ARTIST: The Cure
TITLE: Seventeen Seconds
YEAR RELEASED: 1980
CHART ACTION: #20 UK
SINGLES: A Forest (#31 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Play for Today
LINEUP: Robert Smith, Simon Gallup, Mathieu Hartley, Lol Tolhurst.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: This is where the mope starts – or the goth. The Cure take a turn towards the dark.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After a change of bassist and the addition of keyboard player Hartley, Smith and the Cure recorded this collection filled with dark songs, angsty vocals and moody music.
When needed, though, Smith could write a hook, as downbeat as the songs were. “Play for Today” has great guitar work and Gallup’s basslines combined with Hartley’s simple keyboard and Tolhurst’s drum effects make this the first truly gloomy masterpiece in the Cure’s catalog.
Aside from “Play for Today” and “A Forest” (which are very similar in construction), the songs are maybe too dark and somewhat lifeless. On some songs, like “Secrets” Smith’s vocals are buried so at times all you can hear is the sad timbre of his vocals.
It’s a stepping stone towards what the Cure would become with their next two albums.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: There was one instrumental piece that is only 52 seconds long, because they ran out of tape at that point and didn’t have the money to go back and record it again.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, live cuts, alternate takes and a rare single.
GRADE: B: They’re headed in the goth direction, but the songs aren’t Smith’s best this go-round.