Wild Mood Swings
Alison E. Poggi
Wild Mood Swings
Four years is a long time to hold your breath... and that's
exactly what fans of The Cure have been doing since the release of Wish
in 1992. So, now that The Cure has a brand-new line-up and a shiny,
happy image -- What to say? From the sweeping crescendos of "Want" to
the sweet strings of "Treasure," the Cure have evolved with musical
integrity intact. Wild Mood Swings is an example of what happens when
something unexpected gets thrown into the mix.
Though it is easy to compare "Want" to "Open," (from Wish) or
"Treasure" to "Trust" (also from Wish), it is more accurate to say that
everything old is new again. Robert Smith's world-weary "Club America"
voice brings "Harold and Joe" to mind; but the sound of the former is all
power-driven guitar, not tepid dance beat.
As usual with The Cure, some of their choicest offerings occur as
B-sides (to both versions of their latest single, "The 13th"). And while
familiar themes surface in the lyrics of the new material, the best songs
spin gorgeously out into their own space.
"This is a Lie" is a return to the muted, introspective side of
the Cure, though a major thematic digression for Smith. Rather than
writing from experience, he explores a scenario totally foreign to him:
a questioning of the need to "choose... one special friend, one true
love." But just when we've been plunged into reverie, the members of The
Cure expose the flip-side of their talent with the brash brassiness and
funky flamenco of "The 13th."
"Strange Attraction" is a whimsical poem of a song. "Mint Car"
continues the trend, promising to be a summer crowd-pleaser. (Somewhere
in the dark, candle-lit rooms of this world, scads of die-hard Cure fans
are snickering: "This is the one that's going to put them over the
top!" ...or chanting angrily, "Down with 'Friday I'm in Love, Part 2!'")
Also a favorite at 1995's Glastonbury Festival and a hit with The Cure's
audiences in Brazil this past January, "Mint Car" is slated for release
as single #2.
"Jupiter Crash," another festival favorite, also conjures lyrical
remembrances of Wish. It begins and ends with the sound of the sea, and
discusses idealism and disappointment: "Was that it? / Was that the
Jupiter show? / Kinda wasn't quite what I'd hoped for you know?" "Gone!"
is a lazy, jazzy number about not wanting to get out of bed. And
speaking of everything old being new again, Robert sneaks in something
familiar to B-side purveyors: "It's got to be jazz / That's what she
"Treasure" has an innocent sweetness -- it's a lullaby of sorts,
though not the "Lullaby" Cure fans have grown to love. "Treasure" also
boasts one of the more memorable lyrics of the album, "It's better to
forget / Than to remember me and cry". Finally, "Bare" provides a lush
soundscape and a brilliant end to the album.
What about the Cure, though? Are they done, too? Robert Smith
and the boys aren't saying. But before another wave of wondering if this
is really "the end" begins, one need only look back at the past 18 or so
years of The Cure to realize that they will always be with us... "And it
Last Revised: Monday, 15-May-2006 15:00:08 CDT
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