Conventional wisdom has it that The Cure should have called it a day shortly after 1989’s Disintegration. A pinnacle of sorts. Album as framing device; the logical, sensual conclusion to the equally beguiling Pornography. Robert Smith instead elected to plough onwards (if three albums in a decade denotes a ploughing): the poppy and overtly sentimental Wish, the scatter-gun cul-de-sac of Wild Mood Swings, the limp Bloodflowers… that I obviously own them all is an indication of some level of devotion to the cause, despite outwardly subscribing to conventional wisdom on this issue.
I’ve picked on 1989 – the suggested tipping point in this instance – not necessarily to furnish a Cure-themed post, but to illustrate that, however disparate a collective we may be – and I’m thinking that’s very disparate indeed – us devotees of matters aural have a curious relationship with longevity. It’s an oft-mentioned and utterly unquantifiable “fact” that musicians should quit whilst they’re ahead – somewhere north of a thirtieth birthday is usually identified, as if that’s the juncture when a band’s dynamic grows too stale for external consumption, or when the muse and the mojo elope with someone ten, twelve years younger.
And yes, in the first draft of this diatribe I did end up pontificating at some length on this subject. Far too many words, in fact, to the extent that intended conclusions grew hazy and incomplete – a moment where I start to wonder just where exactly I was going with all of this (regular readers of this blog will unfortunately be oh-so-familiar with that style of writing). Obviously the mechanics of any musical expiry date are so diffuse as to virtually be arbitrary… but… but… when it came to hitting the shiny PUBLISH button, it made far more sense to just to leave you with the track below the words, instead. It may not be vintage Cure, and the arguments for Smith doing something completely different from 1990 onwards are corporeal, but I’ve a real soft spot for the grinding momentum that underpins this, the opening number on the band’s eponymous, 2004 album – to the point where we’re all better off listening, not reading.
The Cure / Lost