Saturday, 19 January 2019

The Cure album by album

(Work still in progress.....Need to finish off the reviews and scores, check links, then tidy up.)

The Cure was formed by Crawley school friends as rock band Malice in 1976, covering Bowie and Hendrix songs, though some members had played in a one-off school band called The Obelisk in 1973. Robert Smith is the main and only constant member, though song composition on most albums is credited to the band as a whole, rather than just Smith.  They are mostly known for their associations with Gothic rock, a music style they helped develop in the 1980s, though their initial recordings, particularly the single "Killing an Arab" in December 1978, and album Three Imaginary Boys in May 1979,  had the band classed as part of the vague and diverse post-punk and new wave movements which later merged into the equally vague and diverse alternative and  indie music of the 1980s.

With their next three albums, Seventeen Seconds (1980),  Faith (1981), and Pornography (1982), they developed a sound that is seen as gloomy, clinical, cold, and Gothic, utilising synthpop sounds and structures popular at that time. The albums attracted mixed reviews, though sold quite well. After the release of Pornography in 1982, the band were on the verge of breaking up. Smith was keen to move past the gloomy reputation his band had acquired, so began to place a pop sensibility into the band's music; singles like "Let's Go to Bed" (1982), "Love Cats" (1983),   "Close To Me" (1985),  and the re-recorded  "Boys Don't Cry" (1986)  combined with the band's next three albums The Top (1984), The Head On The Door (1985), and  Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (1987), made the band very popular, gaining an international reputation.  The public were buying their pop focused music, and the critics were intrigued by the musical textures and sense of difference about the band.  The world was ready for Disintegration.

The Cure are an English rock band formed in Crawley in 1976. The band has experienced several line-up changes, with vocalist, guitarist, and principal songwriter Robert Smith being the only constant member. The Cure first began releasing music in the late 1970s with their debut album Three Imaginary Boys(1979); this, along with several early singles, placed the band as part of the post-punk and new wave movements that had sprung up in the wake of the punk rock revolution in the United Kingdom. During the early 1980s, the band's increasingly dark and tormented music (as well as Smith's stage look) was a staple of the emerging style of music known as gothic rock.
Following the release of the album Pornography in 1982, the band's future was uncertain. Smith was keen to move past the gloomy reputation his band had acquired, introducing a greater pop sensibility into the band's music. Songs such as "Let's Go to Bed" (1982), "Just Like Heaven" (1987), "Lovesong" (1989), and "Friday I'm in Love" (1992) aided the band in receiving commercial popularity. The band are estimated to have sold roughly 27 million records as of 2004and have released thirteen studio albums, ten EPs, and over thirty singles to date. The band will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019.

Out of all the bands that emerged in the immediate aftermath of punk rock in the late '70s, few were as enduring and popular as the Cure. Led through numerous incarnations by guitarist/vocalist Robert Smith (born April 21, 1959), the band became well-known for its slow, gloomy dirges and Smith's ghoulish appearance, a public image that often hid the diversity of the Cure's music. At the outset, the Cure played jagged, edgy pop songs before slowly evolving into a more textured outfit. As one of the bands that laid the seeds for goth rock, the group created towering layers of guitars and synthesizers, but by the time goth caught on in the mid-'80s, the Cure had moved away from the genre. By the end of the '80s, the band had crossed over into the mainstream not only in its native England, but also in the United States and in various parts of Europe. The Cure remained a popular concert draw and reliable record-seller throughout the '90s, and their influence could be heard clearly on scores of new bands during the new millennium, including many that had little to do with goth.

Three Imaginary Boys (1979)

Side A
1."10:15 Saturday Night"3:42
3."Grinding Halt"2:49
4."Another Day"3:44
6."Subway Song"2:00
Side B
1."Foxy Lady(The Jimi Hendrix Experience cover)Jimi Hendrix2:29
3."So What"2:37
4."Fire in Cairo"3:23
5."It's Not You"2:49
6."Three Imaginary Boys"3:17
7."The Weedy Burton"1:04

Boys Don't Cry (1980)

Side A
1."Boys Don't Cry"2:37
2."Plastic Passion"2:15
3."10:15 Saturday Night"3:40
6."Jumping Someone Else's Train"2:58
7."Subway Song"1:54
Side B
1."Killing an Arab"2:22
2."Fire in Cairo"3:21
3."Another Day"3:43
4."Grinding Halt"2:49
5."World War"2:36
6."Three Imaginary Boys"

Seventeen Seconds (1980)

Side A
1."A Reflection"2:12
2."Play for Today"3:40
4."In Your House"4:07
Side B
6."The Final Sound"0:52
7."A Forest"5:55
9."At Night"5:54
10."Seventeen Seconds"

Faith (1981)
A brooding and atmospheric album. 

AllMusic:  7 
Score: 5

Side A
1."The Holy Hour"4:25
3."Other Voices"4:28
4."All Cats Are Grey"5:28
Side B
1."The Funeral Party"4:14
3."The Drowning Man"4:50

Pornography (1982)

This is a compelling and atmospheric album.  Widely seen as the last of the band's early moody period albums, it has a rare authenticity that draws you in. Yet it wasn't rated well on release, and came out at a bad time for the band. After this the band changed direction and became more poppy - which is not a bad thing, much of their later music is really good, blending as it does pop melodies with the Cure's more unusual twist on music, but it does mark a difference. Critics retrospectively regard this as one of the band's best albums.

Influences include: Closer (1980) by Joy Division, Talk Talk Talk (1981) by The Psychedelic FursJuju (1981) by Siouxsie and the Banshees,  Music For Films (1978) by EnoBerlin (1973) by Lou Reed Desertshore (1970) by Nico.

AllMusic:  7
Score: 6

All songs written by The Cure (Robert SmithSimon Gallup and Lol Tolhurst)
Side A
  1. "One Hundred Years" – 6:40
  2. "A Short Term Effect" – 4:22
  3. "The Hanging Garden" – 4:33
  4. "Siamese Twins" – 5:29
Side B
  1. "The Figurehead" – 6:15
  2. "A Strange Day" – 5:04
  3. "Cold" – 4:26
  4. "Pornography" – 6:27

Japanese Whispers (1983)
All tracks written by Robert Smith and Laurence Tolhurst except as noted.
  1. "Let's Go to Bed" – 3:34
  2. "The Dream" (Smith) – 3:13
  3. "Just One Kiss" – 4:09
  4. "The Upstairs Room" – 3:31
  5. "The Walk" – 3:30
  6. "Speak My Language" – 2:41
  7. "Lament" (Smith) – 4:20
  8. "The Love Cats" (Smith) – 3:40

Non-album singles and B-sides recorded by Smith and Lol Tolhurst as a duo when Simon Gallup left after recording Pornography.  This appears to be where the poppy Cure starts.  Very listenable. Ignore listings which put this as a compilation, because this is a very focused album.

AllMusic:  6
Score:  6

The Top (1984)

All songs written by Robert Smith, except where noted.
Side A
  1. "Shake Dog Shake" – 4:55
  2. "Bird Mad Girl" (Smith, Tolhurst) – 4:05
  3. "Wailing Wall" – 5:17
  4. "Give Me It" – 3:42
  5. "Dressing Up" – 2:51
Side B
  1. "The Caterpillar" (Smith, Tolhurst) – 3:40
  2. "Piggy in the Mirror" (Smith, Tolhurst) – 3:40
  3. "The Empty World" – 2:36
  4. "Bananafishbones" – 3:12
  5. "The Top" – 6:50

This one's a bit odd. There's some good stuff here, but some songs I'm going to need more time to get my head around....
AllMusic: 4 
Score: 5 

The Head on the Door (1985)

All songs written by Robert Smith.
1."In Between Days"2:57
2."Kyoto Song"4:16
3."The Blood"3:43
4."Six Different Ways"3:18
6."The Baby Screams"3:44
7."Close to Me"3:23
8."A Night Like This"4:16


Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (1987)

All lyrics written by Robert Smith; all music composed by The Cure (Smith, Simon GallupPorl ThompsonLol Tolhurst, and Boris Williams).
Side A
1."The Kiss"6:17
4."If Only Tonight We Could Sleep"4:50
Side B
1."Why Can't I Be You?"3:11
2."How Beautiful You Are"5:10
3."The Snakepit"6:56
4."Hey You!!!"2:22
Side C
1."Just Like Heaven"3:30
2."All I Want"5:18
3."Hot Hot Hot!!!"3:32
4."One More Time"4:29
5."Like Cockatoos"3:38
Side D
1."Icing Sugar"3:48
2."The Perfect Girl"2:34
3."A Thousand Hours"3:21
4."Shiver and Shake"3:26

Disintegration (1989)
Classic album

This album stands at a poised mid-point between two different musical cultures and captures the essence of both. The cold, austere, popsynth drenched 80s, and the guitar driven, rock, pop and soul joy of the 90s. Disintegration has the structure and sweep of the 80s, but it also has a more direct guitar driven sound. There is a feel of shoegazing and the Scene That Celebrates Itself , which would be torn about by Madchester, Grunge and BritPop - more direct and populist music that contrasted with the Cure's style, and would later see them lose their popularity. Though at the start of the 90s the band were a global success which would last until the mid 1990s.  The band is estimated to have sold 27 million records as of 2004 and have released thirteen studio albums, ten EPs and over thirty singles during their career.  Disintegration is regarded as the band's commercial and critical peak.

Track list
2."Pictures of You"7:24
5."Last Dance"4:42
7."Fascination Street"5:16
8."Prayers for Rain"6:05
9."The Same Deep Water as You"9:19


The Quietus
Rolling Stone
Pop Matters

Mixed Up (1990)

Moderately interesting remixes of  songs mostly from their pop period. OK, but the originals tended to be be better. Not an essential album.

Side A
1."Lullaby(Extended Mix)7:43
2."Close to Me(Closer Mix)5:44
3."Fascination Street(Extended Mix)8:47
Side B
4."The Walk(Everything Mix)5:27
5."Lovesong(Extended Mix)6:19
6."A Forest(Tree Mix)6:55
Side C
7."Pictures of You(Extended Dub Mix)6:41
8."Hot Hot Hot!!!(Extended Mix)7:01
9."Why Can't I Be You?(Extended Remix; appears on the French 5 CD version, LP and cassette versions only)8:07
Side D
10."The Caterpillar(Flicker Mix)5:40
11."In Between Days(Shiver Mix)6:22
12."Never Enough(Big Mix)6:07

Wish (1992)

All songs composed by The Cure (Perry BamonteSimon GallupRobert SmithPorl ThompsonBoris Williams).
4."From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea"7:44
5."Wendy Time"5:13
6."Doing the Unstuck"4:24
7."Friday I'm in Love"3:39
9."A Letter to Elise"5:14
11."To Wish Impossible Things"4:43

Show (1983)
Attractive, relaxed, low key live album with a fair number of the band's pop songs. Not essential, but pleasant and professional.

Disc one[edit]

  1. "Tape" – 2:25
  2. "Open" (Wish) – 7:18
  3. "High" (Wish) – 3:31
  4. "Pictures Of You" (Disintegration) – 7:38
  5. "Lullaby" (Disintegration) – 4:25
  6. "Just Like Heaven" (Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me) – 3:37
  7. "Fascination Street" (Disintegration) – 5:00
  8. "A Night Like This" (The Head on the Door) – 4:46
  9. "Trust" (Wish) – 5:15

Disc two[edit]

  1. "Doing the Unstuck (Wish) – 4:20
  2. "The Walk" (Japanese Whispers) – 3:32
  3. "Let's Go to Bed" (Japanese Whispers) – 3:41
  4. "Friday I'm in Love" (Wish) – 3:45
  5. "In Between Days" (The Head on the Door) – 3:12
  6. "From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea" (Wish) – 7:54
  7. "Never Enough" (Mixed Up) – 4:52
  8. "Cut" (Wish) – 5:25
  9. "End" (Wish) – 7:58

Paris (1983)

Live album recorded in Paris Oct 1992, and released a year later.

  1. "The Figurehead" (Pornography) – 7:26
  2. "One Hundred Years" (Pornography) – 7:15
  3. "At Night" (Seventeen Seconds) – 6:39
  4. "Play for Today" (Seventeen Seconds) – 3:50
  5. "Apart" (Wish) – 6:37
  6. "In Your House" (Seventeen Seconds) – 3:59
  7. "Lovesong" (Disintegration) – 3:31
  8. "Catch" (Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me) – 2:41
  9. "A Letter to Elise" (Wish) – 4:50
  10. "Dressing Up" (The Top) – 2:49
  11. "Charlotte Sometimes" (stand-alone single) – 3:58
  12. "Close to Me" (The Head on the Door) – 3:57

Wild Mood Swings (1996)

All songs by Bamonte, Cooper, Gallup, O'Donnell and Smith, except where noted.
2."Club America"Bamonte, Cooper, Gallup, Smith5:02
3."This Is a Lie"4:29
4."The 13th"4:08
5."Strange Attraction"4:19
6."Mint Car"3:32
7."Jupiter Crash"4:15
8."Round & Round & Round"2:39

Bloodflowers (2000)

All tracks written by The Cure (Smith/Gallup/Bamonte/Cooper/O'Donnell).
1."Out of This World"6:44
2."Watching Me Fall"11:13
3."Where the Birds Always Sing"5:44
4."Maybe Someday"5:04
5."Coming Up" (only on vinyl and Australian, Japanese, Colombian CD editions)6:27
6."The Last Day of Summer"5:36
7."There Is No If..."3:44
8."The Loudest Sound"5:09

The Cure (2004)

All lyrics written by Robert Smith, all music by the Cure (Smith, Perry BamonteSimon GallupJason Cooper and Roger O'Donnell).
3."Before Three"4:40
4."Truth, Goodness and Beauty" (excluded from North American, Brazilian and some European pressings)4:20
5."The End of the World"3:44
7."Us or Them"4:09
8."Fake" (excluded from CDs except in Japan)4:43
10."(I Don't Know What's Going) On"2:57
11."Taking Off"3:19
13."The Promise"10:21
14."Going Nowhere" (excluded from North American pressings)3:28
15."This Morning" (excluded from all CDs)7:15

4:13 Dream (2008)

All tracks written by The Cure.
1."Underneath the Stars"6:17
2."The Only One"3:57
3."The Reasons Why"4:35
6."The Real Snow White"4:43
7."The Hungry Ghost"4:29
9."The Perfect Boy"3:21
10."This. Here and Now. With You"4:06
11."Sleep When I'm Dead"3:51
12."The Scream"4:37
13."It's Over"4:16


Albums ranked

* UCR   1. Disintegration     2. Pornography                      3. The Head On The Door
* SG      1. Disintegration     2. Pornography                      3. Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me 
* PM     1. Disintegration     2. The Head On The Door     3. Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me 
* HR     1. Disintegration     2.  Faith                                  3. Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me 
* R        1. Disintegration     2. Pornography                      3. The Head On The Door
* BEA   1. Disintegration     2. Pornography                      3. The Head On The Door

* VMP  10 Best Albums


* The Cure
* Fan website - Chain of Flowers

561   March 2019 

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