Thursday, October 27, 2016

ABCs of My Vinyl Collection (Letter C, Part 33)

We conclude the letter C with a band I was an obsessive fan of for a relatively short window of time... at least when you consider they have been around for more than 35 years. What got me interested in the Cure was "Let's Go to Bed," a single that came out in 1982 but which I didn't know about until seeing a video for it in the summer of '84. I picked up the brief eight-song compilation 'Japanese Whispers' shortly thereafter, and I was hooked. With the poppy "Let's Go to Bed," "The Walk" and "The Lovecats" highlighting the set, I had little hint of their dark beginnings. I was all caught up with the early stuff by 1985, however, when they released what I think is their best album.

I know there are some die-hard fans of the Cure that read this blog, and this is where I will lose many of them. 'The Head on the Door' is the only album by the Cure I love. Some may ask, "What about 'Disintegration' and 'Wish?'" As I said in the opening, I was an obsessive, but only for a little while. The end of the line for me ended up being 'Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me' and the singles surrounding that album. So, what happened? Well, while I was in high school, the Cure became a thing. They were so big, in fact, a lot of Neanderthals started popping up in classes wearing band T-shirts and such. These dudes were in the same cliques that bullied the weak and called them fags. I don't think Robert Smith would have approved. Unfortunately, this wasn't a case of music bringing people closer together, and I found myself unable to root for the Cure in light of their newfound popularity on this side of the Atlantic.

It's all water under the bridge now, and I really enjoyed pulling out my Cure records this week. Here are a few from around my favorite era. The live versions of "Kyoto Song" and "A Night Like This" are from the B-side of the "Catch" 12" single. They were recorded at Théâtre antique d'Orange in the French countryside in August of 1986. Going back a bit further to, perhaps, my all-time Cure song, here is also a live take of "Charlotte Sometimes" taken from the 1984 album 'Concert.'

"Close to Me" (12" Mix)
"In Between Days" (Extended Version)
"Kyoto Song" (Live)
"A Night Like This" (Live)

"Charlotte Sometimes" (Live)

15 comments:

TheRobster said...

One of the reasons I got into the Cure was because they were the band of choice for a lot of cute goth girls. I don't recall any meatheads being into them though, not around my way at least.

The Swede said...

I had all the early singles (long gone, sadly) plus first couple of LP's and saw Robert Smith pull a double-shift a couple of times when The Cure supported Siouxsie & the Banshees in 1979 and he played for both bands. Then for some reason I ducked out for two albums ('Faith' & 'Pornography'), before re-entering the fray with the 'Let's Go to Bed' single. I finally left The Cure bus for good, sometime between 'Wish' and 'Wild Mood Swings'. I checked out the latter and also 'Bloodflowers', but neither clicked. 'Disintegration' is a bit of a moment-in-time record for me, one that I can't listen to now for fear of being transported back to a difficult place in my life. 'Head on the Door', on the other hand, is also my go-to Cure album - the perfect marriage of the band's darker and poppier sides.

Brian said...

Hey, boys. You were two I was thinking of that were fans. Robster, wish I had gone to your school. Swede, you have mentioned that show from '79 before. Still green with envy.

drew said...

The reason I didn't get into them was the goth thing, couldn't abide all that moping about, woes me shit. Loved Head On The Door though and especially the 12" mix of Close To Me.

George said...

Charlotte Sometimes was the first song I heard by The Cure that I liked, and made me investigate further. Which led me to their Pornography album somehow, which is still my favourite of theirs. Quality songs today, Brian, almost as good as Church Of The Poisoned Mind..........

drew said...

Brian, i think the links are down

Brian said...

Can anyone out there confirm what Drew said? Looks fine from my end, but I just started using box again... could be a problem.

The Swede said...

The links are down Brian.

Brian said...

Thanks, Swede and Drew. I guess we are back to the sleazy zippy then. Should be fixed now.

kevinpat said...

Oh yeah. I LOVE The Cure. Almost all their stuff. And I stated with their "Boys Don't Cry" single. They twist and swoop a pop song into a beautiful knot. (Too much coffee???) I saw a goth thing but those kids thought the Cure was too poppy for them. I don't know if I could pick a favorite album. Their discography is long and diverse (yes always Curish) I do think my favorite songs are from "Kiss Me.." "Just Like Heaven" is one piece of glorious pop. It's one of my very favorite songs by anybody. I wish I could ice skate to it. It seems perfect. (I can't ice skate). I also love "the frantic, almost hysterical "Why Can't I Be You" with those out of place horns that somehow fit perfectly. And then to top it off with a trifecta I add "Friday I'm In Love". By then I'm ready for eyeliner and shoe polish for my hair. "Love Cats", "Pictures of You", "Close to You", "Charlotte Sometimes", "Let's Go To Bed", "Catch", "Shake Dog Shake", "Love Song"., "A Night Like This"............
Damn!!

Most folks are not fans of covers ('kept me & CC) but there's tons of Cure cover collections. Some are shit but many are fun ways to look at the Cure songs without the Cure. They remarkable stand up very well. Great songwriting.GREAT BAND!!!! Along with Siouxie & The Banshees, the Cure has stood up very well with the test of time. Gotta put some on.....Ha! Trifecta.

George said...

Brian, the links seem to be OK.(When I right click on the play button I un-highlight the loop option and the tracks play, with no dodgy websites popping up).

JC said...

It's always seemed to me that the USA took to The Cure in a completely different way from the UK. Over here, they were always a bit edgy, often quirky, veering between goth and pop, but other than the novelty of 'The Lovecats' never quite crossing to the mainstream but having a big enough fan base, across a range of ages with many sticking with the band from the very early days right through.

Over there, they took off suddenly in a huge way in the late 80s. They were now a band that the 'jocks and populars' wanted to be associated with - lots of people, like Brian, who had liked them for ages would have been appalled that other folk in the school, who just a few years ago would have said all sorts of derogatory things about Robert Smith simply on the basis of how he looked never mind the 'weird' music he played, were jumping on the bandwagon. Understandable that anyone in that position can be put off.....

I know folk over here who disowned New Order once 'Blue Monday' became a hit and the band became a household name. So it's not unique to The Cure.

Brian said...

Thanks for popping in, JC. You nailed the Cure's rise on this side of the pond. Have to admit I have been on a bit of a Cure kick ever since I did this post.

friend of rachel worth said...

Always a bit like madness for me , great singles band but lps a bit patchy

Brian said...

FORW, We are on the same page with both bands.