The Cure – This Morning

The Cure were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2019. It’s been a while since they’ve released an album – 11 years, to be exact. The band’s output from 1996 on has been sporadic and hasn’t quite hit the sweet spot for me (sometimes a matter of how the songs are sequenced, truthfully). 2004’s self titled album had multiple track listings for different regions, adding & deleting songs randomly. This Morning was a vinyl only song that was also used as a b-side to the single The End Of The World. It is a shame that it was relegated to an afterthought – it is my favorite song by The Cure of the last 25 years. Simon Gallup’s bass recalls the “original trilogy” era of 17 Seconds, Faith, and Pornography from 1980 to 1982. Robert Smith’s vocals on this a song are a reminder of why he is such an iconic figure in music – regrets, melancholy thoughts and sadness co-exist here. There is a spoken word interlude, Robert barely audible whispering his laments: “I couldn’t understand too much of what was being said, in a matter of minutes, peacefully so slow, I had to think to breath, my heart burst, we moved in silence really slowly away from the world, as we drove a strange silence, that moment, nothing will ever be the same, nothing will ever be the same, nothing”. The bass plods along, a soundtrack to broken hearts, the synths swell, the band is in sync – this is perfection. The chorus? “Nothing left to feel / Nothing more to do” An encapsulation of the darker side of The Cure.

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The Cure – The Last Day of Summer

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Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

As August segues into September, I’m left with a feeling of disbelief; the summer – as in years past – has passed us by again. Officially, Autumn doesn’t begin for another few weeks, but each September 1st I can feel myself mourning the passage of time and resigning myself to all things related to the Fall (totally wired!). Back in 2000 The Cure released what many consider to be one of their best records, Bloodflowers. Band founder / leader Robert Smith called it the “third part of the trilogy”, which was confusing to me as 1980’s 17 Seconds, 1981’s Faith, and 1982’s Pornography had already been called a “trilogy” by Robert Smith in the 80’s (and thematically, that made more sense). No matter – the new “trilogy” was now Pornography, 1989’s Disintegration, and Bloodflowers. I’ll be honest with you – I’m not a huge fan of “back to basics” records by legacy artists. I like watching artists grow, develop, and push themselves to new sounds. Bloodflowers was heralded as a return to form – and I can see why people thought that. For me, it has taken a long, long time to warm up to the record (though the tour was brilliant). It’ll never be in my top 5 records by The Cure, but there are a few gems to be found. The Last Day of Summer succeeds wildly on every count. Originally released as a promo single in Poland, it slots in as the 6th track on most editions of Bloodflowers. Peter Hook of Joy Division and New Order gets well deserved credit for coming up with melodic bass lines, but Simon Gallup of The Cure deserves credit as well – he lays down another memorable bass line in this tune. Resignation bursts forth from Robert Smith’s vocals, complimented by melodic guitar strumming and well placed keyboard flourishes (something lacking with follow-up records – Roger O’Donnell was dismissed from the band following this album’s release). Summer slipping away, a broader statement on the passage of time – this is a song that rings true. “But the last day of summer / Never felt so cold / The last day of summer / Never felt so old”

Associates – Club Country

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Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

In the days before the instant gratification of YouTube or perusing music blogs, you’d have to work quite a bit to find out of print musical gems. In the early to mid 90’s I’d read about the Associates – a group described as Bowie meets Scott Walker with a post punk edge (this was clearly before Scott Walker’s soon to come transformation / return). Oh, and the group also included Michael Dempsey, who was The Cure’s original bassist. Sounded heavenly. The only problem was that all the early records were long out of print and the ones that I could find were bastardized US versions of the albums with the usual ploy of cutting great tracks and tacking on inferior, later period songs. It wasn’t until the reissue campaign began in 2000 that I was able to listen to the Associates in any meaningful way. The 1st three records (The Affectionate Punch (original & remix album), Fourth Drawer Down, Sulk) are the sound of a band firing on all cylinders. Lyrically and musically, it all sounds perfectly contained and on the edge of collapse. Club Country is the 2nd single to be taken from Sulk and whilst seemingly celebrating the club scene of the early 80’s, closer inspection reveals it be a damning admonishment of the New Romantic era. The bass line drives the song, complimenting the operatic shrieks emanating from Billy Mackenzine. A man possessed, and for a short time – on top of the world. “Alive and kicking at the Country Club / We’re old and sickening at the Country Club”