The Cure ~ Primary [1981]

Arguably, The Cure is the greatest goth band to ever exist, but not if you ask co-founder and frontman Robert Smith who dislikes the gothic label. “We got stuck with it at a certain time when goths first started. I was playing guitar with Siouxsie And The Banshees, so I had to play the part. Goth was like pantomime to me.” That said, he continues, “Every goth I’ve ever met has been very nice, you know? As a subculture, I think it’s full of wonderful people. But I have never liked what’s classified as goth music.” [timeout.com]

The innocence of sleeping children,
Dressed in white and slowly dreaming,
Stops all time.

Smith’s voice is one of the most polarizing in music. At first, it seems off, almost otherworldly, definitely strange, but quickly you discover a world of nuance in it, an unreal plaintive delivery with an emotive edge few can rival. His voice is easily his most incredible instrument and what truly separates and elevates him from his contemporaries. This isn’t to downplay his songwriting ability, his lyrics, or his music. As in the example of ‘Primary’, he has an uncanny ability to create an emotionally immersive experience with even sparse instrumentation and relatively direct mechanics rivaling that of The Beatles. This isn’t an illusion, this is his soul-wrenching magic allowing his works to transcend time.

A lot of people are like us. Everybody I know has gone through the emotional trauma of Seventeen Seconds, which is learning you can’t trust people as implicitly as you’d thought when you were younger. Faith is about having gone through that and trying to discover what you can have faith in, the loss of innocence and growing older, as in ‘Primary,’ and trying to sort out what your life’s about.

~ Robert Smith

Taken from said third album Faith,’ Primary’ speaks of unrepentant youth and the beauty thereof. The unknowing of just how awful the world (and other people) can actually be. Smith felt so strongly about this at the time, possibly due in part to the growing depression he was experiencing, that with the lyrics he was, “toying with the idea that it may be better to die very young, innocent and dreaming…or even to murder as a gift…” This marks a truly dark if revelatory essence-of-mind that foreshadowed their vantablack fourth album Pornography, an album largely, if not entirely, conceived while on hallucinogens.

“So they close together,
Dressed in red and yellow,
Innocent forever,
Sleeping children in their blue soft rooms still dream.”

If you still require a ‘gateway drug’ to The Cure’s eclectic catalog, check out their early compilation album Standing On A Beach (Staring At The Sea being the equivalent CD), leading with their controversial song ‘Killing An Arab‘, which caused a bit of a stir at the time due to angry American sentiment matched murderous lyrics, though actually based on Camus’ The Stranger. The album itself is a catchy mixture of foreboding, if more approachable fare (read: ‘Lovecats’), that will wear down your growlingly argumentative nature until you relent, renounce your angelic ways, and play their works on repeat ad infinitum.

The further we go, and older we grow,
The more we know, the less we show.

~

The Cure’s
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