AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #157 : THE CURE

A GUEST POSTING by TIM BADGER

JC writes……..

I know that many of you who appreciate the work of Tim and his erstwhile colleagues SWC and KT get a particular enjoyment from the fact they bring their stories alive with people from their past histories.  ‘Our Price Girl’ has been a real favourite but I’ve a feeling she has a new rival given yesterday and today’s musings.

Here’s Tim….

Where do you start when writing an Imaginary Compilation Album on a band who have roughly twenty albums worth of material to choose from? There are studio albums, live albums, singles albums, B sides albums, remix albums and countless live albums worth of stuff, all of which are worthy of consideration.

For instance there is somewhere in existence a bootleg release of The Cure’s MTV Unplugged Show in which one of the band plays a toy piano throughout ‘Close To Me’ – it is far better than any version of that song that has ever been commercially released and yet can I find it on the Internet, no I can’t. I know that the Lovely Angela had a version of it because I remember listening to it in her bedroom whilst she made me a Vodka Collins.

An hour before I sat down to write this I had narrowed it down to 43 songs which is nowhere near short enough. Then my wife comes in and asks how I was getting on – me having shut myself away for a few hours to do it and so I told her.

She sighs, and tells me and I wrote this down word for word – “If you stop your silly Goth boy reminiscing over ‘the Lovely Angela’ (she included the finger quote thing) and actually thought about it you would realise that you only actually need to own six cure albums – ‘Seventeen Seconds’, ‘Japanese Whispers’, ‘The Head On The door’, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me’, ‘Disintegration’ and ‘Wish’. There’s a cup of tea on the table there for you“ and with that she turns around and walks back out of the room.

Now, after a number of years of marriage I have learnt not to argue with Mrs Badger, particularly where ‘the Lovely Angela’ is concerned, so I reflect on her statement and I immediately stop the silly Goth Boy Reminiscing and then I focus and I remove all the tracks on my list that are not from one of the six albums she mentioned and unbelievably I am left with 12 tracks, and losing two is pretty easy.

So with no further ado, here at last is the compilation on The Cure.

Side One

Just Like Heaven (from Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me)

Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me was the sixth Cure album and is if you had to list them probably their second greatest album. This was the Cure in the pomp, comedy lipstick, massive hair and it slowly took them into a world of arenas and festival headlights. I am duty bound to include this what with it being played at my wedding, but also it has to be included because it is simply a delight and one of the greatest singles of all time.

Play For Today (From Seventeen Seconds)

In the very early eighties, The Cure went a bit weird and after drinking too much they sort of invented Gothic Rock or rather they sort of redefined Gothic Rock. They did this by recording an album in a cupboard on a shoestring budget. This result was this spooky, minimalist masterpiece and ‘Play For Today’ is epitome of that stark, elegant and probably best listened to in front of a smoke machine whilst dressed in black.

Doing The Unstuck (from ‘Wish’)

I love ‘Wish’, I think between say 1987 and 1995 the Cure did very little wrong. They sashayed between being mopey doom mongers to being gloriously playful pop superstars and ‘Wish’ gets that spot on. There is a bit on ‘Doing The Unstuck’ in which Bob sings “Its Never too late to get up and GO!” the ‘Go’ bit is almost shouted. For millions around the world, when Bob Smith was happy, pretty much all was well in the world.

Let’s Go To Bed (from ‘Japanese Whispers’)

After three gloomy goth albums, the Cure resurfaced in late 1982 with ‘Let’s Go To Bed’ a terrifically upbeat single in which they appeared to have abandoned the doom and bought a trumpet. The result was outstanding. Lovecats soon followed and The Cure cemented themselves as rocks biggest bunch of teasers.

The Same Deep Water As You (from ‘Disintegration’)

‘Disintegration’ is of course, the Cure’s best album. It is a Goth masterpiece. There is more relentess imagery of death and drama here than anywhere else. It is full of eight minute songs (or ten in this case) about drowning and at times it is unbearably sad. But push that to one side (gently, it’s fragile) and it is an album of such beauty and emotion that you really cannot ignore it. ‘The Same Deep Water As You’ is I think the stand out track hypnotic, sad, shimmering and beautiful.

Side Two

Open (from ‘Wish’)

‘Wish’ is the last truly outstanding Cure album. ‘Open’ is the first track off that and kind of sets the scene for the rest of the album. The songs here are big and designed for the arenas that they were easily filling by now. This song is a reflective look back at drinking and in it Smith’s vocals just get wilder and wilder.

Pictures of You (from ‘Disintegration’)

The story goes according to my wife that shortly before The Cure recorded ‘Disintegration’ a fire broke out at Smith’s house. In the damage he came across a collection of photos of his wife and that inspired this song.

For me I love it because of these lyrics

“Remembering you standing quiet in the rain, As I ran to your heart to be near/And we kissed as the sky fell in/Holding you close/How I always held close in your fear.”

Well it’s just beautiful isn’t it.

In Between Days (from ‘The Head On The Door’)

Another track that is truly wonderful and for years and years was the ring tone on my phone for whenever Mrs Badger phoned me. It’s just one of those songs that I will never tire of hearing.

Shiver and Shake (from Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me)

Another reason why Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me is so glorious is the way it fluctuates from being wonderfully happy to being dramatically sad before at the (near) end, you get this the angriest, bitterest, most shouty song that The Cure ever recorded. Also in the really angry bits Bob sounds a little bit like Kermit the Frog and that is worth hearing.

Sinking (from ‘The Head On the Door’)

Let’s end on a happy note, or rather lets end with a lush murmuring sigh. A song that lives up to its name, it kinds of descends with every note, and that break near the end, its just beautiful.

So there we have it. An ICA on The Cure, eventually and if that doesn’t win the next ICA World Cup then something is wrong with the world.

TIM

19 thoughts on “AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #157 : THE CURE

  1. A strong list. ‘Pornography’ is my favourite Cure album (although haven’t listened to ‘Wish’ yet) so I would have to include ‘Siamese Twins’ – that song is like a spell every time I hear it, strangely bewitching!

  2. I don’t hate this list!…When I saw the title, I thought – well it’s bound to be contrarian, or possibly obvious, but it is neither! Your choices show a good deal of thought, and leave a good amount of space for a Vol. 2 and Vol. 3.
    Good job Mr. & Mrs. Badger!!

  3. A great ICA Tim. Always had a soft spot for Catch. I think I may have the mtv unplugged version you mention , I think it was on a ltd Ed extra disc of one of their greatest hits . Will have a look and send on to JC if I do

  4. Can’t really fault this although like most people, if I did one meself it might contain ten completely different tracks. OK, nine, because Pictures Of You is simply one of the greatest songs ever written and yes, it is beautiful. One of mine and MrsRobster’s songs in fact.

  5. An excellent ICA despite it being a near-impossible task! Mine would have plenty of differences. but would definitely include Just Like Heaven, Doing The Unstuck, Pictures Of You and In Between Days. Speaking of which, what usurped IBD as the ringtone for when Mrs Badger calls, I wonder?

  6. I like this compilation – I don’t have all the Cure albums but do have the first 5 and Kiss me Kiss me Kiss me and some comps because they were a great singles band (Charlotte sometimes) which also means good B-sides (Decent, Splintered inside her head). To be fair you need something from Faith (the Drowning man / All Cats are Grey and Pornography (A strange day). Jumping someone else’s train, a Forest (the live version from the double 7 inch), 10:15 or Lullaby from later. Or maybe I should do one, but would prefer to do the Furs or Simple Minds.

  7. This is a great set…for someone much younger than I. I’m okay with the band’s later biz but always return to the first 4 LPs. Lost interest when the makeup got as important as the guitars. Still, good on you, Badger, for taking on a band like this for an ICA.

  8. Mopyfop= I just nearly choked on my biscuit mentioning the Top in the same breath as Once Upon A Time. Lol

    I personally don’t mention anything by anyone in the same breath as Once Upon A Time because nothing, absolutely nothing, is ever that bad.

  9. I must agree with DiscoAnalyst you are missing pornography. Figurehead, Hundred years, Strange Day are all epic tracks.

  10. Have to side with Alex here – The Top is one of The Cure’s most complete albums. You get all the many faces of The Cure. The dark and sexy and manic in Shake Dog Shake and Give Me It, the left field Pop in Birdmad Girl, Catapillar and The Empty World, the Gothic Cure in Wailing Wall and the title track and one simply sublime in Dressing Up.
    My ICA 10 would have to include at least 1 song from The Top – it could include 3.

  11. The best kind of ICA… one that produces this kind of banter. While I’m at it, the Head on the Door is the Cure’s best album.

  12. A good ICA and an impossible task – Push/Like Cockatoos/Primary would be on mine

    The Head On The Door is my favourite album

  13. A nigh-impossible task brilliantly tackled. From the unloved Wild Mood Swings LP I’d have found a spot for ‘Treasure’ – but who could really argue with any of Tim’s selections? Great ICA – and surprised to find I know all of the tracks. Thanks for a great read, Tim.

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