Note: Post in early development and needed as spaceholder to keep things chronological!
Today I’m going to start a fine-lens look at Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, including the lyrics, which I forgot to get around to on the original forum thread because Wish arrived in our remote rural mailbox and I got highly enthused from the first listen. So, there will be a few well-deserved extra entries on that in this curation of my open journal Exploring the Back Catalogue, before I return to the “reprints” and additional commentary on Wish, and then continue with the in my view excellent self-titled album, which was next in the mailbox and which I got partly through before transferring the whole shebang onto my blog!
JAWS If you want to know what the musical theme was about, read the previous instalment. With this present instalment, I’m wrapping up my look at The Head On The Door.
What’s that doing here??? That’s not The Cure!
Today, the microscope is back out and we’re looking at the lyrics for Push.
ONCE UPON A POWDERKEG It’s so much more pleasant to write about music you love than about music that leaves you lukewarm or that you have issues with, but when you’re going through anyone’s back catalogue, unless you have extremely wide tastes and don’t get analytical with lyrics, you’re likely to find a mix of both. This is just like the Smorgasbord Analogy I wrote about on Exploring “Join the Dots”. No one person can or should be expected to eat and enjoy every dish that’s on offer at a buffet.
THE CROWD AND THE TEA-LEAVES We may get some more tangents to delight in on this scenic road, but meanwhile I’m just going to link to a web page where a crowd was asked what In Between Days was all about. I usually avoid such places like the plague, especially if I’m going to write about music that’s new to me – I want to just start with what I can see from cold, and work out from first principles myself, before consulting others for their interpretations – and said web pages are not usually renowned for high-quality comments – which is why I prefer to talk to my husband, friends and other music nutters about it.
ANOTHER LOOK AT THE HEAD ON THE DOOR I’m on a slightly early teabreak, owing to The Head On The Door being barely over 35 minutes long. I’ve listened again after putting it away for six weeks, and today’s impression was a bit more favourable than my earlier impressions of this album.
Frame of mind and whether you’re giving something your complete attention are just two of the things that can change the way we respond to something – and this morning, I was in “go with the flow” mode, and I was not giving the album my total attention – I was doing some weeding, a necessary chore during spring flush even if you’re doing weed-avoidant permaculture stuff. Of course, weeding isn’t all-bad; it yielded a couple of tubs of livestock fodder, and quite a few tubs of organic material for the compost heap – bringing carbon back to the ground and getting nutrients recycled, while making oodles of compost worms happy.
This episode of the curated open journal is an excerpt of an open journal entry comparing and contrasting Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me and The Head On The Door, and selected responses from discussion that ensued. To see the complete discussion, you can go to the original thread here.
… it’s funny what offends Americans, and what doesn’t when it so totally should… You can spew hate speech about women and minorities and gibber idiocies all day long and be elected president there, but you can never ever say “fuck” because man, that’s morally bad. (I am disinclined to its use myself, and when people use it for punctuation or to purposely offend I want to vomit, but I’m not opposed to the use of that word when it’s truly appropriate.) You can’t sing, “I wish you were dead!” but you can blow up Japanese civilians with a nuclear bomb, or take out hundreds of non-American civilians to avenge one American death – yeah hey, that makes total sense.
Going largely backwards through a decades-long back catalogue after falling in love with a latter-day album is the reverse of how it generally works with music, but run-of-the-mill with literature. It’s like starting Dickens with Great Expectations, or Shakespeare with Hamlet, and then backtracking to their earlier work. In literature, nobody expects you to fetishise the first couple of efforts by an author and then bemoan the rest of their work, but that’s standard procedure for some music aficionados, in the context of contemporary music. Why is that?
I’m at a crossroads here with presenting the journal material so far, because originally we also had a preliminary listen to The Head On The Door straight after KMKMKM, and neither of us were thrilled with that record. This led to some online debates, not all of which were particularly friendly, and a deeper exploration of reasons we didn’t take to that album like we’ve taken to albums such as Bloodflowers, The Top and KMKMKM. After that, I had a first listen to Wish, which I much preferred to the 1985 release, and got straight into looking at the lyrics on that. In the thick of all of this, I completely forgot to have a closer look at KMKMKM and its lyrics, an omission I will rectify on this blog soon – so much to explore with that album, and really looking forward to that.
Meanwhile though, here’s a very preliminary entry on The Head On The Door, lumped in with two entries on other songs. Also a couple of sermons related to YouTube & co commentaries. 😇 Plus, I’ve thrown in something extra over and above the “reprint” on the last entry here – i.e. that scorching Hendrix cover, and Pink Floyd…
The next album from the Cure’s back catalogue that dropped into our rural mailbox in the middle of nowhere was Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me. We were systematically closing gaps, having been captured years ago with Bloodflowers, various live albums and the concert film Trilogy, and having at that point gradually added Disintegration, The Top, Wild Mood Swings, Join the Dots (4 discs of B-sides, excellent value) and 4:13 Dream to our CD collection.
I started open journalling about the music with Exploring “Join the Dots”, then decided to continue the process with 4:13 Dream and subsequent new acquisitions in a new open journal, Exploring the Back Catalogue. I initially did both on a forum, but will now curate them on my blog and then continue gradually adding to them here.
In general, I will say that musically, this album isn’t very representative of why I personally like The Cure. Even the musical highlights here don’t actually lift me off the ground as some of their other tracks through the years really do. I enjoy 4:13 Dream better when I listen to it in “performance poetry” mode, rather than “amazing music” mode. For that, it’s worth revisiting, though I don’t like every song on it. But then, I don’t like every song on a lot of Cure albums, and on a lot of albums from anyone – and that’s OK, as long as things are generally interesting, and the majority of tracks appeal to me in some way (not everything speaks to everyone; but things that don’t speak to me may well speak to others 😎). I probably wouldn’t have been particularly amenable to this album if I’d not already liked a lot of this band’s prior work – it’s like with authors, you’ll give them more leeway after you’ve already enjoyed a couple of their books, and you’re more likely to be interested in anything they subsequently do that’s unlike what you liked before. It becomes more of a cerebral exercise then, rather than huge enjoyment and/or being really moved by something. All those things have their place though.
The Scream is a very good example of what I’d class as really effective performance poetry. And while I’m at it, and just because it’s the first thing I think when confronted with that title: