Review Summary: The Cure's "Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me" begins brilliantly and carries on with passionate rhythm. As you approach the finish line, the filler begins to pile up, but it's only a small smudge on this work of art.
Painting pictures can be difficult. Not the type that involve your two-dimensional home and the questionable heights of your family members, but the type that involve deeply forested hills blanketed with snow undulating behind the charcoal grey rooftop enclosing a cozy evening had by a couple, hardly different than the ones they experienced for the past twenty years. Capturing the essence of the moment with thousands of brushstrokes is a daunting task, but an experienced artist will provide the viewer with an immense understanding of the work given an appropriate blend of color, altogether spastic and serene. The Cure’s Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me
is to music as rich landscapes are to art, delivering a rush of emotion with vibrant notes instead of colors. Kiss Me
is a loaded gun with styles of dance overlaying distortion, aimed at developing frustrating undertones to generally upbeat numbers.
Many of the tracks have extensive introductions that provide the atmospheric equivalent of a lush landscape (you may have heard the introduction to “One More Time,” cued during any movie when two long-lost friends run at each other in slow motion). They’re gripping set-ups with intricate shifts driven without the aid of Robert Smith’s haunting vocals. It’s difficult to rule out that he was born in a cemetery because his voice carries a uniqueness that seems to be supported by the dead. Slow and gloomy, Smith’s presence floats into a song like a worker checking in for the graveyard shift. Yet on other tracks like “Why Can’t I Be You?” or “Hot Hot Hot!!!,” Smith warps from his distressed persona into a grooving flamboyance. Though his transitions are convincing and provide for solid dance music, the album as a whole is noticeably awkward because of this contrast.
The first six tracks on Kiss Me
are remarkable. Several others after “The Snakepit” are also worth mentioning in a casual post-punk discussion. They make for excellent singles but they are incredibly disjointed, giving the album an identity crisis. Some songs (“How Beautiful You Are,” “Torture”) are so entertaining, however, that they completely overwhelm any lack of cohesiveness.
Among the endlessly entertaining songs, variety is appreciated. “Shiver and Shake” is The Cure’s attempt at punk rock. They rival Ravi Shankar’s sitar with a similar South Asian tuning on “If Only Tonight We Could Sleep.” With “Just Like Heaven,” it appeared The Cure opened a new door in pop’s (the genre, not your nostalgic father) vault for greatest songs ever recorded. With over an hour of material, it seems like the fun never stops…but it does. The album trails off near the end and becomes stuffed with filler. It’s hard to imagine a track had to be cut from the original release as Kiss Me
is already a behemoth. In the end you get more than what you paid for, but in this case it’s like eating one more spoonful of the chocolate chunk ice cream you really didn’t need.
Very often when I view art I become bored before I can fully appreciate the work and I end up walking away to save my knees some trouble from poor posture while standing still. Perhaps if Kiss Me
were less overwhelming and emptied itself of superfluous songs, I would have stuck around until my legs were sore.