Gibbard performing all of Teenage Fanclub’s Bandwagonesque and Yumi Zouma covering the second Oasis album.


More recently, Turntable Kitchen unveiled a version of The Cure’s sophomore studio work Seventeen Seconds, as interpreted by Frankie Rose and pressed onto a gorgeous piece of blood red vinyl. She and producer/co-conspirator Jorge Elbrecht don’t mess with the formula of these songs much, sticking close to the original arrangements even as they throw a little sunlight and modern synth sounds at them. Somehow it doesn’t deter from the creeping dread and downcast glances that Robert Smith and co. exhibited in 1980. The mood is deepened considerably by the surprisingly great pressing of this record. Rose and Elbrecht’s work comes out full and enrapturing, with her tart vocals cleanly cutting through the mix.




although placed in the post-punk new wave section, but this album established the band as part of the gothic movement, written mostly by principal guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Robert Smith the band formed in Crawley West Sussex added two members from the band Magazine Spires Mattheiu Hartley on Synths and keyboards and Simon Gallup on drums to record this album which was only their second release .Hartley and Smith clashed over certain playing as Smith wanted simple single notes while Hartley played melodic complex multiple parts but his playing added a new dimension to the bands ethereal sound, Smith exerted great control and influence of the recording which due to financial restraints was recorded over seven days with Mike Hedges producing. The track “A Forest” reached No 20 in the Uk single charts becoming the first UK hit single, the song is still played at Cure concerts becomeing the most played song of their repertoire usually featured as part of the encores. The album described as morose and atmospheric established the bands sound mostly a collective of downbeat tracks and ambient echoing vocals with minimal instrumentation. reissued in April 2005 as part of the Deluxe series the second disc containing demos and live tracks . During 2011 the band recorded the set live in Sydney Australia in its entirety for a possible live dvd release.