Monday, May 19, 2008

The Strange Duality That is The Cure

I seldom listen to the radio anymore. Most of the stations here in the LA area simply recycle 15 year old SUBLIME songs (can someone please explain how that band was ever popular?), but I found myself three minutes from home this evening and rather than flip through my Ipod endlessly I flipped the FM dial on the old radio. In a very serendipitous moment I landed on a station that was playing the new single from THE CURE!!!
Now, I have been a Cure fan for a long time. I spent the better part of one year absorbed in the beauty that was the "Wish" CD and still get goosebumps at "10:15 Saturday Night" and "Charlotte Sometimes". But since the "Bloodflowers" CD I have kind of lost touch with Robert Smith. I mostly ignored the last record (and judging by its sales I was not alone) so it's no real surprise that at first listen, the poppier, more radio friendly version of the band appears. "The Only One" is very much a carbon copy of "High" with its use of tympanies and Smith's falsetto pining over a lost love. "NY Trip" is the other track making the rounds and it also owes quite a debt to the "Wish" era wah-wah guitar effects. The songs actually come off as a bit derivative in many ways. The band (much like REM latest) are bidding for relevance in a time when most of the kids only know them from "Just Like Heaven" (Random side note: Why is it that this is the only song they will play when they appear on TV...I can count 6 occasions when the band was on live TV with new material to peddle and instead rolling this song out for the 1,000 time. I mean I like it and all but would it kill them to hit the catalogue a bit.)

So I will keep one ear out for the rest of the record (which is supposed to be rolled out in pieces until its official release in August). Here's hoping that it's not just a greatest hits retread but buried in their bid for radio airplay is the artistic daring that they were once known for.

(mp3) The Cure -- NY Trip (courtesy of SOTB)

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