Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Cure--an appreciation




So depressing!  They just make me want to off myself!  They're no fun!

Or at least that's what I get around here.  Like it or not, sadness, despondency, frustration, and hatred are all part of a genuine human experience.  If they have not been for you, I question your faculties.  And if, therefore, these emotions are genuine, then they are valid territory for artistic expression.  Few, if any, handle the mood indigo shades of human emotional spectrum better than The Cure.  I have listened to The Cure for decades.  Today, as I heard several of their songs come across Jango, I decided to write a post about the band.

Goth.  Post-punk.  Alternative.  Bands hate classification labels.  While those three genres might fit The Cure in various ways, they've proven to be quite nimble at jumping out of the box.  Robert Smith, the only consistent member of The Cure, did play for a time with Siouxise and the Banshees, a band that many would categorize as a primordial, original of the species that would later be known as "goth."  Interestingly enough, I recall an interview in the dearly departed Details magazine with both Smith and Siouxsie Sioux where each said to the other, "We weren't goth!  You were!"  Hilarious.
Yes, bands hate to be categorized and The Cure are no exceptions.  As Robert Smith once said in an interview, "We're not categorisable. I suppose we were post-punk when we came out, but in total it's impossible."  Goth or not, the musical style of The Cure's earlier efforts did have a pallor of gloom over them that set the band's songs apart from the herd.  Melodic tones with solid bass mixed with the plaintive, despairing whine of Smith's vocals.  Later, their sound would grow more and more interlaced with synthesizers and keyboards, culminating in what many regard as their greatest album, Disintegration

I've always liked them because there was true artistry in their work.  This was never a case of guys wearing leather and torn jeans, getting up on a stage to play loud guitars.  There was far more of a point to what they did. There was an atmosphere, an ambiance that almost defies description.  The best way to portray it to my sensibilities is to imagine a soundtrack for crossing a foggy British moor on an overcast day.  They're a rainy day band.  They're musicians who seem to know where you've been and subtly clue you in that it's all going to be all right, no matter the pain, sadness, agony, fear, and death.  It's not necessarily depressing, it's just part of what is.  Robert Smith and The Cure focused on all parts of what is...not simply the "let's party" aspects like...eating cheeseburgers, let's say. 

If pressed, I would offer the following as my favorite Cure songs:

"Charlotte Sometimes"
"Letter To Elise"
"A Strange Day"
"Lovesong"
"Pictures of You"
"Burn"
"Just Like Heaven"

I'm aware that the inclusion of that last song might rankle a few out there who consider themselves "true fans" and not "sell outs," but despite its upbeat poppy-ness, it's still a good song.  An important one, too.  This song broke The Cure open to a wider audience, allowing more people, even isolated kids like me in rural Indiana, to hear their music and to get into them.


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1 comment:

  1. On Facebook, Dixie said: "Great description of their music and the weather comparison. I really liked this."

    Thanks, Dixie!

    ReplyDelete