Started by Oneiroman, May 07, 2021, 22:12:59
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Quote from: Oneiroman on May 08, 2021, 21:06:10Paul Morley certainly got on board the Cure train with Seventeen Seconds. He later said that when he wrote the review of 3IB he was in a bad mood because it was the day that Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister for the first time (after the general election of 3 May '79).
Quote from: Oneiroman on May 08, 2021, 21:06:10His view of that album is shared by many critics however, including the late Mark Fisher, often acknowledged as the most original British thinker about popular music of the current century, who was obviously influenced by Morley and Ian Penman. Here is a quote from an article of his, 'It Doesn't Matter If We All Die: The Cure's Unholy Trinity' (from k-punk 3 August 2005):"Their early mode - a spidery, punk-spiked pub sub-psychedelia – now sounds like a series of thin sketches. The Cure become themselves in that moment –lasting three albums - after they have shed the petulant quirkiness of Three Imaginary Boys but before they have entered the comfort zone of branded recognizability. By then, Smith's panto-persona – lipstick smear, warm beer and Edward Lear – had become an archetype in the semiotic cemetery of the student disco, and the parameters of The Cure's style were well-established – marked by what quickly became a regular oscillation between a post-Sergeant Pepper jollity and a slippers-comfortable despair. All of the drama of faltering self-discovery and existential experimentalism that makes the essential triptych of Seventeen Seconds, Faith and Pornography so compelling has gone.
Quote"Robert Smith's look - that clown-faced Caligari ragdoll – was a male complement to Siouxsie's. And as with Siouxsie's, Smith's bird's nest backcomb, alabaster-white face powder, kohl-like eyeliner and badly applied lipstick is easily copied; a kit to be readily assembled in any suburban bedroom. It was a mask of morbidity, a sign that its wearer preferred fixation and obsession above 'well-rounded personhood'."
Quote"Goth morbidity arose in part from a Schopenhauerian scorn for organic life: from Goth's perspective, death was the truth of sexuality. Sexuality was what the ceaseless cycle of birth-reproduction-death (as icily surveyed by Siouxsie on Dreamhouse's 'Circle Line') needed in order to perpetuate itself. Death was simultaneously outside this circuit and what it was really about. Affirming sexuality meant affirming the world, whereas Goth set itself, in Houllebecq's marvelous phrase, against the world and against life.
QuoteAfter all, isn't Blues the clearest possible demonstration of the discrepancy between desire and enjoyment, and therefore of the validity of the theory of the death drive? The Blues juju - or jou-jou - relies upon the enjoyment of desires that cannot be satisfied.
QuoteWhile the Birthday Party literalized the return to the Blues – their career a kind of hectic rewind of rock history, beginning with Pere Ubu/ Pop Group modernism and ending in a feverish re-imagining of Blues - The Cure, like the Banshees went to the other extreme. Maintaining fidelity to post-punk's modernist imperative (novelty or nothing)...
Quote...they preferred a sound that was ethereal rather than earthy, artificial rather than visceral. You can hear this in Smith's guitar, which, swathed in phasing and flange, destubtantialized and emasculated, aspires to be pure FX denuded of any rock attack.
Quote from: Oneiroman on May 10, 2021, 00:44:54In general I much prefer the early works of pop musicians. With The Cure I haven't really listened to much of their material from the '90s on - but I do agree with Mark Fisher that Seventeen Seconds/Faith/Pornography are their best albums, although I think he is being overly polemical about their later stuff (at least from the '80s).
Quote from: Oneiroman on May 10, 2021, 00:44:54[I do personally like the more tentative, exploratory, raw and maybe immature (what's wrong with that?...
Quote from: Oneiroman on May 10, 2021, 00:44:54... - I think "larval stage" is a bit harsh!) material that people in their late teens to early thirties can produce.
Quote from: Oneiroman on May 10, 2021, 00:44:54Pop music in my opinion isn't like some other art forms, where for example writers can get better as they get older.
Quote from: Oneiroman on May 10, 2021, 00:44:54I find concepts like "maturity" and "musical accomplishment" anathema when it comes to pop - I would think of AOR or soft rock for example...
Quote from: Oneiroman on May 10, 2021, 00:44:54- although in other musics such as jazz, blues or "avant-garde" that wouldn't necessarily apply. Of course lots of younger musicians are reactionary bores with no ideas or sense of fun or anything that makes the best pop so enjoyable and inspiring.I'm not sure that Fisher would have regarded his opinions as "objective facts", more an intervention in the debates surrounding pop music and cultural politics, almost agit-prop - the piece I quoted from was from a blog, after all, written on the hoof.
Quote from: Oneiroman on May 10, 2021, 00:44:54Fisher's most celebrated article in his k-punk blog was about Joy Division, depression and suicide: http://k-punk.abstractdynamics.org/archives/004725.html - he gets in another reference to "Caligari-faced panto turns" (surely Siouxsie is more Genuine, if we are referring to Robert Wiene) and talks about the "post-Bowie mummery" of The Cure, The Banshees. and Bauhaus. Fisher killed himself in 2017. Simon Reynolds wrote in The Guardian:"Last week the writer Mark Fisher took his own life. His on/off struggle with depression was something he wrote about with courageous candour in articles and in his landmark book Capitalist Realism: is There No Alternative? Fisher argued that the pandemic of mental anguish that afflicts our time cannot be properly understood, or healed, if viewed as a private problem suffered by damaged individuals. Rather, it was the symptom of a heartless and hopeless politics: precarious employment and flexible work patterns, the erosion of class solidarity and its institutions such as unions, and the relentless message from mainstream political parties and media alike that "there is no alternative" to managerial capitalism. That this is as good as it gets – so deal with it.Finally the depression that Fisher, 48, had dissected acutely and fought against doggedly got the better of him. He left behind a wife and young son, a close-knit network of friends, allies, colleagues and students, and an ever-widening readership, all of whom were waiting always to hear what he had to say next."
Quote from: Oneiroman on May 10, 2021, 00:44:54There's also an interesting recent interview with Ian Penman here, in which he discusses his views on music in general and his changing attitudes to writing, and about his dislike of the close analysis of lyrics as opposed to an investigation of how music and vocals work to convey complex feelings in the listener: https://www.lrb.co.uk/podcasts-and-videos/podcasts/at-the-bookshop/ian-penman-and-jennifer-hodgson-it-gets-me-home-this-curving-track