Thursday, October 23, 2008

Show me how you do that trick

Lovely encomium to the once-mighty Cure over at Hear Canal. Question: did the Cure go bland, or did my ears just grow up? Could I ever fall for something as darkly florid as Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me or as divinely overwrought as Disintegration again, or would I simply cringe? There's been nothing remotely in the vicinity of the Cure the last decade that's been anything other than awful. No goth, no emo. Nothing. Right?

One of the things I liked about the Cure back in the day was that, for all the laborious back-combing and shakily-applied slap, their spectrum was massively broader than that of your Missions and Fields of the Neff (then), and the hordes of the Emotic (now). No moody blacks or crushed velvet reds. No leather dusted with flour to make them look like desert warriors (I'm looking at you, Neff). The Cure's colours spanned the whole rainbow, even if they were often the garish colours of a bruise. So, if the Cure weren't goth, what were they about? They were about love. Oh sure, they were were also about dogs and cats and piggies and cockatoos and caterpillars and snake-pits and spiders, a conjured menagerie populating Smith's songs from the very beginning, a very English strain of dark imaginings that goes back to Dadd, Tenniel and Lear. But underneath it all, Robert Smith was singing, mostly, about love: fervid and self-obsessed or sickly and hungry or desperate and lost or just sweetly romantic, songs like "Show Me Heaven", "Lovesong" and "Pictures of You" put a whole generation of stunted adolescents on the road to something like real emotion. That's got to be worth something.

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