The evolution of the Cure has provided fans with an interesting ride. They first broke onto the scene in the 70's and at the time their sound was basically jangly pop tunes with elements of post punk releasing singles like "Boys Don't Cry", "the Lovecats", and "Close to Me". Fast forward in their career and their later albums, the only 2 albums released by the Cure in the last 8 years, Bloodflowers
and The Cure
, and there is a very contrasting style of droning guitars and slower, sadder, and generally much fuller tunes that was hinted at on the critically acclaimed albums Pornography
The gloomy feel however wasn't as prevalent on the earlier albums, and the pop tunes were still present. Hearing the singles off the newer albums like "Maybe Someday" or "The End of the World", it almost feels like I am listening to a completely different band entirely, which is in no way a bad thing.
The Cure were one of the bands that emerged immediately following the punk rock scene, and to this day remain arguably the most popular of this group. While they aren't usually classified as goth, they paved the way for the goth movement, and Robert Smith surely dressed the part. The Cure didn't cross into the mainstream until the late 1980s, after they had already been a band for over 10 years, and the highlight came with the release of Disintegration
The addition of a keyboard in the 80s added to their spacey, gloomy feel, as the band slowly moved away from the jangle pop, and began to cater to the fans of 80s synth pop and groups like Depeche Mode. This came to a climax on Disintegration
, and it was at this point that the Cure really became a household name as they enjoyed their biggest hit with "Lovesong". They would later release a wonderful followup with Wish
containing another smash hit "Friday I'm In Love".
"The End of the World"
"(I Don't Know What's Going) On"
This album is a hard one for me to review. I love most Cure material, but this album especially is a hard one for me to get into. It shows a certain maturity, and that I think is one of it's downfalls. This album is not quite as gloomy as Disintegration
, or even their last album Bloodflowers
, and the result is what I sense to be a lack of emotion. When I put on a Cure album I am used to being affected and this album doesn't deliver.
The album contains several solid pop songs like "Taking Off" and "(I Don't Know What's Going) On", but there is nothing that really blows me away. It is a comfortable listen in the sense that it isn't an attention grabber, and that is the fatal flaw. After listening to the album several times I came to the conclusion that there are no real standouts, but it is rather just a collection of solid songs. The band churns out solid song after solid song like a well tuned machine. The obvious single is "The End of the World" which uses some elements of the gloom and emotion that made for past success, but there are only a few songs that I can say that about.
When the band was thriving it was because of Robert Smith's instability. On The Cure
, Smith and company seem to be just putting out a halfhearted record just because they hadn't had one in 4 years. Maybe it has come with age, but this album definately feels stale, and I hate to say it, but the best years for the Cure seem to be in the past.
This is an album that a Cure fan may listen to and say, "Where is the 'Lovesong', the 'Friday', the 'Charlotte Sometimes', or the 'Mint Car'..." I felt the same way. If you go into this album expecting it to be great you are going to be disappointed, but if you go in with a clean slate so to speak, you will likely see it as a solid record. The problem is I don't have that clean slate.