I was probably in 9th grade (around the time this album was released) when I first heard tell of The Cure. A friend of mine on the street, who I had played with growing up and those days, simply “hung out” with, told me one day that he was going to see them in concert, that very night, and he had gotten the band’s name shaved into the back of his head for the occasion. His older sister was bringing him and, now that I look back, it was probably a pre-requisite for her parents allowing her to go all the way to Toronto to see them with her friends. He rhymed off names of songs, none of which rung a bell. I didn’t have an older sister (or older brother for that matter) to introduce me to their music. Nope. I was, in fact, that older sibling that probably influenced the tastes of my younger brethren when I got into music in a big way a few years later.
I didn’t actually hear The Cure (in a conscious way) until a few years later when another of my neighbour friends played them for me and then, recorded sections, if not copies in full, of this album, “Staring at the sea”, and “Disintegration” on cassette for me. In this way, his favourite songs influenced my own, his tastes tending toward the more maudlin of their music, but later, when I caught and recorded a “spotlight” on them on MuchMusic, I started to find my own way in The Cure’s world.
“Kiss me kiss me kiss me” is the band’s seventh album and as double LPs go, it’s big, it’s got a lot of songs, and it’s quite eclectic. In my mind, it bridges the gap between the dark, “gothic” rock of “Faith” and “Pornography” and the pop sensibilities of “The head on the door”. It’s been widely publicized how hard those darker albums were on frontman Robert Smith and how much he hated the “goth” label. It’s no wonder he wanted to write lighter pop songs in the mid-80s and did so successfully. The songs on “Kiss me kiss me kiss me” are a good mix of the dark and plodding and the light and bouncy and the rest lie somewhere in between. It resulted in The Cure achieving their highest charting album to date and made them a name in North America.
My three picks for you from this album all fall under the “single” category but one of them is one that you wouldn’t think obvious as a single. Have a look and a listen and let me know if there are others on this great album that you prefer.
”Why can’t I be you?”: This wasn’t one of the ones off the album that would’ve been highlighted to me by my friend John. In fact, I think the first I might have heard of it was the extended remix of it on “Mixed up”, which I purchased on a whim when I was younger. I think it was the last record I ever bought before I started collecting again, five or so years ago. Sadly (but not too sadly because it was quite warped), I have no idea where it is now (have no fear, I picked up the reissue a couple months ago) but I remember not being super impressed with the remix of “Why can’t I be you?” at the time. Over the years, though, it has grown on me, a bouncy and upbeat number that features a barrage of synthesized horns and Robert Smith growling and skitting and trilling and scatting, really making a lot of vocal sounds not typically made in a pop song.
”Catch”: This tune, on the other hand, was one of my friend John’s favourites. He included it on a mixed tape he once made for me and I didn’t understand it at all at the time. It just seemed absurd and weird but then at some point, I made it past all Robert Smith’s “do do do”s and listened to his lyrics. “And I remember she used to fall down a lot. That girl was always falling, again and again, and I used to sometimes try to catch her. But never even caught her name.” Apparently inspired by a line in one of the Rocky movies where the title character is whispering to a comatose Adrian, the words are actually quite lovely. And in this context, the mellow shuffling beat that is given a lazy feel with synthesized strings and the flanged guitar that comes seemingly out of nowhere at the chorus, all seem just right.
”Just like heaven”: This track, the third single released off the album found itself on the top of the list when did my Top five tunes post, showcasing my favourite songs by The Cure, early last year. Yeah. So it’s my favourite tune by this band and one of the big reasons this album became a favourite of mine. I’m not going to go on here and repeat words that you can find in that other post, except to say this: “‘Show me, show me, show me, how you do that trick. The one that makes me scream,’ she said. ‘The one that makes me laugh,’ she said. And threw her arms around my neck.” Those words make me want to get up and dance with wild abandon. Every time.
Check back next Thursday for album #4. In the meantime, here are the previous albums in this list:
10. Dead Can Dance “Within the realm of the dying sun”
9. Spaceman 3 “The perfect prescription”
8. The Jesus And Mary Chain “Darklands”
7. Jane’s Addiction “Jane’s Addiction”
6. The Sisters of Mercy “Floodland”
You can also check out my Best Albums page here if you’re interested in my other favourite albums lists.