A GUEST POSTING by TIM BADGER
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.
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.
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.