There was a long period of time after I saw The Cure on tour for the 1992 Wish album that I completely ignored them. That was not a bad album but seeing them live at America West Arena (today the US Airways Center) was dreadful. To me, and to a lot of the band’s fans The Cure was veering away from the sound that personified them and more important, the line-up that had been the driving force behind my two favorite albums from the band at that point in my life, 1987’s Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me and 1989’s Disintegration was starting to splinter.
What had intrigued me about The Cure all those years up to 1992 was the band’s, and particularly vocalist, guitarist and principal songwriter Robert Smith’s stubborn refusal to stick to one style of music or cater to the mainstream. The fact is The Cure was and continues to truly be an alternative band. I just didn’t see it at that time so the next four albums released by the band I ignored.
The Cure was the Sunday night headliner at Coachella 2009 and that concert is when I realized the band was everything I wanted and expected, plus exponentially more. In a day when many bands are content with playing short sets The Cure has embraced its status as a legend and goes out of its way to give their fans much more than their money’s worth, often times playing sets nowadays that are over 2 1/2 hours long. The band makes sure to deliver songs from every stage of its career as well, reaching all the way back to 1978’s “Killing an Arab” for many of their shows.
After the show at Coachella I revisited all of the releases by The Cure I had and realized that my favorite album from the band was neither of the aforementioned releases, nor was it the 1986 compilation Standing on the Beach or 1985’s The Head on the Door when the band really started to enjoy international success. Nope, my favorite Cure album became and still is now 1982’s Pornography, an album so dark and depressing I could not listen to it back then. Today I still need to be in the right frame of mind to play it but I understand what the band was trying to accomplish now and understand what a brilliant piece of work this is. The tempos may be slow, mid-tempo at its peak but I believe it to be the most intense album released by The Cure. It pulverizes you in mysterious fashion. The bass riffs on this disc are unbelievable.
One of the songs from that album the band still plays today is “A Short Term Effect.” Check out this live clip.
Album Inspiration: Pornography