Monday, November 17, 2008

From The Wayback Machine...

From the wayback machine, a review of The Cure’s “Bloodflowers” album written 8 years-ago for The Bakersfield Californian when I feeling a bit bitchy. Yes, I got a lot of hate mail for this.

In the early 1980's, The Cure made mopey music fun, Albert Camus cool and post-punk a viable commodity. Oh, and along the way they wrote tons of hit singles. Writing hit singles is what The Cure does best.  From the modern rock staple "Just Like Heaven" to cult favorites like "Fascination Street" and "Hot Hot Hot!!!", The Cure carved out a niche in the rock landscape.

So, what should one do when The Cure releases a new album like "Bloodflowers" (Fiction/Elektra)?  If you're a diehard fan, buy it immediately.  If your Cure collection consists of  the singles collections "Staring at the Sea" and "Galore", buy the singles.

Much like the rest of the band's output during the 1990s, "Bloodflowers" is basically a singles collection with filler. The filler here is interesting at least.  The 11-minute-plus opus "Watching Me Fall" sounds like a U2 experiment gone horribly awry. Vocalist Robert Smith sounds like he's listened to "Rattle and Hum" far too many times, hitting Bono-esque notes like they're going out of style.

"There is No If" works well as a Cure ballad, I guess, but is otherwise melodramatic and laughable.  here Smith works on his self-loathing: "If you die, you said/So do I, you said/And it starts the day you make the sign." It'll likely be released as a single, much to the enjoyment of masochists around the world, I assume.

 "39" gets my vote as the best song on the album.  Smith and company bring back a little of that old Disintegration"-era magic.  The lyrics find Smith at his most ironic: "So the fire is almost out/And there's nothing left to burn/I've run right out of thoughts? And I've run right out of words."

With rampant speculation that "Bloodflowers" is The Cure's final album (haven't their last five albums been greeted with this speculation?), "39" takes in a particularly poignant scope. “Bloodflowers" is a surprising follow-up to the relatively happy "Wild Mood Swings."  Smith seems to have fallen back into his pit of depression, much to the joy of longtime fans.  Unfortunately, the experimental spirit of "Wild Mood Swings" is gone, ultimately leaving "Bloodflowers" a mediocre effort.

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