j nd) n.
One that inspires legends
or achieves legendary fame
A story about mythical
or supernatural beings or events
An artistic performer
or athlete whose leading role or superior performance is acknowledged
One who is highly celebrated
in a field or profession
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
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
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.
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
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:
to All Music Guide)
CDs are complilation or live releases
Greatest Hits [Bonus DVD]
Join the Dots: B-Sides & Rarities, 1978-2001
Box Set, Vol. 2
3 for 1
Wild Mood Swings
Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
Staring at the Sea: The Singles
The Head on the Door
Concert: The Cure Live
Boys Don't Cry
Three Imaginary Boys
the Official Website
review for the new CD