My general appreciation of The Cure keeps running into problems. The problem is that I had their singles collections for years and listened to them fairly regularly but didn’t get around to their albums until recently. And now I listen to them haphazardly: one from the early ’80s here, one from the mid ’80s there, then one from the late ’70s, and so on. I like listening to discographies in order when I can, if only to hear what growth there might be. But I listen to these so haphazardly – and usually know at least one single from each – that I can’t make sense of their career. And it’s my fault.
This album contains what is probably my favourite Cure song, in “Close to Me”. This version is missing the famous brass section for some reason, but the song’s inclusion still endears the album to me. I also know “In Between Days” from their singles collection.
But, like many Cure albums I’ve encountered, it does feel like the best songs are the singles. (I had heard this before I listened to their albums. It’s not always true, but it seems to be true here.) Though there’s plenty of atmosphere, the melodies are definitely not all up to the single’s standard.
But it’s the atmosphere many people listen to this band for, isn’t it? And sometimes they do such a good job of it that it doesn’t matter that sometimes the deep cuts aren’t as catchy. I’m not sure I’m there with this record. It’s apparently significantly more commercial than the last record (which I have yet to hear) but I can’t tell that because, of course, I know how commercial this band got.
Some people view this as their best album to date and I just don’t agree. That’s clearly Pornography (of those I’ve heard) and this doesn’t really change my mind. Much of what most people like about this band is here but I’m just not sure the songs are quite strong enough.