I did not enjoy Faith, this record’s predecessor and the first Cure album I ever heard outside of their singles collections. I found it lacking in songs and seemingly caught between two disparate impulses. And from the get-go, the reassuring thing about Pornography is that it is absolutely not Faith. It barely sounds like the same band.
Everything here is longer, weirder and more willfully obtuse. When you read about this time period in the band’s history, they talk about how they thought they were breaking up, and you can really hear the general lack of fucks given in the music, which seems to be made entirely for themselves. (I don’t actually mean that as a criticism.)
This is one of those records that takes a lot of time for you to get into it: the melodies are not as typically catchy as Smith’s catchiest songs, and the production is super dense. And I’m not sure I’m there yet in terms of really loving it. But I appreciate it on an aesthetic level as a sort of emotional nadir on record. Even if I don’t really remember the songs when I’m done (except “Hanging Garden,” which I’ve heard many times), I feel like they did a pretty great job of conveying their general sense of ennui and despair.