If we ask you to tell us the first three names that come into your mind thinking about new wave, we bet that one of those would be The Cure. Robert Smith and his band have left an indelible mark on the history of that genre and of all music, becoming an icon with his black hair, his eyes surrounded by make-up and his lips painted red. Anyone who, back in the days, was listening to those post-punk songs, was probably dressed like him, either boys or girls. And somehow it’s still like this.
After darkwave landed, people were basically divided into 4 great groups: Paninaro, Punk, Metalheads and Dark. From then to today there has been a definite evolution (positive or negative, we are not supposed to judge), but in a nutshell: Paninaro style passed from Duran Duran to Rihanna, Punk is dead (no, Blink 182 are not Punkk), Metalheads have kind of softened their view and new wave still lives in the glories of its history. That’s why The Cure is still important for those who have been part of (or still are) part of the movement.
We can declare with no doubt that their most famous and important works are contained in the trilogy that few years ago, in 2003, became a box of live DVDs. In Trilogy we find Pornography (1982), Disintegration (1989) and Blooflowers (2000). According to Robert, these are the band’s darkest albums. In our opinion, they are simply three masterpieces. But today we want to go a step back, before their most celebrated records, up to what is their first work, in 1979: Three Imaginary Boys, which, according to many, is decidedly the most obscure. Reissued in 2004, it was remastered and expanded with several unreleased songs from studio and live, including Boys Don’t Cry and Killing An Arab, already featured in the first American version.
In Three Imaginary Boys there are two of the most beautiful songs ever: Subway Song, a song that a woman should never listen while walking alone, at night, in dark and desolate streets, and Fire in Cairo, definitely more pop and catchy. Among other notable songs the title track, Accuracy (which has no guitars, leading the bass to become much more than a rhythmic instrument) and Another Day, definitely melancholic, very wave and little punk.
When Three Imaginary Boys was released, it didn’t receive much attention from public, whereas critics welcomed positively quite everywhere. Although in America Killing An Arab has been considered a dangerous track, racist and fascist, something that The Cure denied afterwards, proving themselves as artists on mankind’s side, whether they are white or black, gay or straight.
The Cure’s first album is a milestone for dark music, and for music in general. An album that can be loved by anyone, whether you listen to punk, grunge or the most classic rock. An important work as much as Disintegration, to discover and rediscover. And to celebrate even today, for those listeners who still don’t feel the time flying for a certain type of music.
The post-punk path built by The Cure in their first ten years is worth to (re)discover: you can do it through Nicola Palagiano’s infographics, below.