The best of The Cure in sixteen songs with luminous spleen

From “Killing an Arab” to the hits “Boys Don’t Cry” or “Close to Me”, their romantic and lively new wave has marked generations of rock lovers since the 80s, on the occasion of their return to the stage after three years of absence, our selection.

Killing an Arab (1978)

From British skinheads to the American media during the Gulf War, many sought to recover the sulphurous song, forcing Robert Smith to constantly justify his tribute to Albert Camus. However, it is not necessary to read The stranger to understand the humanist question behind the alleged homicidal injunction. With its bewitching oriental riff, its unpleasant cymbal and its slow refrain, Kill an Arab it is the existentialist black dance of a teenager alien to himself, a pogo hit that invites you to step on all prejudices. – A.Be.

“Boys Don’t Cry” (1979)

Released as a single shortly after Three imaginary guys (and later included in its US version), Boys do not Cry is the first title with which many have discovered The Cure. Guitar with descending chords, pop melody humming instantly and this melancholy intensity in the voice of Robert Smith (then 20 years old) against the backdrop of modern questions about masculinity … It’s all there, and even if over time, the subject and the music matured in complexity, the group signs here the first tube of a long series. – J.-BR

“Three Imaginary Boys” (1979)

In front of the pink pocket, we played to guess who was the street lamp, who the vacuum cleaner, who the fridge (Robert Smith?). We know the emotion of being in direct contact with the music of “imaginary kids”, of which we know nothing. But it’s rare to get immediately stabbed by a first album. Everything is played here on the nerve or the cutting edge of a guitar, even when the voice already full of withheld tears makes its way on a haunting elegy, for a tomorrow that refuses to come. – FG

“So What” (1979)

“So” (“so what?”), the last belching words of this song, full of arrogance and irrepressible anger, echoing the famous “No matter the bullshit” Sex guns? To deal with boredom and conformism, all the healthy (post) punk anger of the beginnings of the trio from Crawley, a seedy town in West Sussex. The beginning of the piece resumes an advertisement for “A set of icing and cake decoration / Special offer, only £ 3.50”. And then what? Would we be taken for fools? – EP

“Play for Today” (1980)

Starting from Crawley, that is, out of nowhere, the Cure train ran by, we jumped on it, it was ours. Previous singles Seventeen seconds bordering on genius but from the first harmonics of the title that opens this second album we knew that we were entering a cottony Eden, yet interwoven with anxieties and pains that he strives to put at a distance. Undermined by resentment, melodically inspired as ever, Robert Smith was then the perfect architect of our frustrations. – FG

“M” (1980)

First there is this hesitant intro that suspends its flight with a few seconds reverberation to restart in the opposite direction. This throbbing rhythm guitar, dancing to Simon Gallup’s wavy bass, flanked by another accomplice all in convolutions. It is she who will take everything in her path at the end of the piece. So many titles to stand out on Seventeen secondsof which In the forest, place just before. But M. and its chorus of dramatic fate “You will fall in love with someone else, tonight” eventually prevailed. – OdP

“The Drowning Man” (1981)

If the trilogy “cold” thus marked the spirits, is that it obeys a rigorous economy: orchestral minimalism, all razor blades and hard angles and Sado-Gothic aesthetics where liquid and insubstantial poetry is crucified with beautiful consistency, and the song of Smith’s flayed cat. Few things, then, but the expression only seems reinforced. Ophelic drift on black water, between dead leaves and memories of Mervyn Peake, The drowning man illustrates this balance. Nothing to add, nothing to take away: Cure neglects all apprentices with melancholy. – L.-JN

“All Cats Are Gray” (1981)

“I never thought I’d find myself / In a bed among the stones […] Inside the tombs / All cats are gray … ” More than these words sung (very) far from the microphone and without affectation, as if they came from the afterlife, it is the music of this essentially instrumental piece that fascinates and surprises. There is paradoxically something reassuring in these synthesizer spirals that are dispersed to the four winds and in this metronomic drum with an enveloped sound, like the distant echo of a thunder. Death as a peaceful and liberating experience? – EP

“One Hundred Years” (1982)

“It doesn’t matter if we all die. “ Open the door of the Underworld, the Cure rush there as horsemen of the Apocalypse. What will come of it? pornography, of course. Only carcasses, tortured flesh and spoiled souls, reptilian fornication and torments of iron and lead are extracted from this place. This obstinacy in cruel art, competing with the incarnation, life, pushes Robert Smith closer to the abyss: the caricature. However, the fall is averted: faith, angel or devil, supports him on this journey towards the end of terror. – L.-JN

“A Strange Day” (1982)

In 1982, Robert Smith hesitated between suicide and registration. He will choose the second option, closing, with Pornographyhis trilogy of darkness began with Seventeen seconds. His depressive state, coupled with drug abuse and tensions within the group, give rise to a Gothic masterpiece, whose A strange day it is one of the hubs. Crying vocals, robotic drums with its three snare hits at the end of each measure, enhanced guitar gimmick with the flanger pedal, macabre text: “It’s all gone forever.” The Curate brilliantly reached the pinnacle of neurasthenia. It can (re) become pop. – F.Pé.

“Cats in Love” (1983)

Totally silly and therefore irresistible. The exception is that The Cure has been able to counterbalance its romantic spleen with eccentric and youthful pop songs. Joy Division or Nick Cave can’t say the same. Cats in lovecomposed of a drunkard Robert Smith, is the craziest of the lot, borrowing the hopping swing of the Aristocats to celebrate the mischievous rebirth of a half-disintegrated group after the extreme Pornography. Or how to preserve innocence as an antidote to depression. —HC

“One Night Like This” (1985)

With the album Head on the door, The Cure, which has gone pop, finally reaches the general public. But without losing its singularity or its obscurity. The dark words (a break) ofA night like this and the resulting melancholy is proof of this. The combination of the two guitars (fluid arpeggios on one side, furious riffs on the other) bring beautifully the looped melody that Robert Smith sings in his wailing voice. Even the saxophone solo (one of the horrors of the 1980s) remains consistent here. The class! – F.Pé.

“Near Me” (1985)

“Oh, if only I were sure, my head on the door was a dream”, sings a hallucinated Robert Smith Close to me. Extract of Head on the doorsixth album of The Cure, the song that rubs shoulders Between these DAYSa hymn by Curemania, deals, according to Smith himself, with “The disappointment of dreams comes true” oa “Feeling of imminent death” lived in childhood. The sweet intoxication that emanates from it is as exhilarating as the haunted minimalism that Smith slips into, to be able to make this anti-hit, with wobbly sax and clapping, a classic. – J.-BR

“Just Like Heaven” (1987)

In 1986 Bernard Lenoir, with whom I collaborate, took over the reins of children of rock and decides to change the credits. What music to dress her up? The Cure, now popular in France, recorded the successor to the Miraval studio Head on the door. A request is made, without illusions. Shortly after, we receive an instrumental, works in progress that fills all our hopes. We pinch ourselves. Offered without compensation, this piece perfectly concentrates the group’s sonic alchemy. We could count on Robert Smith to add one of his most beautiful hatreds to eternal love, in life as well as in the afterlife. —HC

“Street of charm” (1989)

wrote Robert Smith Street charm before leaving for New Orleans, in the fantasized and therefore feared waiting to finally see the famous rue Bourbon, the promise of night fevers. Would desire be doomed to disenchantment? This abrasive song with sophisticated bitterness, from the album Disintegration, masterfully shakes the romantic codes of an album with a slightly emphatic pop lyricism. With Gallup’s endless bassline, Thompson’s whimsical guitars and Smith’s wide voice, to give it more of a street sound, the echo of a cathedral. – A.Be.

“From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea” (1992)

The group is at its commercial peak. Despite a single (Friday I am in love) to the formidable lightness, Wish it is a dark disc inhabited, as always, by demons and pain. Highlighted, among other titles, From the edge of the deep green sea. An astounding rise of love, guitars and drums, interrupted by tears of clarity mixed with lies. “Why are you crying, what did I say? But it’s just rain, I smile … “. Times have changed, My Bloody Valentine’s wall of shoegaze sound resonates across England. The Cure puts its mark on it. – OdP

I have : The Cure on tour in France, from 7 to 28 November.

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