Hagley Road to Ladywood, "a peek into media culture & society"

July 20, 2008

"The magical world of The Cure"

I properly got into the Cure around the 1990-1991 period when Mixed Up was released. I would've been about 13 years old and still at school. I was already aware of them from their famous hits like The Love Cats and more recently Lullaby (I knew that Lullaby was a striking song when it was released but the video scared me a little when it came out!). I also had a vague recollection of seeing The Cure's legendary Close To Me video on Top of the Pops when I was a kid and it had stuck in my mind. So even though I had not yet taken the plunge and bought any of their records, it was clear, looking back, that they had made an impression on me.

I think it was inevitable that I was going to get into them eventually and it happened to be when Mixed Up came out as they were getting a lot of exposure at the time on the music programmes I was watching. I had MTV then and two of The Cure's videos from that album, Close To Me (Closer Mix) and Never Enough were being shown regularly. I loved both songs and the accompanying videos, so my sister bought me the album for Christmas. I played it pretty much every day for a long period and it was from this that I became aware of some other classic Cure songs (albeit it radically different to the original versions, as I was later to discover). It was after hearing this album that I started to love Lullaby and also tracks like Pictures of You and The Caterpillar. Around this time my dad also bought me The Cure Picture Show video as a present which exposed me to other wondrous songs like Catch and Just Like Heaven. Hearing these songs and watching all the clips on this video really enthralled me and opened me up even further into the magical world of the Cure.

I found Robert Smith very endearing and funny and I started to copy his mannerisms and turns of phrase. When I got the Cure Play Out video a bit later it re-affirmed what a hilarious and likeable bunch of blokes the Cure of that period were. There was no turning back, I was a bona fide Curehead from here on in. But Mixed Up and the compilation videos were simply a taster (and at times a misleading one). I had no idea then what a vast, exciting and varied catalogue I was about to dive into. My record collection around 1990-1991 was relatively small and football was my main passion. The Cure though were the first band that I wanted to get look into and they had released so much, so profically that I was almost drooling at the mouth thinking about all the songs that I was yet to hear. I wanted more. They were the first band that made me realise that I loved/love music above anything else.

The first "proper" album I bought was Kiss Me... (because it had the most songs on it and also included two of my favourites in Catch and Just Like Heaven). At first, I found it quite hard going because many of the songs were not as accessible as the more mainstream Mixed Up. But I persevered and soon loved all the miriad styles it contained. It was so rich and exciting and created a exotic world that I could get lost in that was so far removed from the mundane and everyday. Robert's lyrics were also very dreamy and distinctive and struck a cord my imagination and what it was possible to write about.

Next I purchased Disintegration and was immediately gripped by its epic melancholy and beauty. Plainsong became my new favourite.After that I bought each of the albums in The Cure's back catalogue one by one. Listening to each one for the first time engendered a quite specific feeling or memory in me that was unique for each album. Each one was special in its own way and I still get the same feelings and memories when I listen to any of these records now.

Wish was the first LP that came out after I became a fan and so holds particular affection for me. I rushed out to the shop to buy it on the day it was released and I wasn't disappointed.The Cure has remained a big part of my life. I've seen them live several times, have bought everything they've released, and read everything about band and their history (ex band members etc). While I love many, many other diverse bands (my record collection contains 600+ albums), The Cure has always been there and is my undoubted favourite. In all honesty, the magic that I felt the day Wish came out or when I heard Catch or Plainsong for the first time has never really been fully recaptured in recent years. I've like large elements of all of The Cure's subsequent albums (from Wild Mood Swings onwards) but none of them have quite lived up to my hopes or experience listening to the earlier stuff. They have contained a few too many duff tracks, songs that sound like parodies of themselves and and also the occasional terrible lyrics. But while I have often questioned whether my love affair with The Cure has reached an end, the excitement re-ignites with the anticipation of each new album. And it's still there now as I wait for the new record to come out (hopefully) this year. I'm optimistic that with Porl Thompson back in the frame, I will at last have another Cure album up there with their very best.

(From: Matthew Beavis, Nottingham, England)

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