When The Cure's Bloodflowers was released in February 2000, it was supposedly going to be their last album, but given that Robert Smith has said the same thing about most of The Cure's releases since 1990 or so, nobody really believed it, and indeed they released a new self-titled album in 2004.
Overall it is a good (but not great) album; some consider it the best since 1989's Disintegration, which is unfortunately about the best anyone ever says about a Cure album since the release of what has become The Cure's albatross. Initial marketing campaigns suggested that Bloodflowers was the completion of a trilogy consisting of Pornography, Disintegration, and Bloodflowers, but I fail to see much in the way of meaning between the three. There are fewer upbeat moments than in Wish or Wild Mood Swings, but outside of a couple of tracks, the mood really doesn't seem dark. The songs are fairly uniform in sound; one review I read called them all cousins of Pictures of You, which is probably fair. Personally I am happy it was not their last work; their 'The Cure' is much more powerful and interesting, and if Robert Smith really is planning on calling it quits soon, I'm glad he decided not to do it with Bloodflowers.
There is one thing I should tell you before describing each track individually. I'm not sure if this is 'normal' or not, but I don't hear music so much as feel it, or sometimes see it. It is essentially impossible for me to describe music in terms of sound; all I can do it tell you how I feel when I listen to them. Obviously these feelings are going to be informed by my past, my moods, and whatever shit happens to be flowing through my brain at this moment. It's probable that these descriptions will really only make sense after you've listened to the album a dozen or so times... and it's possible they won't make sense unless you happen to think like me. I do apologize for this, and if someone who can describe these songs from a more aural perspective wishes to undertake such descriptions, I would welcome the writeup.
- Out of this World (6:43): The perfect song to describe a summer fling. As the the first track, it really sets the tone of an album about fond memories of lost love, which several of the following tracks follow up on. It evokes meeting someone in a strange place, a place you'll never be again. Maybe you're working in some crappy Italian restaurant in a tourist town, because you need the money, and she's visiting her grandmother for a month. You know that soon you will part and never see each other again, and the immediacy of it just makes your attraction more powerful.
When we look back at it all as I know we will
You and me, wide eyed
Will we really remember how it feels to be this alive?
- Watching Me Fall (11:14): Falling from grace in 11 minutes. When you're attempting to escape from the shithole your life has become in anything you can find; while sex, drugs, and rock and roll have worked for many, falling in lust sometimes works even better. The terrible thing is that you know it's never going to help, or make you happy, but you keep trying because it's all you can do. And eventually you sit and think and start to go bugshit crazy because you know you've fucked everything up and there is nowhere to go.
Yeah I've been watching me go for it must be years
Watching me get slow, I watch me disappear
And one day, yeah I know, I won't come back at all...
And always over and over in his ordinary eyes
I'm watching me fall
- Where the Birds Always Sing (5:43): Basically a song about dealing with loss through the desire for a nonexistent afterlife. Musically, it's nothing special, though not bad.
It doesn't mean there has to be a way of things
No special sense that hidden hands are pulling strings
But living on in others, in memories and dreams
Is not enough
And it never is
You always want so much more than this...
- Maybe Someday (5:08): Falling out of love sucks, especially if the other person still cares about you. Do you stay, hoping they will leave first? Do you walk out? Do you wait and see if you can make it work? An alternate title, "The Indecisive Song".
No I won't do it again, I don't want to pretend
If it can't be like before I've got to let it end
- The Last Day of Summer (5:35): Reflections on the end of a career. This song, along with 39, helped fuel rumors that this was going to be the last album from The Cure. Your youth and your brilliance are gone, all that's left is desperation and the desire for the past.
All that I have
All that I hold
All that is wrong
All that I feel for or trust in or love
All that is gone
- There is No If (3:42): A song about the impermanence of all things, including, or maybe especially, love. This is the shortest song on the album, and is pretty straightforward lyrically. The first half is happy, hopeful, but told in the past tense, about a love that is gone now. The last half is told from the perspective of a comfortable relationship that has lost the fire, maybe even the love itself is gone. I'll admit I don't quite get the title, or the last few lines, which are simply "There is no if... just and / There is no if... just and / There is no if..."; I'm not the best at literary interpretation but honestly, these don't seem to relate to the rest of the song.
Remember the last time I told you I love you
It was warm and safe in our perfect world
You yawned and I had to say it over
"I said I love you" I said... you didn't say a word
- The Loudest Sound (5:10): It's a song about comfortable silence. Really, that's about it. It is a very nice feeling, I can see why someone would want to write a song about it.
And side by side in silence
Without a single word...
It's the loudest sound
It's the loudest sound...
It's the loudest sound I ever heard
- 39 (7:19): This was the song that really fed the rumors that Bloodflowers was going to be The Cure's last album. The entire song is basically about burnout, not having anything left to produce. Someone in college told me that the 39 is because he was 39 at the time, though it seems he was actually nearly 41 at the time of release. It is possible he wrote it sometime before April 1998, though; The Cure had no major releases between Bloodflowers and 1996's Wild Mood Swings.
And the fire is almost dead and there's nothing left to burn
I've finished everything...
- Bloodflowers (7:28): This is the only song with really noticeable amounts of guitar, and is possibly the most depressing song on the album. The vocal work by Smith is also significantly better in this song than on most of the other tracks. Smith rejects any form of optimism, declaring that all things come to an end, and that nothing stays, while his counterpart declares that all the great things in the world will stay forever. It is certainly classic Cure, taking what could have been done in 3 minutes and going with it for over 7.
You give me flowers of love
I let fall flowers of blood
On the Japanese version of the CD, there is a track between Maybe Someday and The Last Day of Summer called Coming Up. I have not heard this song, and most of the reviews I have read are of the opinion that the placement of the strong disturbs the flow of the album.