Review: Pornography by The Cure

I can’t believe how good this still sounds after over three decades.  My memory of it was of something huge and dark and muddy….but the muddiness, it transpires, was due to the fact that – as a cash-strapped teenager – I had rented the album from the record library (do you remember RECORDS?) and taped it on a cheapie cassette tape (do you remember CASSETTE TAPES??)  So it’s not entirely surprising that I thought it was muddy, specially as I listened to it about ten thousand times and probably wore out the tape.

The power of these eight brief tracks is that I still know all the lyrics and – slightly worryingly – they are still appropriate in my life.  They still echo everything I feel…it seems you don’t ever really stop being a teenager;  you just get better at pretending.  Unlike the other Goth stuff I was listening to at the time, this one has held up the best.  I didn’t hear anything that tore my heart out quite as much until I discovered Marilyn Manson’s Antichrist Superstar about six years ago.

I’m not a huge Cure fan and never liked their pop singles much.  For me, this was what it was really all about – the darkest, darkest night of the soul, the dread of living, where every breath is death.  This is brilliant stuff.  It’s not just noise either – the drums are huge but so are the tunes.  Melody isn’t sacrificed and each track is exquisite with its own beauty.  Robert Smith’s vocals are chilling with despair and hatred and I find myself going around with various lyrics echoing inside my head, particularly The Figurehead, which was my favourite track and still is:  “….and someone will listen at least for a short while.”

I used to hope that someone did.

I haven’t received the CD yet but I downloaded the digital, remastered version, and haven’t stopped listening to it for four days on my newly installed Amazon Music player (which took all of a second to download.)  I’ve become as obsessional about it now as I was thirty years ago.  You know something is good if it lasts that long.


About susannahjbell

I am a writer of science fiction and other strange and surreal works. I mostly write novels and the occasional novelette. My published works include A Doorway into Ultra, the Fleet Quintet and the Exodus Sequence. I live in London in an attic flat but really want to live in a tree. I wanted to be an astrophysicist but would settle for an alien abduction. I write because I don’t know what to read.
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