12
Jul
08

The Thirteenth From The Cure: Will It Be Lucky or Unlucky?

I’ve been a fan of The Cure for a fair portion of my life. My interest in them came via the better-known hits that I was exposed to in my teen years (Boys Don’t Cry, Friday I’m in Love, etc). Of course, later I discovered The Cure that I absolutely love and admire – The Cure that produced the delicious moodiness of Seventeen Seconds, Faith, Pornography and Disintegration. I am by no means a Cure expert, but I do understand the stir and significance the return of Porl Thompson has caused, especially with the thirteenth studio album to release on September 13; I just seem to have lost track and/or interest in The Cure in recent years. I admit that I can be a bit of a sentimentalist with older bands/artists, usually loving the earlier stuff far more than the recent; whether this is my own peculiar quirk or based on some sort of inevitable running out of steam on the artists’ part, I don’t know. It would be best if it was just my problem. Anyhow, I was excited to hear earlier this year that The Cure was planning a thirteenth album with a plan to release singles monthly leading up to the album’s release, but remembering the fact I had pretty much ignored Bloodflowers and their self-titled last album, I went back to listen to get a slightly less-biased opinion about newer material.

Having done this, I realize that Bloodflowers can be seen as a step in the right direction after the dip with Wild Mood Swings, but it still doesn’t affect me in the same way their earlier albums did. Nevertheless, there are some notable tracks that I still liked, including The Loudest Sound, which features a reverby, dreamy pulse that reminds me of the internal sounds you hear when you rest your head on another’s torso, and the lyrics are some of Smiths’s better ones. The title track has some of that cosmic atmosphere of classics like Plainsong, and 39 has a rather nice guitar solo amongst the cacophonic symphony. As far as the self-titled 2004 album, I found less to be pleased with. Smith repeats “I can’t find myself” over and over again at the beginning of the record, and the phrase seems apt in light of the rest of the album – I couldn’t quite put my finger on what The Cure is anymore either. I also can’t quite articulate what’s missing for me. Maybe it’s as though they’re trying too hard with too many layers going on until the beautiful lines of simplicity disappeared. Maybe they’re not as led by the bass as they used to be. Maybe I’m just being picky. Admittedly, the last song on the album, the rather epic The Promise, with its wavering guitars, is the saving grace of an otherwise rather directionless effort. Smith can oscillate between petulant whininess and truly passionate vocals, but in The Promise he thankfully uses the latter.

On to thoughts about the latest work. Thus far, Robert Smith and Co. have officially released the singles The Only One and Freakshow with Sleep When I’m Dead to follow tomorrow and then The Perfect Boy in August. So far, I’ve been pretty disappointed – it feels like The Cure still can’t find their feet, uncertainly straddling the shimmery, more commercial pop of their mainstream heyday with the post-punk, darker aesthetic of earlier albums, and not really achieving either. While there have been some overlap in their more memorable pop songs (I still sometimes confuse Inbetween Days and Friday I’m in Love), The Only One feels like the mediocre, half-hearted sibling of Mint Car with just as sappy lyrics. Freakshow confuses me with its strange retro-60’s-slinky-hand-clap rhythm – catchier and perhaps more memorable than The Only One, but it still doesn’t sit right with me. Maybe because it sounds like a shoddier version of Close To Me b-side A Man Inside My Mouth. Sleep When I’m Dead is a more raucous affair with its screeching, swirling guitars, but this cacophonous spinning sounds like it could have been at home on the last album. The Perfect Boy is more poppier than rock-influenced, but pretty much non-descript. The b-sides thus far are also nothing to scream about – my favourite is probably Down Under, which is the flipside for Sleep When I’m Dead and which hearkens back to some of their breezier pop sensibilities. I don’t want their music to become just as much a mortifying caricature as fright-wig Robert Smith is at this point. But rather than carefully building sonic atmospheres and soundscapes, The Cure just seem to be smearing more and more sound together, layering it just as heavily and unnecessarily as Smith has been with his make-up.

I miss the sheer majesty of Plainsong, which sounds like how you would imagine a supernova would sound in air rather than space and it still sends shivers through me. I miss the graceful simplicity of the rhythms and subtle melody in All Cats Are Grey. I miss the eerie voices and feedback over those incessant, paranoia-inducing drums in Pornography. I miss the genius of that basic but brilliant guitar line in A Forest. I even miss the superb, memorable pop of Inbetween Days. You would think four years between albums would be producing better effects than they have been for the last decade.

Will The Cure’s thirteenth album be lucky or unlucky? At this point, all I can wish for is that these recent singles aren’t the high points and that Robert Smith still has some winning cards up his sleeve. Or under his hair.

Sleep When I’m Dead (live) – The Cure

The Perfect Boy (live) – The Cure

Plainsong – The Cure

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The only certain thing that is left about me

There is no part of my body that has not been used

Pity or pain, to show displeasure's shame

Everyone I've loved or hated always seems to leave

Photobucket

So I turned myself to face me

But I've never caught a glimpse

Of how the others must see the faker

I'm much too fast to take that test

The Smiths Queen is Dead

A dreaded sunny day

So let's go where we're happy

And I meet you at the cemetry gates

Oh, Keats and Yeats are on your side

A dreaded sunny day

So let's go where we're wanted

And I meet you at the cemetry gates

Keats and Yeats are on your side

But you lose 'cause weird lover Wilde is on mine

The Clash London Calling

When they kick at your front door

How you gonna come?

With your hands on your head

Or on the trigger of your gun

Photobucket

Charles Windsor, who's at the door

At such an hour, who's at the door

In the back of an old green Cortina

You're on your way to the guillotine

Here the rabble comes

The kind you hoped were dead

They've come to chop, to chop off your head

Photobucket

Then you came with your breezeblocks

Smashing up my face like a bus-stop

You think you're giving

But you're taking my life away

Photobucket

Won't someone give me more fun?

(and the skin flies all around us)

We kiss in his room to a popular tune

Oh, real drowners

Photobucket

Don't walk away

In silence

See the danger

Always danger

Endless talking

Life rebuilding

Don't walk away

Walk in silence

Don't turn away in silence

Your confusion

My illusion

Worn like a mask of self-hate

Confronts and then dies

Don't walk away

Photobucket

You don't want to hurt me

But see how deep the bullet lies

Unaware I'm tearing you asunder

Oh there is thunder in our hearts

Is there so much hate for the ones we love

Tell me we both matter don't we

The Associates Affectionate

I don't know whether

To over or under estimate you

Whether to over or under estimate you

For when I come over

You then put me under

Personal taste is a matter of gender

Photobucket

I wake at dusk to go alone without a light

To the unknown

I want this night inside of me

I want to feel

I want this speeding

I want that speeding

Photobucket

You'll never live like common people

You'll never do what common people do

You'll never fail like common people

You'll never watch your life slide out of view

And dance and drink and screw

Because there's nothing else to do

Vanilla Swingers

All I have is words, words that don't obtain

And I feel I'm a stain on your horizon

So I stay away - it's easier that way

And there won't be no-one I need to rely on

Is it him, is it me

Or is there something only I can see

How did I get here, why do we blow around like straw dogs on the breeze

I'm a special one, what they used to say

But I've to stay on, finish levels-A

You don't need exams when you've read John Gray

The Indelicates American Demo

And nobody ever comes alive

And the journalists clamour round glamour like flies

And boys who should know better grin and get high

With fat men who once met the MC5

And no one discusses what they don't understand

And no one does anything to harm the brand

And this gift is an illusion, this isn't hard

Absolutely anyone can play the fucking guitar

JAMC Darklands

And we tried so hard

And we looked so good

And we lived our lives in black

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Plucked her eyebrows on the way

Shaved her leg and then he was a she

She says, hey babe,

Take a walk on the wild side

Said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side

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Hide on the promenade

Etch a postcard:

How I dearly wish I was not here

In the seaside town...that they forgot to bomb

Come, come, come - nuclear bomb

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Back when we were kids

We would always know when to stop

And now all the good kids are messing up

Nobody has gained or accomplished anything

Wire Pink Flag

Prices have risen since the government fell

Casualties increase as the enemy shell

The climate's unhealthy, flies and rats thrive

And sooner or later the end will arrive

This is your correspondent, running out of tape

Gunfire's increasing, looting, burning, rape

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Well, maybe there's a god above

But all I've ever learned from love

Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you

It's not a cry that you hear at night

It's not somebody who's seen the light

It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah

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And what costume shall the poor girl wear

To all tomorrow's parties

For Thursday's child is Sunday's clown

For whom none will go mourning

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My body is your body

I won't tell anybody

If you want to use my body

Go for it

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Oh it's opening time

Down on Fascination Street

So let's cut the conversation

And get out for a bit

Because I feel it all fading and paling

And I'm begging

To drag you down with me

Mansun Six

And you see, I kind of shivered to conformity

Did you see the way I cowered to authority

You see, my life, it's a series of compromises anyway

It's a sham, and I'm conditioned to accept it all, you see

Japan Gentlemen

Take in the country air, you'll never win

Gentlemen take polaroids

They fall in love, they fall in love

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We just want to emote til we're dead

I know we suffer for fashion

Or whatever

We don't want these days to ever end

We just want to emasculate them forever

Forever, forever

Pretty sirens don't go flat

It's not supposed to happen like that

Longpigs The Sun

There's no perfume I can buy

Make me smell like myself

So I put on perfume

To make me smell like someone else

In bed

Calvin Harris I Created Disco

I got love for you if you were born in the 80's, the 80's

I've got hugs for you if you were born in the 80's, the 80's

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Does his makeup in his room

Douse himself with cheap perfume

Eyeholes in a paper bag

Greatest lay I ever had

Kind of guy who mates for life

Gotta help him find a wife

We're a couple, when our bodies double

Simple Minds Sons and Fascination

Summer rains are here

Savaged beauty life

Falling here from grace

Sister feeling call

Cruising land to land

No faith no creed no soul

Half a world away

Beauty sleeps in time

Sound and fury play

Bloc Party Silent Alarm

North to south

Empty

Running on

Bravado

As if to say, as if to say

He doesn't like chocolate

He's born a liar, he'll die a liar

Some things will never be different

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LCD Soundsystem

Well Daft Punk is playing at my house, my house

I've waited 7 years and 15 days

There's every kid for miles at my house, my house

And the neighbors can't...call the police

There's a fist fight brewin' at my house, my house

Because the jocks can't...get in the door

Johnny Boy

I just can't help believing

Though believing sees me cursed

Stars Set Yourself

I am trying to say

What I want to say

Without having to say "I love you"

Josef K Entomology

It took 10 years to realise why the angels start to cry

When you go home down the main

Your happy smile

Your funny name

Cocteau Twins Bluebell

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Doesn't she look a million with her hairagami set

Hair kisses 'n' hair architecture

Yes, she's a beautiful brunette angel from heaven with her hairagami set

Hair kisses 'n' hair architecture

Augment a beautiful brunette

New Order Power Corruption

How does it feel

To treat me like you do

When you've laid your hands upon me

And told me who you are

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You must let her go

She's not crying

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Baiting

Feeling like I'm waiting

Modern times

Valentines

Hating

Hating to distraction

Just leave them alone

Whipcrack

Girls in the back

Girls in the back

Puressence Don't Forget

They say come back to earth and start getting real, yeah

I say come back to earth and start getting real

I know I can't

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So I walk right up to you

And you walk all over me

And I ask you what you want

And you tell me what you need

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The problem of leisure

What to do for pleasure

Ideal love a new purchase

A market of the senses

Dream of the perfect life

Economic circumstances

The body is good business

Sell out, maintain the interest

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Sitting in my armchair thinking again and again and again

Going round in a circle I can't get out

Then I look around thinking day and night and day

Then you look around - there must be some explanation

And the tension builds

Psychdedelic Furs

India, India

You're my love song

India, you're my love song

In the flowers

You can have me in the flowers

We will dance alone

And live our useless lives

Ladytron Light Magic

They only want you when you're seventeen

When you're twenty-one

You're no fun

They take a polaroid and let you go

Say they'll let you know

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No consolation prizes

Spit out your lies and chewing gum

Cut off your hair yeah that's it!

If you look like that I swear I'm gonna love you more

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All the neighbors are startin' up a fire

Burning all the old folks, the witches and the liars.

My eyes are covered by the hands of my unborn kids

But my heart keeps watchin' through the skin of my eyelids

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Prince charming

Prince charming

Ridicule is nothing to be scared of

Don't you ever, don't you ever

Stop being dandy, showing me you're handsome


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