CLOSE TO ME (again and again and again……)

It was exactly six years ago today that I had a quick look at In Between Days by The Cure, together with the exceptional b-sides made available on the 12” vinyl here in the UK:-

mp3 : The Cure – The Exploding Boy
mp3 : The Cure – A Few Hours After This

It proved to be a very popular posting with a number of folk coming in to offer their own positive thoughts and views via the comments section. I thought it would be worth marking the anniversary with a look at the follow-up single, a track that was lifted off the album The Head on The Door:-

mp3 : The Cure – Close To Me

There were very significant changes made to the version that was released as a 45 in September 1985, namely the addition of a squeaky door and brass section.

mp3 : The Cure – Close To Me (7” version)

It’s one of the catchiest and memorable releases of the band’s entire career and deserved a far better fate than stalling at #24. It also came with a top-quality b-side, offering further evidence that the band were very much in their ‘imperial phase’ (copyright, Echorich)

mp3 : The Cure – A Man Inside My Mouth

A jazzy, fun-filled extended version, coming in at over six minutes in length, was also put together, demonstrating that Robert Smith & co. were as far removed from the gloomy goths that many in the media were lazily portraying them:-

mp3 : The Cure – Close To Me (12” version)

The single was also accompanied by one of the most memorable promotional videos of all time. Here’s the description offered up by wiki:-

Written and directed by the band’s frequent music video director Tim Pope, it consists of the band all inside a wardrobe on the edge of a cliff at Beachy Head.

Following the musical scheme of the song, which builds up instrumentally, all the band members are inside the wardrobe, but not playing instruments. Boris Williams is clapping to the beat, keyboardist Lol Tolhurst is playing a very small, handheld keyboard, and Porl Thompson on the top shelf is plucking a comb to represent the short high sounds in the song. Bassist Simon Gallup does not play, and instead appears to be tied up. Tim Pope later revealed that Gallup had a light bulb in his mouth to create a “lit from within” feel, and the cloth was there to hide the wire.

Robert Smith then comes from the back of the wardrobe and sings, also playing with finger puppets, which appear to be voodoo dolls of the band members, as when he moves them, the corresponding member moves. He then becomes more violent with the dolls, shaking them around heavily, which in turn causes the band members to hit into the sides of the wardrobe, which eventually results in the wardrobe falling off the cliff and into the sea. As they go into the sea, the wardrobe fills up slowly with water, like a capsized ship, but the band members continue to play their “instruments.” The video ends with the wardrobe full of water and a band member pushing a rubber duck across the screen.

The promo continued to be aired long after the single had come and gone from the charts, leading to the situation that Close To Me, over the years, would come to be arguably the most instantly recognisable of all their songs.

Fast forward to October 1990 and the news that The Cure intend to issue an album of remixes of some of their most popular songs alongside some re-recordings of the older material, with an eye on having them fit for the floors of indie and alt-discos. A month prior to the release of the album, and a remix single was issued as a taster:-

mp3 : The Cure – Close To Me (Closest Mix)

The remix treatment came courtesy of Paul Oakenfold and was engineered by Steve Osbourne, both of whom had helped Happy Mondays into the charts earlier in the year.

A slightly longer version was issued on 12”:-

mp3 : The Cure – Close To Me (Closer Mix)

It would have been really easy just to re-heat the old promo to go with the remix, but they came up with something of a genius idea. Here’s wiki again:-

There is also a music video for the version of the song that appeared on Mixed Up. The video picked up where the original video ended, with the wardrobe crashing down the cliffside and sinking to the bottom of the sea. Robert exits first and is attacked by an octopus (seen playing the horns later in the video). After his struggle, the other band members try to flee as well, and are attacked by a starfish. The video ends without any of the band members reaching the surface, though they could see a boat overhead.

The remix version of the song, despite coming out only five years after the original, reached #13 in the UK singles chart, reflecting the fact that the late 80s/early 90s were the high-point, sales-wise for the band (the next studio album, Wish, released in 1992 would provide them with their sole #1 LP).

Close To Me, in either of its versions, still sounds fresh and exciting and the live renditions in the shows of 2019 inevitably received just about the biggest cheers of any night.

JC

A REPOST OF AN ICA : THE CURE

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.

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

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

A TRUE TRUE CONFESSION

JC writes….

I received an e-mail from someone on the back of the True Confessions pieces last month. There followed an exchange of correspondence during which questions were asked and then answered as to whether the author did want the piece to appear. It’s an incredibly brave thing to offer for public consumption…..

Jim,

I have a True Confession to make, albeit the other way around – liking a song I shouldn’t. A guilty pleasure in a way, if you think it fits, feel free to post, if not just hit delete.

By the turn of the 20th century I met a woman, we were both married but not to each other, and we were drawn together – to start with somewhat unwillingly. Days and months passed by and in the end you might say we had an affair, rather innocent and profane maybe – but gravitation was strong…

In the end she didn’t dare to take that final step and she ended it. Heartbroken I wrote her a letter, sitting on a plane for the US, and in the speakers I could hear this song, a cover of a totally abominable Phil Collins track – but there and then, Mariah Carey singing “you coming back to me is against all odds, but it’s the chance I got to take” hit a very weak spot. I never sent that letter. I don’t own the song, but every time I hear it my heart stops for a second and that “what if?” flashes through my mind.

The song Out Of This World by The Cure, from Bloodflowers, is more the real me but my True Confession is I am attached to Against All Odds in the version by Westlife & Mariah Carey.

Forgive me my sins

mp3 : Westlife & Mariah Carey – Against All Odds
mp3 : The Cure – Out Of This World

A READER

 

IT REALLY WAS A CRACKING DEBUT SINGLE (4)

Wiki advises that the discography of The Cure consists of thirteen studio albums, five live albums, ten compilation albums, ten extended plays and thirty-seven singles, together ten video albums and forty-three music videos.

It all began in December 1978 with a release on the indie label Small Wonder that operated out of a record shop of the same name in the east end of London.

mp3 : The Cure – Killing An Arab

It’s impossible to imagine a song with such a title being given any sort of release these days; let’s just say that any singer or band would likely find themselves at the rough end of some serious protests, on-line and in person at gigs or other personal appearances. Nobody would pay any attention to the explanation behind the title and subject matter, namely that it is concerned entirely with an incident in a famous French novel dating back to the 1940s, and instead the songwriter would be accused of stirring up racial hatred. Indeed, such is the emotion around the words ‘Killing An Arab’ that this very post might attract some nutters directed here via a search engine or two. If so, please go away….this is, as you can see, a blog about music and not a place where you get dodgy advice to further destabilise the world.

Robert Smith has, on a number of instances over the years, admitted he had rather given the song an alternative title. It was one he wrote while he was still at school and hugely influenced by the issues that abound throughout L’Etranger by Albert Camus, and as such is meant to be a high-brow and clever effort rather than any racist call-to-arms. Sadly, it has been hijacked as such by far too many people and it has also, understandably, been banished from the nation’s airwaves over the years as we go from one Middle-Eastern conflict to the next…..although, sadly, for every station that has banned it there seem to be just as many who rejoice in playing it having missed the whole point completely.

There was actually very little in the way of protest back in 1978, as can be evidenced by the fact that Fiction Records, to whom the band had just signed, would re-release the single three months later. It was a single that was well received by the critics, with a number of favourable reviews in the weekly music papers, but this didn’t translate into any huge numbers of sales. It would take until April 1980, and the release of their fourth single, A Forest, before there was real commercial success, after which there was no stopping them.

Killing An Arab came with an equally enjoyable track, one whose sound was akin to the post-punk minimalist-style that was being played by bands such as Talking Heads but with a lyric that captured the misery and frustration of being a bored teenager:-

mp3 : The Cure – 10:15 Saturday Night

Indeed, it was the b-side rather than the a-side that got The Cure signed to Fiction Records.

Is the debut their best ever single? I don’t think there’s many who would make that claim. But what is? I genuinely can’t answer that as it changes on a regular basis depending on my particular mood.

JC

THE MUCH ANTICIPATED RETURN OF SICKBOY

Sorry if the headline and image has got you thinking this has something to do with Trainspotting. It is merely the ramblings of a man who. not long ago, was at death’s door being saved only by the love of his best friend and his best friend’s daughter as theu bring him records obtained from a charity shop. Over to you Badger…..

The Charity Shop (Record) Challenge – Part Two

The second brightly wrapped parcel has balloons on it. SWC’s daughter helps me unwrap it and she tells me a story about a balloon and squeezes of my leg (“because when I’m poorly Daddy tells me a story and gives me a cuddle”). This balloon travels up in the air and doesn’t stop until it reaches the moon when it gets there it is befriended by a lion who plays it with but pops it with his claws. This makes the lion sad, so sad that he has to do a poo (cue mad child laughter). I’ve repeated that word for word.

She’s four (just) and already tells better stories and more believable ones than her daddy.

The record has a silver grey sleeve and this is deeply unimpressive to the little girl. She wants to open up the third one which has lions and bears on the paper, I imagine these were the inspiration for the story that I’ve just repeated. She opens it and that one is a blue record which she tells me is ‘Mummys favourite colour – she should have that one’ she tells me, after listening to it I have to agree because its terrible.

Anyway back to the second one. This one for those of you who have been trying to guess is ‘Crotch Deep Trash’ by The Soup Dragons and is as Charity Chic would say ‘A real find’.

Record 2 – Crotch Deep Trash (extended version) – The Soup Dragons – Price £1.99

r-867527-1313606819-jpeg

I’ve spent a lot of time in charity shops and I have never seen anything by the Soup Dragons ever, I now own four 12”s by the Soup Dragons, all of them have been given to me, all of them have come from charity shops. Seriously. (The others are Backwards Dog, Mother Universe and I’m Free (remix)).

Now cast your eye at the title it clearly states that this is an ‘extended version’ – this is saying something as the record is pretty done and dusted in three minutes. I’m not sure by how much they extended this but it wasn’t by much. Regardless of this, its an excellent record, all shouty vocals, screechy guitars and pounding drums, it sounds a lot of like ‘Automatic’ era Jesus and Mary Chain and that folks is a very good thing.

Backwards Dog – This is also very good. Apologies for the recording quality of both though.

mp3 : Soup Dragons – Crotch Deep Trash
mp3 : Soup Dragons – Backwards Dog

Unlike Record 3 which is Why Can’t I Be You? (12” Version) by The Cure – Price £2.50

Now before you all jump up and down on my injured bollocks and expel me for ever from indie school for being rude about my elders, hear me out. I love this single. I own several Cure records and used to even have a big baggy black jumper called ‘Bob’ which I left in a pub in Leeds in 1993 and waited outside at 9am the next morning so that I could get it back. So I like the Cure.

However, why in the name of everything that is precious, they though that this 12” version would be acceptable is a complete mystery to me. Its utter bobbins, it removes all the good bits of the original and pads it out with effects and loops and soundclashes and it just sounds like Modern Romance have recorded it and not The Cure. The bastards. I would actually rather be back in hospital listening to Ron in the bed next to mine bang on about ‘Bloody Poles’ than listen to that again. Its eight minutes long as well.

The B-Side is called ‘A Japanese Dream’ and it’s a bit better but you know only just. If only because it goes on about monkeys and stuff.

mp3 : The Cure – Why Can’t I Be You (remix)
mp3 : The Cure – A Japanese Dream

(JC adds….Badger is spot on with his analysis of this. I once bought a second hand copy of this 12″ single solely with the intenion of posting ot on the blog. One play letter and that idea was ditched…..)

“Can we do one more” the little girl asks me, I agree, I’m enjoying myself, to be honest, SWC has even made me cup of tea and bought out some plates for the brownies, its nice to be around friendly people (and SWC). So we unwrap the fourth one which is back to the Peppa Pig paper “I only had three rolls of paper” he says. His daughter unwraps it and laughs at the sleeve. It’s the back of the sleeve she’s laughing at. “Bum” she says. She’s right. I’m looking at the backside of a female and a very smug looking Dave Gahan.

The fourth record is “Personal Jesus” – Depeche Mode – Price £1.99

“That’s definitely worth more than that” SWC says. He’s probably right, I once sold a 12” of a Depeche Mode song on Ebay for about £35 – they are really collectible for some unfathomable reason.

Now, you can re read my bit about the Cure here if you like because the same rules apply about Depeche Mode. They’ve taken one of their better singles and remixed it for the single and in doing that bloody ruined it. Here folks we have

mp3: Depeche Mode : Personal Jesus “Holier Than Thou” Version.

The record and the remix seems a bit smug for some reason if you ask me, still let’s have a look at the B Sides….One of them is badly scratched so we will gloss over that one but here is the other one

mp3 : Depeche Mode : Personal Jesus (acoustic)

So it’s the same song again, sorry. Its slightly better than the remix version, but the quality is so bad it sounds like Gahan is whispering his way through it, which he probably is to be fair.

So that takes us up to record 4 – records 5 6 and 7 to follow.

BADGER

ONE FROM FAT BOB AND THE BOYS

The-Cure-Never-Enough-53929

Here’s a band that I’ve had three or four goes at trying to do an ICA but howver much I push it around it always ends up just being full of great singles.

These tunes are lifted from a 12″ single released away back in 1990 which featured a top-notch b-side as well as a radical remix of an earlier single:-

mp3 : The Cure – Never Enough (Big Mix)
mp3 : The Cure – Harold and Joe
mp3 : The Cure – Let’s Go To Bed (Milk Mix)

And while I’m here, in celebration of the fact that The Twilight Sad have been opening for The Cure throughout the world tour of 2016….

mp3 : Robert Smith – There’s A Girl In The Corner

B-side to It Was Never The Same, the Sad’s final single of 2015.

Enjoy.