The Cure – Pornography

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1. Sweeping declaration #1: this is probably the best album of 1982.

2. Sweeping declaration #2: more than any other album, Pornography is home to massive sounding drums. That 80’s-sounding drums that so often get criticized never sounded so good. This is like hearing “The Queen Is Dead / Take Me Back to Dear Old Blighty [Medley]” over the course of an entire album.

3. Sweeping declaration #3: the drums, in combination with the Cure’s typically galloping bass lines (courtesy of Simon Gallup), Pornography grooves harder than Hex Enduction Tour, which had two drummers to establish its grooves.

4. To anyone who tells you that the Cure was no more than a singles band, grab your copy of Pornography (or Disintegration) and slap them across the face with it (personally, I don’t own a physical copy of either album, so you’ll be hit with either my hard drive or my MacBook containing digital copies of said albums, and I guarantee it’ll hurt a lot more).

Do the same for anyone who claims the same of New Order.

5. As to which of those two Cure albums I prefer, I’d say it depends solely on what mood I’m in. In both albums, the Cure have expertly managed to stretch songs to their breaking point without ever actually breaking them (for the most part, anyway).

The only real problem with Pornography is its nihilistic monotony. Where Disintegration was written with the entire space of Robert Smith’s bedroom, from ceiling-gazing on the bed (“Plainsong”), to staring at the picture on his nightstand (“Pictures of You”), to lustful sex on every piece of furniture (“Disintegration”), Pornography was solely written in the dark recesses of that same bedroom’s corner. In less words, Pornography is a single mood throughout the album, and it takes a certain mood to really make the most of it, whereas Disintegration moved through multiple moods, and is therefore more universal.

6. That mood should be quite obvious. Pornography, in tandem with the Cure’s ridiculous visual aesthetic, make-up and hairdos and all, is perhaps the reason the Cure is forever associated with far-from-the-truth “goth”, even though they have their share of pure pop numbers. The depression that’s associated with the Cure so openly reveals itself from the album’s very opening line, “It doesn’t matter if we all die,” and that same crushing nihilism never lets up, straight through to the closer’s most standout line, Robert Smith’s vicious promise, “One more day like today and I’ll kill you.”

7. I quite like how Lol Tolhurst’s drum rolls let “The Figurehead” burst into life and before quickly setting into a regular rhythm.

8. I quite like how Lol Tolhurst sounds like he’s beating on the same drum through the entirety of “The Hanging Garden,” and not once, does it sound boring.

9. I quite like how Robert Smith’s belting out the choruses on the same song, “Fall fall fall fall into the walls / Jump jump out of timeeeeeeeee,” makes it sound like he’s actually falling, and not necessarily physically. It’s the obvious pick for a single, as the choruses make for the catchiest song on the album, though why it’s omitted in every Cure compilation is beyond me.

10. If you’re looking for more than just Tolhurst’s percussion and Smith’s lyrics, check out the guitar solo in “A Strange Day” that begins at the 1:48 mark.

11. I quite like how Robert Smith has a penchant for ending tracks on this album with specific repeated mantras, ie. “One Hundred Years” and “Siamese Twins” (as if the Cure’s influence on the Smashing Pumpkins wasn’t spelled out enough, lyrically and sonically).

12. Robert Smith is quoted as wanting to make Pornography “virtually unbearable.” He’s failed wonderfully.

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