Thursday, February 28, 2008

kiss me kiss me kiss me - the cure

from the first throbbing chords and howling guitars 'kiss me kiss me kiss me' sets my nerves on edge; this 'kiss' is not nice and pleasant and soft and warm, its intense and hungry and draining and demanding your concentration, near drowning you in despair one minute, bringing you to intense highs the next. its a schizophrenic masterpiece, always too much and not nearly enough, the closest description of obsession and torment as maybe committed to music; smith sings 'I never wanted any of this I wish you were dead' and you wonder what you have let yourself in for.

a delight definitely despite the less than joyful titles such as 'torture', 'if only tonight we could sleep' and 'the snakepit'. after the hate of 'kiss', 'catch' is laconic and wistful. 'torture' is all melodrama, gothic bass and high chiming melodies whilst Robert Smith sings like a Poe story - but despite the relentless gloom ('hanging like this, like a vampire bat') the melody is ridiculously catchy and I even find myself humming along to the synthetic horn section (?) around the 3 minute mark which for me has to be one of the most sublime moments in music as Smith sings desperately about his unknown torture. it seems wrong though to be entertained by someone's suffering but isn't that the essence of pop music? and why such singers as Mary J Bilge continue to be popular because their life is a soap opera? i would like to think that the cure play on that morbidity if only through the sheer lengths they seem to go to depict the darker sides of the human psyche. 'if only tonight...' has an eastern flavour, a haunting reminder of the (stereotypical) exotic-ness of the Orient with its mystery and melancholy in dark eyes. 'Why can't I be you?' along with 'just like heaven' are perfect pop songs, a headrush of love subverted in some way either through a slightly unhinged desire to submerge into someone else ('I'll hug you to death') or doomed love ('I found myself alone, alone alone, upon a raging sea, which stole the only girl I loved and drowned her deep inside of me'). 'How beautiful you are' has to be the most vivid song I heard about the loss of faith in human nature so starkly detailed in narrative form and startling beginning 'you want to know why I hate you, well I'll try and explain.' the romance created by the words, rustic violin and piano, only serves to bring the world crashing down further, we feel the narrator's crushing reality check as though it were our own.

'the snakepit' is a far less pleasant experience musically, underneath the dirge guitars there is tune seeking to escape but gets lost in the wreaths of echo. 'all i want' sounds raw, guitars slicing through the fragile synths and Robert Smith doing his best to unsettle us with proclaiming tonight 'he's feeling like an animal' and all he wants is to 'hold you like a dog.' Lucky girl! There is clearly more fun times to be had however in the Cure camp as 'hot hot hot!!!' attests; I could even push the boat out and say its funky, a way to sneak the cure into the disco, as could 'the perfect girl' which rambles along prettily. I admit here the appeal of Robert Smith's voice is its indulgent sound, if that makes any sense at all! 'Icing sugar' is even bizarre, a rollicking rhythm built on a high bass line and - of all things - a saxophone moaning away in the near distance (they get everywhere). it ends with 'fight' a pugilistic call to arms, at turns stodgy and repetitive, yet curiously compelling. I have given up trying to understand why I am drawn to particular songs over others ('a thousand hours' and 'shiver and shake' pass me by for instance) yet here I like the chord changes that sound vaguely eastern, conjuring up images of ancient mongol warriors like Attila the Hun. i think he would have agreed with the sentiment 'never give in' at any rate.

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