There is no reason to complain about a new album from the Cure, especially after Robert Smith swore that Disintegration, their 1989 offering, would be the very last. But lyrically, Wish is much softer than previous albums. Gone are the vivid, twisted, sexual images; and the shock-value statements about life and death have left with them. Nine of the 12 songs on Wish are about relationships, generally the end of relationships. Meanings are too often straightforward. There are a few hints of the old Robert Smith in some songs. Doing the Unstuck has a line, "to burst grin giggle bliss skip jump sing and shout," and he spits the whole thing out at once. But other lyrics, like the following, from Trust, "I love you more than I can say. / Why won't you just believe?" are totally representative of the other eleven lines in the song. Smith's moaning voice conveys enough emotion to make Trust convincing, but I am afraid that I'm hearing a Richard Marx remake.
Musically, The Cure is stronger than ever. Wish follows Disintegration's lead into more grungy, grinding, distortion-dominated rock, with a few exceptions. They can still turn out a catchy single with jingle-jangle guitars, an ability ably demonstrated in Friday I'm in love. And that sound is blended with synthesized overlays in Doing the Unstuck. There is a definite psychedelic sound in the Gothic tone of From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea, a song that also manages to create a scene with the lines "and so we watch the sun come up / from the edge of the deep green sea/ and she listens like her head's on fire."
Robert Smith is rumored to be a happy and funny man offstage, his darker side released in his cathartic songwriting. Perhaps Wish is a signal that he is running out of angst to fuel his writing. He tells us in "End," the album's concluding rush of sound, that he may have "reached that point / where every wish has come true / and tired disguised oblivion / is everything I do."