The Cure: “Just Like Heaven”
Well just to update our cat situation, Calvin has bounced back surprisingly well over the past 24 hours — it didn’t look like he’d make it two nights ago, but now there’s a bit of light shining through, although for how long remains to be seen. But with that weight lifted for the time being, it’s time for another look at The Cure. They kind of got tossed out there without much to say yesterday, but they deserve more discussion than that.
Without doubt, The Cure is one of the top 3 or 4 most-influential bands of the ’80s, both musically and stylistically. Many bands in the past decade or two have taken The Cure’s sound as a starting point for their music, from the so-called “shoegazers” of the ’90s to more-recent bands like Interpol. Not to mention that the entire “Goth” style began with The Cure’s Robert Smith and The Banshees’ Siouxsie Sioux.
There are three distinct eras of Cure albums: the early ’80s, gloomy, dark era; the mid- to late-’80s era, where they really hit their stride and lightened the tone a bit; and the later, post-1992 era, with a number of inconsistent, lightweight albums with a few high points but not much overall to recommend them. As you can guess from the way I describe those eras, my favorite Cure music comes from the middle period’s three albums: The Head on the Door; Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me; and Disintegration (I’d put Staring at the Sea: The Singles in there as well, although it actually collects the best of their early period up through the transitional The Head on the Door — it’s a fantastic collection).
Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, released in 1987, was an ambitious double album when originally released on vinyl. It’s a great album, despite being a bit rambling, and its high points are among the best music of the ’80s. And ’80s music doesn’t get a whole lot better than “Just Like Heaven,” the band’s breakthrough single in America, the first to crack (just barely) the Top 40. “Just Like Heaven” is elegantly romantic, a love song with a twinge of sadness that lovers everywhere, both the happy and the anguished, could take to heart. The drum roll and bass intro at the beginning kickstart the song and are instantly recognizable, and the synth and piano fills throughout add polish and heart. Robert Smith’s singing is arguably his best ever, simultaneously energetic and vulnerable. It almost makes heartbreak appealing, a feat that few other bands could have pulled off as convincingly as the Cure.