[Review] The Cure: Boys Don’t Cry (1980)

A compilation of The Cure’s early singles and cuts from their first album released for the always-late-to-the-party Americans.

Kronomyth 2.5: The crush.

The most important musical revolution in my lifetime was happening 3,000 miles away and all I could do was listen to late-night radio and save up money for expensive import records. Eventually, of course, the revolution was repackaged for the Americans. We got The Clash, prettied up to perfection by mixing the strongest album cuts with singles, and, soon after, Boys Don’t Cry. This compilation features a good half of Three Imaginary Boys (the better half, natch) plus the early singles, “Boys Don’t Cry” b/w “Plastic Passion,” “Jumping Someone Else’s Train” and “Killing An Arab” b/w “10:15 Saturday Night” (shorter than the elpee version).

The difference between their first and second album is day and night; Seventeen Seconds is a much darker work. You wouldn’t re-encounter anything as catchy as “Fire In Cairo,” “Boys Don’t Cry,” “Jumping Someone Else’s Train” or “Grinding Halt” for years. If you enjoy their early “punk” phase (and I do), Boys Don’t Cry makes for a better compilation than Standing On A Beach. For some reason, the compact disc reissue omits “Object” and “World War” in favor of the snotty “So What.”

Fans of future Cure may find some of the early punk posturing offputting (e.g., “Plastic Passion”), but the fact remains that Boys Don’t Cry delivers more Cure “hits” per square inch than any record up to Japanese Whispers. These days, an out-of-print copy will cost you the same as Three Imaginary Boys, so better to get your history straight from the source. Graybeards like myself, however, will remember this fondly as our first Cure crush.

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Original LP Version

A1. Jumping Someone Else’s Train (2:57)
A2. Boys Don’t Cry (2:50)
A3. Plastic Passion (2:49)
A4. 10:15 Saturday Night (2:40)
A5. Accuracy (2:15)
A6. Object (2:58)
A7. Subway Song (1:57)
B1. Killing An Arab (2:30)
B2. Fire In Cairo (3:20)
B3. Another Day (3:42)
B4. Grinding Halt (2:49)
B5. World War (2:30)
B6. Three Imaginary Boys (3:12)

All songs written by Lol Tolhurst/Michael Dempsey/Robert Smith.

UK Reissue LP Version (1983)
A1. Boys Don’t Cry
A2. Plastic Passion
A3. 10:15 Saturday Night
A4. Accuracy
A5. Object
A6. Jumping Someone Else’s Train
A7. Subway Song
B1. Killing An Arab
B2. Fire In Cairo
B3. Another Day
B4. Grinding Halt
B5. World War
B6. Three Imaginary Boys

CD reissue version
1. Boys Don’t Cry
2. Plastic Passion
3. 10:15 Saturday Night
4. Accuracy
5. So What
6. Jumping Someone Else’s Train
7. Subway Song
8. Killing An Arab
9. Fire In Cairo
10. Another Day
11. Grinding Halt
12. Three Imaginary Boys

The Players

Michael Dempsey (bass, vocals), Robert Smith (guitar, vocals), Lol Tolhurst (drums). Produced by Chris Parry; engineered by Mike Hedges.

The Pictures

Sleeve design & illustration by Bill Smith.

The Plastic

Released on elpee and cassette in 1980 in the US (PVC, PVC/PVCC 7916), Australia (Stunn 7, MLF/MCF-7353) and Germany (Fiction, 0060.276).

  1. Re-issued on elpee and cassette in August 1983 in the UK (Fiction, SPELP/SPEMC 26) and Australia (Sire, 250620-1/4); reached #71 on the UK charts.
  2. Re-issued on elpee in 1984 in Japan (VAP, 35124-25).
  3. Re-issued on compact disc and cassette in 1988 in the US (Elektra, 60786-2/4).
  4. Re-issued on compact disc in 2011 in Brazil (Fiction/Universal, 04228150112).

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