Saturday, March 3, 2018

Fangasm: Pornography

From Drowned in Sound:

"It doesn't matter if we all die" declares Robert Smith by way of introduction, kicking The Cure's most desolate 45 minutes into life in the process.

Choosing a favourite Cure album is like trying to decide which pair of socks to wear or what breakfast cereal to start the day with. It can change at any given time for no particular reason, yet if all the votes were counted over the course of a lifetime one would remain in pole position. That record is Pornography, an album that appeared somewhat out of the blue upon its arrival in the summer of 1982.

Prior to its release, The Cure had been something of an anomaly. Not aggressive or heavy enough for those still suffering a hangover from punk, not arty enough for the new romantics, not eccentric enough for the new wave. Of course "post-punk" wasn't a thing back then; in many commentators' eyes punk was still a thing, albeit an underground fad mostly dominated by belligerent working-class youths disillusioned with Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative government. The relationship between music and politics was probably at its height, with bands like The Clash still active and 2 Tone Records continuing to break down racial barriers even after The Specials' dissolution.

The Cure didn't fit in with any scene back then and probably never have. They existed on their own terms, impossible to pigeonhole, although many have tried. Even prior to Pornography their appearances on Top Of The Pops stood out like proverbial sore thumbs. Having made their debut on the show in April 1980 with 'A Forest' and followed it up almost twelve months to the day with 'Primary', both minor hits with the former briefly bothering the lower end of the Top 40 while the latter stalled just outside, no one could have predicted they'd go onto become one of the most influential bands of their generation.

Read the rest at Drowned in Sound.