Posts Tagged ‘The Cure’

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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‘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.

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‘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.

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‘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.

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‘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.

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‘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.

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‘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.

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‘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.

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‘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.

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‘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.


Happy 20th Anniversary to The Cure’s eleventh studio album “Bloodflowers”, originally released in the UK February 14th 2000 and in the US February 15th, 2000.

The Cure greeted the millennium with their eleventh studio album Bloodflowers, a deliberate statement from singer and guitarist Robert Smith written in the run-up to his fortieth birthday. Whereas predecessors Wish (1992) and Wild Mood Swings (1996) were more exploratory entanglements by the British group’s five members, Bloodflowers shows Smith fully reclaiming the artistic reins, just as he had 10 years prior with Disintegration (1989). 

At the time he was making Disintegration, Smith was recently married and confronting the crisis of turning 30. His meticulous care in delivering on his vision for Disintegration was not only a gift to himself and the band, but to fans as well. Nearly 31 years later, the gorgeous opus continues to stir love and tears among all who come to know it. But, perfection is never easy to attain. And, Smith was well-aware of his obsessive, if agonizing, ways.

Speaking circa Bloodflowers’ released in February 2000, Smith commented, “I was very difficult to work with on this album, as I was with Disintegration, for that reason because I insisted everything was done exactly as I wanted. So, it’s kind of unpleasant band members really cos they don’t feel that they’re of any value, I suppose, when we’re making the record. Although I try and impress upon them the fact that without the group, it wouldn’t sound like The Cure….Who’s in the group defines the sound. But, with Wish and with Wild Mood Swings, they were group collaborations and everyone had a say. And I would kind of be just a fifth member of the band really a lot of the time.” 

Only about half of the songs seemed to have any real depth. To my barely adult ears, the new album sounded somewhat recycled and uninspired. “39,” the penultimate track from Bloodflowers  I caught up to the headspace Smith was in when he penned that song. But, it was also distressing to feel the gravity of the lyrics and realize them to be true: “Half my life I’ve been here / Half my life in flames / Using all I ever had to keep the fire ablaze / To keep the fire ablaze / To keep the fire ablaze / To keep the fire ablaze…But there’s nothing left to burn.”

After giving so much of yourself to life, whatever that may entail—relationships, career, artistic expression, yourself—it can be incredibly draining. It’s a struggle to find the energy to keep going through the motions, and if you do, it’s often devoid of emotion, which is all the more devastating for someone whose identity is so entrenched in feeling.

But, if Bloodflowers met midlife with this scorching warning, it also offers mature meditative acceptance that youthful ambitions and hopes may blind us to. Even in their earliest moments, Cure lyrics and instrumentation held a wistful longing, a romantic pull against reality, a nostalgic yearning for what never was. And although so much of Smith’s poetry, and the accompanying melodies, acknowledge the painful, often tragic, rift between fantasy and reality, time and time again, the records return us to this dreamlike world. With Bloodflowers, Smith consciously faces these idealistic tendencies. His choice to release the album on Valentine’s Day offers further evidence.

Smith explained, “I just thought it would be kind of darkly romantic…Valentine’s Day when you’re young particularly is a day of unrequited love. It’s actually one of the most depressing days of the year because you find yourself unable to tell the person you’re lusting or loving that it’s you….There’s elements of that, I think, that are in Bloodflowers…that sense of love never ever being able to be perfect, like my constant desire for things to be just as they are, as they should be and for them always to be as they are, which is not how I want them to be.”

As the tracks progress on Bloodflowers, the illusory narrative of youth asserts itself before eventually withering into quiet acquiescence, delivering waves of the heart-melting pangs, tingles and thrills long synonymous with The Cure

“Out of This World” is the enchantingly woozy opener, immediately drawing us into a dreamy reverie no sane soul would ever want to crawl out from—even if we know we someday must. It captivated me the moment I first heard it 20 years ago and tranquilizes me still. As mentioned, I’ve come to comprehend the sage musings of Bloodflowers, but if this song was the album’s only treasure, I’d cling tight to it forever. And in many ways, that’s what this starry-eyed, wonder-filled intro is all about.

The escapist sentiments continue into the writhing odyssey of “Watching Me Fall,” which thrusts headlong into the expansive night with nocturnal seductions and terrors that would serve handsomely as the abstract to David Lynch’s next film. Perhaps not so coincidentally, the song takes place in Tokyo, which is where I chose to celebrate my 40th birthday. (Have I already mentioned how Smith is always way ahead of me?)

Although my take on Bloodflowers has shifted in the last few years, I can’t say I’ve warmed up to the album’s third and fourth tracks, “Where the Birds Always Sing” and “Maybe Someday.” However, Smith has noted the latter was included to add a little upbeat levity to an otherwise heavy record. Unsurprisingly, it was also the first promotional track for U.S. radio, which is telling, especially since Smith was adamant about not releasing any singles for Bloodflowers.

The remainder of the album showcases the breadth of The Cure’s songwriting talents, with songs like “The Last Day of Summer” and “There Is No If” evoking some of the band’s sweetest ‘80s B-sides. In fact, although the two flow together well, “There Is No If” was written in Smith’s adolescence, signifying a constancy in character despite his newfound perspective. I’m so glad this courageously simple tune about innocent love found the light of day, and revel in its placement between the solitary depleted spirit of “The Last Day of Summer” and the shared disillusionment of “The Loudest Sound.”

It’s been so long I can’t quite remember what I envisioned upon first hearing “The Loudest Sound,” but now I see a relationship that hasn’t run its course. Rather, it lives on in calm perpetuity. The couple have grown old together and care for each other deeply. The chimes are no longer bursting and the edge-of-the-world exhilaration is no more, but they both remember what those heart-racing moments were like together. And while the tenor of their connection has evolved, they’re still side by side, united by the commonality of their youth and the loneliness of aging. Despite the silence, his thoughts still manage to echo hers. When I was younger, I probably thought of these lyrics more in the vein of The Cure’s “Apart” (from Wish), but Smith’s ever-masterful words are well-suited to new interpretations.

As Bloodflowers approaches its end with the aforementioned “39” and the closing title track, it pushes past the acknowledgement of our individual finite capabilities into a greater spiritual understanding. The fire may indeed be almost out, but it’s better to accept that as part of life than to fight reality. 

Before Bloodflowers, the Cure trilogy consisted of their second, third and fourth albums— Seventeen Seconds (1980), Faith (1981) and Pornography (1982)—as they were created in close succession and thematically related. However, once Bloodflowers was completed, Smith reassessed the trilogy as Pornography, Disintegration and Bloodflowers, citing these works as the three definitive achievements in the band’s career. I still wouldn’t say Bloodflowers is in my top three Cure albums, but I certainly have gained newfound appreciation in the last few years and see how it rounds out a story, for Smith the individual and the artist—and how the two are irrevocably intertwined.

Smith recalled, “When we were making it, everyone in the group believed that it would be the last Cure album because I wanted to have that sense of finality. There’s no point in making a record like Bloodflowers if you really think you’re going to do something else. I wanted it so that Bloodflowers would be so perfectly The Cure, there was no point in making another Cure album.”

The Cure

  • Robert Smith – guitar, keyboard, 6-string bass, vocals
  • Simon Gallup – bass
  • Perry Bamonte – guitar, 6-string bass
  • Jason Cooper – percussion, drums
  • Roger O’Donnell – keyboard
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.

Various Artists "Just Like Heaven: A Tribute to The Cure"

“Just Like Heaven” features 16 cover versions of Cure favorites by a bevy of indie artists, including; The Wedding Present, Dean & Britta, The Rosebuds, Tanya Donelly & Dylan in the Movies, The Submarines, Elk City, Class Actress, Joy Zipper, Black Francis, and so many more. Mastered by West West Side Music (Galaxie 500, The Wrens, Fleetwood Mac). Original illustrations and artwork by Melinda Rainsberger.

These tribute albums have become so ubiquitous and are so generally asinine that this one comes as a genuine, and at times quite moving, surprise. It’s not just that the artists who contributed are clearly doing so without any of the usual ironic detachment, but also that many of them have clearly thought very carefully and often very insightfully about their arrangements and interpretations. Elizabeth Harper & the Matinee deliver a sweetly sad and admirably straightforward version of “Pictures of You,” one that clears away the layers of gauzy, torpid psychedelia that characterized the (excellent) original version to create a song that has a very different spirit without sacrificing anything of its essence. Cassettes Won’t Listen give “Let’s Go to Bed” a slightly stiffer, more electro interpretation — again, one that reveals a depth of regret and bitterness that was better hidden in the original. It should probably come as no surprise that Tanya Donelly would pick the slightly creepy “Love Cats” to cover, in a duet version with the gruffly insinuating Dylan in the Movies turn “Close to Me” into a strangely detached disquisition on the obsession and self-disgust that animated the original, while Kitty Karlyle turn “In Between Days” into a brilliantly edgy slab of rough-and-ready pop-punk. Not every interpretation is equally brilliant, but every one of them shines an interesting new light on this powerful material.

An outstanding compilation… this is a must for all Cure fans – NYC Daily News
A genuine, and at times quite moving, surprise. – All Music Guide
Indie darlings past and present come together to repaint the mood swinging lyrics and remix the eternal sunshine of The Cure hits. – Rolling Stone

THE CURE 40 LIVE is a double concert film set that captures the two historic shows performed by The Cure in 2018 in celebration of their 40th Anniversary, available in a limited edition box set.

The first film CURÆTION-25: From There To Here | From Here To There – was captured on the tenth and final night of the 25th Meltdown Festival (curated by lead singer Robert Smith) at London’s Royal Festival Hall in June 2018. The band performed a song from each of their 13 studio albums with new, unreleased songs at the core of the set, offering a glimpse into the band’s future.

Released in theatres globally on 11th July, the second film – ANNIVERSARY: 1978-2018 Live In Hyde Park London features the band’s acclaimed 29-song, 135-minute anniversary concert. Filmed in one of London’s Royal Parks to a crowd of 65,000 fans, The Cure presented a four-decade deep set on 7th July 2018, including Just Like Heaven, Lovesong, High, and The End Of The World.

“This really was the perfect way to celebrate 40 years of the band,” Smith exclaimed. “It was a fabulous day none of us will ever forget!”

The Cure Glastonbury

The Cure presided over the Pyramid Stage for the first time since 1995, unleashing a perfect set that will be remembered as the bookend to a legendary career.

One of the great live shows, it encompasses hits and experimental trips with quicksilver singles switching with dark shadow album cuts in an exercise of dynamics and dark heavy grooves. The whole set is an exercise in sensual and powerful dark shadow music. A music that somehow manages to be left field and yet pop and captivate a huge audience as the band take them on a trip.

It sounds stunning and the playing is flawless and yet at the core of this is a stadium band who are having the time of their lives delivering this varying collection of songs. A stadium band that is a slightly awkward, very English, post-punk band that used to flicker out of battered seventies transistor radios on the John Peel show. Somehow they turned themselves into a huge pop band without any of the naff shenanigans that the form normally dictates to its young hopefuls and became part of our cultural fabric on their own terms.

It’s a poignant setting for a band that first headlined back in 1986. In their ascendency, the Crawley group seemed fated to become post-punky upstarts or funereal doomsayers. That they emerged as emperors of goth and pop, and now stand as great British eccentrics, is testament to their remarkable vision. Their show on Sunday night illustrates the breadth of feeling that can be experienced in a single human life.

True to type, Robert Smith wanders on-stage at showtime head to toe in black, with panda eyes and crispy seaweed hair. He has appeared before the lights even dim, as if lost on his way back to the cemetery. Fans nudge friends as they spot his ambling figure, preparing to start the show. We laugh before we cry.

It also looks like The Cure’s headline set on the Sunday night at Worthy Farm was a big contributor in the spike of interest in the six-string, with website searches for Schecter Guitars – the kind used by the band’s Robert Smith and Simon Gallup – rising by 55% after their set. “But 49 years later it’s amazing to see that people continue to be inspired by their musical heroes and it makes us proud that we’re able to give them everything they need to emulate their favourite musicians.” .

“It’s probably not the first time or the last that I’m going to burst into tears at the end of a show this summer,” he told us about the set down at Worthy Farm, Robert Smith said of the event.

“It was a long weekend and it probably got to me. For the first 20 minutes I was very, very unsure. In some respects, for the first half hour we didn’t really offer much concession to the ‘casual’ listener. Everyone was a little concerned about that. They were going, ‘Oh, maybe we should load the front end of the set with songs that people know a little bit more’, and I was going ‘No, we’ll build towards the end with this big release in the encore’.”

He continued: “I never get nervous, but for about 20 minutes I was like, ‘Ooh, maybe I haven’t read this one right’. Then by the end it was a slight release because the encore was absolutely fantastic. It was just a huge sing-along, but we’re not really that band.”.

Starting with “Plainsong”, the opening section is a transcendent mush largely composed of Disintegration tracks, full of waterfall reverb and basslines that breach an alternate dimension. If Smith once sounded wounded, time has lent him the sinister air of an avenging spirit, ready to reap vengeance through the medium of clingy boyfriend bangers.

It all sounds exquisite. The pitfalls of ageing rock bands never really applied to The Cure, their music a timeless wash and their frontman sounding, even at a sprightly 21, as if he were hovering by death’s door. But at this epic scale, backdropped by a setting Glastonbury sun, they sound otherworldly. The horizon swallows the last sunlight under the Armageddon squall of “Burn”, and it seems inconsequential whether it ever comes up again.

To my right, Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien goes wild in the sort of trilby and overcoat combo usually favoured by 19th-century occultists. Moments of magic come in waves: the deferred ecstasy of “Just Like Heaven’s “run away with you” chorus, the way “A Forest” conjures a gorgeous dread you could sleep inside, before “Shake Dog Shake” shatters its reverie with diabolical thunder. But it’s in the finale – after Smith has taken “two minutes to put my pop head back on” – that all the pieces click.

“I’ve been here over the weekend,” he says on his return. “It’s just hot and f***ing excellent. It’s just weird to be part of it. What we do on stage is difficult to translate into this. Hang on. It isn’t. The next half-hour is Glastonbury.” If he had his bearings, he might accurately have said: the next half hour is Glastonbury history.

In a climax that sweeps from “Lullaby” to “Friday I’m in Love”, “Close to Me” to “Why Can’t I Be You”, Smith lets loose: vogues and scats during “Close to Me”, hobbles around and scrunches his face. It’s a strange and mesmerising spectacle that reminds us, before we head back to reality, that the world’s greatest glories will always belong to the weirdos.  The Cure at Glastonbury 2019

Image result for roskilde festival 2019 poster

The Cure bring their melancholic, majestic melodies back to Roskilde Festival Black clothing, sooty eyeliner, blood-smear lipstick and a cobwebbed forest of hair have always made Robert Smith a stand-out front figure. And once you have heard him and the rest of The Cure give sound to their sometimes mournful, sometimes ecstatic, always dead-on-catchy songs, you find a true signature there as well.

Robert Smith and co. have been around in various line-ups for 40+ years now, and they have a hit-after-hit catalogue of songs for a massive live show.  Today, The Cure have sold about 30 million records worldwide, and they have released no less than three best-of compilations. This says a lot about the popularity surrounding a band that started playing post-punk in the London suburb of Crawley before moving onwards to an infectious mix of haunting melancholy and off-kilter pop. Through the years they have produced more than 30 critical singles, including ear worms like “The Lovecats”, “Close To Me”, “Just Like Heaven”, “Lullaby” and “Friday I’m in Love”. Among their 13 studio albums they have created dark masterpieces that remain on various ‘best ever’ lists, including Pornography, Disintegration and Bloodflowers.

The Cure has always put on marvellous shows that resonate with thousands of Roskilde-goers. And once they start playing they don’t stop anytime soon. Their setlists are always immense.

Seeing the Cure live is much more than a celebration of their legacy. You sense that you’re witnessing that rare feat of a decades-old band perhaps entering their prime rather than their twilight years. On their 1982 track “Pornography” Robert Smith sings: “I must fight this sickness, find a cure”. A vivid image on how The Cure’s music is soul-cleansing, cathartic stuff.


00:00:00 – Intro 00:01:40 – Shake Dog Shake 00:06:20 – From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea 00:14:20 – Just One Kiss 00:18:40 – Lovesong 00:22:26 – Last Dance 00:27:31 – Pictures of You 00:35:04 – High 00:38:44 – A Night Like This 00:43:04 – Burn 00:49:29 – Fascination Street 00:54:29 – Never Enough 00:57:34 – Push 01:02:16 – Inbetween Days 01:05:13 – Just Like Heaven 01:09:12 – Play for Today 01:13:16 – A Forest 01:21:26 – Primary 01:25:35 – Want 01:30:47 – 39 01:38:09 – One Hundred Years [encore] 01:50:12 – Lullaby 01:55:03 – The Caterpillar 01:58:59 – The Walk 02:02:32 – Friday I’m in Love 02:06:27 – Close to Me 02:10:00 – Why Can’t I Be You? 02:13:49 – Boys Don’t Cry

the cure robert smith

Robert Smith wasn’t ready for the full 4K experience when he sat down to watch a concert film of The Cure’s stunning 2018 Hyde Park concert. “The first close-up of a human face I saw was me,” he says. “It was quite terrifying.” Smith says he was initially on the fence about making the film, which is titled Anniversary 1978-2018 Live in Hyde Park London and will get a special screening in movie theaters around the world on Thursday, July 11th. People tend to be more self-conscious when they know they’re being filmed, but he decided it was ultimately worth it since it was a momentous occasion.

The gig took place 40 years to the weekend from when the Cure played their first gig in Crawley, and he’d jammed the set list with favorites like “Just Like Heaven,” “Lovesong” and “Boys Don’t Cry.” So he asked the band’s longtime videographer, Tim Pope, to direct the film “on the sly” with 16 cameras and didn’t tell his band mates, who had enough to worry about with playing for some 65,000 people that day. Despite his initial fright with the close-up, he’s happy he did it.

“It’s actually quite an overwhelming experience,” he says of the picture. “I thought that I’d be a bit blasé, but I was actually quite taken aback with the whole thing. I’m really pleased we did it because it turned into probably one of the best days we’ve ever had through a combination of just great weather and England’s football team was doing remarkably well in the World Cup. And I picked the bill for the whole day at Hyde Park. … It was just, like, a huge celebration of music.”

The show came after the Cure played another gig in London as part of the Meltdown festival, so he worked hard to differentiate the two experiences. For the Meltdown show, dubbed Curætion, he played a set that started with the band’s earliest material, progressed to their most recent, and returned to the earliest. For the 40th anniversary show, he picked nearly 30 songs that “an audience would want to hear.”

“Knowing that we’d sold 65,000 tickets, you think, ‘This isn’t a normal show,’” he says. “We’ve got to acknowledge that a lot of people are going there for the whole day. So we approached it more as a festival. Certain clusters of songs I just know work really well together. I thought there’s no point in trying to shoehorn B sides or obscure songs into the set, because we would lose people in five or six minutes. So I think we knew the set was going to work before we walked out onstage.”

Beyond the performance, the other reason Smith likes the film so much is because he had some distance from making it. Other than working on a 5.1 surround sound mix with his Bloodflowers co-producer Paul Corkett, he left the rest to Pope. According to Smith, all he had to do was field questions like, “Do you think we should open with this?” “Do you think this shot works?” and, “Do you think you look too hideous in this shot for me to keep it in?” The space has made it so he was able to appreciate it more, and now he wishes he’d done more, such as filming openers Interpol, Goldfrapp and Ride, among others. But he’s happy things worked out as well as they did for his set.

The only problem he had during the day was facing off with the sun. It was nearly 90-degree heat, and he’s used to performing in the dark. “I really honestly can’t talk until the sun goes down,” he told the crowd. “It’s taking up all my energy not to dissolve into a pile of dust.” Looking back on it now, he says he just wasn’t prepared for so much light, which finally set about halfway into the gig.

“It was a bit shocking actually walking out because we were backstage the whole time, just kind of hanging out with everyone,” he says. “It’s all under covers, parasols, chilled drinks and so forth. So walking out onstage was really the first time I’d realized how hot it was. They had portable fans and stuff around us backstage, so walking onstage was like, ‘Whoa.’ We walked directly into the sunset, and it was quite dramatic. It was like the best light show in the world — if you can bear it. If we’d been 20 years younger, it might have been a little easier.

“But in a way, it gives it all a theatrical feeling,” he continues. “It gives the film itself what Tim would call a narrative or an arc. There’s a natural progression, and we end up right back where we started with a cluster of the very early songs and that very frantic, manic lighting. I think it would have been a lot less good in a funny way, if we’d walked on in darkness, and it had just been another concert film.”

He also likes how the sunlight makes the whole thing look “rubbish” and that people can see “all the junk on the side of the stage and backstage.” “It kind of makes you feel like you’re onstage,” he says, “which, for me, was the most important part of the film.”

And that’s a funny thing in and of itself, because Smith says when he’s onstage, he likes to lose himself. For all the times he looks like he’s surveying the crowd, such as in the footage of “Friday I’m in Love,” he says he’s actually trying to forget everything from the moment he sets foot onstage.

“For the first two or three songs, I’m adjusting,” he says. “I’m not one of the performers that constantly reminds themselves that, ‘Hey, Hyde Park, how you doing?’ I don’t really want to remember where I am. I’m just onstage, playing these songs. That’s why I don’t talk onstage. I’ve kind of lost the ability to communicate with words. It’s very odd. When I’m singing and playing, I’m just kind of transported and that’s what I feel like doing. It sounds hippie-ish, but it’s always been like that with me. I just feel like if I’m getting lost in the songs, there’s a fair chance everyone else is as well.”

Image result for The CURE – ” Disintegration The Album ” Live At The Sydney Opera House poster

Exclusive to Vivid LIVE, alternative British rock legends The Cure brought their magisterial, slow-burn masterpiece “Disintegration” to the Opera House Concert Hall for five shows to mark the 30th anniversary of their career-defining epic. This was the world premiere of these 30th anniversary performances, and their only Australian engagement. This live stream was directed by British filmmaker Nick Wickham, a close collaborator of The Cure’s who is known for his work with Iggy Pop, Joe Cocker, Annie Lennox and Madonna.

Released in 1989, Disintegration peaked at No 3 in the UK album charts, making it the band’s highest-charting record. Songs such as Lullaby, Lovesong, Pictures of You and Fascination Street cemented the band’s success in the United States too. By 1992, the album, described by this publication as “exquisitely morose”, had sold more than three million copies worldwide.

The Cure played the record with a full band, featuring lead singer Robert Smith alongside Simon Gallup, Jason Cooper, Roger O’Donnell and Reeves Gabrels.

This will be the second time the Cure have played Vivid Live after 2011’s Reflections shows, at which the band played their first three albums in full: Three Imaginary Boys, Seventeen Seconds and Faith.

This time, the band will play Disintegration along with other tracks from their back catalogue.

Today marks 30 years since the release of the Disintegration album – and we are very pleased to announce to Cure fans around the world that we will be global live streaming our final performance from the Sydney Opera House on 30th May, where we will be playing the album in its entirety – plus extras! – at Vivid LIVE. We look forward to celebrating the anniversary of this special album with you all… …And remember: this album was mixed to be played loud… so turn it up!” — Robert Smith, 2nd May 2019.

The Cure’s fifth and final performance of “Disintegration” at Sydney Opera House on 30th May 2019


B-Sides and Demos 1. Delirious Night 17:20 2. Fear of Ghosts 23:44 3. No Heart 30:54 4. Esten 34:20 5. 2 Late 38:17 6. Out of Mind 41:10 7. Babble 44:45 Disintegration 8. Plainsong 49:15 9. Pictures of You 59:31 10. Closedown 1:06:44 11. Lovesong 1:11:00 12. Last Dance 1:14:40 13. Lullaby 1:19:54 14. Fascination Street 1:24:46 15. Prayers for Rain 1:29:47 16. The Same Deep Water as You 1:35:34 17. Disintegration 1:44:47 18. Homesick 1:53:10 19. Untitled 2:00:18 Encore 20. Burn 2:10:55 21. Three Imaginary Boys 2:17:52 22. Pirate Ships (Wendy Waldman cover) 2:21:30

Photos Ben Houdijk / Pinkpop and Bart Heemskerk / Pinkpop

From light and in love to a black swelling and gloomy. An extremely balanced layering that takes you to the depth. From a rather obscure start with album favorites, to hits such as ‘Friday I’m in Love’, ‘Close to Me’, ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ that were completely preserved. The British new wavers from The Cure gave a mighty musical concert on the second day of Pinkpop that will be remembered for a long time.

Welcomed as conquering heroes to Geleen in 1986, with The Cure Pinkpop didn’t just get one of the biggest bands of the moment (witness the all-time classics on their set list back then: Boys Don’t Cry, A Forest, In Between Days, The Walk, Close To Me), but after two slim editions a crowd of 50,000 helped ensure that the ‘sold out’ sign was once again hung on the Pinkpop gates. The Cure saved Pinkpop was the verdict, so it’s only logical that these new wave legends should play the fiftieth anniversary. 2019 is also a special year for the band: they’ve been inaugurated into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, their debut album Three Imaginary Boys celebrates its fortieth birthday, the successful Disintegration (featuring classics Lullaby, Lovesong and Pictures Of You) turns thirty and frontman Robert Smith turned sixty in April.

Who would have thought that The Cure would draw the fiftieth Pinkpop. The band colored no less than 2.5 hours of a festival day that had yielded much predictable sentiment until then. While Rowwen Hèze culminated in a hopping party, the band Krezip, who had just reunited after ten years, had a sympathetic reunion with Pinkpop. And retro star Lenny Kravitz also swung back in time. Casually cool with sunglasses – he doesn’t seem to be getting older – he brought a routine, edifying retro show like a cozy foam rock bath.

The Cure performs “A Forest” live at the Pinkpop Festival in Landgraaf, 2019.

As a final act of day two, The Cure took Pinkpop into the dark. The fact that a final act would follow, the dance of Armin, hardly counted for the fans of The Cure. Their heroes, now in their sixties, with the hefty foreman Robert Smith still as a melancholy eye-catcher with the dark raised hair, black flared eyes and red lipstick, were back since 2012.

With dedicated authority, The Cure immediately faded acts such as White Lies and The Kooks . With here even a little nod or smile. When ‘Just Like Heaven’ comes out fantastic. When ‘In Between Days’ is completed brilliantly. ‘A Forest’ was an eerily strong climax in which a lot came together: the depth, the quality, the load of a song that still comes in almost forty years later.

The Cure performs Boys Don’t Cry live at the Pinkpop Festival in Landgraaf, 2019.


  1. Shake Dog Shake
  2. Burn
  3. From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea
  4. A Night Like This
  5. Pictures of You
  6. High
  7. Just One Kiss
  8. Lovesong
  9. Just Like Heaven
  10. Last Dance
  11. Fascination Street
  12. Wendy Time
  13. Push
  14. In Between Days
  15. Play for Today
  16. A Forest
  17. Primary
  18. Want
  19. 39
  20. One Hundred Years  Encores:
  21. Lullaby
  22. The Caterpillar
  23. The Walk
  24. Doing the Unstuck
  25. Friday I’m in Love
  26. Close to Me
  27. Why Can’t I Be You?
  28. Boys Don’t Cry