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Woebot
05-08-2005, 09:39 AM
http://k-punk.abstractdynamics.org/archives/006087.html

Hmm. Much as I loved Mark's piece and much as I respect his, as usual, very persuasive arguments (arguments kind of shored up by drawing a line in the sand between early and late Cure) I'm really not sure The Cure deserve this kind of approbation. To celebrate the "inbetwen-ness" the "suburbabity" of an artist? Isnt that perilously close to celebrating their mediocrity?

Mark has made much game pilloring the student following of bands like Orange Juice and The Smiths, aren't The Cure the very epitome of the student union band? Quite mopey, quite cosy. I'm not one to usually make judgements like this but Smith's remark, that when Ian Curtis killed himself, he felt his card was marked, that to really get respect he'd have to kill himself too.... well to me that appears pretty feeble. Not that I'm advocating he should have killed himself (heaven forbid ;)) but it's betrays a kind of pedantic understanting of life and the truly powerful in culture...

Diggedy Derek
05-08-2005, 09:55 AM
I thought it was a great piece, although I'm no particular fan of The Cure. Indeed what K-punk points to, their "sickness", actually puts me off them really- listening to 3 Imaginary Boys recently, I loved the music (swift, edgy, though admittedly somewhat Joy Division derived) but the lyrics were to me wholly ridiculous. The problem is a very personal, emotional one- although I like some miserable music, I simply can't be doing with bands who have lyrics like "the wind is blowing like it's the end of the
world and it's so cold it's like the cold if you were dead" or whatever. I just can't relate to it whatsoever.

Still, a great piece I think.

francesco
05-08-2005, 12:03 PM
The writing was so fantastic, on the spot, that I really would have loved that those Cure albums sounded to me like Mark describe them, instead of (the occasional track apart, the Forest, Charlotte Sometimes, the early singles...) leaving me quite cold. K-Punk writing on the music of Cure was better and had more insight than the Cure music itself, for me.

Mark should begin to write for magazines, both on music or politics or philosophy. K-Punk had become the best written and full of interesting ideas blog that I know.
Thanks Mark.

dominic
05-08-2005, 01:41 PM
K-Punk had become the best written and full of interesting ideas blog that I know.
Thanks Mark.

"become"???

i think he's had that status for a while now!

DigitalDjigit
05-08-2005, 03:47 PM
What does "Seventeen Seconds" signify? Why did they pick that name?

droid
05-08-2005, 03:48 PM
What does "Seventeen Seconds" signify? Why did they pick that name?

its the measure of life....



duh! ;)

DigitalDjigit
05-08-2005, 04:02 PM
its the measure of life....



duh! ;)

I know next to nothing about the Cure, sorry. I was just wondering because there is a classic Russian spy TV show set in WWII called "Seventeen Moments of Spring".

blissblogger
05-08-2005, 04:33 PM
might have misremembered this but i think w/ Seventeen Seconds, each song is a different angle on seventeen seconds in a life -- seventeen seconds in the breakup of a relationship -- a turning point seen from multiple angles

that album's by far my favourite Cure record, the next two are just so blank and dispiriting, they're unbearable

surprised mark the anti-sexualist didn't mention the meaning of 'all cats are grey' -- again might have garbled this in memory, but isn't that some French saying basically meaning 'all vaginas are the same when it comes down to it'

another thing about the Cure is how they initially resisted the shift away from Darkness to New Pop that so many of their contemporaries took, they stayed true to the Joy Division joyless vision thru Faith/Porn... then belatedly staged their own New Pop manevuer with The Top and Head on the Door.... the transitional record being 'the walk' which is "dance music" but about a visit to a mental hospital or something!

(or perhaps the transitional record was "let's go to bed' --a seriously unsexy record!)

maybe it was New Order's shift to pop that legimitized going pop for the Cure?

whereas Faith/Pornography seem to come from the same place as Movement -- death-wish but stripped of the grandeur of Closer -- this stilted limbo of non-life

yeah Kpunk = the don dada of the scene no doubt

hamarplazt
05-08-2005, 08:42 PM
that album's by far my favourite Cure record, the next two are just so blank and dispiriting, they're unbearable

That's why I love them. But claiming that they're somehow similar makes me wonder if you have even heard Pornography. Faith, surely, is a completely empty monochrome, but Pornography is full of dizzy, labyrinthine detail, really psychedelic.

Tim F
06-08-2005, 04:28 AM
I prefer the coordinates of <i>Seventeen Seconds</i> to <i>Faith</i> but the former record can seem a bit slight and unrealised apart from its key moments ("A Forest" is of course untouchable, and the dancey "A Tree" mix they made later on is also surprisingly ace, a premonition of the best electronic tracks on The Rapture's album).

I agree with Simon that it has always seemed like The Cure were following New Order's example during the early-to-mid 80s ("The Walk" as their "Blue Monday" obv) culminating in "Inbetween Days" which sounds rather blatantly like it should be on <i>Power, Corruption & Lies</i>.

Martin Dust
07-08-2005, 07:40 PM
I still love 17secs/Faith/Porno - great albums - some of their best work...

soundslike1981
07-08-2005, 09:22 PM
Again, reading about the music makes me wonder why I like all the post-punk stuff so much--while I am a "serious" person, I haven't really had a "goth" (or even Pop Group-ish) day in my life. Makes my continual returning to Can seem reasonable --the lyrics are generally obtuse enough that I can ignore them/take them as an instrument without feeling I'm willfully ignoring something the artists wanted me to invest in (probably why I don't really like Joy Division that much---the lyrics come off as so inescapably central to the whole endeavour). On the basis of sound alone, I prefer 'Faith' above the other two.


The mention of 'Apocalypse Now' as the post-punk film--I was thinking about that just the other day. It seems like a visual encapsulation of the same philosophical/literary "pretentious" strands that my favourite kinds of post-punk were picking up on (though it certainly has a narrower band--how could it not?). Even the "Dr. Who music" score seems to have heard the same records as the iced segment of the post-punk sphere. But I'd always held 'Blade Runner' as a "post-punk film," perhaps more--though it's romance for the aesthetic trappings of early filmic/cultural modernism (the noir/pulp/gritty stuff) may disqualify it as insufficiently "modernistic".

Ness Rowlah
07-08-2005, 10:46 PM
while I am a "serious" person, I haven't really had a "goth" (or even Pop Group-ish) day in my life.

Not even Siouxsie or Dead Can Dance? (I am re-learning genres after moving to the UK,
didn't think these were goth until I bought the NME's "Goth" reprint, thought goth was
Sisters of Mercy and that lot)

And did anyone else see that thing on BBC4 on Friday
(30 minutes of punk/postpunk bands, archives from Tony Wilson's TV show up north)
- was that not Ian Curtis dancing his special dance on the right side of the screen
with The Jam playing on stage?

soundslike1981
08-08-2005, 12:34 AM
Not even Siouxsie or Dead Can Dance?


I may not have been clear. I love Siouxsie and like a lot of the Cure, Bauhaus, Killing Joke, etc.---I like a lot of bands that tend to get called "proto-Goth" I guess. But I've never once had a moment where I felt compelled to wear all black or be self-dramatic in that way. I guess I've never felt participatory in the ephemeral "culture" of any musical sub-genre; I just like music too much.

k-punk
13-08-2005, 02:20 PM
Sorry haven't ignored this thread.... it had passed me by!

Thanks for kind words from everyone... much appreciated...

I did what I always do for long music posts, and try and get into what Tom Vague used to call method criticism... completely immerse myself in the albums for a week or two then kind of report 'from there'...

what stops Faith and Pornography being unbearable for me is Smith's Pop talent - you find yourself humming along to even the bleakest Pornography tracks...

As for the student canon - I'm not sure how far Faith and Pornography in particular have been assimilated into that ... The Top and everything after, for sure.... but Faith and Pornography make moping so cosmic, so inescapable that they're too extreme to become student disco e-zee listening fodder ...

No, didn't know that about 'all cats are grey' but it is one of their best tracks.... was thinking the other day actually how profoundly unsexual The Cure were, particularly on those three lps. Their return to heallth is signified by a return to eroticism. Btw, while I have no particular affection for them, I think that the Cure's entryist New Pop-Late efforts are much better than New Order's (their mid eighties stuff is now painfully dated surely); also there seemed to come a point where NO were influenced by the Cure...

as for the suburbs: I'm with Bracewell there, they are the absolute backbone of english pop...

DJL
13-08-2005, 02:27 PM
Does anyone know anywhere to get footage of them at the Paris Live8 gig?

k-punk
13-08-2005, 03:20 PM
No but i heard that they played '100 Years' and that they were at their bleak best.

Has to be better than Razorlight and Snow Patrol, eh?

(Maybe it will be repeated on BBC Four?)

DJL
13-08-2005, 04:02 PM
No but i heard that they played '100 Years' and that they were at their bleak best.

Has to be better than Razorlight and Snow Patrol, eh?

(Maybe it will be repeated on BBC Four?)

I came back from a party I had DJ'd at that night which went mental and got back to the house around 1-2am a little bit high :) and when I turned on the TV The Cure were performing unbelievably. I was totally glued to the performance - would love to see it again.

10:02am
13-08-2005, 09:14 PM
Btw, while I have no particular affection for them, I think that the Cure's entryist New Pop-Late efforts are much better than New Order's (their mid eighties stuff is now painfully dated surely); also there seemed to come a point where NO were influenced by the Cure...

I find all of New Order's post-Power, Corruption, and Lies material incredibly dated too. Even their new records seem dated almost the moment they're released.

juliand
14-08-2005, 12:31 AM
I find all of New Order's post-Power, Corruption, and Lies material incredibly dated too. Even their new records seem dated almost the moment they're released.

I'd take the video mix of Perfect Kiss over the entire Cure catalog

I do have more use for some aspects of the later Cure than you seem to Mark--there's not much separating "Plainsong" from Bark Psychosis far as I can tell. Disintegration (at its best, which is only about half) is more than comfortable, its amniotic. Wasn't one of that era's b-sides called "Babble"?

k-punk
14-08-2005, 07:23 PM
Actually I think it was on BBC3 not 4...

Perfect Kiss... for me, painfully awful now... I have all their singles up to Technique I think, but there's something in general about that mid-80s period (the fairlight clunk a sonic equivalent to big hair and shoulder-pads) which makes it horribly dated, an urge for contemporaneity which somehow bypassed the iciness of modernism in favour of a dull gloss that was warmly ingratiating but instantly disposable...

Power, Corruption and Lies is where it starts to go wrong for NO IMHO... The early singles, where they are trying to imitate themselves still do it for me... like Joy Division with the centre (Curtis) imloded into a black hole.... the early NO much more impersonal, impassive than JD .... 'Blue Monday' the template for a bleak dance music that they were unable to follow (but others would).... But the turn to blokishness, towards willed desublimation ('we just make up the lyrics, they're nonsense', 'it's just a job') was already in place on Power Corruption and Lies: a certain thawing.

I'd be prepared to reassess Disintegration; the three I wrote about + 'Three Imaginary Boys' are the only ones I have intimate knowledge of really.

Tim F
14-08-2005, 11:32 PM
Mark, you had me up until that last post!

Mind you I tend to love "that mid-80s period (the fairlight clunk a sonic equivalent to big hair and shoulder-pads) which makes it horribly dated, an urge for contemporaneity which somehow bypassed the iciness of modernism in favour of a dull gloss that was warmly ingratiating but instantly disposable..."

The production on "The Perfect Kiss" is awesome! Same goes for "Bizarre Love Triangle".

k-punk
15-08-2005, 09:01 AM
The production on "The Perfect Kiss" is awesome! Same goes for "Bizarre Love Triangle".

I can't believe you say that.... for me those records are absolutely awful... Unlistenable... I'd be stunned if I was on my own on this...

owen
15-08-2005, 09:06 AM
heheheh!

i do love 'procession' and 'movement' and whatnot but i find the records tim mentions cretinisingly blissful- in a similar way to 'cupid and psyche 85' there's something about this overload of gloss, micropercussion, irrespective of how ideologically dubious it might be, that i'd find it churlish not to submit to....

k-punk
15-08-2005, 01:07 PM
Owen, think there might be a generational thing here lol

liked those records at the time but now find them just horribly time-bound to what was in retrospect an awful period, with misplaced loyalty to NO blinding me to the fact that they were already half way to Lad Central... funnily enough was thinking as I wrote the above denunciations that Scritti stand up so much better than those NO records... partly it's the lyrics, which in NO's case are so slapdash can't be arsed...

Diggedy Derek
15-08-2005, 01:14 PM
New Order's production is pretty great- the problem is surely that almost all of their songs sound exactly the same.

Now, Technique is a great album, and they've done some good songs apart from that. But I don't think I'd ever want more than a well compiled CDR of their stuff.

owen
15-08-2005, 01:54 PM
[QUOTE=k-punk]Owen, think there might be a generational thing here lol
QUOTE]

maybe so ;)

i do think there's an interesting libidinal thing in eg 'perfect kiss', a kind of confused, slightly baffled sexuality...i think slightly of the bits about 'emptied' voices in 'blissed out' here....though the laddishness does occlude that by the 90s

Tim F
15-08-2005, 02:08 PM
Ha ha "The Perfect Kiss" and "Bizarre Love Triangles" are total gay club classics! So "Laddish" in that sense at least...

Might well be a generational thing. I can't remember 1984 or 1985 at all.

Speaking of ideological dubiousness, I often find a stirring humanist techno-utopian vibe in some of that over-produced mid-80s stuff, by nature stuff that <i>doesn't</i> fit into the Cyberpunk mould. New Order come just after The Blue Nile and Kate Bush for me in that sense (what else? Jane Siberry? There's probably heaps that's not coming to mind right now... at the absolute chart-pop end maybe something like Kids in the Kictchen's "Change In Mood") - like the Ursula Le Guin to the Ballard/Dick of all that other stuff.

I love love love Future Bible Heroes' <i>Memories Of Love</i> for seeking to recreate this vibe and taking it to a previously unheard of extreme.

k-punk
16-08-2005, 12:38 AM
Ha ha "The Perfect Kiss" and "Bizarre Love Triangles" are total gay club classics!

and student disco classix too


So "Laddish" in that sense at least...

Yes, that's it.... mid-80s are where Lad meets Gay.. ghastly :)


like the Ursula Le Guin to the Ballard/Dick of all that other stuff.

nice way of putting it... think the de-Ballardization of mid 80s stuff has a great deal to do with finding technology comfortable; it was no longer a problem, no longer had to presented thematically...