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leg·end  (l j  nd) n. 
One that inspires legends or achieves legendary fame 
A story about mythical or supernatural beings or events

star  (stär) n. 
An artistic performer or athlete whose leading role or superior performance is acknowledged
One who is highly celebrated in a field or profession

Ditching retirement one more time for a new album and a new tour, The Cure has reemerged in 2004 as a band that still matters.

New bands like the Rapture and Thursday and more established bands like the Deftones and Blink-182 have helped to increase an interest in the Cure for a new generation.

The new, self-titled, album has been described as a mixture of old and new Cure.  It serves as an introduction, but also stands in a long line of music that has been adored by fans for over 20 years.

The Cure was formed in 1976 by Robert Smith, Michael Dempsey and Laurence “Lol” Tolhurst.  By playing dark, literate guitar-driven music, the Cure had sewn the seeds of Goth-rock in a time of punk and new wave.  Gloom mixed with pop sensibility to create an original sound.

A demo tape including “Killing an Arab” landed on the desk of Polydor Records A&R representative Chris Parry.  He liked the band, released “Killing and Arab”, and when Parry left Polydor he signed the band to his own label.

The Cure’s debut album was released in 1979.  Three Imaginary Boys received decent reviews, but left the band feeling cold about the recording process.

In a recent Rolling Stone interview, Robert smith said, “The first one is my least favorite Cure album.  Obviously, they are my songs, and I was singing, but I had no control over any other aspect of it; the production, the choices of the songs, the running order, and the artwork.  It was all done by Parry without my blessing.  And even at that young age I was very pissed off.  I had dreamed of making an album, and suddenly we were making it and my input was being disregarded.  I decided that from that day on we would always pay for ourselves and therefore retain total control.”

That was the last time anyone outside of the band would dictate the Cure.  Smith remains to this day the musical and business entity in charge.  A stronger sense of direction coupled with the addition of a keyboardist and the exit of Michael Dempsey marked the second album.  Seventeen Seconds was atmospheric and more experimental than the debut album.  Robert Smith felt that the next album would be the band’s last, and it was necessary to make that album important. 

The tour to support Seventeen Seconds was the band’s first chance to cross the globe.  The increase of fame and stress began to pull the band apart.  The next album, Faith, was recorded in a haze of drugs and booze.  It was a dark record, but it was the darker and murkier Pornography that would be their first breakthrough.  A top ten U.K. hit, the band began to cultivate a large following in England.  Many fans still feel Pornography was the band’s creative peak.

It was at this time that Robert Smith began wearing lipstick and spraying his hair into all different directions.  This image would become one of the most recognizable in rock and roll.

The Cure followed the intensity and gloom of Pornography by turning 180 degrees to record something lighter.  Smith was uncomfortable with his rise as a “gothic icon” and felt that the pop sensibilities of songs like “The Lovecats” and “Let’s Go to Bed” would be the band’s suicide.  Both songs became hits in the U.K.

The Top followed in 1984.  It didn’t match the success of previous albums, it was also the closest that a Cure album had ever become to being a Robert Smith solo album.

 “It was a bit sad, because it was very badly reviewed and it dented my confidence in that way of working, and I put a stop to it,” said Smith.

Recruiting the strength of a full five-piece band behind him, Smith began recording the next album in live takes instead of patching things together.  The resulting record, The Head on the Door, finally broke through to an American audience.  Smith became a fixture on MTV, his hair and lipstick in constant rotation in the “Close to Me” video.  In response to his newfound celebrity, Smith shaved his hair into a crew cut for the tour.

The 1987 double album Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me would further elevate the band into mainstream success.  “Just Like Heaven” became a Top 40 hit, and there were more girls around then ever.  The band was officially a big-time stadium rock band.

Robert Smith’s reaction to the success was to strip down and create an “important” album.  Resisting pop radio, Disintegration was much darker and melancholic than Kiss Me.  Despite their efforts “Lovesong” climbed to the top of the charts, becoming their most successful American single.

Smith began to openly discuss the end of the band, and felt that Disintegration was the last, but three years later the Cure returned with Wish.  Within the burgeoning alternative rock scene, the Cure was very important. 

The lineup that created some of the Cure’s most enduring music was filmed for a concert DVD, Show.   Documented at what Smith felt was the “peak of its powers”, the band fell apart shortly after leaving only Smith and guitarist Perry Bamonte.

Smith and Bamonte took their time forming a new band.  Four years after the success of Wish, the Cure released Wild Mood Swings.  The album was admittedly the Cure’s first real stab at commercial radio airplay, but it was also their worst received album.

Another four years yielded another “last album”.  Bloodflowers followed the atmospheric quality of Pornography and Disintegration.  Those three albums were collectively known as the Trilogy.  The band convened in Berlin on November of 2002 and performed all three albums in one evening, a night that was chronicled on DVD.

“Recording Bloodflowers was the best experience I’ve had since doing the Kiss Me album.  I achieved my goals, which were to make an album, enjoy making it, and end up with something that has real intense, emotional content.  And didn’t kill myself in the process,” said Smith.

Many fans believed that Bloodlfowers was honestly the end.  The album felt like goodbye.  But four years later in the summer of 2004, the Cure released a new, self-titled, album.  By working in the studio with producer Ross Robinson (Korn, Limp Bizkit) the band created a loud and fresh rock record.

Smith summed up the new confidence within the band when he said, “Everything we’d done before was going to culminate on this record – that was the mind set that we had when we were in the studio.  And I would say that more passion went into the making of this record than all the others combined.”

The Cure will be on tour to support The Cure and Robert Smith will be wearing the lipstick and the hair, but he also has an excitement about the future.

For over 20 years the Cure has made consistently great music, while sacrificing none of their beliefs.  Very few bands have been so unwavering in their vision while having so much success.  The Cure are legends and rightfully so.

Career Album Discography: 
(according to All Music Guide)

*non-bolded CDs are complilation or live releases

2004  The Cure
2004  Greatest Hits [Bonus DVD]
2004  Join the Dots: B-Sides & Rarities, 1978-2001
2002   Greatest Hits
2001  Greatest Hits
2000  Bloodflowers
2000   Box Set, Vol. 2
2000  3 for 1
1997  Galore
1996  Wild Mood Swings
1993  Paris [live] 
1993  Show [live]
1992  Wish
1990  Mixed Up
1990   Integration
1990   Entreat [live]
1989 Disintegration
1987  Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
1986  Staring at the Sea: The Singles
1985  The Head on the Door 
1984  The Top
1984  Japanese Whispers
1984  Concert: The Cure Live
1982  Pornography
1981...Happily Ever After
1981  Faith
1980  Seventeen Seconds
1980  Boys Don't Cry
1979  Three Imaginary Boys


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