Category: The Cure

The Cure – Faith

ARTIST: The Cure                                     220px-The_Cure_-_Faith

TITLE:  Faith

YEAR RELEASED: 1981

CHART ACTION: #14 UK

SINGLES: Primary (#43 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Goths, freaks, and depressos know this one.

LINEUP: Robert Smith, Simon Gallup, Lol Tolhurst

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The Cure move into full on goth mode with an album of dark colours and forms.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Simon Gallup’s bassline mournfully carries the opening cut “The Holy Hour”, while Robert Smith’s melody and singing signal that the Cure have moved on to something bleak.

Bleakness doesn’t make a great album, you need to have songs. This time, Smith and the Cure have the songs, for the most part. “Primary” is somewhat upbeat…well at least it’s uptempo. It’s also got a patented Robert Smith ascending scale guitar line. Gallup’s bass carries most of the songs, grounding them in a deep groan.

The sadness and angst may be overwhelming, and some of the slower tracks get eaten up by the torpor of gloom. For the most part, Cure’s goth-rock coalesces this time.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: To get the sound just right, the Cure tried at least five studios in search of the right mix.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, demos and live tracks for almost all songs, plus a single “Charlotte Sometimes”, which rose to number 44 in the UK.

GRADE: B+: Most of the cuts marry a worthwhile song with the gloomy sound.

The Cure – Seventeen Seconds

ARTIST: The Cure 220px-Seventeen_Seconds

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.

The Cure – Three Imaginary Boys

ARTIST: The Cure 220px-TheCureThreeImaginaryBoysalbumcover
TITLE: Three Imaginary Boys ( Boys Don’t Cry in the US)
YEAR RELEASED: 1979 (1980 US)
CHART ACTION: #44 UK (Boys Don’t Cry #71 UK when released there)
SINGLES: Killing an Arab, Boys Don’t Cry, Jumping Someone Else’s Train (All on US Version)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: 10:15 Saturday Night, Grinding Halt, Meathook, Fire in Cairo (well, plenty of Cure fans know them).
LINEUP: Robert Smith, Michael Dempsey, Lol Tolhurst
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After a false start or two, the Cure’s journey begins in earnest, and they’re as mopey as they ever will be already.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The Cure’s debut album shows the trio already mining their path of sadness and doom. Ok, that may be an overstatement, but Smith’s voice has that angst that he’s carried throughout his career.

The music is minimalist – just Smith’s guitar and Dempsey’s bass carry the songs for the most part. Thus, the songs are short and to the point. For the most part, they’re strong as well. They had a few odd experiments (that they may or may not have wanted on the album). 220px-Boys_Don't_Cry

The UK version had none of their singles on it, so for the US market they added the three singles and removed four songs. They then released THAT to the UK market as well, and both were on CD. But when this became available for streaming, the original album was the only one available and it added the singles as bonus tracks (plus a song that was on the original release that they removed – see below) except for Killing an Arab, which they have decided is just too much trouble to deal with.

Personally, the US version is a better representation, but I’ll grade the original version since that’s out there now. It’s pretty darn good with a few cuts that are questionable.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Oh, boy. This album was released without Smith’s input, as he really didn’t want some tracks on it. The US version dropped all of those songs but one, then it was swapped with a Smith approved song when it went to CD, and another song removed as well. Confused? Just get the deluxe version and find Killing an Arab somewhere.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes.

GRADE: B+: A couple three head scratching tracks that were removed for Boys Don’t Cry, which would get a strong A-.