Music Post: The Cure
Today I happened to see a recipe for quiche Lorraine, which of course made me think about the B-52s and I promptly had to listen to them. (alert! music geek post)
I listened to the B-52s all the time in high school. So then I was thinking about my other favorite high school bands… Depeche Mode, The Smiths, Sisters of Mercy, U2, the Violent Femmes, the Sugarcubes… Bauhaus, Big Black, The Clash, The Pixies, the Sex Pistols… and of course, my favorite, The Cure.
So tonight I looked up a bunch of their albums and thought I would talk a bit about my favorites.
Then I met the small handful of other arty kids at my very-tiny high school, and one or the other of them lent me the gloomy trio of Seventeen Seconds, Faith, and Pornography. I dearly wished to own them all, but the record store was in the next town over, and they didn’t have these in stock, and it was all a bit of a problem. Thank goodness I had a stereo where I could copy the tapes. So for quite some time, all I had were copies of these albums. One of my friends worried that Pornography would be too dark for me (he was under the impression that I was of sunny disposition — where he got this impression, I have no idea). Actually, I loved it. Favorites from these extremely gloomy albums include Play for Today, A Forest, Seventeen Seconds, One Hundred Years, Cold, and the entire Faith album. I recently bought Faith (digitally) and I remembered how much I loved it — it’s totally a rainy-day art album. Stuff like this makes me want to do art. It’s almost like classical music, where you get pulled into the mood of the entire album and it’s experienced as a whole, not just individual songs.
**I must stop for a moment here and clarify that instead of depressing me, all these albums produced a sort of dark joy. I was happy listening to them. I loved the music, the gloom, the mood, Robert Smith’s voice and guitar playing. They brought out creativity and thoughtfulness. I never, ever connected with the sort of suicidal image that I later read about in newspapers from worried parents. The state of pop music at that time was extremely depressing (to me) — I couldn’t stand it (horrible Bobby Brown, for example) — and this sort of music helped me feel okay about myself and who I was and who I was growing into. I always felt happy and alive when listening to The Cure or Siouxie or Bauhaus or Love and Rockets. If it depressed me, I didn’t listen to it.
From there it was a short leap to The Top (which I didn’t love, but liked to listen to every now and again) and The Head on the Door, which I found fun and interesting, but also not favorites. Clearly I needed gloom to feel truly happy.
I finally got Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me somewhere in my junior year (I tell you, it is difficult to get music if you are in a tiny town with no car and the internet doesn’t exist). I loved about half of this album and felt the other half was too pop-y for me. I liked Why Can’t I Be You and The Perfect Girl and Like Cockatoos, and this album has my all-time favorite song, Just Like Heaven. Oh, I love that song so much. When I first heard it, I stopped still to listen to it. You know how some songs do that? Stop you in your tracks? It’s still in my Top 5 All-Time Favorite Songs. Sometimes it’s still even #1.
After I graduated high school, I went on a cultural exchange to Finland. Before I left, I bought myself Wish, their newest album. I wasn’t in love with this album from the very start. I hated Friday I’m In Love; I thought it was a stupid song. I still hate it and have to switch the radio every time it comes on. I only liked maybe three songs on the album and wasn’t in love with them. I listened to it again tonight and it brought back memories of Finland, but I think it’s a weak album. It felt like a wannabe Disintegration, but certainly not of the same caliber.