The Cure, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me 1987, Fiction Records
If Only Tonight We Could Sleep
Why Can’t I Be You?
How Beautiful You Are
Just Like Heaven
All I Want
Hot Hot Hot!!!
One More Time
The Perfect Girl
A Thousand Hours
Shiver and Shake
The original line-up of The Cure got together in 1976 but Robert Smith has been the only consistent member of the band following numerous changes of personnel. Starting out in the post punk scene, they became pioneers of goth rock, although the band themselves have always rejected being placed into any specific musical category.
On this, their seventh album which reached number 6 in the UK chart the band were: Robert Smith on vocals and guitar, Simon Gallup on bass, Porl Thompson on guitar and keyboards, Lol Tolhurst on keyboards and Boris Williams on drums. This is considered to be their classic line-up. Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me was their American breakthrough album, helped by the release of four singles whose videos received heavy airplay on MTV. Making this a double album meant that the band had the time and space to experiment with so many different styles as well as to maximise the potential of being able to release the album on the relatively new medium of the compact disc.
Opener The Kiss begins with almost four minutes of industrial sounding instrumental with heavy guitars and drums, when Smith’s vocal does come in, it’s dark and anguished. Catch seems an obvious choice as a single release, it’s a light and poppy change of direction, but for me it’s a weak track. Torture starts with that unmistakble twangy synthy electro Cure sound. It’s another deliberate change of musical direction, a hallmark of this album along with the vocal coming in pretty late on most of the tracks, the bass hook is strong on this one. If Only Tonight We Could Sleep uses a sitar sound on the synth which gives it an obvious dream like quality reflected in the lyrics. Why Can’t I Be You? is another poppy track that was released as a single. There is some great saxophone on here and it's upbeat and fun with a Motown flavour. How Beautiful You Are, a song about how you think you know someone and one thing they do can change your mind has a guitar focus and an urgent beat. The Snakepit has strong drums and guitars but again, a dreamy quality to it. Hey You!!! Is another upbeat track with more great saxophone. Just Like Heaven marks the midway point of the album nicely, it’s one of their more famous singles, all swirling guitars and drums. All I Want is a highlight with heavy guitars and drums again. Hot Hot Hot!!! the final single is an unexpectedly funky dance number. One More Time is quietly beautiful and delicate both musically and in Smith’s vocal performance. Like Cockatoos starts with a very ominous drum beat and this sense of foreboding permeates the entire song. The bassline is also very strong here. Icing Sugar both speeds amd jazzes things up. It’s as light and whimsical as its name suggests. The Perfect Girl is the most like a classic rock song here. A Thousand Hours has very few lyrics but its painful, full of desperation and longing. It’s probably the darkest song on the album. Shiver and Shake takes us right back to the band’s roots and wouldn’t feel out of place on their first album. It’s an all out angry rocker. The album closes on a high with The Fight which feels like a classic indie track.
It’s a very interesting album, with such an eclectic mix of styles, there will always be some tracks you’re just not that keen on. It’s so well executed and well thought out though, that it draws you in and keeps you listening, even to the tracks you’re not too sure about.
The Cure, albeit with a different line-up continue to tour and make music. Earlier this year, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and just last Sunday, they headlined Glastonbury to a rapturous reception. Their latest album is due for release in the autumn.
They influenced both their contemporaries like Bauhaus and younger bands like Interpol, Smashing Pumpkins and Deftones and although they are loath to admit it, the goth rock genre in general owes them a great debt.