Hello loyal OWOB readers and Cure fans! This week, the site will be my sounding board, and I will be going very, very long on Robert Smith and the Cure.
It’s been eight years since I tackled the Cure editorially or critically, when I was Pitchfork’s resident expert, as it were. Rereading those reviews, of Bloodflowers, The Cure and Join the Dots, isn’t sheer agony, but it’s rather like what I presume Robert Smith feels listening to "Throw Your Foot".
Cure fandom has changed a great deal since my teenage years, when I plastered my walls with their posters, spent every dime I made on their concerts and records (official and otherwise), and played in a Cure cover band. In the analog age, the Cure were classically distant, massive rock stars: you would hear them on the radio, read about them in the music papers, and see them in concert or on television. For most fans, they only existed in these heightened circumstances. To ask for more was to cross the line into autograph-seeking idol worship, and I could never do that. If I’m honest, it’s because I thought it would make me seem common, stupid or shameless to Robert Smith. That he would frown upon me. I wasn’t just a Cure fan: I understood them.
I stopped “understanding” the Cure in that cute, childish way around about eighteen, when I became your classic elitist student fool, listening exclusively to Wire and obscure indie bands. I thought I would grow and change so much in college, coming out the other side a complex and accomplished young adult, but realized upon graduating that I’d been a more interesting—and happier—person at sixteen. That I was full of shit. That Robert Smith would frown upon me.
No generation of self-pitying, romantic teenagers was ever so spoiled for riches as mine. From 1987 to 1992, you could see the Cure in stadiums previously reserved for mall pop package tours and hair metal, and every venue would positively explode. Fifty thousand people attended their September 8, 1989 Prayer Tour date at Dodger Stadium:
It’s one thing to pen a pretty, emotional anthem, or some slightly left-of-center piece of pop, and find an audience. You may even have a hit on your hands, flying around the Internet. But you will not be performing for three and a half hours in front of fifty thousand screaming fans who only came to see you. It will never happen again, not like this.
I hope you’ll join me this week, in ruminating on everything the Cure meant, and continue to mean, for millions of fans the world over. I’ll be happy to take your suggestions or questions along the way!