A nightmare of you
of death in the pool
wakes me up at quarter to three
I’m lying on the floor of the night before
with a stranger lying next to me.
- “Kyoto Song”
This album is the Cure at their most accessible - short, melancholy songs with simple melodies, alarmingly depressing and poetic lyrics, Robert Smith’s voice getting as laid-back as it ever could, and the wonderful videos directed by Tim Pope. After this album, the Cure would produce several great works - but they would never again be so much fun to listen to. Remarkably, the album is not a sellout. Of course, there are many Cure fans who will grumpily tell you the Cure isn’t about fun. You should do your best to ignore these people, for ‘A’ - they will drag you down with them into pits of despair which are not cool places to be, and ‘B’ - they started listening to the Cure in the Nineties, and ‘C’ - they probably do know all the words to “Jumping Someone Else’s Train”, but they don’t have the faintest idea what it’s about.
Released in 1985, “Head on the Door” falls between “The Top” and “Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me”. It features more keyboard work than any of their previous albums, but the most significant musical addition is the outstanding percussion work by Boris Williams, replacing Andy Anderson. Long-time Cure fans will remember Anderson as the drummer who simply could not keep a beat for extended periods - about halfway through every early Cure concert, the drums would start to waver like sprinters trying to run a marathon. The Cure have had many problems with drummers, but on HOTD and the next three albums, they were saved by Williams, a true marathon runner with a deft touch on a variety of percussion instruments.
HOTD is the album that produced the singles “Close to Me” and “In Between Days”, with their attendant videos by Tim Pope. The “Close To Me” video is especially memorable, featuring the band looking adorably mopey inside a wardrobe falling off a cliff. Voodoo dolls, drowning, people playing comb harmonicas, smudged makeup, octopuses and intolerably bright sunshine - this could only be a Cure video.
On to the songs:
- In Between Days
- Kyoto Song
- The Blood
- Six Different Ways
- The Baby Screams
- Close To Me
- A Night Like This
Personnel: Robert Smith (voices, guitars & keyboards); Laurence Tolhurst (keyboards); Porl Thompson (guitars & keyboards); Simon Gallup (bass); Boris Williams (drums, percussion). All songs written by Smith. Production by Smith and Dave Allen.