Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Cure-Wish

1989’s Disintegration helped the band reach their peak both creatively and commercially as they had become one of the world’s most popular bands. Despite the success, the band’s leader Robert Smith was overwhelmed by it with some believing that the band was to break up. Instead, keyboardist Roger O’Donnell left the band in May of 1990 as he was replaced by technician Perry Bamonte who played on the band’s single Never Enough for the 1990 remix album Mixed Up. While the Cure managed to do a handful of appearances including a taping of MTV’s Unplugged in 1991, Smith was hit with a lawsuit from former co-founder Lol Tolhurst over royalty payments and ownership of the band’s name as the suit dragged on for three years. Smith chose to focus on making another album with the Cure that was entitled Wish.

Produced by Robert Smith and David M. Allen with songs written and performed by the Cure. Wish is an album where Robert Smith and company take the heaviness of Disintegration to a less doom-laden approach for something more accessible and pop-driven. The band line-up that includes guitarist Porl Thompson, guitarist/keyboardist Perry Bamonte, bassist Simon Gallup, and drummer Boris Williams. The record features a balance of two different emotions ranging from happy to melancholic as the result is a wonderfully rich and exciting album from the Cure.

The opening track entitled Open is a mid-tempo song with swirling, heavy guitar riffs, droning bass lines, and pummeling drum fills as Robert Smith takes charge to the song’s despairing lyrics with his calm vocals. The song is rich with its layered production to capture the mesh of arpeggio-laden and swooning guitars that is played by Smith, Porl Thompson, and Perry Bamonte. The album’s leading single High is an upbeat song led by Thompson’s ringing guitar melodies and Boris Williams’ steady yet walloping beats as it’s followed by Simon Gallup’s driving bass and Bamonte’s washy six-string bass. Smith sings in a wailing vocal style to the song’s heartfelt yet evocative lyrics that is among one of the band’s best songs. Apart is a downbeat ballad that is led by swooning bass and guitar melodies, a chilling rhythm, and a soft yet flowing synthesizer. Smith sings quietly to the song’s lyrics chronicling a break-up with its dark yet ethereal imagery.

From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea is a near-eight minute track led by a sprawling production filled with flourishing keyboards, blaring guitars, pounding beats, and driving bass lines as it’s one of the heavier songs the band has done. With Smith singing some extremely haunting yet somber lyrics, it is among one of the Cure’s key tracks. Wendy Time is an upbeat song with bopping rhythms and funky guitar riffs that is followed by soft keyboards to exemplify the song’s tone. With Smith singing in a playful manner, the lyrics recall someone trying to help out at their own risk as it’s a very dark though humorous song. Doing the Unstuck starts out as an acoustic ballad filled with lyrics of letting go as Smith is then followed by blaring guitars and driving, upbeat rhythms. With its crisp yet hypnotic production, it’s a song that is a wonderful mix of melancholia and hope making it one of its standout cuts.

The single Friday I’m In Love is an upbeat love song with flourishing guitars and driving rhythms that includes melodic-swirling keyboards as Smith sings in a happy persona. With its lyrics describing days of the week with elements of sadness, the song is still a very happy one due to its quirkiness. Trust is a somber, piano-driven ballad led by fluid yet wailing synthesizers that is followed by slow, downbeat rhythms and quiet guitar flourishes. Smith sings in a calm yet haunting vocal style to the song’s despaired lyrics filled with heartbreak. The single A Letter to Elise is a throbbing, mid-tempo ballad with steady rhythms, bopping xylophone melodies, and washy guitars. With Smith’s somber vocals channeling the song’s lyrics of heartache, it is among one of the Cure’s best singles.

Cut is a fast, heavy rocker led by pummeling and crashing rhythms along with wailing guitar swirls that drives the song. With Smith’s snarling vocals playing up to its angry lyrics, it is a song that is wonderfully carried by its atmospheric yet crisp production. To Wish Impossible Things is a ballad that features a soothing viola from Kate Wilkinson that plays along with arpeggio-laden guitars and soft, throbbing rhythms. Featuring reflective yet ethereal lyrics, Smith sings quietly to maintain the song’s theme of longing in what is truly a superb ballad. The album closer End is led by snarling guitar riffs and pounding, upbeat rhythms as Smith sings with his calm, wailing vocals. Featuring dark yet chilling lyrics, it’s a fitting song to end the album with Smith wanting things to end.

Released on April 21, 1992, the album debuted at number one in the U.K. album charts and number two in the U.S. album charts as it solidified the Cure’s status as hit-makers as the single Friday I’m In Love was a top 20 hit in the U.S. Though reviews were mixed for the album, it was popular with fans for the Cure who helped sustain their popularity in the wake of grunge and alternative rock. With a very successful tour that yielded two live albums in Show and Paris in 1993, the Cure seemed to be still on top. After the tour, the band would embark on a four-year gap between studio albums as line-up changes occurred along with Simon Gallup’s brief departure during the European leg of the tour due to health issues. What would happen next would have the Cure questioning their future.

Wish is a remarkable yet eclectic album from the Cure that provides something for everyone. While it may not reach the heights of darker masterpieces like Faith, Pornography, and Disintegration, it is a record that is among one of the Cure’s best as it fits in with more pop-driven albums like The Head on the Door and Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me. It’s also an album that has a bit of a balance for people that want something a bit happier but also retain some of the dark elements that fans of the Cure love. In the end, Wish is an excellent album from the Cure.

© thevoid99 2011

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