Category Archives: Cure

The Cure: “Fascination Street (Remix)” (1989)

Kronomyth 12.02: FASCIST TREE NATION. You Cure fans are a double lucky lot because Cure singles are so much fun to collect. Take this one for example: it’s a remix of the original and the B side is the nonalbum “Babble.” As if that weren’t enough, an Extended Remix version of “Fascination Street” exists on a CD single and 12-inch that also includes (for US collectors) another nonalbum entry, “Out of Mind,” that had earlier appeared on the UK single “Lullaby.” And their discography is rife with fruit like this: nonalbum tracks of actual merit (“Babble” could have easily been an album track), interesting remixes, picture discs. I can’t tell you what the difference is in the single remix version of “Fascination Street” since I don’t own Disintegration, but I can tell you that the song itself is terrific. Always reminds me of PiL, two bands I don’t usually lump together for some reason but who, in fact, are very similar. I tried my hand at transcribing the lyrics from Babble, but the ends of the third and fourth couplets are a little hard to make out.

“Babble”
oh nothing ever changes, nothing ever moves
and I sit around in circles in the same old lifeless room

we talk about the mirror man that whispers in my ear again
the hot and sticky pillow man is smothering my face again

oh nothing ever changes, nothing ever moves
and I run around hysterical in dead persistent gloom

babble out in simile
like dog head monkey musing me

shut up shut up shut up shut up and let me breathe

shut up shut up shut up shut up and let me breathe

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The Cure: Mixed Up (1990)

Kronomyth 13.0: A MIXED SUCCESS. A kindness to kure kollectors, who number not a few, Mixed Up kompiles a handful of hard-to-find 12-inch mixes with some newly released and re-recorded mixes. Robert Smith has gone on record as saying that the album’s intent was to put this material within easier reach of fans who might not be inclined to pay $20+ for an aftermarket single, but fans still had to reach into their wallets if they wanted to hear the new stuff (and enough of them did to send it platinum). There are new visions of old nightmares now de-fanged (“The Walk,” “A Forest”), quirky revisions of the classics (two of which, “Close to Me” and “Inbetween Days,” were released as singles to promote this album) and the usual sort of sonic spelunkering one might expect from the psychedelically inclined Smith. It didn’t change my world, it won’t change yours; Mixed Up is about filling in the cracks in your collection, not adding another brick to the wall between you and The Cure and the rest of the world. Time moves excrementally toward the clogged catch basin of our collected memories and Mixed Up seeps through without so much as a stain to remember it by. I wouldn’t make acquiring this a priority since it’s not where the real party is happening, but cure-iosity is bound to get the better of you sooner or later.

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Rubaiyat: Elektra’s 40th Anniversary (1990)

This is an interesting idea: 38 songs from Elektra’s back catalog performed in the idiom of 38 artists from their current roster, some of whom (The Cure, Linda Ronstadt) have the distinction of being both interpreter and interpretee. That said, if you were to allocate 120 minutes and 20 bucks to every interesting idea that crossed your path, you’d be more than a dollar short and a day late. I listened to this simply because I wanted to hear The Cure’s version of The Doors’ “Hello I Love You.” Elektra did me the kindness of putting that track first, so after five minutes I could have begged off a little wiser (if none the richer) and spent the next 115 minutes saving the world or filing paper or something in between. Instead, I stuck it out for the whole elektrafixation and was rewarded with a few more surprises: Billy Bragg steamrolling through “Seven And Seven Is,” The Sugarcubes messing with “Motorcycle Mama,” a Spanish version of “Hotel California” by the Gipsy Kings, Television’s “Marquee Moon” in a classical light, Jon Zorn demolishing The Stooges’ “TV Eye,” that sort of thing. The concept fails as often as not, though, largely because I didn’t care about the originals to begin with. In fact, I hadn’t even heard of half of these songs, and I grew up in the 70s. Appearances by Metallica, They Might Be Giants and Pixies are wasted on poorly matched songs that don’t deserve the attention. Too many obscure artists on both sides of the interpretations ultimately undermine Rubaiyat. Yes, this is a celebration of Elektra’s eclectic history, but I’ve worked in marketing too many years not to smell a cross-sell. Outside of a desire to hear more of The Sugarcubes, I wasn’t sold on digging any deeper into Elektra’s roster old or new.

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The Cure: “High” (1992)

Kronomyth 14.01: THE MYTHING LINK. Kronomyth, or The Adventures of Mebyl Spaetzmann, chapter the first. This is the advance satellite from KM.14, indicating that there were plenty of planets of interest ahead in the constellation of The Cure. “High” sailed smoothly into the UK quadrant, stalled after a near-collision in the US quadrant, and entered the select company of iProbable songs from this magical band. Here it appears in a shortened single mix, a dizzier high mix, and comes on the cd single with two new asteroids clinging to its orbit: “This Twilight Garden” and “Play.” The asteroids are album-worthy, the first languid and lovely (at least to the ears of longtime Curists), the second stuck in a slow orbit but not without merit. Captain Mebyl found a strange, 12-inch plastic disc that contains a rare trip mix, which collectors might wish to mine for their own.

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The Cure: Wish (1992)

Kronomyth 13.0: WISH ME, WISH ME, WISH ME. Wish is The Cure painted in Van Gogh blue with three luminous moons named High, Friday and Elise to lure unwary travellers into thinking this is an improbably giddy romp through the lighter side of Robert Smith’s imagination. But of course those of us who have swum with The Cure for some time know there are no happy endings, only manic episodes of happiness that escape like lucky fish from the reaper’s net of grim reality. The obvious bookends of “Open” and “End” create a self-contained world that begins with Robert Smith’s declaration of depression (“The way the rain comes down is the way I feel inside”) and ends with him chipping away at his own iconic stature (“Please stop loving me, I am none of these things”). Heavy stuff that would drag down most albums, except that The Cure are the perfect purveyors of gothic sadness, and in their world down is definitely up. I’ll admit that I get weak in the knees every time those three moons appear, but I wouldn’t wish for one more happy track on here. The hopeful, silly “Doing The Unstuck” may actually be one too many. Better are the buttery “Trust,” “From The Edge of the Deep Green Sea” and “Apart,” which make the highs of High and Friday so much sweeter (Elise couldn’t be called a proper upper). I wouldn’t recommend listening to Wish if you’ve recently been dumped in a relationship (the early Stones’ll stiffen your spine just fine), but as a mope opus Wish is hard to beat. The rich sonic textures, touches of psychedelia, tinges of madness and surgeon-skilled self-criticism have rarely been equalled in the annals of gothic rock, although The Cure themselves have bested it on occasion. Still, this is a High point in the history of The Cure and a cementing of their status as stars (though stars who invite you to study the blackness between them).

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The Cure: Show (1993)

Kronomyth 14.0: SHOW ME SHOW ME SHOW ME THE MONEY. If you wished every Cure album sounded like their last, this just goes to Show you that some Wishes do come true. The band’s Highly successful (sorry, I’ll stop doing that) Wish was followed by a world tour that was chronicled on two live discs: Show and Paris. This is the story of Show, which heavily favors selections from Wish. In fact, the album is conceived as a kind of Live Wish, featuring eight of that album’s 12 tracks including a replica of its beginning (“Open,” “High”) and ending (“Cut,” “End”). Mixed in are a handful of popular Cure songs from the past including “Just Like Heaven,” “Pictures of You,” “Inbetween Days” and “Lullaby.” Although the studio was always a sympathetic canvas for The Cure, the band does a standup job of capturing the moodiness and the giddiness of their music on stage. It’s a very clean Show, with little banter in between and a carefully controlled crowd that sounds suspiciously like canned white noise. Despite the superior sound quality and steadfast loyalty to the originals, two double CDs dedicated to one tour is one two-disc set too many by my math. Fans may be tickled pink to find themselves at such a deep, full trough of The Cure and wish that every tour had such an homage; the rest of us will move quietly ahead to Wild Mood Swings and try not to stare at the wreckage that must be these releases’ inevitable collision with reality. Very few bands have attempted the double double-live release (Genesis’ The Way We Walk comes to mind), and all have battled apathy from their broader fan base as a result. Whether Show and Paris kept the flame alive a little while longer or left fans who bought them feeling burned, The Cure’s next album received a cooler reception than usual, and you can’t help but wonder if the overmarketed Wish was partly to blame.

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Original Motion Picture Soundtrack: The Crow (1994)

The idea of the leading gothic, industrial and punk/metal bands contributing new tracks for a cool film based on a comic book hero come back from the dead looks great on paper—especially if that piece of paper had the Billboard charts printed on it, where this soundtrack soared to #1. In hindsight, The Crow simply arrived at the right time, as albums by The Cure, Stone Temple Pilots, Nine Inch Nails and Pantera had themselves recently occupied the #1 and #2 positions. There are a handful of good original songs on here, including an honest-to-goodness hit with Stone Temple Pilots’ “Big Empty,” but mostly this is the sort of stuff that showed up as bonus tracks on EPs and CD singles: covers (“Dead Souls,” “Ghostrider,” “The Badge”), alternate versions (“Milktoast,” “Darkness”) and songs that might have missed the original album cut (“Burn,” “Golgotha Tenement Blues,” “After The Flesh”). It’s an interesting mix, but I would recommend buying almost any single album from one of these artists over this sampler. I found myself skipping ahead to some tracks (“Darkness,” “After The Flesh,” “Time Baby III”) and ignoring the rest of it. For example, the opening “Burn” is the same smoldering stuff that appears in spades on Cure albums, and covers by NIN and Pantera add nothing to what they’ve already accomplished with Downward Spiral and Vulgar Display. The soundtrack to The Crow remains an interesting collectible as a crystallized portrait of alternative 90s rock in its ascension, only it’s no diamond in the rough. As a soundtrack, it’s a crowning success, but as an album of original goth/industrial/metal music it’s nothing to crow about.

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