Thursday, April 7, 2016

arker, darker, Dorothy Parker. 35 years ago, The Cure released their second studio album 17 SecondsMore keyboard, slower rhythms, a far bleaker album cover, and more emphatic crybaby vocals all worked together to make this the first truly Gothic LP. It's not very happy music; not ANGRY, mind you, just terribly depressed and suicidal. Yet regardless of what worried mothers might tell you, little girls and boys (big girls and boys in our case) do not listen to The Cure because they enjoy being depressed, rather, boys and girls who feel alienated, lonely, and misunderstood turn a Gothic ear because it absolutely feels like what they are already feeling, and, as such provides a comforting and welcoming sense of community. "Wow," the sad little boy or girl says, "Somebody else feels as horrible and hopeless as I do!" Else it is invigorating to feel so horrid. Here we all get to play Wednesday and Pugsley. Growing up and coming to terms with the sickness of the world is, you know, rough, and sometimes art and music are the only consolation available. As far as 17 Seconds, it might be a little too samey and one-dimensional, but totally satisfying, no matter how overly dramatic and silly the darkness may seem at times.

year later, The Cure released their seminal early LP, Faith. The depression is genuine here, and the hooks are better. "Primary" is one of those "I-can't-believe-I've-lived-my-entire-life-without-this-song" songs that pop out of the ether far too rarely. There's one of the great bass lines, lots of jangly guitar lines, and those eloquent mopey-guy vocals. Slow and somber, but consistently catchy and listened to alone in your shadowy abode, it's almost weepily pretty enough to make one hold off on the razorblades for a night or two. Lonely, cold, upbeat, even angry ("Doubt" certainly sounds pissed off to me), these eight tracks are among the finest of The Cure's illustrious career. Melancholy and despondent, the feel of funerals and old churches oozes from this LP. "The Holy Hour," "All Cats Are Gray" and "Faith" are slow atmospheric pieces that take the softer element from 17 Seconds and paint a picture as gray as the album's cover.