The Cure - Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
This may be a controversial thing to say, but from my standpoint this album represents a low point in the Cure's musical journey. It is hard to pin down (though this review will try to) explain why that should be, but with a few exceptions, the album just leaves me feeling cold and deeply dissatisfied. It is almost the Cure in general and Robert Smith in particular had found that the Prozac had worked sufficiently well to enable the band to emerge from the darkness and gambol happily in the sunshine of their now found musical liberation.
In fact, if it weren't for "Just Like Heaven" I would find this album tedious, and that is something of a shocking statement for me to make. Actually, to be fair, most of the third side is OK, I suppose insofar as I can listen to it the whole way through. And that is the only side I can say that about. But the rest is way way way too long. I could easily get rid of the first three tracks on the first side; the last two tracks on the second side; and the first and third tracks on the fourth side. That would leave twelve tracks which could easily fit onto a single album. It would have been a much better album for it as well.
Perhaps the Cure were trying to make a point here, but whatever it was it is lost on me. Perhaps they were of the opinion that post-punk was a thing of the past by this stage (they were pretty much right on that, I have to say), and it was time for them to move on. Diverse the album may be, but it is not all that good. The band over-indulge themselves and perhaps have felt that they could step beyond their normal limitations. One example of this is Robert Smith's vocals. Never the greatest singer, this album stretches him beyond his ability and the result is, in places, pretty poor.
The departure of the album, in large areas, from the standards the Cure set is just too obvious here. Maybe the Cure were staking a claim to the mainstream. I have to say I find that hard to believe but, if so, they failed and this album can therefore be viewed as a mistake. More likely, the band were reaching towards a new, perhaps more sustainable sound, away from the extreme post punk miserableness which they had make their trademark. After all, you can only be a grumpy git for so long before the mask either drops or you descend into a morass of depression of your own making. Again, if they did, it was an aberration for it was not long before they were back in the gloom and by the end of the decade had pretty much gone back to producing some of their best work.
As a result, I find myself listening to only the third side of this album and dipping in at specific places on the other three sides. With the exception of "Just Like Heaven" (which alone rescues this album from oblivion) I can barely recall what the songs were, even if I have just heard them. That is not a good sign. The result is a disappointing album which, when all is said and done, fails to deliver. Cut this album in half and reissue it and then there is a potentially much better album, good but not great. Together with the other faults of the album which I have tried to identify, there is really quite a lot wrong with this. If you want great you have to listen to Concert or their great studio albums of the early eighties.
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