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.” []

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

6 thoughts on “The Cure ~ Primary [1981]

  1. I think “sparse instrumentation” works well in this song…the music’s beat picks you up and drags you along without being overdone. Smith looks like a child, too young to have experienced the nihilism imbued in the lyrics, but…we both know age has nothing to do with despair. The lyrics “…further we go, and older we grow, the more we know, the less we show…” is true to a certain extent. But I will add this, something my dad told me in his later years (he lived to the age of 94), somewhere in his 70s, I think. I’m paraphrasing here—the older I get, the more I realize how little I know.
    Great song, Rann. You have a knack for ferreting out unknown (to me) gems. 🖤

    1. Smith was a dark soul, though I think he’s lightened up considerably over the years. Your father was a wise man. Most definitely true that the more we know, the less we know, we know. Sounds like you have some serious longevity in your genes. I heard (somewhere on the Internet) a doctor say that most all of us would live into our hundreds, but we all do at least one major thing wrong that causes us to die early. Thanks for the kind words, jai. I have at least another 1000+ tracks to go… 🖤

      1. Sounds like you’re in it for the long haul. I’m looking forward to your future posts, knowing whatever music you introduce me to, it’ll be good. 😊
        Yes, chances are I’ll live longer than I care to. My great-grandfather lived to be a little over 100 (not sure the exact number of years) and get this—after his first wife died when he was in his 70s, he married a thirteen-year-old and raised another family. Try to do that now. 🤣🤣🖤

      2. I’m glad you’re enjoying my posts, I certainly have enjoyed yours. That is wild! Marrying exceedingly young women was not entirely unheard of in those years, but to a 70+ year old man is kind of insane, lol. He must’ve been loaded, in one way or another… 😂

      3. My dad never told me the “why” of that marriage; of course, he may not have known himself. I can’t recall the name of a fiction book I read years ago about the Biblical Noah, but in it, when an old man, he married a thirteen-year-old. Other than the fact that it was a good book, that’s all I remember about it. A woman—or girl—having the choice on who and when to marry is a recent development historical-wise. My great grandfather may have given a milk cow to the girl’s father in exchange for her. Who knows? 😂😂

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