The Cure
Pornography


4.5
superb

Review

by Major Tom CONTRIBUTOR (139 Reviews)
July 8th, 2011 | 37 replies | 6,897 views


Release Date: 1982 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Porn for goths…

‘Pornography’ sounds like the natural conclusion to the gothic trilogy The Cure had moulded since 1980’s ‘Seventeen Seconds’ - pushing all the gloom, doom and melodrama to its terrifyingly dark end in a grandiose and spectacular fashion.

Right off the bat, Smith and his gang of goths go for the jugular, opening their forth studio LP with the nihilistic statement: “It doesn’t matter if we all die”, backed by off-kilter percussion and a frenetic whirlwind of jarring synth and crumbling guitars. ‘One Hundred Years’ serves more as an epic dive into the murky deep-end, than a subtle, toe-in-the-shallow-end mood setter and that’s just fine, because when you name an album ‘Pornography’ and intend it close a trilogy of dark albums, subtlety shouldn’t be the order of the day - and no-one is more aware of that than The Cure.

‘One Hundred Years’ also serves a perfect example of a much richer sounding band, with the audio-waves flooded with grim walls of noise throughout - almost the opposite of the stark, minimalist melodies heard a year previous. Alongside the stringent bass, trickling lead, driving percussion, and ethereal synth, Smith still managed to find room for a cello to feature, providing the backbone of the expectedly sombre ‘Cold’ - it’s scraping, unsettling warble blending beautifully with hollow drums and a haunting wash of synth.

The highpoints don’t stop there, with lead single ‘The Hanging Garden’ making for another Cure classic. Pounding drums and rattling bass drive the despair-ridden number home, as Smith’s evocative lyrics instil the listener with the vivid and frankly gruesome image the song title suggests. Lyrically, it’s a pure dose of gothic melodrama, with Smith’s shrieking vocals squalling lines like “Cover my face as the animals cry” evolving into the altogether more morbid “Cover my face as the animals die”. Other highlights include ‘The Figurehead’, with its gorgeous riff creeping in sporadically, and the warped, eerie synthesisers present on ‘A Strange Day’.

Writing of Smith’s lyrics, it’s interesting to see how they’ve progressed from the quiet angst of earlier albums, to the extreme outbursts of despair littering each and every doom-laden song here. The theme of “Death” hinted at on ‘Faith’ resurfaces again, but the lines surrounding it are what proves to be most compelling, as they’re genuinely disturbing at times - especially when the frustration and angst turns violent, like on the title track: “One more day like today and I'll kill you / A desire for flesh / And real blood / I'll watch you drown in the shower / Pushing my life through your open eyes”. One of Smith’s sharpest endings arrives as ‘Pornography’ draws to a close, with the tongue-in-cheek “I must fight this sickness / Find a cure” ending on a stark, but hopeful note, redeeming all the outbursts of anger, guilt, and angst with the subtlest glimpse at the light beyond the murky depths of despair suffocating at present.

Because the album is such an atmospheric piece, it should be enjoyed in one, continuous sitting - uninterrupted and focused. The album works best when the listener draws the curtains shut, waits until the dead of night, plugs in a pair of headphones, and allows himself to be transported into ‘Pornography’s dark whirlpool of sound, determined to drag him down into the bowels of hell. And it’s not as hard as it may seem to be drawn so deep into Smith’s deprived world, as ‘Pornography’ is simply one of the most convincing and grandiose albums The Cure ever produced. It may be incredibly melodramatic, but that doesn’t stop it from also being one of the most spectacular and dark albums the post-punk genre ever gave birth to.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
July 8th 2011



7315 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review pos'd. I've been meaning to get into The Cure, where would you say is the best place to start?

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
July 8th 2011



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

AliW1993 - Thanks, man. I'd say start with 'Boys Don't Cry' but be aware that they got much darker afterwards. If you enjoy that, then progress to 'Seventeen Seconds', which is the start of their gothic trilogy. That will take you through 'Faith' and up to here. 'Disintegration' is another big one from them, so that could be an alternate start point, also.


Psychopathologist
July 8th 2011



1924 Comments


IN DAAAAA HANGING GAARDEEEEEN

Oblivioncry
July 8th 2011



601 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i am loving your cure reviews so far. can't wait till you get to disintegration

vanderb0b
July 8th 2011



3473 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

My personal favorite Cure album, though Disintegration comes pretty close. Review was a very good read.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
July 8th 2011



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Oblivioncry - Thanks, man, i'm determined to get through them all.

vanderb0b - Cheers, i can understand why people pick this as their favourite - it's excellent.


Acanthus
July 8th 2011



9537 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Late to the party, but a great read! It sounds utterly enthralling, I love me some dark tunes.

Digging: The Cure - The Head on the Door

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
July 8th 2011



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Acanthus - Oh yeah, this is DARK, man, i think you'd love it from what you say. Oh, and thanks for reading, again.


Acanthus
July 8th 2011



9537 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Always a pleasure, I think I'm going to have to throw Faith on and go find this.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
July 8th 2011



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Acanthus - Nice! Putting 'Faith' on before this is a good move, too, because you'll be able to see how the music has progressed and how the trilogy closes. If you enjoyed 'Faith', you should love this.


Acanthus
July 8th 2011



9537 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yes, even from the first track it becomes quite clear that not only have they matured lyrically but their instrumentation has improved drastically; their "wall" of sound is quite nice.

Foreversaved
July 8th 2011



55 Comments


Why would someone use such a sinful thing like pornography as an album title? It seems so wrong.

Acanthus
July 8th 2011



9537 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

But it sounds sooooo good!

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
July 8th 2011



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Foreversaved - I hope you're being ironic...

Acanthus - Opening track is pretty epic, isn't it? I love 'The Figurehead' (gorgeous riff) and 'Cold' from the second half, too. It's all good, tbh!


Foreversaved
July 8th 2011



55 Comments


I don't even understand what you mean by that

Acanthus
July 8th 2011



9537 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Trololollolol


Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
July 8th 2011



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Foreversaved - Dictionary?


wabbit
July 8th 2011



6978 Comments


Such a great album.


Gyromania
July 8th 2011



15202 Comments


Top notch review, Tom. I seem to have missed your other review, but I will get around to reading it shortly. I'm curious as to what you'll say about The Top, which I think is a little underrated. Pos.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
July 8th 2011



1106 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Gyromania - Thanks, dude. 'Faith' is up, so just hop on read it whenever's good for you.

wonarabbit - Absolutely.




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