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The Cure => Music and Lyrics => Topic started by: SueC on January 26, 2020, 02:58:00

Title: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on January 26, 2020, 02:58:00
Well, after Exploring "Join The Dots" I needed another project, so I decided to continue open-journalling while trawling through The Cure's back catalogue.  Technically, Join The Dots is part of the back catalogue, but the thread is already very long and its title too specific to just keep writing away there instead.

I decided that I really needed one large container for writing anything subsequent about my tour of this band's music, rather than small buckets for each individual album / song / etc.  I'm interested in writing about interrelationships between things.  To compartmentalise into tiny topics feeds the kind of disconnected thinking and tunnel vision that's become so prevalent in society.  We're losing sight of the bigger picture.  We need to be able to stretch our minds without being afraid we are going "off topic" - so that we can freely explore the nature of things, rather than dealing piecemeal with small and artificially separated facets of reality.

...and Brett just said to me, "You need to be able to join the dots!" - because that's just the sort of comment he is liable to come up with.  :yum:  If you've read the B-sides thread, you'll already have met Brett, who has been a Cure fan far longer than me and who, by dint of having Bloodflowers and various live albums on his iPod, is responsible for my becoming a Cure fan in my early 40s, five years ago.  You're certain, if you continue reading this thread, to hear more of what he's got to say, because we have a habit of discussing stuff and I have a habit of relating that back to my journalling, so really, you're getting two for the price of one here.  ;)

What do I mean, journalling? Well, I'm not writing a review, I'm writing a personal response.  I think music has two sides - the people making the music, and the people listening - and that it's a sort of conversation, like when you're reading books.  However, you rarely get to read about people's personal responses to music, literature etc in the mainstream media, which is peopled by requisite "experts" who attempt to discuss objectively (or at least pretend to) something that is actually very personal and subjective.

...and here's Brett again: "You could say that music really has two sides, an A-side and a B-side!" but of course that's becoming an anachronism these days... :angel  ...I've just asked my husband which side he thinks represents the artist, and which the listener, and he says it's somewhat straining the analogy but he thinks of the artist as the A-side and the listener as the B-side.  Hmmm.  The implications of this...:lol:

The other thing you don't tend to get in the mainstream media is ordinary people saying how significant-to-them songs and books affected their lives.  That's because the general public is perceived as boring, and celebrities are put on pedestals.  This kind of distortion again doesn't help our communal thinking, or our relationship with ourselves, other people and the world around us.

Anyway, I would have written what I'm about to write one way or the other - I wrote avidly in big volumes of paper journals since age 14, for my own entertainment and as a way of making sense of the world and myself.  About a decade ago, when we began a tree change, I started contributing to independent magazines in Australia - mostly on things like biodiversity conservation, sustainable farming, livestock management, decent nutrition, passive solar house design (we live in an eco-house we designed and built ourselves), indigenous style mosaic burning of sclerophyll bushland (which Brett and I do here with our own conservation reserve to reduce its wildfire hazard while benefitting the native flora and fauna), landscaping for bushfire safety and biodiversity, etc etc.  And roughly six years ago, I joined an open-journalling community on another forum, where everyone who wants to just keeps a public journal, which other people are free to read and comment on.  This was, and continues to be, a really nice experience, and I've sort of translocated that way of doing things when I started that B-sides thread on this forum.  It probably raised a few eyebrows here, but nobody kicked me out or told me to go away, so here I am, still.  :)

I'm a fan of open journalling, because it allows people to write genuine stuff as they see fit, and read such work by others on this planet - I enjoy both sides equally.  :cool  I would be very sad if the people whose journals I frequent had just written their stuff in a paper book and stuck it in their cupboard between bouts of writing.  I enjoy reading what they have to say - it's like nothing you can find in mainstream media.  The mainstream media simply doesn't do obscure people, and I can tell you from reading obscure people's writing that what they have to say is often stratospherically more interesting than the bilge we generally hear from celebrity culture and official journalists working in commercial media.  Basically, decent open journals (and blogs) from obscure people are in quality equivalent to Thoreau's Walden, and just as educational and thought-provoking to read.  Hip, hip, hooray for the Internet, which, although it is generally a cesspit, does have some really great up sides, one of the biggest of which is to give ordinary people an opportunity to have free discourse across the globe.  :heart-eyes

Anyway, in this thread, people are always very welcome to jump in and discuss.  I know not a lot of people here do this yet - maybe some defrosting is required :angel  - but I do notice that people read my non-mainstream threads, so hello to you, and I hope you get something out of it, even if you don't write back!  :)

Faces to names, and then I'll write a first "proper" post!

This is us and Jess the kelpie, last time we climbed Mt Talyuberlup in the Stirling Ranges.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/1828/42751350974_25a6e7fc4c_k.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/288MRdb)

Walking is one of our main hobbies, which is good, because we also really like eating...
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on January 26, 2020, 07:20:33
PERSPECTIVE

4:13 Dream arrived in our mailbox a week ago, and will be the general theme of this thread for a while, although Kiss Me and The Head On The Door are also making their way across the globe to us at the moment.  I tend to go one at a time with things like that, and only go on to the next item when I've become sufficiently familiar with the last one.  Good music, like a good book, is an ongoing experience for us - we often re-read our favourite books, and obviously, we continue to listen to favourite albums on a regular basis.  The books and music might be set in stone, a snapshot in time, but human beings are not, and as we evolve, there's often different ways of looking at things, as well as hidden treasures to discover that we missed the first time around.

Before getting into the album as a whole here, though, I just wanted to write some general thoughts.  I'm at the stage of listening where things are just beginning to congeal a little.  I find the first two songs really relatable - the second track I've known for a while anyway, the first is new to me but instantly accessible, like Monet's Water Lilies - it's beautiful stuff, and you can't argue with it. :)

(https://imgc.allpostersimages.com/images/P-473-488-90/15/1507/9T3BD00Z/posters/claude-monet-the-waterlily-pond-with-the-japanese-bridge-1899.jpg)

Sometimes you really do have to shake people and say, "Wake up!  You're missing the really important stuff!  Look around you.  Most especially, go to an unspoilt place and look around you.  Look at nature, look at the universe - really look - and try to understand the implications while you are there.  And if you do, your temporary self just might touch infinity, lightly like a piece of spider silk floating down on the air, and you just might know beauty, and wonder, right in front of you.  Get out from underneath the heap of crap the general brainwash dumps on people, and stop going around in circles in your head, and just look, and just be."

There you go, that's my hippie sermon for the day done. ;)  There's art, and books, and music which also say something along those lines, and Underneath The Stars is music like that.

It's easy for me to listen to the first two tracks on that album and relate to them, because we live in an amazingly scenic part of the world (which also happens to have really low levels of light pollution and therefore a crystalline night sky), and because we pay attention, and because we are also in a really happy long-term relationship.  However, we weren't always that lucky, and while both of us looked around and paid attention from an early age, we also didn't meet each other until our mid-30s, and therefore understand what it is like to go hungry for many years, in terms of human intimacy, and in a few other ways as well.

In my mid-20s I went on a working holiday to London, and discovered amazing architecture, as well as the extraordinary museums there - I could live in the Natural History Museum!  :heart-eyes  ...although of course I'd very much miss the entrance hall dinosaur skeleton that used to be there.   :1f62d:  I remember ooohing and aaahing in the Tate and National Galleries, over real-life canvases I'd hitherto only seen reproduced in art books.  One painting rendered me unable to do anything but stand and breathe for a full 15 minutes, while passers-by perhaps wondered why a gobsmacked madwoman was standing immobilised in front of a painting as though she didn't have a home to go to and all her life processes had gone into hibernation.  This was the painting:

(https://proxy.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wahooart.com%2FArt.nsf%2FO%2F6E3TM5%2F%24File%2FWilliam%2BTurner%2B-%2BThe%2BAngel%2BStanding%2Bin%2Bthe%2BSun%2B.JPG&f=1&nofb=1)
JMW Turner, The Angel Standing In The Sun

And then, around the corner from that, I stumbled across the following piece by Rodin:

(https://www.tate.org.uk/art/images/work/N/N06/N06228_10.jpg)
Auguste Rodin, The Kiss

I well remember the terrible ache inside of me when I looked at this beautiful sculpture, because it perfectly represented everything I didn't have, and had never had, and didn't know if I ever would.

It was a replica moment, but come to maturity, of a moment I had as an 18-year-old, when I listened to a particular song, and realised despite my attempts to hide it from myself that the relationship I was in at the time, and had invested so much of myself in, was nothing like it ought to be:


Later on, I brushed the moment aside and said to myself, "But it's never really like that anyway!"  Which, by the way, is not true:  It can be like that.  It just took me a long time to get there.  I would like to encourage everyone reading to listen to what your heart is saying to you, and not brush it aside.

Anyway, in front of that Rodin sculpture in London I was eight years on from this little flash of insight, two years out of that relationship, single (and would be for years yet), and considered myself, at age 26, terribly ancient and past it and I might as well get used to the fact that I would be an old maid.  (This is where I need a violin-player emoji to create the correct atmosphere, but sadly I don't have one... :-D)

I'm bringing this up in part because I really get these days how having or not having certain things in our lives changes how we look at certain pieces of art or listen to certain pieces of music.  Now when I see that Rodin sculpture, the terrible ache is long gone, and replaced by a deep gratefulness. When I listen to Trumpets, I think, "That's right!"  :smth023  If I died tomorrow, there would be no great things I ached to experience in my life but did not.  Did I expect to end up in such a place?  Never in a million years.  It happened anyway.  And amazingly, I'm still here.

A couple of nights ago, I was too wound up to sleep because I'd had a flat out day working on various chores, and hadn't stopped until late.  A romantic interlude had happened in the evening etc, but I was still wound up mentally because sometimes you almost have to take a mallet to your head to switch off your brain, at least when you have the type of brain I am saddled with.  So I bethought me of listening to something on my iPod while waiting to drift off.  Usually on such occasions I'll go for a complex podcast and get heavy-eyed within ten minutes, but this time I felt like some music, and I was curled up around my husband with my hands in his and our feet tangled up.  :heart-eyes  And I thought, "Well, I'm listening to a new album at the moment, might as well give that another spin!"  And the first two songs were just perfect for the situation.  It was like Trumpets and Rodin all over again, and I was happy and grateful all over again.

And another interesting thing happened.  It was kind of the converse of what happens when complex PTSD manifests itself to you through nightly horror movies in your head (which I talked about here in detail http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9196.msg770437#msg770437 so I'll leave it at that).  As I was listening to Underneath The Stars, my brain just started bringing out clip after clip of happy moments, profound moments, memories we treasure.  We were walking along beaches, we were climbing mountains, we were holding each other, we were laughing, it was our wedding day, it was the day we first met, it was being understood when that was the greatest gift, it was understanding, it was calm after a storm, it was lovely flowers growing out of inevitable compost, it was a winter night in our first year together when we went to Mistaken Island late at night and sat in the sand and looked at the night sky together and the clouds made changing veils across the face of the moon as the surf broke a stone's throw from us, huddled together in our winter woolies with cold noses.  :)   It was just so much stuff like that, and it kept on coming, because 13 years is quite a long time and we're both very serious about making good memories with each other.

I think it's really nice when people put things out into this world which catalyse that kind of reflection in the depths of our complicated brains.  :)

More another time.
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: Ulrich on January 27, 2020, 15:04:24
Quote from: SueC on January 26, 2020, 02:58:00Well, after Exploring "Join The Dots" I needed another project ...

Wow you needing new projects, well, who would've guessed so?  XD

Anyway, not spending much time on the forum right now, but will try and catch up with you (one day)... As someone said, it's not easy to keep up the pace.  :-D

But: are you telling us that the dinosaur skeleton in the foyer of Natural History Museum is not there anymore?  :1f635:
I was there years ago and enjoyed that. How do people even know they're in the right museum without it?  :'(

"Underneath The Stars" seems to be one of those "marvel at & be amazed" songs! The Cure might have done some of them before (e.g. Fascination Street?)!
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on January 27, 2020, 22:59:32
Quote from: Ulrich on January 27, 2020, 15:04:24Wow you needing new projects, well, who would've guessed so?  XD

ROFL.  It's like a virus - or perhaps more like an inborn thing that's something of a useful aberration.  :angel

When I was in Year 12, I used to bounce up and down with excitement queueing up outside the exam room and say, "Oh goody, I get to write some essays, I've brought a few spare pens!" and my friends would say, "...shuddup, Sue!"  :lol:

I've written so many "ahead" articles for Grass Roots that I probably don't have to submit anything else to them until the middle of the year.  I could write for Crikey after getting an invite to do some environmental science stuff for them, and I was going to write about the bushfires, and all the animals that have died in them (because they keep saying, "six lives have been lost" etc and in reality, millions of lives have been lost, a lot of them slow deaths and now there's so much starvation as the surviving wildlife have nothing left to eat, but humans often don't see past their own noses) - but it's so depressing I just haven't sat down to do it.  :worried:


QuoteAnyway, not spending much time on the forum right now, but will try and catch up with you (one day)... As someone said, it's not easy to keep up the pace.  :-D

You may as well start War & Peace!  :rofl  We don't all live in the middle of a cow paddock with time on our hands.


Quote from: undefinedBut: are you telling us that the dinosaur skeleton in the foyer of Natural History Museum is not there anymore?  :1f635:
I was there years ago and enjoyed that. How do people even know they're in the right museum without it?  :'(

Yeah, I know.   :1f62d:  They've put a blue whale skeleton there instead, if I remember correctly.  The dinosaur skeleton has gone into storage.  And it was such a fabulous dinosaur skeleton...  No offence to blue whales intended, but dinosaurs have far more exciting skeletons...


Quote"Underneath The Stars" seems to be one of those "marvel at & be amazed" songs! The Cure might have done some of them before (e.g. Fascination Street?)!

Yeah, if an artist can't do good "marvel at & be amazed" songs (/poems/passages/paintings etc) then I'm not going to fill my shelves with their work (or my head).  :angel

The people who can't do that aren't really alive, they're just existing, sort of like a sub-standard amoeba (or a boy band :angel)... and that's sad.

Plainsong to me is a huge "marvel at and be amazed" number.   :heart-eyes  So are quite a few of the B-sides I've heard so far.  There's lots of "marvel at and be amazed" moments in The Cure's songs - and often, the music is like that even when the words are not; and music actually has a special magic for getting that idea across, better even than the best words, I think.   :cool
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on January 30, 2020, 03:23:46
I want to look at the musical aspects of 4:13 Dream a bit more closely, but before I do that, I'm going to write some general thoughts on drums and percussion, which isn't easy to write about without the requisite musical vocabulary, but let's see how it goes.  And, if anyone out there does have the vocabulary and concepts, I'd be really happy to hear a translation of what I'm going to say in plain language into the specialised language.  :cool

Drums and percussion (where present) are as important to my personal enjoyment of music as any other group of instruments, but if you grew up in the 80s, and had 80s pop inflicted on you, the offerings there were often musically woeful, particularly the stuff that was popular with the so-called teenyboppers.  When drums just go bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang in monotonous repetition - aaaaaarghhhh!!!  (Or when they're not drums at all.)  Ditto when people are just noodling away on a few cheesy notes with their guitars, keyboards etc.  As a teenager I called this "plastic music" when I was scribbling away in my recreational journals, for example, coming home from school and the mix tapes in art class and wanting to get that off my chest.

I have UB40's Red Red Wine on my iPod, chiefly because it was one of the few things I heard in my middle school art classes in the mid-80s that didn't make me cringe.  Brett says, "How can you like that?  The guy sings like Daffy Duck!"  Well, yes he does, but a) so do some of the singers in Brett's regular iPod list - The End Is The Beginning Is The End would be so much nicer without squishy vocals, for example - and b) I like the bass line on it, and c) if you were ever forced to endure Wham! and Twisted Sister and even worse things I've forgotten due to traumatic amnesia, you too would have positively looked forward to Red Red Wine, not to mention coming home to listen to alternative radio shows.

Because I taught at a very musical school in the first decade of this millennium, I had a lot of exposure to African Tribal Drumming and even went to a day workshop on it, which was so much fun.  This extraordinarily coal black Nigerian guy with the whitest teeth had us all sitting on the floor with a basic drum each doing call-and-response as he smiled away like a lighthouse.  He said, "In my village, this is what we do at night instead of television!"  Thump, ba-da, thump, ba-da, thump.  Thump, ba-da, thump, ba-da, thump. Thump, thump, thump.  Ba-da-ba-da-ba-da-ba-da.  Thump, thump, thump.  Ba-da-ba-da-ba-da-ba-da. And from those basics to more and more complex rhythms.  It really is quite extraordinary how several dozen people sitting in a circle can somehow manage to replicate exactly what the group leader is playing, and do it in time with each other, instead of making a dog's breakfast of it.  It was an amazing feeling, like being carried on a wave.  Five minutes in, we were all smiling non-stop, although not quite as dazzlingly as our wonderful 1000-Watt mentor.  If you ever get the opportunity to go to an African Tribal Drumming workshop, just do it - it will be a life highlight, when you look back on your deathbed.

Drum/percussion playing that I really enjoy has a fair bit of complexity and diversity in it, has patterns that repeat and other patterns that are more random, goes slightly off-kilter, has elements that are unpredictable.  Here's something seemingly simple that totally mesmerises me - I could sit and listen to this on endless repeat for hours, even just based on the percussion:


Coming back to The Cure, Burn has a fabulous drum track:


I was listening to this once after nightfall when I was tending to a bonfire (we feed tree fodder, which means we make piles of the leftover woody bits of the branches, which get burnt in autumn) - and I've got to say, towering flames, searing heat, dancing shadows and flickering light are a wonderful backdrop to have when listening to this track.  Under those circumstances, when you're walking around, and that guitar section begins, you feel like you're actually flying... 

Brett was over the moon to finally see a live performance of Burn when we watched the Opera House live stream last year, having been sorely disappointed that it wasn't on the set list when he went to see the band live in 2002-ish.  He says he liked the even more jungle-like playing Jason Cooper brought to this track, and was amazed by the sheer physicality of the drumming, when watching - keeping up this fast, complex rhythm for that length of time is surely cramp-inducing and this guy probably has no need whatsoever to go to the gym.  We notice that the footage has disappeared from YouTube, probably because there's going to be an official release of that concert on DVD, so here's a substitute - although it's not very well filmed, so if you've got the Hyde Park DVD etc, or have kept a copy of the live stream, that's far better viewing.


The complete professionalism of everyone in this band on their respective instruments is one of the things that keeps us joyfully watching concert footage - it's always a huge treat.  Listening to the studio albums is very good, but listening to The Cure live has an additional dimension, and a well-shot concert film just caps it all (for those of us who don't get a chance to attend gigs very much).


...and now, I'd like to get back to 4:13 Dream.  If I have one tiny issue with the music on the song Underneath The Stars it's the little fake-sounding drum sound that opens the track and repeats at intervals - something is off about it, processed or sampled and like it's on tape and not being played on real instruments (so if any of the technical nerds reading this can throw light on this, please pipe up - that's what the reply box is for ;)).  Things go back to normal pretty much immediately after that.

You do hear this sort of thing around the place, especially in music I don't like, so I'm probably having a Pavlovian reaction to it.  I do generally though far and away prefer instrumental music to electronic stuff, and I never did like drum machines or anything that sounds like them, although these days it would probably be more difficult to tell.  But it's actually the little imperfections when people play music that make it real and give it character - which, Brett is just saying, is one of the reasons he tends to prefer live music to studio albums.

Having said that, the inclusion of this kind of sound is part of what gives 4:13 Dream a fairly cohesive sound overall - although there's enough elements that do exactly that, for the fake raspberry to have been dropped in favour of real raspberry, if you ask me.  I just have this thing about industrial imitations of real things, whether it's in music or in my food.

I'm pressing "pause" till later - other things to do! :)
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on February 19, 2020, 09:18:19
4:13 DREAM (CONTINUED)

The heatwaves in Australia have been melting my brain, since I don't have the option of hibernating in the cool indoors in the daytime (animals and irrigation systems to tend to outdoors etc).  So I've been taking a break from extended writing and just doing silly stuff for fun (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9299.0 and http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=8725.msg772006#msg772006).  But it's a cool-ish day today, and Brett remembered at the last moment that the races were on this afternoon, which means he had to go do the photo finishes.  (We both dislike horse racing for various reasons, but Brett thinks the photo finishes are a good gig because he gets paid several hundred dollars essentially to go read a book from his tsundoku all afternoon, merely interrupting eight times for five minutes each to fiddle with some IT. :smth023 )

This has plunged our prior Sunday afternoon plans into disarray, and I decided that if he's working this afternoon, so am I, with the exception of this post, which will be my fun aside.  My chosen task list to do in parallel includes bottling the 9th and last cauldron of concentrated plum sauce for the summer, bottling 20kg of honey, doing the Airbnb laundry from some splendiferous overnight guests we had  :cool, meandering down to the hill paddock to let the yearling steers roam in the adjacent paddock for the afternoon (normally they aren't locked into small areas but we are supposed to be selling the huge, older steers roaming the common, so I separated them a while back to make it easier to walk the older animals up the road on sale day), hanging three more pictures in the corridor, surreptitiously washing up while Brett isn't here to stop me so that we can be work-free when he gets home again, boiling some potatoes from the garden (the little ones for salad, the large ones for wedges - the medium ones went back out as seed for the next crop), planting two more rows of Painted Mountain Corn, and shifting sprinklers around all afternoon as usual.

OK, the sauce is bottled, the steers are let out, the string line is up in the corridor, the potatoes are on, the washing is rinsing (if you don't do this yet, try adding a few drops of pure lavender oil - not imitation stuff - to your rinse water for bedding, it's so nice... :)) and the dishes are soaking, and now I can get writing.

(And I got exactly one sentence done on-topic and was rushing around doing my task list until dinner time, ha!  So I've returned to add to that single on-topic sentence below, on a subsequent day, but will leave the preamble in anyway for a bit of colour, and in case anyone wants a vicarious summer afternoon in rural Australia.  :yum:)

4.13 Dream is a mixed bag of an album, in some ways like Wild Mood Swings is a mixed bag.  It's just that 4.13 Dream is musically more cohesive - which isn't necessarily good or bad, but which probably means it hangs together better as an album.  It does sound like it's musically knitted from the same type of wool throughout, as was the case with Disintegration and Bloodflowers - which of course were made from their own particular kinds of wool - and both of those were definitely made from the wool of black sheep!  :)

(https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Ftse3.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DOIP.SNmn4WF2Uu111sMoQCA_KwHaE7%26pid%3DApi&f=1)

I think 4.13 Dream was knitted together from the wool of a Jacob sheep.

(https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fmedia-cache-ak0.pinimg.com%2F736x%2F31%2F8d%2Fff%2F318dffaaf24d3561b1461fb5bfa0f66e.jpg&f=1&nofb=1)

Texturally it's consistent, thematically it's spotty, like Wild Mood Swings was spotty.  Songs about committed love appear to jostle with songs about torrid affairs and suicide notes and general mayhem, like a wild fruit salad.  There is no overarching theme, unless you're going for an ultra-broad application of "the human condition and its various spin-offs."

Personally I really like some of the tracks, dislike others, and can take or leave the rest depending on my mood - similar to how it is for me with Wild Mood Swings.  This does not mean either of them are bad albums, of course.  Not every album can be a stratospheric experience from beginning to end - actually, very few are, and again it depends as much on the listener as it does on the album.

Let's talk about that for a moment, because of the unrealistic expectations that can be created around albums (and other experiences!).  A bunch of musicians put out an album that is objectively highly competent and that also happens to trigger your "now-launching-into-orbit" machinery.  It becomes one of your favourite albums ever, and you wait for the next album to come out.  And how do you react unless the next album has the same effect on you, or an even greater one?

I read so many fan reactions that are wild with disappointment when lightning won't strike them twice.  (It may strike others twice, of course, but miss you.)  Instead of accepting the nature of lightning, it becomes personal, and people project their own disappointment outwards at the musicians.  How could they put out this crap?  How could they not know or do better?  Oh, they're past it now, they're over that hill, their zenith was way back when, yadda yadda.

Yawn.  :1f634:  Those comments often tell you so much more about the people making them than the actual album.  Life is a mixed bag, not one stratospheric experience after the other.  And stratospheric experiences are a little like butterflies - chasing them is counterproductive.  Stop expecting that next experience to be stratospheric, and let things pan out naturally.  That way, when something like that does happen again, you will also enjoy it a lot more.

Sex therapists write exactly the same thing, by the way.  Chasing orgasms gets in the way of living in and fully enjoying the moment, and it actually makes them less likely to happen.  It's a counterproductive mindset.  Just be fully present, and enjoy the journey, and stop thinking about the next train station and what that's going to be like, or you'll miss the many wonderful things that are already there (on the way to the train station - perhaps via the scenic detour ;)).

Next time I'll start looking at each song in turn.  :cool
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on February 20, 2020, 02:40:11
UNDERNEATH THE STARS

Floating here like this with you
Underneath the stars
Alight for 13 billion years
The view is beautiful
And ours alone tonight
Underneath the stars

Spinning round and round with you
Watching shadows melt the light
Soft shining from our eyes
Into another space
Is ours alone tonight
Watching shadows melt

And the waves break
And the waves break

Whisper in my ear a wish
"We could drift away"
Held tight
Your voice inside of my head
The kiss is infinite
And ours alone tonight
"We could drift away"
Flying here like this with you
Underneath the stars
Alight for 13 billion years
The view is beautiful
And ours alone tonight
Underneath the stars

And everything gone
And all still to come
As nothing to us
Together as one
In each other's arms
So near and so far
Forever as now
Underneath the stars
As the waves break


The text to this song stands very nicely on its own two feet, doesn't it?  It has the feel of the sort of snapshot you sit down to write after a particularly fantastic experience that you don't want time to blur in your memory.  If you sit down within 24 hours and write a poem or a journal entry on it, your memory is carved in deeper by that, and also will be triggered again every time you come back to read that piece.

By the way, that's a nice antidote to the fact that we're evolutionarily skewed to remember negative experiences more than positive experiences - because of the survival value of avoiding potentially deadly scenarios.  So if you get a journal and make a point of writing bits and pieces on stuff you're treasuring on a regular basis, this can really influence your mindset and give you a greater appreciation and enjoyment of the good things in existence, and in your own life.  It actually will make you start actively looking for these things - give you a different sort of lens.  "Simple" things like seashells, sunsets, sand grains, fog, birdsong, the way sunshine slants through leaves during early mornings or late afternoons, the structure of flowers, the smell of the earth after rain, a smile, raindrops on your skin, wind in your hair, the aroma of coffee (never mind that the taste never lives up to it, so I'm content just to smell it :-D), the crisp feel of freshly washed, sundried bed linen against your skin, the stars in a velvety night sky, and hundreds of other things like that. 

It's funny how people with terminal illnesses often see this stuff quite intensely, and the general population tends not to - even though, of course, we're all terminal, just not quite as face-to-face with that fact as someone with a diagnosis.  But even if we weren't, it's still incredible, miraculous stuff.  Each of those things I've listed is its own microcosm, and like a universe in a raindrop - you can go deeper and deeper and find more and more amazement.  You can do this quite literally by delving into the natural sciences and ending up at quantum mechanics and philosophy, from any of these jumping-off points.  And of course you can write poetry, and just generally cultivate a state of amazement.

Or you can write a song about it, if you're wired that way, and share it with the world, as some people do.  Underneath The Stars is a nice example of that kind of song.  Plainsong, to me personally, is another.  There's The Waterboys' Don't Bang The Drum, and Hothouse Flowers' Isn't It Amazing, both intensely powerful tracks.  There's Learning To Fly by Pink Floyd, and Tabula rasa by Arvo Pärt.  There's The Church's Under The Milky Way - someone out there has made such a lovely clip to go with the track that I'm going to post it, it goes beautifully with the imagery of Underneath The Stars as well...


However, The Cure also do a fabulous job using lights and backdrops to create complementary visual imagery when they play live, and here's a nice example of that, from a live performance of Underneath The Stars:


If you love things astronomical, and ways of thinking about that, I'm going to recommend Sydney writer Anna Fienberg's young-adult novel Borrowed Light, which interweaves space and inner space in a very intimate way, and looks at how our inner universes can be dimmed or made properly bright.  It's one of the best-written books I have ever read, both from the perspective of putting words on a page and of creating meaning and understanding, and not very well known outside of Australia.

The contemplation of space and the widening of our view to look at it does tend to awaken our sense of perspective, and of wonder.  So if you're feeling blue, or jaded, or scratchy, or anything else like that, go somewhere you can see the sky, away from the light pollution, and take some walks after dark.  I realise this is easier in Australia than many other Western countries, but it's worth a shot anyway.
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on February 23, 2020, 11:51:46
When I looked at Underneath The Stars in the last post, I didn't do any discussion on the lyrics themselves because they're so clear and straightforward.  It's interesting that writing a text for the purposes of a song basically imposes its own structure on it - you've got to have the right number of syllables in corresponding lines, the right rhythm in the words etc.

There was one thing I did think rather wryly, that if you're of a certain vintage, you can't read references to waves breaking in romantic contexts without the subtext that film imposed upon that.  Before the days when films began showing sex scenes in finer and finer detail, what used to happen when the romantic leads kissed and got amorous is that the shot would then quickly change to waves breaking in the surf.  (Imagine if the film industry had chosen another type of thing for this shorthand - like, I don't know, a basketball going through a hoop, or a helicopter view of a top-loading washing machine in action with the lid open, or someone making a cucumber sandwich, or doing a handstand, or making hazelnut scrolls, or walking their pet iguana.  How would the world have been different?  Would people have given each other iguanas for Valentine's Day?)

This thought actually leads nicely into the discussion of the next song.  You can look up the lyrics to The Only One for yourself (yes, he really is singing that) and then decide whether you think that's too much information, or not.  And I think that's a personal line, that each person draws for themselves. Some people are going to be offended / irritated / embarrassed / in some sort of disagreement, and some not.

The fact that there is apparently a bit of controversy about that song amongst Cure fans actually brings up a lot of cultural stuff about how weird it is that we live in a society saturated with pornography and with the use of sex to sell consumer products, but if someone gets mildly descriptive about their enjoyment of their sex life then somehow that's repugnant, even when that person is married / clearly loves more about their partner than just their body. 

How much information is too much information is a complex topic to think about.  It would be really interesting to know why Robert Smith decided to write that number - I mean, OK, I can see why he wrote the words in the first place, but to know why he decided to make it a public number.  In some ways that's brave rather than reckless or tasteless, or at least it seems that way to me.  And it does add to the conversation around sexuality and what's OK to say and what's not, and why we think that.

I've discussed the lyrics to this song before, primarily to say that I thought it was a good thing that a married 40-something, whom young people would stereotypically see as "past it", challenged the idea that sex is the monopoly of young people with airbrushed bodies which conform to the current narrow definitions of physical beauty to be had all over the mass media. (The song challenged that idea, whether or not that was intended by the writer.)  I don't think I need to re-hash, so here's the link:

http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9201.msg770688#msg770688

...there's that post and then more a bit later, down the page.  If anyone wants to chime in, you can do that in either thread - and you can totally bring the linked material into the current discussion here, by the way.

The other day I was looking through Wikipedia entries and was fascinated to discover that some of the tracks on 4:13 Dream started off with different titles, including this one.  Apparently The Only One was previously titled Please Project, which, if that's true, is potentially funny - depending on whether you read the "project" bit as a noun or a verb. :angel  So, is that a little dig to say, "Go on, I know you're going to project your own stuff onto this!" or is it simply "a project to please a person" (which is basically congruent with the song topic) - or maybe a bit of both?

Brett was saying to me, "What if Mary dared him?  You don't know how much of an imp she might be."  Or maybe they both have similar hippie attitudes to nakedness and sexuality (and that the two should not necessarily be conflated) as my circle seems to have relaxed into (just like us, pretty much all my good friends admit to running around naked indoors and outdoors in the right contexts - even my American friends, despite the puritanical aspects of their culture), and it was a present.  (Now parse that last sentence, bwahahaha!  :angel :evil: :-D)  Lots of possible scenarios there.

I'm going to have a look at the music side of this tune next, but will have to add that later as I've got other stuff that needs doing at the moment. :cool
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: Ulrich on February 23, 2020, 15:55:09
Quote from: SueC on February 23, 2020, 11:51:46Before the days when films began showing sex scenes in finer and finer detail, what used to happen when the romantic leads kissed and got amorous is that the shot would then quickly change to waves breaking in the surf.

Not just that, sometimes they'd show the curtains at the window blowing in the soft evening wind...

Quote from: SueC on February 23, 2020, 11:51:46How much information is too much information is a complex topic to think about.  It would be really interesting to know why Robert Smith decided to write that number - I mean, OK, I can see why he wrote the words in the first place, but to know why he decided to make it a public number.

Well he often admitted that he has lots of tunes, but writing meaningful words becomes more and more difficult...

Quote from: SueC on February 23, 2020, 11:51:46Brett was saying to me, "What if Mary dared him?  You don't know how much of an imp she might be."

Robert said about this (years ago): "I ask her what she thinks, but inspiration is not what I look for."

In general, I'd like to add I never found it "awkward" what Robert sings here, in places it was even funny.
"I love what you do to my head
It's a mess out there!"
Shouldn't that be "hair" instead of "head"?
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on February 24, 2020, 02:37:54
Quote from: Ulrich on February 23, 2020, 15:55:09
Quote from: SueC on February 23, 2020, 11:51:46Before the days when films began showing sex scenes in finer and finer detail, what used to happen when the romantic leads kissed and got amorous is that the shot would then quickly change to waves breaking in the surf.

Not just that, sometimes they'd show the curtains at the window blowing in the soft evening wind...

Yeah, that too! :)  Sometimes I do think there's something to be said for that old approach.  And there's arguments for both approaches, but as usual, I think that there's in-between territory that can be more useful than either extreme.


Quote from: Ulrich on February 23, 2020, 15:55:09
Quote from: SueC on February 23, 2020, 11:51:46Brett was saying to me, "What if Mary dared him?  You don't know how much of an imp she might be."

Robert said about this (years ago): "I ask her what she thinks, but inspiration is not what I look for."

In general, I'd like to add I never found it "awkward" what Robert sings here, in places it was even funny.
"I love what you do to my head
It's a mess out there!"
Shouldn't that be "hair" instead of "head"?

Haha!  :lol:

Perhaps sometimes, the state of the exterior of the head reflects the state of its interior.  Sort of like a barometer! ;)

(https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fminorfs.files.wordpress.com%2F2014%2F07%2Fvan-de-graaf-generator-web.jpg&f=1&nofb=1)

(https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fupload.wikimedia.org%2Fwikipedia%2Fcommons%2Fd%2Fd3%2FPhra_Ajan_Jerapunyo-Abbot_of_Watkungtaphao..jpg&f=1&nofb=1)
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: piggymirror on February 24, 2020, 03:18:09
I wonder what happens when the inside feels like this...  :expressionless:

Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: piggymirror on February 24, 2020, 04:25:13
Going back to topic, The Only One strikes me as a (less interesting, I think) remake of Three Imaginary Boys.
Only more graphic and... perhaps more tongue in cheek.
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on February 24, 2020, 06:30:13
Was that from The Exorcist, @piggymirror?  I read something interesting about that - apparently the modern phenomenon of people performing exorcisms in various religious organisations goes largely back to the release of this film!  It was popular culture, and this film, that apparently made that a thing again in recent decades, which is amusing when you think about it.

Yeah, when the inside feels like this, I don't know - maybe that's the time to start a bootcamp exercise programme to help get rid of the bad-feelings chemicals in the body and ramp up your endorphins - if you have the energy, which sometimes under such circumstances one simply doesn't, in which case taking gentle walks in nice scenery is a good start.  For me it's always been three things: Exercise, enough sleep, good nutrition - or I'd have fallen over a long time ago.  ;)

Just on the subject of horror, I'm not exactly a Stephen King fan but did enjoy watching the 2017 movie It and its follow-up, since the main characters were really interesting.  From the horror side of things, I thought the film Triangle was really well thought through, and it reminded me so much of a ghost ship story I read as a kid.

Last night we watched a haunted house story in which Dr Who was travelling back in time to meet Mary Shelley before she wrote Frankenstein:


Byron and Mr Shelley were also present, so this might be some people's thing.  The costumes were great. I like this kind of historical excursion with a twist - and also much enjoyed the episode with Matt Smith where they went back to meet Vincent van Gogh. :cool

Back to topic, yeah, I'm getting tongue-in-cheek vibes too.  I can't comment on Three Imaginary Boys because we haven't gotten that far back yet in the catalogue; the oldest thing we have is Japanese Whispers (and we don't particularly like it, but we do both very much like The Top).

It's interesting doing this back-to-front, and being able to compare notes with people who did it the other way around!  :)

Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on March 11, 2020, 09:58:30
I'm going to pick up from a couple of posts up, where the song The Only One was discussed.  I re-read that post because it's been a couple of weeks since I wrote it, and was reminded of something.

In the early 2000s, I was staying with a friend in Sydney, doing a term of work in her school, dipping my toes in the water, to see if I might like to stay longer in that city (and I did, it's a lovely city).  She and her husband were heading for 50, had been together since their school days, and were one of the most affectionate couples of any age I've ever met, including since then.  I took a lot of inspiration from their relationship.  Their children, however, were mildly disgusted rather than inspired:  "Mum!  Dad!  We can't take you anywhere!"  :lol:

Isn't it funny how parents can disgust their adolescent children by kissing fondly, holding hands and giving each other smitten looks (and it really was quite decorous, rather than overtly sexual, but you certainly knew they meant a lot to each other).  I was sitting there, in my early 30s, thinking, "Wow, my parents weren't like that, wouldn't it have been nice to have had such an affectionate, positive model of marriage!" and their children were rolling their eyes.  That response, by the way, is in part probably related to the incest taboo - none of us actually really want to consider that any other people in our family, but especially our parents and grandparents, are sexual beings, and we don't want them thinking about us that way either (acknowledging that, OK, but not ruminating on it, thank you very much).

I wonder how far the incest taboo transfers culturally to pretty much anyone significantly older than us / in "parent" age category compared to us.  Perhaps that's one reason why middle-aged people tend to raise eyebrows with affectionate couple displays, and why that's not frequently depicted in movies, where love and sexuality are disproportionally given to younger people to portray.  (When you get to the elderly end, however, most people will coo over octogenarians walking around hand-in-hand and say, "How lovely!")

So maybe this is partly why there's been some negative response out there to the lyrics of The Only One, and at the same time, that's why I commend it, since I too am over 40!  ;)

I wanted to talk about the musical side of this track a little before moving on to the next one.  It's such a happy song from start to finish.  So immediately, I'm thinking, "What is it that makes music sound happy, as opposed to sad - in technical terms?"  I've heard reams of theory about music and emotions, about how certain scales suggest melancholy and others not, and certain ways of playing notes, etc etc.  I expect there's something akin to onomatopoeia in that as well - we all know what misery sounds like when expressed in nonverbal sounds - the shrill, doleful sounds of animals when they become lunch for another animal out in the wild or when horrible people kick dogs or cats around.  Conversely too, the happy sounds animals make when playing or when they are being affectionate.  We're social mammals, sharing an evolutionary background with other social mammals, and we instinctively "get" this language.  You can hear echoes of that language in movie soundtracks, and in music in general.

Humour break.  What do you get when a piano drops on an army camp?  A flat major.  And what do you get when a piano drops down a mine shaft?  (Come on, you can figure this one out if you've not heard it before! :))

The Only One is musically happy in a way that doesn't make me cringe.  It doesn't sound contrived or superficial or cheap or plasticky to me (now let's quantify that!  :lol:).  In part that's because the people playing it aren't musical amateurs and that they're using instrumentation I like.  For starters, there's a lot of space in this song, and I like it when there's space in music (and in movies, and in prose).  The song breathes, and lets us breathe, instead of being suffocating.  Did you know that several decades ago, an experiment was conducted that showed you could stress goldfish by playing them fast rhythms?  Especially if the beat is way above their resting heart rate.  The faster the beat, the more stressed the goldfish.

So you can have a relatively slow beat, and make the space between beats busy and interesting in nice ways without making it suffocating either, and that's what I am hearing in The Only One.  I'm for some reason hearing a lot of sparkles, dewdrops and sunbeams in this song - like going out into a sunny early morning after rain, when the light is dancing off the water droplets and the sun is hanging in the sky like a low lantern, and illuminating everything from the side (that's such fabulous light!).

The melodies through that song, when I listened to them again and again to try to articulate what I like about this music, actually reminded me of so much stuff I really noticed when I started listening to classical music, and when I did three years of violin lessons.  Have you ever listened to Bach?  It's like equations.  n+1, n-1, n+2, n-2.  You listen to one part and the next, and then it makes sense.  You can almost start to predict what's going to happen at some points, but at other points there's little surprises that lilt off to the side, or you suddenly land half a note below where you're expecting to go, and your brain starts to chime.

Listening to this track, all this is coming back to me; also my brain is sending me little random one-word notes like "arpeggio" and "counterpoint" and "call-and-response" from the strata of stuff being stored in it.  Sometimes it remembers stuff underneath that I don't recall clearly.

It's like painting - you can do it with acrylics, you can do it with words, you can do it with music, and presumably you can also do that with mathematics (if your brain is bent in that direction!).

I think the drum track to this song is excellent, and it does the same thing the whole song does - leave space, but partly fill the space in interesting and alive ways.  There's a lovely sound underneath the guitar melodies which reminds me of glockenspiel or xylophone and is probably keyboards (if in doubt, it's probably keyboards ;)). Sounds layer in very complementary ways, like tastes will in good food - e.g. a bit of nougat offsetting cream, and contrasting with sour cherries, if you're making a dessert - when it comes down to it, you can see so many similarities about good construction in whatever medium you're using.

Ha, now I've done it - I think I'm going to have to make cherry trifle... I really shouldn't do food analogies coming up to mealtimes, if I want to continue on a particular task - but on the other hand, this is a good point to leave it.  It's kind of fun trying to describe sound in ordinary words.  Next time I'll look at The Reasons Why.  Have a decent day, all. :)
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on March 12, 2020, 14:40:06
So, why would a song dealing with a suicide sound rather upbeat?  It's not the first song on that general theme by this band; Cut Here is more what you'd expect, a reminder that you can miss the clues (if any) and then it's too late, and the regret of that, which I'm sure a few of us have experienced by now.  But The Reasons Why is far more edgy.

Somewhere, a while back, I read a moronic, very short review of 4:13 Dream, where the reviewer was assuming that the song was Robert Smith being some kind of gothic drama queen, and as per that stereotype, crooning about his own potential suicide.  If you look up the lyrics on genius.com, it does have a note that this is about an actual suicide note sent to Robert Smith by someone he knew, way back in 1987.

So the first thing I thought was, why would you take an edgy tone about something like that?  Especially if the person succeeded?

Here's an anecdote.  A friend of mine who lives nearby is an incredibly good listener and a compassionate, thoughtful, highly informed person, and so she gets a lot of people discussing their problems with her.  When that's a balanced thing, that's OK.  But she had this one person who was starting to really load her up, to the point she'd ring her in the middle of the night, during the kinds of hours most people are in bed, when distraught people actually have the option of calling a range of helplines.  On being asked to ring during reasonable hours and presented with alternative sources of support, she started threatening my friend that she was going to get in her car and jump off The Gap, a popular local suicide spot.  Now that was manipulative and nasty, and if I had to write a poem about that, it would be edgy because of that.  You simply don't treat people in this manner.  And if the person had gone and jumped, it would have been on her, and not on my friend, because it just doesn't work this way.

That's one possible reason for being edgy about something like this.  The details on the public record about the situation that gave rise to The Reasons Why are scant.  Was the suicide note actually sent to Robert Smith by the person who wrote it?  And if so, aren't such notes traditionally just left in a place where they will be found later by connections, rather than sent to a particular individual?  The problem with sending something like that to a particular person is that it does put rather a burden on that person, by singling them out.  I guess it depends on the tone, and the previous communications between the two people, and the nature of their relationship.

So let's have a look at the lyrics:

THE REASONS WHY

I won't try to bring you down about my suicide
Got no need to understand about my big surprise
Oh I am falling through the sky
You remember this?
I am falling in their eyes
You remember the kiss?

I won't try to bring you down about my suicide
Got no need to understand about my big surprise
I won't beg to hang you up about my love of life
If you promise not to sing about the reasons why

I am writing you a letter
Getting better
Can I see you?
When...
All the lights go out together
Blame the weather
Yeah the cold again
In the darkness for a second
I am sure I see them smiling then
I feel them calling me
Yeah they are calling me

And I am falling through the stars
You remember now?
Yeah I am falling in their arms
You remember how?
Oh I am falling through the sky
You remember this ?
I am falling in their eyes
You remember the kiss?

I won't try to pull you in about my sacrifice
Makes no sense to get upset about the other side
I won't beg to put you out about my right to die
If you promise not to sing about the reasons why

I am calling you at midnight
Feeling alright...can I tell you?
When?
On the line no sound but my words
Must be night birds on the wire again
In the silence for a second
I am sure I hear them laughing then
I feel them calling me
Yeah they are calling me

And I am falling through the stars
You remember now?
Yeah I am falling in their arms
You remember how?
Oh I am falling through the sky
You remember this ?
I am falling in their eyes
You remember the kiss?

We know
They said
You're holding on
To nothing left of something gone
We know
They said
In letting go
Of fear and dread
And all you know
You'll lose the need of certainty
And make-believe eternity
To find the true reality
In beautiful infinity

But I won't try to bring you down about my suicide
If you promise not to sing about the reasons why


There's a lot going on, and much of it is rather inscrutable, especially the reference to the kiss.  But there's also a lot to make you think.  Next time around, I'll just annotate some thoughts onto the lyrics, but I'm leaving the copy above as is, so people can read it and get their own impressions first, without having to read mine.

One important thing when trying to make sense of what's going on here is to remember that these lyrics aren't just words on a page; they are sung with a certain kind of tone, which doesn't sound particularly sympathetic or sad to me (unlike Cut Here).  It sounds somewhat annoyed to me, or at the very least, somewhat hammed up.  I don't think this is straight grief over losing a friend - and perhaps this is not a friend, or at least not the sort that you could feel thoroughly good about in their lifetime.

Feel free to chime in with your own impressions.  I'll get back to it next time.
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on March 25, 2020, 11:17:41
Well, I started annotating the lyrics to The Reasons Why but wasn't enjoying the process with this one, so I'm going to leave it.  I want to finish with this album so I can start listening to the two others that have arrived.

So, Freakshow.  It's not a song I particularly enjoy, but it's not the worst thing they've done either; however, it does contain one of the worst guitar sounds that ever came out of The Cure - that bit in the middle that sounds like a dentist's drill.  :1f632:

And so to the lyrics:

FREAKSHOW

I can't believe it, I must be dreaming
She turns the sound down
Says, "I am heaving
This is a freakshow"


...did someone not appreciate the narrator's musical taste / TV programme?   :winking_tongue   This is actually very funny!  Both the over-the-top comment, and the narrator's disbelief at the situation.  And while this could be a million scenarios, it's very funny to imagine it as a husband-wife interaction.  :lol:  There's this sense of throwing down the gauntlet here.

And I am screaming
She spins the world round
I want to stop
Bittersweet again
Her opening move
Down and out in black
Soft shiny and smooth
Looks like the alien
Crowd got groove
She burns her name into my arm
But I can never get through
To play the game
She's trying to lose
Her ultraviolet makes it
Harder to choose


Mmm, tealeaves again.  Opening move to what?  A metaphorical dance?  The references to ultraviolet and the alien crowd are pretty impenetrable.  Ultraviolet to me personally has connotations of danger - because it burns you and causes skin cancer, so it's a rather unfriendly part of the spectrum of light.  But, that doesn't remotely mean any such connotation was intended by the author.  All I'm really getting here is the fuzzy sense that this is some kind of murky relationship interaction / commentary.

Looks like the edge
Of the earth got moved
She blurs a way across the floor
I spin to swallow the view
And it's the same sway
Yeah, it's the same slide
It's the same stare, oh
It's the same smile
Yeah, it's the same but
It's not quite right
Oh, it's insane
She shakes like a freak
Stuck in the middle
Of the room for a week

Looks like the only way
To get on the beat
Is take her up on how to swing
But I am missing my feet
And it's the same sway
Yeah, it's the same slide
It's the same stare, oh
It's the same smile
Yeah, it's the same but
It's not quite right
I'm in a step, out
She two more steps down
For three steps up, clap
And go around, ow


Still some sort of metaphorical dance - or maybe this is some kind of preliminary courtship ritual?  :angel

It makes my head buzz
She wants to come now
I try to stop
Always infra dig her
Finishing move
Up and down in black
Soft shiny and smooth
Looks like the alien
Crowd got groove
She cuts a number out my arm
But I can never get through
To play this game
She's trying to lose
The stuff from Mars
Makes it harder to choose


I remember when I first listened to this, joking to a friend, "What is this about?  Kinky sex?  Or just walking the dog?"  Clearly not about walking the dog.  There's something rather off-balance here though.

Looks like the final frontier got moved
She blurs a way across the floor
I spin to swallow the view
And it's the same sway
Yeah, it's the same slide
It's the same strip, oh
It's the same smile
Yeah, it's the same
But it's not quite right
I can't believe it, I must be dreaming
She turns the lights up
Says she is leaving
This is a freakshow

And I am beaten
She spins the world round


So - what?  The choice of music / viewing was objected to, there was some kind of bizarre courtship ritual that may or may not have involved actual dancing, or maybe it's a metaphor, there was some kind of consummation, and then the woman says, "Wham-bam thankyou mister, I'm going now!"?  ...and it looks like she won that round, anyway.  And that the narrator kinda likes her spinning the world around.

Your guess is as good as mine.  Feel free to help me out here!

Oh heck, while I'm here I may as well address a few other songs, so I can get this over with.  Sirensong is not the kind of song I get the urge to listen to over and over; I find it musically middling, and if I had to express how much I relate to its lyrics, I would have to use negative numbers.  This time the lyrics aren't inscrutable, and I find some of the ideas in it thoroughly offputting.  It's not that I don't think men get attracted to women, and vice versa, and other combinations, but it's the bilge that goes with it in some popular songs that I don't like.  This whole "she had me in her magic spell" concept is just so cheap, to me, as if you're not a free agent, as if we've not moved on from the idea of women as temptresses or "uncovered meat" - Australians will understand the reference, famously made by a particularly daft imam - not that all imams are daft, but this one was, about women, and about men not accepting responsibility for their own sexual desires, and I'm disappointed Robert Smith is blowing out of that same old jaded horn.  "And I was tricked," my backside, unless it's a reference to sexual biochemistry, in which case I'll pass it - but not if it's another limp reiteration of, "It was Eve's fault, she offered me the apple!"

Interested people can look up the lyrics and form their own impressions.  To me though, there's nothing magical about this song, or this description of a sexual attraction / interaction; it's too stuffed with passing the buck, not accepting responsibility, poor-me-I-can't-help-myself.   And the finish of it is in the same vein: 

My whole life hanging
On a single word
To be hers evermore
Or mine alone


This is not a healthy way to think about love and partnership, this is basically codependency again - thinking that another person has that much power over you (and that you're willing to give it up to them), and that this is OK with you.  A healthy relationship doesn't have that kind of power imbalance or those kinds of power games.  And the concept of ownership - that in a relationship, the other person owns you (and/or you them) - that's just way off.  You each own your own self and share it with the other - but perhaps that's too unromantic, or not dramatic enough for some people.

You see a lot of these misconceptions about love in songs written by young people, but to see this one coming from a middle-aged person is a bit disappointing.  It really is a pity they don't do thorough relationships education in schools, since so many people have the misfortune to grow up in dysfunctional families, and then have to learn the hard way through their 20s and beyond (and some never do).  And I don't care if the author agrees with the narrator here or not, it just perpetuates stuff that I personally really think is unhelpful rubbish.  It does not particularly invite you to critique the viewpoint, it's just flat and there and not the kind of thing I want to spend my time listening to.

The Real Snow White perhaps does invite critique of attitudes (or perhaps not) - I'll deal with that next time.

Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on March 30, 2020, 07:45:00
Confession time:  When I was listening to the B-sides collection, I liked most of the material from CDs 2-4, and some of the things I wasn't so keen on at first kind of grew on me, like Doing The Unstuck, despite its Playschool vibes.  I think that's something of a parallel to my acutely disliking the songs Love Cats and Why Can't I Be You as a teenager, but then actually beginning to like them in midlife, when I had unwound a bit and was starting to have fun in ways I simply didn't as a youngster.  So there you go, our tastes can change - just like I started eating avocado with relish in my mid-20s, after abhorring the taste as a kid; or giving myself a push to try sashimi when the fish had been caught and prepared that very morning by a work colleague I trusted (and I've eaten it ever since).

But the confession I have to make is that the opposite is happening for me with much of 4:13 Dream.  When I first listened to it, I was thinking, "OK, it's The Cure on holidays."  It does have a cruisy kind of vibe.  And I do really like the first three songs, that part has not changed - but after that, things are getting murky for me, and I'm actually liking a lot of the songs less the more I listen to them.  I've wondered why that is.

In part it's issues with lyrics - that with some of the songs, as I'm getting to know the lyrics, I'm finding myself objecting to viewpoints presented, whether or not actually endorsed.  Or I'm wishing that there was more clarity and less "read the tealeaves" - and that has me wondering whether Mr Smith is sometimes trying to write lyrics to go with a song-under-construction, rather than having lyrics and setting those to music - not that it's necessarily a binary thing.

The most wishy-washy of U2's early albums lyrically is October - where Bono famously lost his folder with the prepared lyrics just before they were booked into the studio, and had to recreate from memory, and in some cases just ad-lib.  So, some of the songs got a bit murky lyrically, which was not the case for the albums immediately before and after.  But in general, Bono writes above-average lyrics which reflect a wide-ranging literary diet, and an intimacy around language.  He generally writes clearly, and has a sense of the words he's using - and much as I've not liked some of his preachiness through the 90s especially, and am kind of rubbed up the wrong way a lot these days when I hear him talk, I still really respect his feel for language, and the way he often paints with words.

Mike Scott is another favourite lyricist, for similar reasons, as is Suzanne Vega, and it's nice to know they're still on the same planet as the rest of us, after all these years, which is where they have the edge on Bono (hahaha, sorry, I only just realised the pun :lol:), whose own lovely wife described him as being "unencumbered by reality" and I laughed so much when I heard that!

So Robert Smith is a funny one.  I do think he's on the same planet as the rest of us most of the time, and I don't wince when I hear him interviewed (although I don't always agree with him either).  I don't think he goes around thinking he knows vastly more than he actually does, while I do think Bono does (he has some really obvious blind spots), despite of the fact that I would also wager that Bono has read more seriously and more widely than Robert Smith over the course of his lifetime, and spent more hours in total with his nose in a book.  That's my professional hunch, from being an educator for 20 years.  I think Robert Smith possibly has less cognitive bias than Bono (we all have cognitive bias to some extent) and possibly is less invested in his working hypotheses of the world - but I obviously haven't sat down and tested them on these parameters.  It's just that I've read a lot of student essays, poetry and creative writing in my life, from students I knew reasonably well as people, and have noticed certain patterns that correlate with these parameters, so that when I'm reading someone's lyrics it's going through that same analytical machinery, and I think about it as I would student work, with the same interest in the person behind the work.

Robert Smith has written some fabulous lyrics, but also some pretty ordinary ones.  I think he's generally improved with age and experience there.  I love a lot of the music that has come from The Cure, but not all of it, and one of the occasionally repeating friction points with material from this band for me is lyrics rubbing me up the wrong way, either because murky or a bit sloppy or because not that well thought through logically.  I think Robert Smith is better at painting with his guitar than he is at painting with words - and he's exceptionally good at painting with his guitar, from my perspective - I'm often holding my breath because so blown away by that.

So yeah, on 4:13 Dream, on closer acquaintance, some of the lyrics began to grate on me, and with Sirensong to the point of not wishing to play that track again at our house, when there are so many tracks I enjoy a lot more, both by this band and others.

But in addition to that, after the first three songs, some of the music, and some of the vocal delivery style, was also grating on me.  The Cure are so very good at doing gorgeously atmospheric soundscapes, and at playing together like a bunch of string players rather than a bunch of people competing for attention, that it's kind of odd to get moments on this album where I'm actually putting my hands over my ears because the guitar is so screechy and annoying.  OK, I get it, you can't always do things the same way artistically or you become a caricature of yourself.  And aesthetics are so debatable - what is beautiful?  What sounds beautiful?  And yes, a lot of that is in the eyes and ears of the beholder.  Additionally, artists have the unalienable right to experiment with their work, and if they want to do something differently, then so they should, even if the result isn't enjoyable to the majority of people.  Heck, much of the music I listen to is alternative, and I tend not to like music that the majority likes, and to like the least, out of The Cure's catalogue, the songs that were popular hits for them (people gotta eat, musicians actually and audiences have different tastes which it is right to cater for).

And having said that, onto the next song.

THE REAL SNOW WHITE

You've got what I want

Oh yeah!
It's only for the night
And I will give it back tomorrow I swear
She can barely breathe
Don't stare
I know the dress is tight
But it was all I had to wear
Give me what I need
Please share
You know it's only right
And I would never lie to you
I wouldn't dare

I made a promise to myself
I wouldn't start with anyone else but
You know how it is with these promises
Made in the heat of the moment

They're made to be broken in two
Sometimes the only thing to do

Oh no!
It's all coming back
How I came to in a sticky three-day hole
Didn't see the sign
Go slow
Too busy tuning static on the radio
She hissed it in a song
Don't go
It always fades to black
But that's why I love the trip
It's so inevitable

I made a promise to myself
I wouldn't start with anyone else but
You know how it is with these promises
Made in the heat of the moment

They're made to be less than they seem
Whenever you've got what I need

And you've got what I need
Aaaiiieee!
For service with a smile
I have to walk in on my hands
And roll for free
You say it's all the same
Ennui
You're not the real snow white
The real snow white is on my knee
I didn't need to get ID
It's simply minimum height
And getting all dressed up
In seven ways to please

I made a promise to myself
I wouldn't start with anyone else but
You know how it is with these promises
Made in the heat of the moment

They're made to be broken one day
If there's no time to get away

Uh-oh!
She wasn't made to shine
She was really only ever made to glow
I left her in the dark
No show
Quiet svcking on a line
It was a tricky gun to load
And I didn't get to fire
Hi-ho!
She's off to work for time
I should have finished out with higher
Up than low

I made a promise to myself
I wouldn't start with anyone else but
You know how it is with these promises
Made in the heat of the moment

They're made before right becomes wrong
Whenever you've got what I want

And you've got what I want
Oh yeah!
It's only for the night
And I will give it back tomorrow
I swear


As I mentioned at the end of the last post, I have a feeling this song caricatures and exposes an attitude about relationships, and holds it up for critique.  If that's the case, it's certainly effective, because the long descriptive parts in the song especially repel me to the point of physical nausea.  This is a universe I have thankfully never visited, although I saw portals to it all around me, and this way of doing things has always personally deeply repelled me.  If that's what other people want to do, fine, but not with me (and various people did want to do that with me, unsuccessfully I might add, and it made me want to throw up).

That stuff is the complete opposite of what I actually have in my life, and what I treasure above anything.  I do have difficulty understanding what draws some people to apparently prefer a modus operandi of disposable relationships, using other people and throwing them away, running from thrill to thrill, saying whatever they need to say to get what they want (and this to me is the especially disgusting part - because that is then no longer an informed and mutually consenting transaction, but a way of deceiving another person).  It's not even as if the sex is going to be any better (and there's statistics to back this up, e.g. listen here (https://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/ladies-we-need-to-talk/ladies-live:-closing-the-orgasm-gap/9998716)); but I suppose some people get their kicks out of feeling powerful, and bigger and more important than another person, and/or they think that the more people they bed, the more desirable it proves they are, and they prefer operating on that shallow level to the idea of real intimacy with another human being.  Or maybe, those people are just simple stimulus-response machines without much central processing capacity.  Search me.  I'm a child of the 80s and my leaving yearbook was filled with professed aims in life like:

- To go to Paris and get laid as much as possible
- To be rich by age 25 and never have to work another day
- To drive a Ferrari and marry a supermodel

...and all the me-me-me of it all made me want to throw up; as indeed does all the me-me-me in contemporary Australian society - most recently demonstrated with the hoarding of toilet paper - congratulations, people, you now have enough toilet paper for a year, while old Mrs Jones down the road is wiping her backside with rags, are you proud of that?  ...and also amply demonstrated, during the course of "normal" Australian times, by road rage, pushing into queues, people throwing rubbish out of their car windows, scammers emailing us on a daily basis, and no longer being able to answer our telephone to unknown numbers because we're assailed by telemarketers and answering such calls only encourages them - to give but a few examples - and none of this is necessary - if only people had respect for each other, themselves and the biosphere that supports us.

So yeah, I hope The Real Snow White is intended as a critique, and I think it probably is.  Why does this song strike me as a caricature, when Sirensong didn't particularly?  Well, in part because it's even more preposterous, and because Robert Smith is definitely hamming all this up vocally, whereas the tone of Sirensong didn't seem to suggest a caricature, at least to me.  If you don't know a person from a bar of soap, it can be difficult to tell whether they're serious or being the devil's advocate.

I personally think there's clues even in the opening, which really goes like this:

You've got what I want
YOU've got what I want
You've GOT what I want
You've got WHAT I want
You've got what *I* want
You've got what I WANT

...and the whole It's only for the night / And I will give it back tomorrow, I swear is just completely ridiculous, although I have to say, it's not as if some people don't believe completely ridiculous things like this - but these follow-up lines just tip it over the edge for me:  Give me what I need / Please share / You know it's only right / And I would never lie to you / I wouldn't dare.

Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal (https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1080/1080-h/1080-h.htm) is often used in senior high school classrooms to introduce the idea of satire.  Students generally get it without having to be spoonfed - that the author doesn't actually mean what he's saying, he's using it to caricature other people's attitudes he's objecting to.  In part it might be the familiarity of many with Gulliver's Travels that helps this recognition - and in part it's because it's just so over-the-top to suggest cannibalism as a means of solving a social problem.

But here's an example that used to be easily recognised by young people as satire, and now, not so much:


For quite a while after Live Aid back in 1984, young people were aware who Bob Geldof was and what his real feelings on social injustice were, so the majority of my students picked this song up as tongue-in-cheek immediately.  But, fast-forward to 2005, and I had my first class of 16-year-olds who sat like stunned mullets listening to this song, getting progressively more outraged by the perceived flippancy and nonchalance of the nasty piece of work singing it.  And then I had to calm them down and tell them something about Bob Geldof.

I was initially thinking, "Wow, was something in the water the year these people were conceived?  Not a single person wondered if this might be satire."  But, irrespective of this, I do think that if you're not familiar with the context of a piece, or with an author's actual views, then it can be very difficult to pick something as satire or not, especially since so many outrageous suggestions are made on a daily basis these days that people do actually fully mean.

So you might say to me, "Sue, the author of this Cure song has been married for umpteen years to someone he met back in high school and he seems to worship the ground she treads upon, I can cite you so many songs, so why can't you obviously pick it as satire?"

It's because I don't actually know this person, and because the subject of people's love relationships is really complicated.  You can't assume, even if someone has been married 50 years, that they actually respect their partner (and I know examples of couples like this who really, really do not), even if they actually appear to, and everyone thinks they do; or that they're monogamous (and a heck of a lot of marriages are actually not).  Some people have flings on the side and are always accepted back, some people have open marriages where it's OK with both of them, at least at the outset, that you don't always dine at home, and they never actually promised each other sexual exclusivity, but had a different arrangement, and yet if you ask them, they say they really love each other, and this might actually be the case.  And I personally don't know how that works, and how that might get compartmentalised, so therefore I can't simply infer that any song that's obviously not about monogamy but written by a married person is therefore necessarily satire.

When I was doing my final teaching practicum for my Dip.Ed. I was hosted by a Science department which was unbelievably good fun.  By pure chance, my supervising teacher turned out to be the same teacher who had taught me Biology when I was a high school student, and he introduced me to his classes rather comically as, "This is the best student above and beyond that I have ever taught in my life, and I not infrequently changed answer keys because she picked up mistakes in them, and you would do well to attend to her if you'd like the chance to achieve a fraction of what she did."  But unless you knew me, or him, you wouldn't know if that was true or not, because it sounded like such a ham.  Anyway, most of us in that department got on great; these teachers were not only science geeks, but most of them really cared about their students, and this is not always the case.

And after about a week, we all started mock insulting each other. We would say the most outrageous things to each other's faces, like, "Yeah, what would a geriatric like you know about that?" or, "It is such a misery to be forced to work with a colleague like you!" or, "OMG, are you doing this answer key?  In that case I'll have to spend hours fixing it later!" or, "I pity your poor traumatised students!"  It was super hilarious because we actually respected each other very deeply.  So the male staff would make misogynistic jokes a lot around me, and one day I just looked at them, went over to the guillotine, lifted the blade, and then slowly, pointedly lowered it down, with a meaningful look around the room, and they all crossed their legs.  I was just laughing all the time.  It's a great anti-stress strategy, if you have the right kinds of colleagues.

One day we were all in full flight like this during recess, when unbeknownst to us, a new librarian entered the room, and when we noticed her, her jaw was basically on the ground.  She thought we meant these things!  :lol:  It really can be so hard to tell, if you don't know the people - and yet so obvious, when you do.

So there you go, satire and how to tell (or not).

The Hungry Ghost next time - and discussion on any or all of this is always incredibly welcome, so long as we all play nicely!  :)
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on April 03, 2020, 10:43:17
I didn't realise just how good The Hungry Ghost is until I saw a live version:


In the studio version, I like the instrumentation, but find the vocal a bit screechy.  Live, it's not screechy at all (hooray!) - and consistently so (I've looked at a few).  He's actually singing it lower down on the scale.  (I always felt that most of the violin student pieces I had to learn sounded so much better if I took them down at least half an octave - much more resonance when you do that, and less ear-shatteringness.)

And so we come to a pattern:  How is it that so many of The Cure's songs come across extra well live?  Why is it that even songs that I don't particularly like on a CD, I will usually really enjoy live?  To make it a fair comparison, it's true for just audio, I don't have to be watching a concert (although that adds another couple of dozen dimensions).

So that's one aspect where The Cure to me are quite different from a lot of bands.  So often it's the other way around, and you get disappointed when people play live and it doesn't come off as well as it did on CD, with all the benefits of doing takes, editing etc.  It's also a major reason I've become such a fan of this band - because I've just never been disappointed sitting down watching a concert film of theirs, whether the official DVDs or music festival footage etc.

Brett also prefers a lot of The Cure's songs live - citing Apart as an example of a song that grows a mile in concert.  I usually even prefer Robert Smith's vocals live - in part because he's actually become a better singer as he's gotten older, so there's a richer tone and then the studio stuff can sound watery or nasal in comparison, especially the stuff from way back.

Brett said to me, "Well, when you practice for a few decades, you just learn to do things better."  Maybe that explains why The Forest never jumped out at me from the Best-Of I pulled out of Brett's collection after falling in love with the Bloodflowers album on his iPod over five years ago now.  Yet when I caught it on the Hyde Park film and also on the Lodz footage, I enjoyed that number tremendously.

Back to The Hungry Ghost - let's look at the lyrics:

THE HUNGRY GHOST

All the things we never know we need
Looks like we get them in the end
Measure time in leisure time and greed
And by the time we get to spend

A floating bed
A head of stone
A home plugged into every phone
Kimono coral floral print
Exclusive tint and cut reclusive

No it doesn't come for free
But it's the price
We pay for happiness

No don't talk about more to life than this
Dream a world maybe no one owns
No don't think about all the life we miss
Swallow doubt as the hunger grows

Make believe it's like no one knows
Even if we turn more to most
We'll never satisfy the hungry ghost

All the stuff we know we never want
Seems like we get it anyway
Safe to say it isn't really wrong
Not when we know we only
Throw it all away

Yeah all of this we never know we want
Its like we get it anyway
Safe to say it isn't ever wrong
Better to get than to delay

A 3d screen
A cleaner fit
A bit pulled out of every hit
Addicted latest greatest piece
Design caprice and make the headline

No it doesn't come for free
But it's the price
We pay for happiness

No don't talk about more to life than this
Dream a world maybe no one owns
No don't think about all the life we miss
Swallow doubt as the hunger grows

Make believe its like no one knows
Even if we turn more to most
We'll never satisfy the hungry ghost

And all of this
We know we never need
Well it's the price
We pay for happiness


Every song is a sort of Rorschach test, and I think this one is a critique of consumerism.

The first thing I thought of when I contemplated these lyrics was a story about Socrates in the marketplace.  Legend has it he spent the whole morning silently walking around the market looking at things, with his acolytes following him around, waiting for him to break his silence.  When he finally spoke many hours later, he said, "So many things I don't need!"

Imagine if Socrates was around today, and someone took him to a supermarket, or to K-Mart.  How many more things he doesn't need!  Seriously - if we shop at the local Woolworths, over 95% of what they sell, we'd never even contemplate buying.  Apart from the fruit and vegetable section, meat and dairy, and the deli counter, the vast majority of the stuff on all the shelves in-between isn't even food, although the packets pretend it is.  It's stuff that's making people and the planet sick; and both are sicker than ever, the former with "lifestyle diseases" and the latter with the pollution and rubbish directly resulting from our Western consumer lifestyles.

Go to K-Mart, and it's filled with largely plastic junk with a deliberately low life span, so you have to throw it away in a year and buy another one (if you buy into this mindset).  There's clothes made by what amounts to slave labour in developing countries, again designed to wear out quickly, but it's cheap so many people just buy them all over again, adding another tide of rubbish to a planet we're using as a garbage dump, while perpetuating the low social justice standards of the corporations producing this rubbish.

I wasn't a kid that long ago, from a historical perspective.  Washing machines and refrigerators were once designed to last a lifetime, with perhaps a few repairs, and to be eminently repairable.  Not anymore; the salesman, when we bought our refrigerator back in 2013, told us not to expect it to last longer than five years - and he didn't have anything designed to last longer.  (It's still working, but the problem is the lack of choice in the matter when everything in the market is like that; and that's why we need regulation instead of "market forces"... so that we'll have one refrigerator for a human life span, not 16, with 15 sitting in landfill at the time of your death, and now multiply that by many millions...)

20 years ago, if I bought a cotton T-shirt, it lasted upwards of 5 years without going out of shape.  Now, cotton T-shirts last one year maximum before they start to look ratty. I'd rather buy a decent one that was going to last at 5 times the price, than 5 shirts in 5 years; but I can't find anything like that where I live.  I'd have to take up sewing, and I'm already running a homestead (which we built ourselves because everything on offer on the market in our price range was crap, and guess what, our house isn't crap, even though it wasn't built by professional builders... frightening! - but we weren't going to do with our house what's been forced upon us with cotton T-shirts...), managing pasture and tree fodder, trimming eight sets of horse and donkey hooves every 4-6 weeks, looking after a small herd of beef cattle and our own beehives, growing our own fruit and vegetables, cooking all our food from scratch, stopping the garden from turning into a jungle, revegetating roadsides, continuing to plant in-pasture shelter belts, doing fence and other infrastructure maintenance around 62 hectares of land, and together with my husband, mosaic burning 50 hectares of Australian sclerophyll to maintain its stunning biodiversity, and relative fire safety.  Nominally we're volunteer bushfire brigade too, but our particular brigade sits on its hands; and then there's my sideline of writing articles.  If a house cow didn't make it into my Eden because I was already over-committed, then I'm not going to start sewing my own clothes anytime soon either.  You simply can't do everything.

I'm sure Socrates would be impressed by some of our technological whizz-bang compared to back in his day, but also appalled by our priorities, and by what we've done to this planet, and each other.

I'm going to come back to the song and do some annotating.

All the things we never know we need
Looks like we get them in the end


This seems to me to comment on the inevitability almost, of ending up with unnecessary stuff if you're living in the West.  It's just the way the whole society is set up.  I'm a member of the counter-cultural Grass Roots movement in Australia, which is loosely based around a sustainability / self-sufficiency / alternative magazine I write for.  We try very hard to get away from the consumerist mentality, but it took Brett and me half our statistical lifespans before we were off-grid and on renewable energy, stopped flushing 30,000 litres of drinking water a year down the toilet, stopped wasting all the nutrients that went through us by having a (very civilised and totally odourless) compost toilet and recycling those nutrients back into our organic food production system as nature intends, instead of polluting waterways and oceans with it; before our savings and superannuation were with people who hopefully don't finance military weapons and social and environmental exploitation; before all our banking business was with a community bank instead of a for-corporate-profit model, before half our groceries were grower-direct without corporate middlemen, before we could afford to get a block of rural land and demonstrate more environmentally friendly agriculture which actually increases rather than reduces biodiversity and doesn't rely on synthetic fertilisers and fossil-fuel driven machinery for its operation, stuff like that.

It's just such an uphill to get away from things like this.  You have to swim against the tide almost every step of the way, and be so careful with your resources to get out of the suburban cycle of working (typically) for the big end of town while also paying most of your income to the big end of town via rent / mortgage, electricity and other utilities, supermarket and big retailer shopping.  It's something you actively have to extract yourself from, and to do that in any major way that makes you largely independent of the big end of town is not easy.

Measure time in leisure time and greed

Nice line here - with internal rhyming as well.  :cool  Makes me think about how value is ascribed to things in Western society.  It's funny, you know, the veterinarian came by the other day to attend to some animals of ours, first time since the pandemic, and he was saying to me, "Well, I hope this is going to teach people that life is about more than toys and status symbols - that it's really about relationships and reading books and cooking your own food and getting outdoors for a walk, things like that!"  Indeed.

And by the time we get to spend

A floating bed
A head of stone
A home plugged into every phone
Kimono coral floral print
Exclusive tint and cut reclusive


I like the lampoony examples used here.  I particularly like the "A home plugged into every phone" line and how it reverses the way it's normally used, it's very astute.  We've gone from times when homes had phones, to times when phones have homes, potentially, if you buy into all that in my view excessive technology (we like to keep things simple, troglodytes that we are).  Technology goes from servant to master; the home is now just an accessory rather than a human centrepoint.  Except you still have a choice you can exercise, you don't have to be a lemming and you can actually choose to live differently, instead of accepting an externally invented blueprint.

No it doesn't come for free
But it's the price
We pay for happiness


Material stuff doesn't come for free indeed - not only is there a personal cost in time and energy either to make something, or to earn the money to be able to buy something - but there's the social and environmental cost to consider; and that's the part a lot of people consider the least in the whole equation, if at all.  That's really unfortunate, because it's killing our communities and the planet to chiefly consider what happens to our own bank balance.  It's shooting ourselves, and everyone else, in the foot.

Partly it's the brainwash - it's just so "normal" to live a consumerist lifestyle, to buy what amounts to slave labour manufactured clothing and other stuff from big corporations and their subsidiaries, to have your house built by the typical building company who gives you surface glitz and disposable trendiness instead of a passive-solar, eco-friendly, low-running-energy, comfortable, built-to-last home without unnecessary frills, to bank at the big banks who finance the arms companies and environmental destruction, to buy your electricity from big coal instead of going off-grid on solar and other renewables for yourself, to purchase mostly from big players and franchises, to aspire to the things you're told to aspire to by Screwtape's little league of advertising executives.  Monkey-see, monkey-do.

Now that so many people are off their hamster wheels and confined to their homes with time to think about stuff, let's hope that society will be more awake after this pandemic has passed.

No don't talk about more to life than this
Dream a world maybe no one owns
No don't think about all the life we miss
Swallow doubt as the hunger grows


That's like the official brainwash in a nutshell, isn't it.  That last line is very clever.  The Hungry Ghost, that's a similar entity to what religious people call the God-Shaped Hole, because there's lots of different takes on what the primary problem is that makes us do all these substitute behaviours, and seek comfort in things that can't truly comfort us.  In the West, we're encouraged to believe that buying stuff will make us feel better, especially expensive stuff which can be used to kid yourself you're somehow superior to others, if you're into that.  It doesn't actually work for very long, so people work towards the next hit, in a sort of gadget addiction.

Religious people in the West tend to say, "No, it's not stuff you need, it's God and purpose."  Well, they got the purpose part right, that's part of it, but in many ways they're creating another addiction, another brainwash.  I'm not trying to discredit all religion.  Personally I view a lot of organised religion with distaste, but really, secular organisations, in my experience, have very similar problems with being toxic and hypocritical.  In many ways, soccer hooligans aren't much different from religious fundamentalists.

I think we all have different takes on it, but my take is that much of that vacuum inside of us is to do with a lack of authenticity, and a lack of meaningful connectedness to others.  Therefore, it can be addressed directly, and dealt with directly.  If we can learn to be authentic selves (not collages of other display models), and to connect to others from that basis, then a lot of that vacuum just disappears, in my view.

Make believe it's like no one knows
Even if we turn more to most
We'll never satisfy the hungry ghost


...that's right, it's a bottomless pit.  In some ways, it's like eating junk food:  You can eat a dozen commercial Australian donuts (ring-shaped greasy things with cinnamon on), and I once did exactly that, in one sitting, when I was 23 and the wolf was at the door.  It didn't matter how many donuts I ate, it didn't stop me being hungry; I only stopped because I started to feel sick.  But if you eat something with actual nutritional value, instead of empty calories, you stop feeling hungry.  So, the way to make someone buy more and more, and consume more and more, is to sell them empty things that won't deal with their actual needs, just with "I-want."

All the stuff we know we never want
Seems like we get it anyway
Safe to say it isn't really wrong
Not when we know we only
Throw it all away


And I think this verse is just dripping with undertone.  Look at how Mr Smith delivers that verse in the live clip above.

Yeah all of this we never know we want
Its like we get it anyway
Safe to say it isn't ever wrong
Better to get than to delay


Yep, those last two lines are typical of the bilge that's fed to us in the name of consumerism.  It's the brainwash we all grew up with.  It's nice to see Robert Smith discovering his inner hippie, and making a song and dance about this.  It is eroding human relationships and killing the biosphere, after all.  No small thing.

A 3d screen
A cleaner fit
A bit pulled out of every hit
Addicted latest greatest piece
Design caprice and make the headline


Isn't that absurd?  Yet that's what underpins the sacred cow of capitalism and its mantra of economic growth.

The rest of the lyrics are repeating blocks we've heard before in the song, so I will leave it at this.  Full marks for this one - the music, the lyrics, and speaking out about something that really needs to be addressed.  ♥
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on April 14, 2020, 08:41:23
11 days later, the post on The Hungry Ghost is finally finished.  :-D  :1f637:

I'll get onto the rest of the songs on the album soonish.
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on April 24, 2020, 13:13:09
Having just posted a lot of beautiful music off a playlist on the Currently Listening (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=3438.msg772736#msg772736) thread, it's a bit of a juxtaposition to be dealing with a song that is decidedly not beautiful, and probably not intended to be.  It doesn't mean I hate it - although I really, really, really dislike the guitar intro, it is like fingers down the blackboard in musical form, just the vilest sound (and coincidentally, it really goes with the album cover).  Listen for yourself:


Some of you are undoubtedly going to love it, because life is a big tapestry, no two people are the same, etc - but I'd immediately like that song a whole lot better sans that guitar intro.  I can never really understand why anybody likes heavy metal and its car crash sounds, either - although it probably has some correlation with testosterone.  Clearly not a hugely strong correlation, because not every man is a fan, but it's decidedly more popular with males than females.

So here's The Cure, a band who has a large number of beautiful tracks in their catalogue, with a song that makes my ears bleed.  It is, however, an interesting song - and I'm using that word not in the British sense, but in the German sense, where you really mean that something is actually interesting when you say it, and not the opposite - and where "interesting" is a compliment, not a backhanded insult.

Let's look at the lyrics:

SWITCH

Sometime it seems
I stopped being myself
And without a word
Turned into somebody else
Full of wishes wants dreams
And desires
For a life
Of conceit and deceit
And repeat and rewrite
Not sure who I was
Before this me and I changed
But I know this me now
Is not really the same

Friends are as strangers
And strangers as friends
And I feel like I'm wired in a why
Yeah my friends are as strangers
And strangers as friends
And I feel like I'm lost in a lie

And every day my world gets slower
And colder and smaller
And older and lower
And every day
My treat gets closer to trick
Yeah every day my world gets slower
And colder and smaller
And older and lower

And I'm tired of being alone with myself
And I'm tired of being with anyone else
Yeah I'm tired
Like I'm sick

None of my favourite things
Are quite right
To the mirror man
Screaming at me
In the spite of another
False start
Dirty worn out and used
Up and down
To the ground
Disavowed
So confused
All made up in the belief
That me is the same
As the eyes in the glass
But I see my eyes change

Friends are as strangers
And strangers as friends
And I feel like I'm wired in a why
Yeah my friends are as strangers
And strangers as friends
And I feel like I'm lost in a lie

And every night my world gets quicker
And lighter and shorter
And tighter and slicker
And every night
My truth gets closer to dare
Yeah every night my world gets quicker
And lighter and shorter
And tighter and slicker

And I'm tired of being alone with myself
And I'm tired of being with anyone else
Yeah I'm tired
Like I'm sick

Like I'm scared


I read this as basically a big spew, at the world and the self simultaneously.  Things are going downhill - and it's not so much, "Stop the world, I want to get off!" as, "I seem to be decaying somehow - and it's like a disease - and I'm afraid."  No wonder the music is un-beautiful.  Here's a protagonist who is dealing with his shadow side (the title gives us a clue) and the unhappy side of life.   The evil twin is taking over, existential woes are mounting up, etc.   Sometimes this happens on a permanent basis...

Roald Dahl happens to have written about people with an (uncomplicated) permanent evil setting in this classic tale:

(https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fi.pinimg.com%2F736x%2F23%2F4a%2Ffc%2F234afcfbc9b9afa1a713d7c64051d3b0--the-twits-roald-dahl.jpg&f=1&nofb=1)

If you've not read that yet, I consider it essential for understanding the human species better.  Some of the tongue-in-cheek philosophy in the book is actually onto something:

(https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fs-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com%2F736x%2F7f%2F58%2Fa2%2F7f58a205ac1d393800823f8cfa049abb.jpg&f=1&nofb=1)

The lyrics to Switch aren't slapdash, they've been carefully constructed, and are worth just reading, since in the actual song they are rapidly paced and not necessarily clearly articulated.  Most traditional storytelling songs - such as many numbers by Suzanne Vega, Paul Kelly, Tom Petty etc - are quite slow-paced, don't rush the lines, and have pauses in the delivery so that the listener can take it all in and have a think about it at the same time.

Sort of like when you're sitting down to eat, you can have a much nicer experience when you take the time to look at your food, and to chew it slowly, and to really notice it, rather than just gobbling it rapidly.  Listening to the lyrics in Switch feels a bit like someone is holding you down and force-feeding you through a funnel.  You're not going to engage with the lyrics optimally that way; but clearly the artistic decision in this case was to prioritise having the music convey a mood over and above acting as a vehicle for the clear presentation of the words.  As is usual in thoughtfully constructed music, both languages in the song - musical language and verbal language - are saying the same thing, reinforcing each other.  The music and lyrics both convey a claustrophobia which goes with the topic.

When a "mood" song isn't mellow or reflective - when it's wound up and tight and spiralling and suffocating - it can take quite a few listens to "get" the lyrics (or you can sit down with the lyric sheet).  While you can understand a song like Paul Kelly's How To Make Gravy instantly and fully on the first listen (both languages), songs like Switch make you work harder, and usually aren't as pleasant.  But, they're not meant to be pleasant, and for conveying a mood I'll give Switch close to full marks.

I was just thinking that Pink Floyd do quite a bit of negative-mood stuff, and the way they often seem to get around the problem of audience think-time without killing the mood is to do some furious lyrics, followed by a verbal break in which they play furious music, and then they get to the next line, etc.  That way, there's thought-spaces without interrupting the mood.  But, there's more than one way to skin a cat.  The Cure usually leave space in their music; it's quite unusual for them not to, and why shouldn't they experiment in all sorts of directions.

Since a number of the songs on the second half of 4:13 Dream are comparatively grating, fast-paced and claustrophobic, that contributed to the sense I had a while back that this wasn't an album I was going to give a lot of re-visits without skipping a few tracks.  Here's an interesting thing though:  Three songs like that in close proximity to each other, or even just two back-to-back, can lead to me pulling the plug and saying, "Enough already!" - yet sandwich a number like that into a random various-artist, multi-genre playlist, and it works better, for me.

Similarly, I generally really like Big Country's music, and much of Pink Floyd's - but I will rarely sit and listen to an entire album of music by them - especially with the latter (and much to Brett's chagrin).  In both cases, the high intensity and noise levels of a lot of their tracks can regularly give me a headache after more than half an hour unless I take a break - and if I don't stop, I can actually get prolonged migraines, nausea and other highly unpleasant stuff like that - I don't like getting hangovers, from music or anything else.  In Pink Floyd's case, more than 30 minutes often becomes depressing as well, for me.  And there's nothing like getting physically ill from something to teach you not to do it again. You learn how far you can go, and where you should stop.

Mixed-artist, mixed-genre playlists don't just have a greater variety of music and voices to give you a break from too much of any one thing that might become annoying - but the diverse tracks on it seem to contextualise and offset one another, as well.  So, for example, listening to Plainsong in a mixed playlist is a different experience to listening to it on a complete run-through of Disintegration.  In the case of that song, I enjoy both of those approaches.  On Disintegration, Plainsong is an aspect of the whole, like a moon or a thundercloud or a rainbow in a landscape painting - various aspects are interrelated and part of a scenario.  In a mixed-artist, mixed-genre playlist, this is a song that tends to pop out and impress on me all over again why I like it so much, and how this band does things differently to other bands, and how this genre has a different language to other genres, and how there's different "accents" in the language of a particular genre, etc.

But because our playlists are made up of album tracks (all tracks off each album), we'll also get tracks we may not particularly enjoy on their home album, that we suddenly like better as an isolated experience sandwiched in with other music.  And in that context, I find myself engaging with a song like Switch or Freakshow more than I do on a 4:13 Dream listen-through.  Of course, there's still some songs that I will eventually choose to skip, either way (although that's not a common occurrence).

The Perfect Boy next time.  With a counterexample.
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on April 27, 2020, 02:26:51
THE PERFECT BOY

"You and me are the world"
She said
"Nothing else is real
The two of us is all there is
The rest is just a dream...
Always meant to be
I can feel it
Like a destiny thing
Written in the stars
Inescapable fate
Yeah it's out of my hands
Falling into your arms"

"And I don't want to get innocent
But I would love you to take my time
We're on the edge of a beautiful thing"
She said
"Come on...
Let's stay here for a while"

Oh girl!
He is the one for sure
Oh girl!
He is the perfect boy

"Yeah me and you are a world"
He said
"But not the only one I need
The two of us is never all there is
That doesn't happen for real
If it was meant to be us
It was meant to be now
Don't see the sense in wasting time
If you're so sure about this
Laurel kismet hardy thing
You know tonight you're mine"

"And I don't want to get obvious
But I have to be gone by three
Were on the edge of a beautiful thing"
He said
"So come on... jump with me"

Oh girl!
He's not the one for sure
Oh girl!
He's not so wonderful
Oh girl!
He's not the one for sure
Oh girl!
He's not the perfect boy at all

"You and me are the world"
She says
"Nothing else is real
The two of us is all there is
The rest is just a dream... "

And her heart may be broken
A hundred times
But the hurt will never destroy
Her hope...

The happy ever after girl
One day finds the perfect boy


There's two ways I can fathom reading this:  As a complete (and intentional) farce, or in support of the girl.  To me it's all farcical - Miss Blurry Vision meets Mr Wham-Bam-Thank-You-Ma'am.  Does she learn from that experience?  You tell me.  Does her vision sharpen at all?  Hmmmm.

A closer look at her world view on romance:

"You and me are the world"
She said
"Nothing else is real
The two of us is all there is
The rest is just a dream...


Most teenagers I worked with actually had more realistic ideas about love and romance, and considering their lack of life experience that's saying something.  This one's a bit slow on the uptake.  Nothing about this is cute, either, to me - it's looking at the world and other people with your eyes closed, and it's a recipe for disaster, even with the "right" boy who isn't just trying to get in her pants.  While our love relationships can indeed be our private Edens, we do have to engage with the world as well instead of floating off in la-la-land from henceforth.  And a private Eden is not the same thing as a private castle-in-the-air.

If you can't look at your partner, or at life, with your eyes open, you're going to live in fantasyland and not in reality, and you won't be able to truly relate to your partner, or anyone else.  You'll be in love with a projection, not with a real human being, so you'll actually never love the real human being at all.  To me personally, this means you may as well not have been born, because you're not actually really alive, you may as well be comatose with your head plugged into a matrix.

I guess to me, a good relationship isn't an escape from reality, it's a good reality.

And you have to make it happen, and work on it, and yourself, to have that.  It's not something you "fall into"...

Always meant to be
I can feel it
Like a destiny thing
Written in the stars
Inescapable fate
Yeah it's out of my hands
Falling into your arms"


A destiny thing, bwahahaha, the thing part just caps it.  Here's a bunch of clichés about life and romance that appeal to certain types of people - probably they also keep crystals around their house to infuse them with cosmic energy blah blah blah.  Always meant to be, I can feel it - that's the kind of "reasoning" you get around the happy-clappy set.  That warm fuzzy feeling inside me is the Holy Spirit! - Or the New-Agey universe telling me a truth, preferably exactly what I want to hear...

I remember reading a sermon by Martin Luther King called A Tough Mind And A Tender Heart (still in copyright but you can read a draft here (https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/draft-chapter-i-tough-mind-and-tender-heart)) in which he talked about the problems with soft-mindedness, as opposed to soft-heartedness - with the gullibility and mental anaemia that's also a pandemic.  It's worth reading; MLK wrote well and aimed to provoke critical thinking.  I also love this quote from Charles Dickens in Great Expectations:

All other swindlers upon earth are nothing to the self-swindlers, and with such pretences did I cheat myself. Surely a curious thing. That I should innocently take a bad half-crown of somebody else's manufacture is reasonable enough; but that I should knowingly reckon the spurious coin of my own make as good money! An obliging stranger, under pretence of compactly folding up my bank-notes for security's sake, abstracts the notes and gives me nutshells; but what is his sleight of hand to mine, when I fold up my own nutshells and pass them on myself as notes!

And so, the girl in this song is reckoning the spurious coin of her own make - or perhaps the common Monopoly money - as good money...

Let's have a look at the boy - a rather egregious specimen:

"Yeah me and you are a world"
He said
"But not the only one I need
The two of us is never all there is
That doesn't happen for real
If it was meant to be us
It was meant to be now
Don't see the sense in wasting time
If you're so sure about this
Laurel kismet hardy thing
You know tonight you're mine"

"And I don't want to get obvious
But I have to be gone by three
Were on the edge of a beautiful thing"
He said
"So come on... jump with me"


The only thing more lamentable than his attitude is that people fall for it.  More stringent BS detection is required... I've no issue with two wham-bam types meeting up and doing their thing, but I do have an issue with a wham-bam type exploiting a non wham-bam type; that just doesn't sit right with me.  In this case, he's actually being honest about his viewpoint instead of telling her what she wants to hear, which is somewhat commendable - at least, if she wasn't going around with her eyes closed, she could actually take that on board and go, "Thanks but no thanks!"  But does she?

So many Cure songs about romance seem to be studies in dysfunction... social realism, maybe.

Oh girl!
He's not the one for sure
Oh girl!
He's not so wonderful
Oh girl!
He's not the one for sure
Oh girl!
He's not the perfect boy at all


...and of course there is no perfect boy, or perfect girl, or perfect hermaphrodite, or perfect none-of-the-above - we're all flawed, each and every one of us; at best we're works in progress.

This little chorus, it's sort of like a Greek chorus - and it sways in the wind; only very recently was it heard to say:

Oh girl!
He is the one for sure
Oh girl!
He is the perfect boy


And what's the girl saying now?

"You and me are the world"
She says
"Nothing else is real
The two of us is all there is
The rest is just a dream... "


We're now in the present tense - she says, not she said. It's not clear if she's still saying this to Mr Wham-Bam, or if she's continuing her modus operandi with the next bearer of Y-chromosomes - but she's not learnt a thing - at least not yet; sometimes it appears to be necessary to bang your head against the same wall repeatedly before you are finally convinced that your sample size is large enough to say without a doubt that this is a really bad idea and you do actually need to stop...

Conclusion:

And her heart may be broken
A hundred times
But the hurt will never destroy
Her hope...

The happy ever after girl
One day finds the perfect boy


Are the last two lines the girl's hope, or the writer's conclusion, sort of like Aesop's moral of the story?  If it's the latter, obviously I think differently.  Here's a really excellent thing I saw printed on a poster in a relationships counselling office I attended as a young thing during the car crash end of my first long-term relationship:

If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.

I'm grateful for everyone along the road who encouraged me to think, who mirrored me back accurately, who showed me different perspectives, who let me walk a mile in their shoes - friends, counsellors, teachers, poets, writers, musicians, random people on buses, psychologists, visual artists, my husband - because without them, I'd still be stuck in the same old mire.  We need other people in order to evolve.  I've not "arrived" - I think that's like the asymptotic line, always approaching and getting closer but never actually arriving - we can only try to keep going in the right direction, and once we get to a certain point, we might actually start to enjoy our journeys.  I had a tough time as a young person, but now I love my life, and even the day I die, I won't have "arrived" yet.  Hopefully I will still have been trying.

I want to finish with an alternative take to the situation portrayed in this song, from another song:

She's got a lot of pride
You can see it when she walks into the room
But she's young
And she's unaware
Of what a brutal world can do to you
So she loves a man
He lies like a dog
Tears her little world all apart
So the walls go up
For the rest of her days
And there ain't no man can touch this girl's heart


(from John Mellencamp's Hard Times For An Honest Man)

So that's a counterexample, of what bad experiences can do to people. Hopefully, we act like neither of the ladies in these two songs - we neither go on blithely getting our hearts broken while not changing our approaches, nor do we give up after adverse experiences.

And hopefully, too, we're not like that Mr Wham-Bam, never understanding our responsibilities to one another, and never entering into actual intimacy with another person.

If it's made us think, it's worth the space.

This. Here and Now.  With You next time.
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on May 02, 2020, 04:34:15
SCENIC DETOUR ON EMOTIONAL PROCESSING

I'm throwing in a detour because an article just came up that is actually going to fit into the discussion of the next song as well.  Here's the article:

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/apr/29/coronavirus-whats-your-emotional-style-how-your-responses-can-help-children-navigate-covid19

Reading something like that, we ask ourselves:  What were the emotional styles of our parents?  What are our emotional styles? ...since once you examine and identify your family of origin childhood "programming", you can start to change the things you don't like - something I'm eternally grateful for:  We don't have to repeat the patterns if they're unhelpful.  (OMG, imagine if we were automatons and we did...  :1f631:  :1f635: )

My parents' emotional styles were largely emotionally dismissive, except if the emotions mirrored their own.  If I had a feeling they didn't have, and told them about it, typically I'd be told something along the lines of, "Stop feeling that way!  That's so stupid!"  If I cried as a young child and my parents disapproved, like if I was afraid of a medical procedure, they'd threaten me with physical pain, "Stop or I'll give you something to really cry about!" and I indeed learnt to clamp down and hide my emotions from them, to the point I was jealously guarding my inner world by the time I was a mid-teen and always carrying my journal, in which I expressed all of my thoughts and feelings freely, physically with me, or else hiding it somewhere obscure in my room, because I really didn't want to let them into my inner sanctum.  It was enough that the music I listened to and identified with was routinely ridiculed (so I moved on to headphones for the really personal stuff); I didn't want people like that to read my journal - but any of my friends who expressed an interest, I had no problems with their leafing through it.

Personally I evolved into an emotional coaching style as I became an adult, learning the style from the people who emotionally coached me, like some excellent teachers along the way, friends' parents, etc (and I'm still learning, and this will always be necessary).  Because it was so sorely missing in my family life, I really appreciated it - like sunshine after an icy cold bleak winter - and saw it as a good and highly important thing I wanted to learn how to do and in turn pass on.  Once I moved from science research and teaching at tertiary level into high school, age groups 12-17, this became extra important and I got lots of opportunities for applying emotional empathy, encouraging open emotional expression, addressing emotions in our learning groups as part and parcel of the whole thing.  Obviously my sideline of teaching English and Literature was a fantastic vehicle for doing that as part of the curriculum, where expressing your thoughts, opinions, and feelings, and learning to do that in a connected and backed-up way is an important component.  But it's really possible in any classroom if you value the human beings you're working with.

I was lucky because the work environments I had for nearly two decades (before I became a tree-changing hippie type running an organic farm) encouraged human interaction on more than a surface level - pastoral care is an important component of working with teenagers, as much as academic education is, and the Catholic schools I worked for in particular generally had excellent dedicated pastoral care time in the timetable where students kept personal journals, did formal training on emotions and relationships, etc etc, which as a secular student myself I'd not been lucky enough to receive (back in the 1980s; secular schools here are doing better now) - but some fabulous teachers who thought it was important had it as part of their classroom approach, as I did myself later on.  A good classroom is a nurturing, encouraging place where people are truly seen and appreciated.

And yes, I'm a tree hugger, and here's proof!  ;)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49707095558_5ec1cc5fbb_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2iJrRJW)

So many people I know who've pulled out of distressingly dysfunctional upbringings with reasonable success are writers and started with free-journalling in their teens.  It gives young people who can't express their opinions and feelings in a supported way in their families of origin a private space in which to make up for this in many ways.  Of course, it's not a relationship, which is why the concept of a village raising a child is so important - that way, there can be warm and positive relationships with adults even if that's completely missing from the home.

Typically though, one of the hallmarks of emotionally (and otherwise) abusive families is that they tend to socially isolate their children/spouses/etc, and that was the case for me as well.  Very young children often make up imaginary relationships anyway, and I would guess this is more prevalent if there's an emotional vacuum in the immediate environment.  And from where I stand now, the logical extension of that for many children is to cultivate a belief in God - as an alternative, and caring, parent figure.  I've seen it lots of times, including in my own life - I was essentially something of a Christian mystic between age 14 and my late 30s (and I discussed that previously here (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9201.msg770956#msg770956) - under the YT clips, it's a long post).  That I now see that as a construction of the psyche doesn't diminish the positive effects that had on overcoming my difficult start, and that's why I have no interest in dissuading people out of their personal beliefs in some kind of benevolent force in the universe.

I don't like fundamentalism because it reconstructs the same dysfunctions as an abusive home, and inflicts it on a wider circle.  But, fundamentalism isn't about a loving, supportive entity, it's about a controlling, to-be-feared-and-obeyed-lest-you-go-to-hell entity - it's really just perpetuating the cycle of abuse, control, brainwashing and discouragement of authenticity that you find in too many families.

If my psyche constructed that stuff, then it certainly mixed in all the best experiences I'd had along the road with people, as well as inspirational things I'd read about in books or heard as songs.  It didn't come from nowhere.  And of course, the helpfulness of music in emotional processing was referred to in the article I linked to at the start of this post:

QuoteUse the power of music

Music is a great way to help connect children with their emotions. Music taps into our emotions in a way that words alone cannot. Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin's research (https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/298964/this-is-your-brain-on-music-by-daniel-j-levitin/) shows that when we listen to music almost every region and neural subsystem in our brain is activated. Music helps with emotion and with brain development too which is a bonus while we are all home-schooling.

A fun music lesson to have your kids do during family lockdown is create a positive playlist of songs that boost your mood. Include songs about resilience, triumph and overcoming negative events.

Those were exactly the sorts of songs that featured heavily in my own musical choices as a teenager in a dysfunctional home.  Here's a random example that comes to mind:


And having played that one, how can I not play this one:


This kind of stuff would galvanise me.  If I'd listened primarily to "wallowing" songs, or even just lots of unrelentingly dark songs, it would have depressed me and taken away precious energy I sorely needed to get through to adulthood and independence.  I had enough sad songs in the mix to acknowledge that aspect of reality, but not an overwhelming avalanche of them.  I wanted optimism and hope, and not by closing my eyes to dark reality, but in spite of dark reality.  I always believed that light would overcome darkness.  You only have to light a candle to see it.

I'd like to connect this little detour with the main topic of this thread.  The reason it sat together in my brain with the next song on the list is because I think that songs aren't just listened to in order to help us make sense of the world and our lives and how we feel about it all, I think a lot of songs are written for those reasons, just as a lot of personal journals are.

In one of the interviews we read with Robert Smith, he was saying (I'm paraphrasing from memory but if I find it again I'll put in a link) there was this misconception amongst some people that The Cure are a bunch of sad people who sit around in the dark cultivating gloom, but that he actually was just more likely to write a song when he was dealing with difficult stuff, than when he wasn't.  He also said something about his dark songs being somehow more convincing, at least to him, than his happy songs, so he was less likely to write just about being happy.

Being happy is not a problem to solve.  It's actually grappling with difficult things that makes us grow - not coasting along happily.  Life, of course, throws enough obstacles into the road to ensure we have plenty of material for continued growth.

Next time you listen to a song you find cathartic, think about how cathartic it might have been to write it.  Music is a connector, a two-way street.  It's the same with good prose - it connects both the reader and the writer to the universe and life and other people.

So, the next song on the list of my trip through 4:13 Dream is This. Here and Now. With You.  Let's have a look at the lyrics first:


THIS. HERE AND NOW. WITH YOU.

This
Here and now
With you...

"Oh please don't ask me who I am
Or when and where my life began
Or why I ended up like this or how
Don't ask me what I was before
If I was anything at all
It's nothing you can know
About me now"

You hold my spinning head to stare
And strip me bare of memory
Your black eyes burning into me
So slow
The sounds and lights and others fade
And fall away in symmetry
Your black eyes burning hungrily
And unafraid I know...

Everything I ever dared forget is here
Too scared before I never let
Tonight be all I need
Everywhere I never tried to get is here
Too tired before to ever let
Tonight be all I feel
Every time I ever thought regret is here
Too caught before I never let
Tonight be all I dream
There isn't any yesterday
Tomorrow starts a day away
This here and now with you is how
Always should always be

This
Here and now
With you

"I can't believe its coming true
I'm so up close to kissing you
A breath away from never going home
I don't remember getting here
It seems to be sometime next year
I hope you won't be...
Leaving me alone?"

"No please don't tell me who I am
Or when and where my life began
Or why I ended up like this or how
Don't tell me what I was before
If I was anything at all
Its nothing you can know
About me now"

You pull my shaking body close
To make the most of tangency
I bite your mouth so fearfully
And slow
The taste of summers yet to shine
A perfect time to change the scene
I bite your mouth in urgency
And terrified I know...

Everything I ever dared forget is here
Too scared before I never let
Tonight be all I need
Everywhere I never tried to get is here
Too tired before to ever let
Tonight be all I feel
Every time I ever thought regret is here
Too caught before I never let
Tonight be all I dream
There isn't any yesterday
Tomorrow starts a day away
This here and now with you is how
Always should always be

This
Here and now
With you


...so, how many of you have grappled with trying to live in the present?  It's the object of mindfulness meditation, of many personal retreats, of many books.  Stop the monkey mind, smell the roses, see the bigger picture, etc etc.  Just be.  So easy for other animals, not so easy for hominids with cerebrums that can go around in circles, for minds that can live in their own constructions and preoccupations rather than in an approximation of the real world.

On a big-picture look, that's what the song seems to be about, to me - getting your head out of the past, ditto the future, so that you can be fully alive in the present moment.  That's a good skill to develop and that's not to say that it's never important to learn from your past or to be proactive about your future, it's just saying, "Don't forget the present moment, make sure you pay attention to what's important here and now..."  - because that's where you actually live your life.  We can go to ideas like, "The underexamined life is not worth living, the overexamined life is not being lived" and all that...

It's a relationship-focused song, and of course, when most people sit down and look at what's most important to them and what they would really like to put more time and energy into, relationships with people you love gets a big mention.  Really looking, really listening, really being there, more time and conversations with each other, more spontaneity, more planned adventures, etc.

Taking a closer look:

"Oh please don't ask me who I am
Or when and where my life began
Or why I ended up like this or how
Don't ask me what I was before
If I was anything at all
It's nothing you can know
About me now"


It's interesting this is in quotation marks and I've read this song a couple of different ways - with the cited stuff being what the protagonist actually says to his partner, and the rest of it narrative; and with the cited stuff being what the partner says to the protagonist, and the rest of it narrative.  Reading it as a conversation didn't make sense to me.  (For an alternative reading, just ask Brett:  "The cited stuff is from an intruder looking on from behind a screen." :rofl)

Regardless of who says it, the above verse brought to mind for me the concept of "the paralysis of analysis." :lol:  I think there's a Goldilocks zone where you're doing just the right amount of thinking, and not under- or over-thinking. 

You hold my spinning head to stare
And strip me bare of memory
Your black eyes burning into me
So slow
The sounds and lights and others fade
And fall away in symmetry
Your black eyes burning hungrily
And unafraid I know...


Isn't that lovely?  At least the way I'm reading it, which is as an encounter between two people who've known and treasured each other for a long time, and who've seen the light and the darkness in each other, and still love each other, and the more, with the rose-tinted spectacles off.  Of course, that's how I like to read stuff that can be interpreted that way.  ;)


Everything I ever dared forget is here
Too scared before I never let
Tonight be all I need
Everywhere I never tried to get is here
Too tired before to ever let
Tonight be all I feel
Every time I ever thought regret is here
Too caught before I never let
Tonight be all I dream
There isn't any yesterday
Tomorrow starts a day away
This here and now with you is how
Always should always be

This
Here and now
With you


Ah, the knack of being fully present.  :cool  I love the line, "Everything I ever dared forget is here" - because our brains can be so confounding, can get so side-tracked and distracted and trying to deal with so many different things, that we can actually temporarily forget really important stuff, like, "Oh wow, it's so amazing being intimate with you - well, I knew it was amazing, but I temporarily forgot the scale of it and the many little nuances and it's so wonderful to be here..."

And another way to read it (of lots of different ways) is, "I've seen your dark side and dared to put that to one side and believe in your light and go on, and I dared to love you even though we're neither of us perfect and we can and do hurt each other, on the road to becoming better at this stuff."  Plus of course, "When I'm with you, all of our history is present with us, and everywhere we've been together."

Those are the sorts of ideas about love we all have to grapple with if we're going to go the distance.

I also really like the line, "Everywhere I never tried to get is here" - because it hints at the many places that you can still go with each other, that you didn't realise existed before - that there's always something new to learn, that you're both always unfolding.  You could read it conversely as well; I just obviously am going to read things in the way they're going to chime with my own lived experience.


"I can't believe its coming true
I'm so up close to kissing you
A breath away from never going home
I don't remember getting here
It seems to be sometime next year
I hope you won't be...
Leaving me alone?"


This is an example of the kind of verse that Robert Smith will throw in there that can get a bit confusing.  He uses this frequently repeated motif of "never going home" and has been doing that since way back on the Disintegration album, and on songs like From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea, and it puts in this kind of discordant note that says, "Ahem, where exactly are we eating?"  So you could read verses like that as describing affairs away from your "official" relationship, and if you look at commentary by fans out there in cyberspace, it does create that impression for a lot of people (there's even a thread on this forum somewhere called "This. Here and Now. With Who?" :lol:).  I think you can read it like that, but I think you can also read it other ways.  It kind of depends on what you mean by "going home" - and the rest of what's described, you can totally experience in a good relationship that's gone on for a long time anyway - it's just a question of how you look at it, and whether you've become jaded, and if you can look with new eyes and celebrate each other all over again, in both familiar and new ways.  Because the magic doesn't actually have to wear off, and because, if you take a step back, you can look at something all over again with the same sense of wonder with which you saw it the first time around, whether that's encountering your beloved or looking at the ocean or peering down a microscope or into a telescope etc etc.  And also, sometimes you can just flash back to earlier experiences you've had with each other, like when you're looking down an infinity of mirrors, and you could see this verse as a flashback to, "Remember when we started?"

The rest of the song basically repeats sections from before, except for one verse in which I thought it was interesting to observe that the narrator describes his own emotions as fearful, scared, terrified; after describing his partner as unafraid earlier.  We can all cycle through various iterations of these emotions, and sometimes they'll be opposite, and sometimes aligned.  Anyway, one person's personal song or poem or narrative is never going to mean exactly the same to another person, but something I love about life is being able to compare notes with other people, and finding similarities we have in common, as well as differences that can make life interesting.  :)
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: Ulrich on May 02, 2020, 16:08:26
Quote from: SueC on May 02, 2020, 04:34:15...so, how many of you have grappled with trying to live in the present?  It's the object of mindfulness meditation, of many personal retreats, of many books.  Stop the monkey mind, smell the roses, see the bigger picture, etc etc.  Just be. 

Yes, I did (or let's say I tried - sometimes it worked, sometimes I failed miserably).

This song ("This. Here and now. With you") has indeed inspired me to try (at the time when it was new, it made me think of one special person and the quality time I spent with her)!  :happy
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on June 10, 2020, 04:14:50
Well, I finally finished the post on This. Here and Now. With You.  So, I can start looking at the rest of the album today, and then hopefully get to the other two sitting on the desk waiting, soon.  I confess I have cheated and listened to the songs on KM I was already familiar with from live material, just to see what the studio versions were like, and I'm getting very impatient to finish writing about 4.13 Dream so I can finally listen properly to the next album in line...  (If I don't do it like this, I won't catch the initial responses to new material, or I'll lose the order...  it's a good thing I don't do this for all the music I listen to, or I'd sadly constrain my listening... :angel)

So, I have three songs to go.  I've got to admit that Sleep When I'm Dead really didn't do much for me either musically of lyrically.  The best thing about it to me is the decent bass line.  It would honestly help to have some ball park idea of what this song is about - sometimes it's difficult to see if something is overly cryptic, or just entirely slapdash, and sometimes you feel like you've got far better things to do than try to work that out.  I just don't want to spend time on it, much as I like puzzles - it doesn't appeal to me.  ...I wonder how it would go live; often songs I dislike on the studio version, I really warm to when this band plays them live.

In general, I will say that musically, this album isn't very representative of why I personally like The Cure.  Even the musical highlights here don't actually lift me off the ground as some of their other tracks through the years really do.   I enjoy 4:13 Dream better when I listen to it in "performance poetry" mode, rather than "amazing music" mode.  For that, it's worth revisiting, though I don't like every song on it.  But then, I don't like every song on a lot of Cure albums, and on a lot of albums from anyone - and that's OK, as long as things are generally interesting, and the majority of tracks appeal to me in some way (not everything speaks to everyone; but things that don't speak to me may well speak to others :cool).  I probably wouldn't have been particularly amenable to this album if I'd not already liked a lot of this band's prior work - it's like with authors, you'll give them more leeway after you've already enjoyed a couple of their books, and you're more likely to be interested in anything they subsequently do that's unlike what you liked before.  It becomes more of a cerebral exercise then, rather than huge enjoyment and/or being really moved by something.  All those things have their place though.

The Scream is a very good example of what I'd class as really effective performance poetry.  And while I'm at it, and just because it's the first thing I think when confronted with that title:

(https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ibiblio.org%2Fwm%2Fpaint%2Fauth%2Fmunch%2Fmunch.scream.jpg&f=1&nofb=1)

...I think the song, on my first impressionistic listens, creates a very similar atmosphere as that painting.  I'm not sure if that was intentional, or if it's a musical example of "parallel evolution" because of the shared human experience of stuff like this.  Of course, most of us in the West will have seen Edvard Munch's painting in some form, and because it's so arresting, and so eloquent, it would probably be hard not to be influenced by that piece subconsciously at least, when writing a song of the same name.

So let's have a look at the lyrics:


THE SCREAM

Yeah I've been this way before
But something down here changed
The spring sun hanging slower
Colder in the sky
And your voice sounds strange
Your voice sounds strange

Yeah I've been down here before
But this time
Something really isn't right
Summer sun hangs smaller
Paler in the sky
And your eyes are too bright
Your eyes are too bright

It's like everything I know
Is twisted out and wrong
The fall sun hanging flatter
Lower in the sky
And your smile is gone
Your smile is gone

It's like twisted out I know
Now I can't wake to
Break apart this dream
Winter sun hangs weaker
Older in the sky
And you start to scream
And you start to scream

Scream and you scream
This is not a dream
This is how it really is
There isn't any other this
Is not a dream
Scream and you scream
Why you have this need
Why you can't be satisfied
Always want another why
You have this need

Scream and you scream
Dare me to believe
Dare me now to show I care
One last chance to make the dare
Me to believe

Scream and you scream
How we ended here
How we got from then to now
Never really followed how
We ended here


NME might have described the The Scream as "an electro-metal descent into madness" and "a reminder of the primal horror of consciousness" (https://genius.com/The-cure-the-scream-lyrics#about) - and they're welcome to read it that way - but I don't.  I think that's a bit simplistic, plus I don't think there is such a thing as a "primal horror of consciousness" unless you're in horrific circumstances (or have been there and are going through the early phases of your PTSD coming out, and I've been both places myself so I do think I deserve a seat at the table with this topic).

Warning:  About to rant.  I'm fed up with this fashion that paints the experience of life as primarily negative, and congratulates itself for doing so, and looks down its nose at other people who don't share that point of view, and somehow imagines itself as intellectually or morally superior because of it, or somehow more sophisticated.  :evil:  I think that's the equivalent of walking around in funeral clothes all your life specifically for the purposes of setting yourself above other people, and it's very close in very uncomfortable ways to the public martyrdom face of a malignant narcissist - "Woe is me, and my pain is bigger than anyone's, and therefore I am so superior."

To me, The Scream (the song, but also the painting) isn't necessarily about a descent into madness at all.  You can feel these things and have your feet very firmly on the ground.  To me the song seems to be about grief, and grappling with really difficult things.  Just because you feel pain doesn't mean you're insane.  I'd argue that people who actually feel their emotions are far more sane than people who are cut off from them.  I think to confront reality and to become emotionally integrated is really important.

You can go insane with pain, true, but I don't think that there's any indications in the song that that's the case.  I think there's mental clarity in those words.  I like the way these lyrics are written, the structure imposed by repeating references to the sun, going through the seasons, in the first four verses, and observations on the apparent disintegration of that (but I think that's just fitting imagery for the purpose and probably metaphor as well), followed each time by observations on what could be the self, but could also be a familiar person.

The lyrics read differently depending on whether you look at the "I/you" as being the same (because sometimes people do use you when they mean one, including I), as opposed to when you look at the "you" being a different person.  In that case, it could be an interaction between a couple - one getting depressed or becoming emotionally unavailable or whatever, and the other reacting to it in pain and frustration because you can't have a mutual relationship with someone who's gone away emotionally.

Those first four verses could fit so many things:  A sense of life becoming meaner - and even from a political perspective, that works for the past four decades or so, at least where I live - if not for everything (some things have improved, like people's attitudes to LGBTIQ), then for the general trend, which is that power and resources are becoming increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few, and physical and mental health are going down in much of the West, while the planet's biodiversity is being trashed.

Those verses could also sum up what it's like to live with a terminal illness - and in a wider sense, the recognition that all of us are terminal and need to actually come to terms with that.  I've heard it said, "Life is a sexually transmitted terminal illness" - and while that gives me a giggle, and aspects of that are true, it's vastly oversimplified...  It's funny actually, the difference between speaking to people with a sort of "death cult" mindset, and speaking to people with an actual terminal illness.  The former will sing you dirges, while the latter are so often really positive and life-affirming and celebrate every day they have, and see it as a gift.

The death (or near-death) of a relationship or friendship would also fit this song.  The words give enough leeway for all sorts of interpretations related to grief and pain.  It's a common experience for all of us - and of course it's also not all there is to life - but it's very important to deal with this dark stuff, to acknowledge it, to feel your feelings, cry your tears, be outraged, be angry, be sad, because that's as much a part of being alive as all that is wonderful and beautiful.

Here's a poem which explores the relationship between joy and sorrow - from Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet:

 On Joy and Sorrow

    Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
    And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
    And how else can it be?
    The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
    Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
    And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
    When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
    When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

    Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."
    But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
    Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
     
In this band's music, joy and sorrow are both explored - as they are in all my favourite books, music, poetry, drama etc.

The Scream is a really excellent depiction of the painful side of life - the scenarios that you wish were nightmares but aren't, the things you've got to go through that you would prefer not to, the painful confrontation with your own dark side - the horror of those things (but not of everything).  When people write about raw things like this, it gives the community springboards for examining their own lived experience.  That's a big part of why we love our favourite wordsmiths, poets, musicians, essayists, novelists etc.  ♥

The last song on the album next time.
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on June 13, 2020, 01:04:02
I can't believe it was Australia Day when I started with this topic, and was first listening to 4:13 Dream - we're just a week from the southern winter solstice now.  :1f62e:  The world has changed significantly since then and to me there's at long last a glimmer of hope in the public mood around the globe and the sense that many people aren't going to go along like sheep anymore.  It would be magnificent if that level of consciousness and connectedness and speaking out on social justice stayed with us in the long term, instead of the populace being lulled back to sleep, or just getting exhausted again from being on the hamster wheels that are a part of the problem.

Where will we be, when I've finished looking at the next album in line?  I so hope it will still be on the road to a better place...

And so to the last song, called It's Over.  I'm laughing about that title for the last track on an album, and especially because of the impression that Robert Smith once again thought that this would be the last album.  There's much to be said for living each day as if it were your last (and one day it will be).  (Can we turn that on its head for a minute - isn't there also value in living each day as if it were your first, as if you were newly arrived, as if life is not a habit?)

I suppose Robert Smith is just bringing that methodology to his music, and you can see why, even as your funny bone is tickled.  One day it will be the last, but it is actually amusing when it's been said album after album.  Amusing because of the way life can go, not because I think that this was in any way insincere.

It's Over is an ear-bleeder.  If your ears are made of teflon then perhaps it's not, but this song is so noisy that initially I just wanted to cover my ears and run.  Turning down the volume was helpful for staying with it, and then my first thought was:  It sounds like a cross between an Irish jig and hard rock!  There's elements of both.

It's crazily noisy, it's all sound and fury, but it's also signifying something.  It's almost as if someone has written a song in the spirit of Dylan Thomas' Do Not Go Gentle Into That Goodnight, you know:

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

What's written about physical death you can often apply to any sort of loss.  It's Over is also about loss, and emotionally very similar to Dylan Thomas' piece.  Again, if you've read this poem it's hard to forget it and so subconsciously it may stay with you when you write about a similar topic, but there's also the "parallel evolution" of all of us confronting these things.

I'll annotate as I go, this time - it's easier in this case.


IT'S OVER

I get up
And it's over
It's always over
It's raining and I'm burned
And it's late and you're gone
And I can barely remember
Anything I did or said
Or how I lost another week
There must be something going on


I have felt exactly like that, when I was really burnt out, and that happened to me a number of times in my life, indeed sometimes became my life, and is one of the reasons we downshifted, tree-changed and ended up quasi-hippies on a little organic farm and nature reserve in the middle of nowhere (and I read downshifting stories like that all the time).

Burnout is a common experience when people are in professional roles which demand rather more hours each day than a human being is built to handle day in, day out - and especially if you have duty of care for other people, and therefore push yourself for them when you would long have stopped pushing for yourself.  Or, when you're writing an interminable thesis or other such doorstop, for months and months while days and nights flash by like a strobe light.  It's especially on the cards when you deeply care about your work, and get absorbed in it, and perhaps weren't taught as a child how to self-care effectively or that you actually have a right to breathe, etc.

Creative stuff is also very easy to get stuck in, especially if it's cathartic in some way.  I can well imagine that if you've got any sort of perfectionism, writing and recording an album could easily get you into burnout territory, instead of (or perhaps even at the same time as) being a happy adventure in doing something you love.  I find it so much easier to write here for fun, than to write an article that has an end point in which it's going to be printed and then you can't change it anymore even if better things occur to you - typing away here is gloriously pressure-free, doesn't stress me at all, and it helps that this forum has an open-edit setting, so that you can actually go back and revise what you've done later on instead of being "stuck with it"... :)

The opening verse to It's Over immediately brought to mind a song called Step In, Step Out by Weddings, Parties, Anything:


That's a song about a couple trying to stay sane and find time for each other while working shifts at opposite ends of their days.  The tension between work and family is often problematic, especially if you work long hours, and/or your work takes you away from the people you love - which is basically our norm in the industrial world, and wasn't when we were hunter-gathering or subsistence farming, as "home teams."  Of course, working with the people you love can also be a challenge!  ;)

By the way, is anyone else laughing retrospectively at this idea people had in the 70s that in the future (which is where we now are, from that frame of reference) we were all going to have so much leisure time, because of all the machines that were going to help us in our work?  Bwahahahahahaha.  :rofl

If I'm not doing literary analysis here, but talking instead about the thoughts that are brought up as I read through a set of lyrics, it's because the lyrics really lend themselves to that... and because I think that one of the best things that good art of any description can do is to make us think and reflect and feel and be human.

A nagging sense of shame
I can't explain
An acrid taste of smoke and blood
And tears and drugs
And every inch of me is raw
And it's always f*cking over
It's raining and I'm blind
And it's late and you're gone

I can't do this anymore


It's easy to read this as a postcard from an album-making process.  It's applicable to a lot of situations, though.  On a very basic level, when I'm typing on the laptop, our dog is often on the sofa sighing at me, and I think her version of the perfect life would be if we were perpetually going on long walks with her every day, in-between mealtimes and snooze time.  So part of me thinks I should be walking the dog instead.  Of course, one can timetable things to get a balance between competing priorities, but you can't always run life to timetables either.  Another thing we all grapple with.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/3822/11486995626_3814beae43_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/iv4RAJ)
Dreaming of adventures

(https://live.staticflickr.com/834/42751376854_6a358c42e2_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/288MYUo)
Australian mountain dog!


Keep getting there
It's over
It's always over
It's raining and I'm cracked
And it's late and you're out
And I can't quite remember
Anything I did or said
Or how I lost another year
There must be something coming down


At the start of the song, the picture painted was waking up late and the partner is already getting on with their day.  "It's late and you're out" has a slightly different flavour from "It's late and you're gone" - like it's the logical corollary.  You know, Person A wakes up late while Person B is already about their day, and then Person B goes to bed at night and Person A is still out of the home, as with Step In, Step Out.  - Of course, both slightly different expressions could just be paraphrasing the same situation, waking up in the morning too late to have caught your beloved before they had things to do, and if that happens again and again it can be very frustrating, depressing and destructive to your relationship, and yourself.  Fitting all the important things in is a bit of a trick, and it would be so helpful if life were a bit more like Mary Poppins' handbag.

Of course there's a bit more to it than that here - there's a general sense of life accelerating out of control.

A sweetly sour unease
It's like a tease
A broken dream of guilt and fear
And spit and steel
And every piece of me in pain
And it's always f*cking over
It's raining and I'm cold
And it's late and you're out again


(Mummy! The man keeps saying fvck!)  I'm very impressed with the ability of this writer to capture a mood in words, here and in The Scream and in Underneath The Stars and in The Only One (perhaps unpoetically in that one, but no less effectively), etc.  It's great to see such wonderful use of imagery, symbolism, rhythm, metaphor - there's an art to effective free verse.  I wonder if this song, and its predecessor, and Underneath The Stars actually started with just the words, before the music, and became an exercise in setting that to music, making a soundtrack for the words.  Whichever way it was, the words work on their own, and they work with the music.  And once again, the words would fit a number of situations.

By the way, I know I've said before that Robert Smith is generally better at painting with his guitar (total genius ♥) than painting with words, but here he's equally excellent with the words, and I think his ability to do that with words has increased as he's gotten older.  But then, I also think he's gotten even more adept with his guitar, and he's definitely a better singer than he was as a young person.  Not surprising, because pretty much everything gets better with practise.  I've even, amazingly, learnt to hammer nails in straight and without hitting my fingers, over the last ten years!  :winking_tongue  (owner-building = do or die)

Run my head around it
Like I know I really miss her
But I always want to do it now
She told me in a whisper
I try so hard to place it
Wonder why I really feel it
When to send the pretty flowers
Maybe helps her to believe it


OK, this is a bit ambiguous.  It could be painting a picture of a person thinking about what motivates them in life, trying to untangle something in them that's contributing to a problem and impacting on their relationship with their partner.  - That's a nice note, and a bittersweet note, about sending flowers perhaps as a silent apology, an I-love-you.

Run my tongue along it
Oh the taste is something sicker
"But you know you have to do it now"
She told me in a whisper
It only takes a second
But the second lasts forever
Close your eyes
And let me take you down


OK, I'm lost here.  Not the first two lines; they go with the first two lines in the last verse and I interpret that as the unpleasantness of the necessary contemplation of one's inner workings.  The bit about the second has me lost; I'll have to come back to this sometime.

And I get up
And it's over
It's always f*cking over
It's raining and I'm wrecked
And it's late and you're...

No I can't remember
Anything I did or said
Or how I lost another life

I lost another life
Oh I can't do this anymore

No
I can't do this anymore


It's interesting that you lose a life by consistently losing smaller portions of it - and so we've gone from losing another week (first verse) to losing a life (last lines).  That is how it happens (and the related thought goes, mind the small things and the big things will take care of themselves etc).  Death by a thousand cuts.  I was just saying to my husband that the reason I actually have a lot of everyday optimism (despite my view that we're basically on the Titanic, as a species, and we've dragged other species there with us and already tipped a lot of them over the side) is because I know I can learn - and because we love each other.  While I view the long term as rather doomed, the day at hand is doable, and even if we are but a flash of light between two eternities of darkness, that little flash is one great big extraordinary gift, and the ability to come into existence and be conscious, and then interrelate in complex ways with other such beings you care about, is just so tremendously wonderful.  ♥

[PS:  Re alternative reading of this song:  With this particular ink blot, the shape of it would also seem to lend itself to the plight of a person who keeps going from relationship to relationship because they can never keep it together;  the other person tends to get fed up and the cycle starts over with someone else, and then you have a different interpretation to "losing another life" - it would be losing a life that person could have had with a particular person / losing the now-ex's life.  That wasn't my initial reading of it because I'm wired a particular way, but it might work for people wired another way.  And after all, I think most of us sometimes even deliberately and knowingly assign our own quite different meanings to songs and poems that are quite clearly about something else - just so we can relate to them / process our own ideas and feelings through the prism this makes for us.  Pure Rorschach!]  ;)


And here I am, finally done with writing about this album (not that anything is ever complete, and therein lies another conundrum).  So now, having restrained myself, I can finally go put on KMKMKM and listen from start to finish.  Phew!  :)

I've enjoyed this particular journey - and like with travel in the real world, it's always extra special if you've kept a travel journal (and you can probably imagine our travel journals :lol:).  Especially for the first time you've been to a particular place!  :cool   Do I recommend this place to others?  It depends what you like - but I'd say, give it a shot!

It's funny to think that 4:13 Dream came out the year Brett and I got married, because in some ways that's a lifetime ago, if you're a dog anyway.  I'm very much looking forward to the new album that's currently stuck in some mysterious pipeline, not having its emergence made any easier by SARS-CoV-2.  I wonder if any of the band members feel that the whole making another album thing is so, you know, jinxed...   :1f62d:  :beaming-face  :evil:  :winking_tongue

Best wishes to everyone; next chapter next time.  :)
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on June 15, 2020, 08:00:51
KISS ME, KISS ME, KISS ME

I have a preliminary report from our first (nearly-)all-the-way-through listen.  We didn't catch the last two tracks because we were starving and dinner was ready, but here goes - first impressions.

Because this is open-journalling (which is like writing anything you want for your own entertainment in a paper journal because you're that way inclined, except it's online and anyone can jump in and contribute if they want to so don't be shy! :yum:), I organise things by a sort of overarching topic (this thread = listening to the Cure back catalogue), with scenic side trips.  And because this writing is a personal record, I want to remember the evening we finally put this album on, months after we had it sitting there making "play me!" noises.  :angel

It was a Sunday, and we had a lovely young couple staying with us (we do a farmstay through Airbnb).  They were going out again that evening and I was bringing in a bucket of stuff from the garden for constructing dinner:  Peas, snowpeas, radishes, lemons, fennel bulbs, celery stalks, and a mass of five-colour silverbeet.  The silverbeet got dumped in a sink of cold water to soak - it removes "extra protein" as well as dirt.  ;)  I was getting some Painted Mountain (multicoloured) corn cobs out of the freezer stash and then started tending to an Ironbark pumpkin that had been pre-roasted in the oven that morning while the apple crumble we had for breakfast was cooking; meanwhile Brett was chopping up an onion (he always views that as his personal job and gets quite irate if I do one :1f62d:  :heart-eyes).  We were chatting to the young couple who were having cups of tea before heading out again, and when they left, I said, "Hey! We can have loud music now!  How about we road-test that 'new' album?"

We were both in the right kind of zone for it - and actually, I was tired, and needed something to wake me up again for the upcoming hour of toil.  And so we put on the album, and listened to it while making pumpkin soup (which turned out an amazing luminous pale yellow), gozleme (Turkish feta-spinach/silverbeet pockets), and two kinds of salad:  Waldorf (from the last of our own apples this season), and orange/fennel/radish - a Moroccan thing, except we dress it differently, just with lemon juice and olive oil - and it looks so pretty with its soft greens, oranges and pinky-reds.  :)

Throughout all this, the music was playing, and we enjoyed the vast majority of it. Excellent album - and the first thing I immediately noticed is that the sound quality is fantastic - a truckload of dynamic range, unlike many contemporary loudness-war CDs, and sadly, unlike 4:13 Dream or our copy of Disintegration.  The album opener showcases that brilliantly:


...oh wow, if I'd known back in 1987 that The Cure were making music like that, and not just what was being played on the radio, or what classmate Pauline with the black sticking-up hair played us during our music project for our Year 12 English class (guess which three songs she picked off this album, although I missed the third one because I got ignominiously turfed out of the classroom when I couldn't stop laughing sarcastically at one of them  :evil:  :angel)...

The Kiss is like all the best B-sides - and Brett was very naughty, because what he said in the short space after that track was, "And all Mary asked him to do was to take out the rubbish!"   :lol:  :beaming-face

We'd heard that one live quite a few times - and Catch actually, and for some reason I was surprised it was on this album - I imagined it came off an earlier one.  Catch is a sweet song, I've always liked it, and I do prefer it live, like a lot of Cure songs - more immediacy, and also Robert Smith's singing has evolved over time, and likewise I think the band's playing has.

Torture hit the spot musically - it's solid and driving and serious and beautifully played.  My ears sort of purr at gorgeous sound constructions like this.


Speaking of, If Only Tonight We Could Sleep is an all-time favourite of ours, and to hear the studio version just made me drool, it's so fabulous.  A song like that is a visceral thing for me - you know how when you're really hungry and you're biting into a fabulous piece of chocolate-hazelnut cake in a semi-starved condition, you can get sharp pains in your salivary glands (around your jawline) from the fire-pump hypersecretion they suddenly engage in, at the same time as the flavours are hitting your tongue, and you've got this sort of agony/ecstasy thing going on?  That kind of thing.  Music that makes you feel like you're one giant tongue and Lindt chocolate is melting into your tastebuds all over, and you're just going, "Ooooh, aaaah!"  :)


Cue, next, the song that got me into such trouble in my Year 12 English class.  I remember sitting on the classroom floor all those years ago, leaning up against the wall with the other kids, unable to stop laughing:  OMG, an ADULT is asking that question?  Oh Pauline, oh Pauline of the spiky black hair, why, why, why couldn't you have played us the song immediately before?   :1f62d:  :1f62d:  :1f62d:

These days, of course, I actually like Why Can't I Be You? - I'm no longer a super-serious cerebral teenager assessing adults for their qualifications to be suitable role models - my parents weren't, in ways that really mattered, and I wasn't interested in more examples of adult irresponsibility, and so an adult coming at me with a playschool demeanour asking a philosophically absurd question didn't gel well with my then straight-line thinking.

So I had to come out of the aftermath of a dysfunctional upbringing and learn to play as an adult, and once that happened, I was open to stuff like this.  Nowadays I love the zaniness of that song, and its childlikeness (because it's not actually particularly childish), and its hyperactivity and abundant energy.


There's an interesting pattern to the track listing.  It seems you get one or two quite dark, serious songs, and then something shiny and high-energy, rinse and repeat, all the way down the list.  It's like listening to a radio show except it's all by the same band, and I think this album is a monument to The Cure's huge musical versatility.  It really works.  The serious stuff is brought out more by the shiny stuff, and vice versa - the same way that the crunch and juiciness of good celery is a great partner for the salty, creamy solidity of cheddar cheese - each accentuating and drawing attention the other.

Personally, Brett and I both tend to prefer the musically darker, more serious songs to the lighter, shinier stuff - but it's good to have the contrast, and there's the whole smorgasbord analogy previously discussed here (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9201.msg770671#msg770671).

Track 6, How Beautiful You Are, is my least favourite track on the album, for reasons already explained here (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9201.msg770682#msg770682) - I've got a large bee making chainsaw noises in my bonnet about the lyrics, and musically it really doesn't appeal to me either, it feels disjointed and monotone and nothing-much-happening to me.  I will say that I prefer the album version to the one I encountered on Join The Dots, and that the keyboards on the album version do a nice job conjuring French street music for me, which is fitting considering Paris is the setting here.

However, I very much enjoy The Snakepit.  Like the opening track, and like a lot of my favourite Cure tracks, the instrumental music is given time to weave its magic, and there's no hurry to get to the sung part - and speaking of, I love the low-register singing here.


Hey You is another change back to lightness and exuberance.  I prefer the album version to the one on Join The Dots, and have warmed to it a little.  Just Like Heaven, which so many people love, really isn't my thing - I've never really liked that kind of pop music (and yes, that's the other thing Pauline with the spiky hair played to us back in our Year 12 classroom the year that album came out).  I wonder about my reaction and I think it's more to do with the music than the words, which on their own are a perfectly acceptable piece on romantic love, and I actually think it's important as an antidote to toxic masculinity to have males write things like this instead of just shredding guitars and channelling anger in hard-rock settings.  I think I'd like the song better with the keyboards taken out, and as is so often the case, I don't have a negative reaction when The Cure play it live.

The music does actually go with the words; there's no mismatch - it's whimsical, joyful, playful, breezy.  But this is one of the songs I always disliked when I heard it on the radio as a younger person, and because it seemed to be played all the time, it became one of a few dozen pop songs over the years that I just got more and more allergic to (Friday I'm In Love is the other one from this band that always made me run and still does).  Tastes change and while I took to both the studio and live versions of Love Cats, Why Can't I Be You?, Close To You etc as a mature adult, those two I just haven't come around to.

Because this is an open-edit forum, I can add thoughts that occur to me later on:  I think the reason I don't have a negative reaction when I hear this song played live is because then there's a human being in it, if that makes any sense, and because you can have respect for someone else's heart for feeling something, at the same time that you have respect for your own heart for not feeling that thing.  That's a principle that has so much application.  So in this particular case, it goes from a song that annoys me on the radio, to a song that's being performed by a person for whom this is a piece of their own heart, and those are different propositions.  It might seem like an artificial distinction and perhaps it is, but studio music is "canned" and live music is not, even though of course when I watch a concert film, it's still canned in its own way, but it's not as separate from the people performing it.


All I Want is an interesting number and another good discovery to make.  Musically is works for me - I love the textures in it, the edginess, the hints of Eastern melody, the playing-like-you-mean-it, the seriousness I suppose.  And now I'm interrogating my use of the word serious... because I'm sure Robert Smith is equally serious about the lyrics to Just Like Heaven, so do I have the right word?  Am I somehow subscribing to the snobbery that writing about romantic love isn't a serious thing?  I don't think I am, because I don't have a problem with the words of Just Like Heaven, and with a whole bunch of songs about romantic love which I consider really well-written, including many on the topic from this band.

But I do have a problem with airheaded songs about romantic love, and wouldn't classify those as serious:  The sorts of songs that are melodramatic and like soap opera and naive and one-dimensional - "And then came the knight in shining armour and solved all my problems" etc.  Mills & Boon, versus Pride & Prejudice.  Also with obviously dysfunctional ideas and attitudes - with songs that confuse co-dependency for love, or sex for love, or infatuation for love, or need for love, or wanting to own and control someone for love, and thus perpetuate these problems.  I don't know what the solution to that is, because obviously life is a journey, and people write songs all along the various stages of their journeys.  Part of the solution, though, is songs about romantic love that are healthy and realistic, and songs that are honest and actually address common pitfalls and problems.  And maybe some lessons on the many Greek words to describe many different aspects of love...

All I Want doesn't set off my alarm bells in any way, but did make us giggle and start a word game.  This is because as we were listening on that Sunday night, I was asking Brett, "Do you get what he wants to hold her like?  A dog?  A doll? A door?"  All seemed equally unlikely, and neither of us could tell, so I tried to decipher the lyric sheet.  Yeah, hahaha - black on red, low contrast, tiny print, whose idea was that?  I couldn't do it even with glasses on, had to move under a 100W light, and was cursing the misdemeanours of graphic design (nice handwriting for the song titles though).  And it really does say "dog"!

So then it was, "OK, do you think she's the dog or he's the dog?" and then we were falling about laughing, and trying out other animals:

All I want is to hold you like a hippopotamus
All I want is to hold you like a sea urchin
All I want is to hold you like a lemming
All I want is to hold you like a warthog

(https://previews.123rf.com/images/utopia88/utopia881810/utopia88181000256/111848008-common-warthog-in-kruger-national-park-south-africa-specie-phacochoerus-africanus-family-of-suidae.jpg)
Beautiful in my own way

And actually, we can't relate to wanting to hold someone like a dog, except our dog, who happens to like being held - and it's a vastly different experience to holding each other.  Perhaps Robert Smith actually wrote this song for his dog?  :winking_tongue

(https://live.staticflickr.com/2830/11019196794_36322f4183_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/hMJgiC)
Brett says next time we should get a normal dog.  I tell him it's pointless; how normal are we?

But there is one animal that both of us often conjure up when holding one another, so I guess if we'd written that song, we'd have written:

All I want is to hold you like an octopus

It's like this, you see:  You're snuggling up to your beloved on a horizontal surface, and you've got your arms around each other and your bare feet tangling :heart-eyes, and you experience a sudden intense wish for a few extra limbs to do things with.  So if you were an octopus...

And so we have a game at our place which is called, "If I were an octopus."  It involves telling each other what you would do with the extra tentacles that you would then have at your disposal.  If it's my turn, usually my eighth tentacle will be tickling my husband's earlobe, or I'll be sticking it up his nose, just to make a little contrast with the plans I have for the other seven (which he is very agreeable to, but then he's outraged by what I would do with the very last tentacle :angel).  And don't forget, octopus tentacles also have suckers, which you could put to interesting uses, like just suctioning the tip of your beloved's nose, or maybe the pads of his toes (there's way enough suckers to do all of the toes with just one tentacle).  :beaming-face

I have noticed that the mock-exasperation of your spouse increases when you make little squelching noises when you talk about this, bwahahahaha.  :angel  Or when you touch the tip of his nose and then make a little suctioning sound...  :yum:

At this point we would like to thank Attenborough's film crew, who always had this knack of making molluscs look so sexy.  :lol:

And now, all talk of molluscs must cease.  This is a gorgeous song:


This is very like the "watercolour" music I admired on Join The Dots - tracks like This Twilight Garden, A Chain Of Flowers, The Big Hand - really evocative instrumentation, a dreamy sense of floating through space.  The instruments on One More Time feel as if they are played by a bunch of flower fairies who are thinking about the sweetness of life yet its fleeting nature.  I can actually see them playing their flutes and pipes by a stream deep in the forest.  Lyrics and singing are lovely too.

If you like this kind of music, you might enjoy this book:

(https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Ftse1.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DOIP.tKDtfmngpnESMNFROkRARAAAAA%26pid%3DApi&f=1)

Another highlight for me:


I really, really like this - the way they've built an intro that actually suggests the sounds of cockatoos (we've got endangered Black Cockatoos who make sounds very like that in the forest right behind our house), and the bass/drums lines that almost sound like something you'd hear on a heavy metal ballad, or in opera - and the acoustic guitar overlaid onto that, and then the string arrangements over it at the end.  It's beautifully composed, and holds your attention from start to finish.

As this is a first-impressions review, I won't look at lyrics until later, but I think there's going to be lots of interesting stuff to ponder.

I'd already met an incarnation of Icing Sugar on Join The Dots and wrote about it briefly on the thread I did for that.  The next track, The Perfect Girl, I really like:


It sort of skips hand in hand with Catch, and Caterpillar Girl, and Love Cats, and other Cure tracks like that.  The lyrics on this one I caught first time around, which is a bonus, and they're just perfect for capturing a mood, together with the music.

I also like the music on A Thousand Hours, although the vocal style on this one grates on me a bit:


Perhaps when I look at the lyrics more closely at a later stage, it will become obvious why it's sung that way and grow on me.

I didn't really like Shiver And Shake on first impressions; we'll see how that goes.  Fight has me intrigued and its lyrics are worth looking at closely:


The song, and therefore this album, literally goes out with a bang, and that made me laugh because it made me instantly remember the conversation between Salieri and Mozart in the film Amadeus... paraphrasing from memory, "You didn't even give them a big bang at the end to let them know you'd finished!" and Mozart goes, "Yeah, I should take some lessons from you!"  Meow.  :angel

While the ratio of songs I love to songs I don't is about the same on KMKMKM as on 4:13 Dream for me, most of the ones I don't love I still find worth listening to for both albums - on reflection I think there's only one or two on either of them I'd skip completely.  I think the 1987 album has a richer sound, and that's partly down to sumptuous instrumentation on much of KMKMKM, and I strongly suspect, also partly to do with the loudness wars causing a decline in the dynamic range of the more contemporary CDs - a most unfortunate thing, and I hope that this isn't going to be a problem with the upcoming release.

Next post on KMKMKM will be my favourite B-sides from that material, which I think are worth revisiting. :cool

I might come back and edit this post in future just to drop in some live versions of the featured songs as well!
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: Ulrich on June 19, 2020, 13:18:41
Quote from: SueC on June 13, 2020, 01:04:02... this song is so noisy that initially I just wanted to cover my ears and run.  Turning down the volume was helpful for staying with it, and then my first thought was:  It sounds like a cross between an Irish jig and hard rock!  There's elements of both.

It's crazily noisy, it's all sound and fury, but it's also signifying something.

The long "instrumental" intro sounds very good on this live version I thought - and yes, it's an intro that somehow points to it being a "dark" (angry) song about good-byes:

I got to say: I would enjoy this as a completely instrumental piece! (The album production suffers a bit from too much noise/loudness, this live version sounds pretty good though.)

Quote from: SueC on June 13, 2020, 01:04:02I have felt exactly like that, when I was really burnt out, and that happened to me a number of times in my life, indeed sometimes became my life, and is one of the reasons we downshifted, tree-changed and ended up quasi-hippies on a little organic farm and nature reserve in the middle of nowhere ...

Yeah - isn't that what often draws us to a song? When the lyrics do ring a bell? When they tell me something about my life (and not just about the life of the songwriter)? When I can relate to what he (she) sings about? When the song becomes the "soundtrack" of my life?
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on June 19, 2020, 15:44:07
Quote from: Ulrich on June 19, 2020, 13:18:41The long "instrumental" intro sounds very good on this live version I thought - and yes, it's an intro that somehow points to it being a "dark" (angry) song about good-byes...

I got to say: I would enjoy this as a completely instrumental piece! (The album production suffers a bit from too much noise/loudness, this live version sounds pretty good though.)

Many thanks for dropping in that live version, it is excellent instrumentally and I did really enjoy that (although for this song I actually preferred the studio vocal for once).  Maybe it's the lessons from the Noisiest Song (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9329.0) thread starting to bear fruit.  ;)

I'm actually interested in finding us a copy of that Rome gig, probably on YT, to watch all the way through, as the "next" concert for when we finish listening to the Cureation gig (we're halfway through that). :cool


Quote from: Ulrich on June 19, 2020, 13:18:41
Quote from: SueC on June 13, 2020, 01:04:02I have felt exactly like that, when I was really burnt out, and that happened to me a number of times in my life, indeed sometimes became my life, and is one of the reasons we downshifted, tree-changed and ended up quasi-hippies on a little organic farm and nature reserve in the middle of nowhere ...

Yeah - isn't that what often draws us to a song? When the lyrics do ring a bell? When they tell me something about my life (and not just about the life of the songwriter)? When I can relate to what he (she) sings about? When the song becomes the "soundtrack" of my life?

Yeah, exactly - and it's like that with great literature and poetry as well - it humanises us, in a way.  It's that recognition that someone else has captured the same kind of moment, the same kind of feeling, the same kind of thought, and that you're not alone in that experience - that there's common threads that run through us, and it makes you feel a little better about belonging to our species, a little more connected, a little more at home.

From the basis of the shared similarities you then look with interest at the individual differences, and it helps us see things from different perspectives, and to walk a mile in other people's shoes - the practice of which is really valuable to get into.  It promotes an understanding of other ways of looking and doing.  It's all very cool, really - and is why the arts are so important, and why the neoliberalist machinery constantly seeks to grind them down - because if we actually understood each other better, and cared for each other more, then you couldn't divide and conquer as easily; and if we cared more about relationships and creativity than baubles and status symbols, then our inappropriate economic system might just collapse.  :angel
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on June 20, 2020, 02:23:26
...and now, as promised, my three favourite B-sides from the stuff recorded for that album:




I already wrote about these tracks here (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9201.msg770626#msg770626)...
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on June 22, 2020, 07:04:17
ANOTHER FIRST IMPRESSION... AND A MYSTERY

Last night we said, "What the heck!" and put on The Head On The Door for a first play-through, even though I'm still busy with a deep dive into KMKMKM and not done writing about it.  It was to get a bit of an extra push for making dinner after spending the day out hiking Mt Lindesay.  We were up to our ears multi-tasking various things, so nothing in particular leapt out at us, it was just, "Oh, hello!" to the songs we already knew:  In Between Days and Close To Me, and first listens to studio versions of songs we knew well from live material:  Push and A Night Like This.

First of all, a little mystery solved, 35 years later:  I was double-taking this morning when that album was on.  Hang on a minute, I'd heard this snippet of music before in another context - this exact piece!  In fact, at the beginning of the "The Making Of The Unforgettable Fire Documentary" of which I've had a copy for decades (although it's on video and therefore doesn't get impromptu views...the video player lives under the stairs these days for occasional use but it's a hassle).

I was head-scratching, having always wondered what that musical piece in that documentary was.  It faded into other raw music takes that I recognised as the bare bones of songs U2 were developing for The Unforgettable Fire, but this particular piece never turned up on the album, or on B-sides etc etc.  And I couldn't figure out why, since it sounded very promising.

Hahahaha!  :lol:  That's because it was a section of the studio version of Push.  So now I know why it didn't turn up on a U2 album, which is one mystery solved.  This does, however, spawn another mystery:  What was a lengthy section of Push doing in a documentary about another band's album?  Was this someone's naughty Easter egg?

...a few hours later, I've solved the second mystery.  This is what happened:  It almost certainly wasn't on the video itself, but it was on an audio recording of the same programme I made on cassette when a local radio station broadcast it when it first came out as video (as a simulcast with a TV station, I think).  Anyway, I had this cassette for many years and used to listen to it a fair bit when I was driving, so I was familiar with every note.  The introduction to the broadcast documentary for some reason had a section from the studio version of Push in it.  It was probably the "spacer music" for lining up the simulcast, and I would have started recording a little early... but for many years I wondered about that little piece of instrumental music!

In case you're wondering how I could possibly not have worked that out before, given how many times I've seen Push live - the segment of the song that was on my tape was from 26 seconds in, and ended before that distinctive lead guitar theme repeated itself again.  I can tell you exactly where it ended too, just after the voice part at 1:40 which I remember very clearly.


So... in keeping with the popular 1980s idea of subliminal programming, here's another way to explain why I was bound one day, three decades later, to end up liking The Cure.  :angel


..more impressions coming later...

Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: Ulrich on June 22, 2020, 16:17:18
Quote from: SueC on June 20, 2020, 02:23:26...and now, as promised, my three favourite B-sides from the stuff recorded for that album

Ah, those b-sides were excellent (and still are!).  :cool

I must've bought the "Catch" 12" single in 1988 and was well impressed with the quality of the b-sides. (I could tell they were songs from the same recording session and just didn't "make" the final album tracklist.)
I already knew "A Japanese Dream" because the band had played it live (I had recorded a short concert broadcast from radio on a tape), which was kinda "unusual" for a b-side!
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on July 05, 2020, 06:11:44
MUSIC TO SOOTHE YOUR LIFE AND MAKE THE SEEMINGLY IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE

Do you ever have a day where you're listless and all you want to do is sit around and recharge (while simultaneously worrying about where your get-up-and-go went, even though you know that it's not possible to always be active and performing and working and doing exercise and throwing in a few cartwheels in the middle of it all - you do actually have to rest)?

I'm having such a day, with a bit of pain thrown in as well - because I injured something in the base of my left thumb a couple of weeks back chopping down the oversized stems in the tagasaste hedge and it still reminds me of its existence, and this week I got a finger on my other hand pulled backwards when handling a horse.  Things like this don't heal in a day anymore and meanwhile there's still lots of physical work to do on the farm, so that tends to set back injuries periodically.

Flat batteries plus niggly pains kind of affects the mood.  Sunday morning pancakes (delicious with home-made blood plum sauce and cream) are followed by an uncharacteristic return to a doomy-gloomy outlook.  So you decide to make chocolate nut horns - it doesn't aggravate your injuries to do it, it will be nice for afternoon tea, plus you have lovely guests you can surprise with them when they get back in tonight, and tomorrow you have a full-on day where you're working with the mobile butcher to package 326.5 kg of home-grown beef currently hanging in quarters in his cool room, that he's going to cut for you, and he starts at dawn, and it will be good to have a box of these treats handy for this work.

The process of getting up from your nice soft bed, where you ensconced yourself with your husband reading - actually physically getting up in order to cut and fill the brioche pastry that's now risen and ready requires some kind of effective motivation.  So you go over to the CD player, survey the pile, and put on KMKMKM again.  Press play.


Instant mood lift.  I'm rolling out pastry on borrowed energy from this external source and bursting out in smiles until I'm laughing.  Why?  Because the music is fantastic and because I am under the growing impression that the lead guitarist is having a whale of a time playing that edgy and decidedly impish stuff.  Brett's calling from the bedroom, "This really is a fabulous intro!" and then the lyrics start and I'm laughing even more because they are completely outrageous, as is their delivery. 

You don't have to read the song like that.  It's a very dark song and you could take it at face value, as if every word and sound was meant literally.  Maybe it is, I don't know, ask the people who wrote it.  Maybe it's just my exhaustion, but I'm laughing and viewing it as completely tongue-in-cheek, as the same sort of delightful theatre as Lullaby.  And when we watched this on Trilogy, we could have sworn that Robert Smith was laughing his head off when he turned away from the audience after delivering the final missile, "I wish you were dead!"

Thoughts?  Comments?  How are you reading it?

This track was followed by the cute, gentle, wistful Catch, before spiralling back down the rabbit hole into dark Amazingland with Torture and If Only Tonight We Could Sleep, which I've written about before (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9295.msg773083#msg773083).  After that Why Can't I Be You? actually made perfect sense to me (while Brett claims it's a "distractor" like the deliberately wrong answers in a multiple choice test).

And with that, the pastries were in the oven, the kitchen was clean again, and I turned off the music to retreat to the bedroom to my nice soft warm bed to write this.  With my husband doing incredibly nice things with my bare feet.  (If you've never tried a foot rub before, please do yourself a favour and start living...  :heart-eyes )

Oh and the chocolate nut horns look pretty good as well.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/4878/31784016427_b68c8a2be2_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QqDoKe)

Plus, as it's Sunday and we've worked hard all week, we no longer care about the items left unfinished and we're not going to do them today after all - they can wait, it's our recreation time.  So we'll enjoy our nut horns, do some reading and catch the second half of that Curætion gig, I think.  :)

Yes, we really are hobbits.

Happy Sunday to everyone out there.  :cool
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on July 12, 2020, 01:48:06
ODDMENTS

Currently on this thread, I'm mostly writing about KMKMKM and The Head On The Door, since those are the two studio albums we've most recently acquired on our trip through the back catalogue.  I'm thinking Wish will be the next one I will order in, in original form, as waiting for the re-issue is starting to feel like waiting for Godot.  But today, some oddments.

Firstly, a Beatles cover I'd not realised The Cure had done, which I came across by accident last night:


I really enjoyed this one.  The original is such a nonsense song, typical McCartney who surely was the Original Wiggle.  For those of you who don't know The Wiggles:


Brett, by the way, thinks Robert Smith is secretly the Dark Wiggle.

I only like silly Beatles songs when I'm in a very silly mood, and I've occasionally liked Hello Goodbye in such a mood.

But I love the cover by The Cure, not because it makes it a better song, but because it's such fun to watch them do it, especially the way Robert Smith is channelling the right kind of headspace for the song.  It makes me laugh, it's just so well done.  I'd much prefer to listen to this cover than the original track.

...but you should hear Brett:  "I prefer the original because I'm sure it's shorter.  What a ghastly preschool song.  And look at Simon Gallup, he doesn't look like he's enjoying this, he's probably thinking he'd rather be cycling, or actually doing anything else but this."  :lol:

Maybe for me it's because I was watching the first half of the Curætion gig again last night and once again being impressed afresh by the musical versatility of this outfit - these guys seem to be able to play anything - and coming across this cover just provides another example.

I don't like all the covers The Cure have done - I don't like the Doors cover chiefly because I really dislike the original song, and the Cure take on Young Americans didn't work for my ears, but their Hendrix cover - the noisy cover of Purple Haze - wow.

Which brings me to some of the commentary I saw under the clip (not YT, but I see YT has plenty of material like this too :evil:) - why can't people say, "I don't like..." instead of, "This is crap."  Ah well.  Homo un-sapiens.  Of course, in the general commentary under this cover wherever you find it is the usual moaning about how the best drummer in the universe is now lamentably absent from the line-up, to which I once again just want to say, get over yourselves and stop acting like a bunch of rural rednecks who'll never accept someone new as a local until that person's grandchildren have married theirs, and will moan, whine, complain, and say "Go back where you came from!" and be unkind and unwelcoming and unjust, but you know, it's a reflection on those people, and their lack of decency and kindness and warmth, and not on the "newcomers"... I say welcome and I will look for things to love - and there's a lot to love.

My sermon isn't over.  In the webpage where I first chanced across this song yesterday, there was a myriad of unkind commentary on Robert Smith's personal appearance from the Style & Image Police.  Apparently we all have to put our heads into paper bags after age 30.  Or stop using hair dye, or make-up, and conform to whatever these backseat drivers think is The Correct Way To Be.  I'll never cease to be amazed by how many people think someone else's personal appearance, sexual orientation etc etc is any of their business.  It's really not.

And for what it's worth, good on Robert Smith.  We're all just getting photocopied over and over from the inside, that's how it works, and just like with paper photocopies, a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy gets a bit blurry and scratchy.  But, the text is still the text, and the story is still great regardless.  I send a truckload of love to all the people in this universe who are falling apart bit by bit and still living with grace and compassion.  And one of my favourite quotes:

(https://ctl.s6img.com/society6/img/3JsD-6AOq4RtJmuMYD2uKZa-cQI/w_700/serving-trays/large/front/~artwork,fw_2569,fh_3319,fx_-43,iw_2655,ih_3319/s6-original-art-uploads/society6/uploads/misc/a71b532be58a4e629db90bce56ad9632/~~/becoming-real-velveteen-rabbit-quote-serving-trays.jpg?wait=0&attempt=0)

PS:  And the best facelift is a smile - as is amply demonstrated in the clip for that Beatles cover.  Smiles can melt your heart.  So send some smiles out to others today - a little thing that's really a big thing.
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on July 12, 2020, 04:26:05
TWO "NEW" SONGS

One of the delights of watching the Curætion gig is the centre of the show, which is two "new" (comparatively) songs that sit between the one-song-per-album-in-chronological-order - forwards and then backwards - main sets.  It's like the axis on which a globe rotates.

It Can Never Be The Same is a grief song, and no matter which person the song was originally written for, the experience is so universal that it can be for anyone we've lost.  It's a beautiful song, and the stage backdrop of that flickering little candle flame pushed to and fro by the wind is such a powerful metaphor for the fragility of life and the ease of blowing it out, and the inevitability of that for all of us.  It's so good to have songs like this, because we all have to deal with losing people we love, and will all be that person one day, who has ceased to be.  To know that actually helps us to live better lives.

Step Into The Light, the other mid-section song not attached to an album release, also really appealed to me, both musically and thematically.  I was catching enough of the lyrics on the first listen last night to get the drift, and went to look them up.  Here's one version but other "takes" are around, and the second line in this one doesn't make sense to me.



STEP INTO THE LIGHT

All of your faith in simple shadows from my hope for something more
How about yourself were caught in any reason to be sure
You believe, there's nothing more to add
You believe, it's as simple as that

I don't care about the aliens, ghosts, and fairies, all the voices in your head
It's when your "I believe it's true, I know," I start to get upset

Because you don't know, you don't know, you don't know
You just want it all true
No, you don't know, you don't know, you don't know
You just have to say you do
You can't really know, you can only believe with a confidence born of deceit

The only angels you should hear are reason, honesty, equality and love
The only devils you should fear are hatred, ignorance, greed and a world full of people scared dumb

You believe, it's as simple as that
You believe, there's nothing more to add

I don't care about your sinners, saints, and saviours, acting with mysterious ways
It's when your "I believe it's true, I know!" I start to feel dismayed

Because you don't know, you don't know, you don't know
You just want it all true
No you don't know, you don't know, you don't know
You just have to say you do

You can't really know, you can only believe
It really is insane, all this crazy desperate need
For unknowable magic, strange supernatural power
You're flying through space at a million miles an hour
For 4 billion years, the sun keeps coming up
It's all too wonderful for words but for you it's not enough
You should step out of the shadows yeah and step into the light



I'll stick with this version for now, until I've got an opinion one way or the other on what's actually being sung.

I empathise with this song, because I can't tell you how often I've had to listen to people who seem to think belief and knowledge are synonymous.  Simply consulting the dictionary would tell you it's not.  I actually lived this distinction for about 25 years, because for much of my life I was essentially a Christian mystic - starting with a mind-blowing event at age 14 discussed here (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9201.msg770956#msg770956) (in the last quarter of this long long post, look for the Turner paintings).  These days I'm agnostic, but even when I wasn't, it always rubbed me up the wrong way when religious people insisted they "knew" God existed, and even worse, that they "knew" what "he" thought and wanted (which was exactly what they wanted to think, and wanted), and even worse than that, when they started prescribing this as a universal pattern of what everyone should think and want.  Not only is all of that totally non sequitur when examined logically, it's also really dangerous and leads to a lot of intolerance and moral-high-horsemanship.

I always felt that to mistake belief for knowledge did a disservice both to spirituality, and to rationality.  From a spiritual perspective, it's pointless to believe in a God you think you know is there.  That's like believing in your saucepan, or your refrigerator, or your armchair.  The whole point of believing, to me, was similar to when you believe in a friend - when you believe in their capacity for being decent and kind, even when you're also confronted with their flaws.  And I don't mean putting on rose-tinted spectacles, but learning to love a person because you love their heart, which I know is a wishy-washy concept but bear with me here; you love the goodwill of the person, their striving to live well even as they fall short, you have compassion for their flaws and for your own.  This is far easier with acknowledged flaws you know a person is earnestly working on, than with flaws that are invisible to their owner or they are in denial over.  And because this is a difficult topic, let me just categorically state that not everyone truly cares about others, and wants to work on their flaws, and some of those people are, at best, unpleasant, and at worst, psychopathic, and I recommend not exposing yourself to people like this more than absolutely necessary, and calling out their behaviour when they mistreat others instead of standing by and saying nothing.  Some of them might be amenable to learning to do things better; others will stay toxic and destructive no matter what (because only we ourselves can decide to change, and if we don't then that's where we will stay stuck, instead of evolving).

Anyway, believing in God was a bit like believing in your friends:  Choosing to believe that there was some force for good and some kind of higher love you could be a part of.  I didn't think God was a personal slot machine that you could (or should) send your personal wishes off to like a sort of cosmic Santa, or that the reason you tried to do the right thing is because it would increase your "pointscore" for getting into higher echelons of afterlife - it was about love and respect.  Any of you who have seen the series The Good Place will be aware of the many pitfalls of "personal goodness" - fabulous series.


But even in the years I very much believed in a God of love and respect, I was aware that this was a choice I had made, to believe this in the absence of it being a concrete thing right in front of me that could be measured (not that this is necessarily proof of anything either ;)); and I never thought I knew this God existed.  In fact, to me, one of the whole points of that was making that choice, taking that leap.  It was something I could give, when I felt like so much had been given to me.  It was a way of being a part of something good that seemed to transcend the human condition.

But I always remained on the fringes, because I couldn't subscribe to dogma, nor go down the road of "I know blah blah blah."  I always accepted that I could be wrong, and it seemed to me that people who felt they knew were lacking in intellectual humility.  And later on, I ended up thinking I was wrong about the existence of some sort of personal God (I went into the why in the post I linked to above); but it doesn't mean that it didn't have value, and didn't shape me in ways that helped me to live better.  As I've heard around the progressive spiritual communities, "Dismount your donkey at the summit."  In fact, here's a quote:

QuoteYour Donkey

Dismount your donkey at the summit.

Some places in this world are very hard to climb, and people use animals. Each person can only ride one, and each animal might have a different name. The riders go up the trail in different orders, and they discuss their varying opinions about their experiences.  They may even have conflicting opinions: One traveler may think the trip thrilling, another may find it terrifying, and a third may find it banal.

At the summit all the travelers stand in the same place.  Each of them has the same chance to view the same vistas.  The donkeys are put to rest and graze; they are not needed anymore.

We all travel the path of Tao.  The donkeys are the various doctrines that each of us embraces.  What does it matter which doctrine we embrace as long as it leads us to the summit?  Your donkey might be a Zen donkey, mine might be a Tao donkey.  There are Christian, Islamic, Jewish, and even Agnostic donkeys.  All lead to the same place.  Why poke fun at others over the name of their donkey?  Aren't you riding one yourself?

We should put aside both the donkeys and our interim experiences once we arrive at the summit.  Whether we climbed in suffering or joy is immaterial; we are there.  All religions have different names for the ways of getting to the holy summit.  Once we reach the summit, we no longer need names, and we can experience all things directly.

From 365 Tao:  Daily Meditations by Den Ming-Dao

So that's the general idea.  Of course, you can argue about whether people get to the same mountaintop, whether there is a mountaintop at all, whether they see the same things when they get there, etc etc etc, and I'm generally dubious about a lot of this stuff.  But, I do know donkeys are a good thing.  :winking_tongue

(https://live.staticflickr.com/3929/32835254696_d6f27b955b_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/S2xgfY)

Changing perspective slightly:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/358/31691405242_fd692049c4_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/QhsJEE)

:angel

...and one more, because they are so adorable:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47977414206_a6859c7f07_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2g6AMJE)

So Step Into The Light deals with a topic I've thought about a lot myself, too.  I'm going to take a closer look, and do some annotating.


STEP INTO THE LIGHT

All of your faith in simple shadows from my hope for something more
How about yourself were caught in any reason to be sure
You believe, there's nothing more to add
You believe, it's as simple as that

I don't care about the aliens, ghosts, and fairies, all the voices in your head
It's when your "I believe it's true, I know," I start to get upset


As I said earlier, I'm not 100% sure this is an accurate transcription, plus the song may have evolved/been sung differently at different times.  The first two lines don't altogether make sense to me - particularly the second - and could Line 6 really have you're instead of your?  That would make slightly more sense, in a slangy way.

I'd like to draw attention to the title - since this is the kind of invitation missionaries at your door will often presumptuously make to you - and since the writer has flipped that here, to tell persons of that ilk to take a good look at their own philosophies - if you go to the last line - more on that later.

The sense I'm getting from the beginning of that song is a person who's quite tolerant of what might be going on in other people's minds coming up against the hard boundary of not accepting what they can pretty comprehensively see is pure BS - the mistaking of personal belief for rock-solid, verifiable knowledge.


Because you don't know, you don't know, you don't know
You just want it all true
No, you don't know, you don't know, you don't know
You just have to say you do
You can't really know, you can only believe with a confidence born of deceit


Interesting take, the confidence born of deceit.  Is it time for another excursion into the Dunning-Kruger Effect?


Cognitive bias affects all of us, as the clip shows.  But you can see how it definitely applies to the delusion of certainty in religion, as well.


The only angels you should hear are reason, honesty, equality and love
The only devils you should fear are hatred, ignorance, greed and a world full of people scared dumb


I love these lines; very astute.  If you had to pick four core virtues, and four core vices, which would you pick?  These very much hit the spot, and get to the centre of the mess we see.


You believe, it's as simple as that
You believe, there's nothing more to add

I don't care about your sinners, saints, and saviours, acting with mysterious ways
It's when your "I believe it's true, I know!" I start to feel dismayed

Because you don't know, you don't know, you don't know
You just want it all true
No you don't know, you don't know, you don't know
You just have to say you do

You can't really know, you can only believe
It really is insane, all this crazy desperate need
For unknowable magic, strange supernatural power
You're flying through space at a million miles an hour
For 4 billion years, the sun keeps coming up
It's all too wonderful for words but for you it's not enough
You should step out of the shadows yeah and step into the light


I find that last stanza especially powerful - the idea of people needing to play make-believe (and often a very banal kind of make-believe, if you've ever read a Watchtower magazine - count me out) when the whole world is so miraculous, but they can't seem to see it.  I've never read a better description of that blindness, by the way, than this:

QuoteTo summarize briefly: A white rabbit is pulled out of a top hat. Because it is an extremely large rabbit, the trick takes many billions of years. All mortals are born at the very tip of the rabbit's fine hairs, where they are in a position to wonder at the impossibility of the trick. But as they grow older they work themselves ever deeper into the fur. And there they stay. They become so comfortable they never risk crawling back up the fragile hairs again. Only philosophers embark on this perilous expedition to the outermost reaches of language and existence. Some of them fall off, but others cling on desperately and yell at the people nestling deep in the snug softness, stuffing themselves with delicious food and drink.

    "Ladies and gentlemen," they yell, "we are floating in space!" But none of the people down there care. "What a bunch of troublemakers!" they say. And they keep on chatting: Would you pass the butter, please? How much have our stocks risen today? What is the price of tomatoes? Have you heard that Princess Di is expecting again?
    ― Jostein Gaarder, Sophie's World


One thing that's particularly annoyed me in my life is the attitude many of the more fundamentalist religious folk take about this planet - like it's a commodity, like it's disposable.  "God gave it to us, we can do what we want with it, and he's making a better one later anyway so who cares about this one."  Oh yeah?  So, what, Monet gives you Water Lilies and you're gonna put it on the ground and shit on it?  Very nice.  Plus, of course, we don't all agree, in this case, that there is a Monet or that Monet gave you a painting.  So you're going to shit on the painting all of us are actually living in?

And this from people who think they have a monopoly on light?  It's so deeply ironic.  Great last line in this song - reminding people to please sweep their own doorsteps first, and take a good look at themselves, and their definition of light and darkness, because hey, you might be the one who's sitting in the dark here, and the people you're used to thinking of as unenlightened just might have a thing or two they can teach you, that you actually are sadly lacking.

Of course, in another irony, Jesus already said a lot of stuff like this (or at least, it was attributed thusly).  Here's a good one:  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.

It's just so funny how a lot of people who go around trying to push the Bible on other people actually don't seem to have read this bit, or maybe it just went whoosh.  :angel

Happy Sunday.  Definitely time to get out of bed now.  ;)

Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on July 14, 2020, 05:17:12
Fun fact about Trilogy:  It starts with the words, "It doesn't matter if we all die!" and it ends with,  "I wish you were dead!"  :lol:

That's something cheery I noticed the first time I ever watched that concert, as a new Cure fan.  I listened to the first sentence, and said to Brett, "Well, that's a good start!"  :angel  And when I heard the last line in the encore, I got acidosis from the bout of laughter this induced...


...AND A LITTLE ABOUT BLOODFLOWERS...

Meanwhile, another random thought about the back catalogue of studio CDs, as I'm delving further back.  Bloodflowers is still my personal favourite - listening to that made me into a Cure fan in the first place - and that was less than six years ago, when I discovered it on my husband's iPod, which he was encouraging me to borrow when working outdoors.  Thinking of The Cure as primarily a pop band, owing to radio programming in Australia, I was intrigued that my very noir other half would have multiple albums by this band.  So I put on the one studio album by The Cure on this iPod, and my jaw hit the ground, and kind of stayed there for the rest of the day.

It was the first time in many years I'd listened to a "new" album I loved start to finish, and I couldn't get over the difference between what I was hearing, and the stuff from this band commonly played on Australian radio.  This was an entirely different universe.  I'd had no idea this band had a serious side, and that their serious stuff was so magnificent.

I'm old enough to feature on Grumpy Old Men/Women and I certainly have a lot of material to offer that show.  :winking_tongue   One of my recurring grumps is about the demise of the album since the iPod/music streaming age.  It was fabulous to hear an actual album again, in the true sense of the word.  Something that wasn't just a few good songs and a lot of padding - something that was breathtaking start to finish, and cohesive.

I've not actually written about this album very much, because it was with me years before I joined this forum, and here I've just concentrated on "new" things as they've come in.  There's a convoluted explanation on the Music For Emotional Health (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9196.0) thread about why this was the perfect album for a difficult six months (plus aftermath) in my life at the time, and why Where The Birds Always Sing in particular really spoke to me in the scenario I was in, simultaneously validating some very dark thoughts I was thinking at the time, and consoling me - in part because I realised I wasn't alone with those thoughts - which is one of the best things there is about art, literature, music etc.

For many of us, our favourite albums (and books, and poems, and cartoons etc) will always remain the ones which really spoke to us at crucial times - pieces of art that were a friend when we were sorely in need.  That's one reason why I think it's unlikely that I'm ever going to prefer any Cure album to Bloodflowers.  Another is that I've sampled widely from a lot of their albums not yet in our collection, and that I relate a lot more to the lyrics written by more mature versions of this band than their early incarnations - as you'd expect, since I'm 40+ myself, and life is cumulative, and so are the realisations you have as you live it.

It was a happy accident to hear Robert Smith's entering-midlife reflections when I'd just entered midlife recently myself - and not before that.  Sometimes you just get the right thing at the right time.  And by the way, it wasn't midlife I was grappling with, it was complex PTSD saying, "Hello, here I am, let me show you some footage you've only seen without sound and emotion and as if from far away before this - let me show you the real thing with surround-sound and all the horror of a little child seeing these things - the child you once were."  That stuff was a bit more in-my-face than midlife, but of course it's always nice to hear from "age contemporaries" when you've reached a certain point along the road.

And at that point, layers of experience and decades of thinking count very, very much, and it's nice to compare notes.   :cool

If any Cure album has a shot at usurping Bloodflowers in my heart, then perhaps the one that's in the works right now - although honestly, it would probably need to coincide with another existential crisis in my life in order to have that kind of deep personal impact - and I really hope I'm not going to have to have another one like this anytime soon.  I'm quite content for Bloodflowers to remain my personal favourite.   :winking_tongue

I'm pretty sure a lot of the "old" fans (as in, the ones from way back) count some of the "old" Cure albums as their personal favourites for precisely that kind of reason - that it was a space to breathe and to find validation when they were going through difficult and/or formative things as young people.  A lot of my personal favourite albums come from my teenage years/early 20s.  But, Bloodflowers equals those for me, probably surpasses them - not that I find it necessary to rank my all-time favourites (just like we have five donkeys and honestly none of them is my favourite, they all are).  As great as it is to re-listen to albums that meant a lot to me when I was just starting out on the road, I find it even better to listen to albums that managed to speak equally to me when I was much further down that road, and in another phase of things being turned upside-down.

If you're reading and you're thinking about why some of your favourite albums mean so much to you, it's perfectly fine for you to jump in here and share - since this is thematic here just now, and it's always cool to have readers joining in.  That's if you don't find it confronting to share your innermost thoughts in public - if you do, that's OK too.  I find this a pretty safe space because it's well moderated and because, well, lots of Cure fans are actually pretty cool people.

Here's why I started writing this post:  Yesterday, I was giving Disintegration another spin.  Previously, I've said that Bloodflowers narrowly pips Disintegration for me as my personal favourite, so far - but this opinion may be revised.  Right now, I'm weighing up whether I actually don't prefer KMKMKM to Disintegration.  At the moment, I do - at the moment, the sheer energy of KMKMKM, and the beautiful playing on it, especially of those bent, Eastern scales, really has me spellbound.  Plus, I actually tend to dislike a couple of tracks on Disintegration because I'll be listening to the lyrics and finding myself going, "Oh please, this really is the wallowings of a still comparatively immature person!"

When I was in my 20s, a friend in her 70s said to me, "You know you're getting old when the newsreaders and postmen start looking too young to be out of school, to you."  ROFL  :lol:

Anyway, I decided that while Bloodflowers is definitely my favourite Cure album, for very personal reasons and because it was in the right place at the right time, I'm no longer going to even attempt to impose any kind of preference order on any of the others.  I like aspects of all of them, and what I'm drawn to depends on my mood, and what I'm thinking, and what's going on in my life.  It seems to me just as silly to try to play favourites with them, as it is to do that with our donkeys.

It's just that Bloodflowers, in my life, was like Brego coming for Aragorn, and will therefore always be extra special to me. ♥


(https://66.media.tumblr.com/abfa7408980faf3e287c927c3c5cf5b4/92de670fbf4dacd6-dd/s1280x1920/134b0ab3037aeeecfa5f5962c8c16f248ab80959.png)
from Lord of the Rings
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: Ulrich on July 15, 2020, 14:05:32
Quote from: SueC on July 14, 2020, 05:17:12One of my recurring grumps is about the demise of the album since the iPod/music streaming age.

I still buy and listen to albums. Most of mp3/streaming/yt is okay to "test" something a little bit (like "is this kind of music made for me?"), but soundwise almost everything else (cd, vinyl) is much better.

Quote from: SueC on July 14, 2020, 05:17:12...in part because I realised I wasn't alone with those thoughts - which is one of the best things there is about art, literature, music etc.

For many of us, our favourite albums (and books, and poems, and cartoons etc) will always remain the ones which really spoke to us at crucial times - pieces of art that were a friend when we were sorely in need.

Very true!

Quote from: SueC on July 14, 2020, 05:17:12Plus, I actually tend to dislike a couple of tracks on Disintegration because I'll be listening to the lyrics and finding myself going, "Oh please, this really is the wallowings of a still comparatively immature person!"

Oh. Well I guess I was/am/will be immature enough to always like this album!  :1f632:
 XD

Of course I'm well aware that musically KM KM KM is a great album and much more "varied" than "Distintegration" - however emotionally the latter is just "it".
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on July 16, 2020, 01:50:27
Quote from: Ulrich on July 15, 2020, 14:05:32
Quote from: SueC on July 14, 2020, 05:17:12One of my recurring grumps is about the demise of the album since the iPod/music streaming age.

I still buy and listen to albums. Most of mp3/streaming/yt is okay to "test" something a little bit (like "is this kind of music made for me?"), but soundwise almost everything else (cd, vinyl) is much better.

Yes, a lot of the people who grew up with albums still really value them - as do some from the new generations.  Which reminds me, when we last went through our local second-hand shop (their book section alone almost rivals our local library) we came across an LP section, which was not all secondhand - they actually had new copies of both Disintegration and 4:13 Dream ($55 each), as well as lots of Nick Cave, Jesus & Mary Chain and all the usual alternative suspects.  As we were remarking to each other, this bearded bloke with bloodhound eyes said to us, "Are you just looking or are you serious?" and I pinged back a, "Just looking!" - which made his face all sad, but we were rushing from A to B at the time.  The face stayed with me and my imagination started going to work, and now I feel really bad.  He may well have been the curator of that LP collection and an alternative enthusiast in our rural town which is infamous for having the highest percentage support for the white supremacist One Nation party in Australia - and here we were possibly adding to his existential disappointment.  So next time, I'm going to make a point of chatting to him.

@Ulrich, you're quite right too about the usefulness of those new media for sampling - one of the lovely things I was finding when doing music projects with high schoolers post 2000 is that many had such a breadth of interest - a far wider spread of genres and also time periods than we'd had ourselves when we were in school.  Boys were listening to and writing about Pink Floyd, and I remember a conversation with one of them:  "Wow, you're listening to Pink Floyd, and when I was at high school they'd been around seemingly forever so only a few music nerds in my class were listening to them back then."  He said, "I was sampling my Dad's collection and you know, he actually has some really good stuff we can both enjoy.  Also, I can take tours through music online etc and I like digging around!"  Which led to a class discussion on the apparent reduction in generation gap, with popular culture.  In the 80s a lot of my classmates were turning up their noses and going, "That's so old!" even with stuff released five years earlier, and nowadays a lot of young people are listening to that same stuff which is now 30 years old to them, and going even further back.  They're much more well-rounded.

I think one of the barriers when I was in school was that a lot of the "old" music sounded terrible technically - not just the snapcracklepop of vinyl records no matter how much cleaning film you put on them (so young me eventually turned most of mine into frisbees and bought CD versions), but going further back, recordings in mono and with the high end of the dynamic range missing - and of course, much of that has now been cleaned up and re-mastered, removing that barrier.  Of course, CDs before the loudness wars were so much better - it's been very sad to see the quality of music recordings take an unnecessary backward step with this ridiculous phenomenon.  :evil:


Quote from: Ulrich on July 15, 2020, 14:05:32
Quote from: SueC on July 14, 2020, 05:17:12Plus, I actually tend to dislike a couple of tracks on Disintegration because I'll be listening to the lyrics and finding myself going, "Oh please, this really is the wallowings of a still comparatively immature person!"

Oh. Well I guess I was/am/will be immature enough to always like this album!  :1f632:
 XD

:lol:  :winking_tongue

I would say that you were first listening to this album as a young person and therefore really relating to a lot of the emotions on it, since they were concerns naturally matched to that phase in life etc.

Whereas I first listened to this album in midlife, and though it is one of my favourite albums as well, I don't quite have the same patience for what I now consider, rightly or wrongly, to be self-inflicted misery, which is the impression I have of two songs on that album (and I'm not going to tell you which ones!  :yum:).  And I will say that often human beings are most impatient with things in others that they struggle with themselves, or have struggled with themselves in the past!  ;)

So if I'm making those comments about those lyrics, it's probably because I kicked myself up my own rear end at some stage for thinking like that.  :beaming-face

And because it was IMO a good thing that I kicked myself up my own rear end for thinking like that, and it led to measurable improvements in my own life.   :angel

Which is not to say that this can be extrapolated to other people's lives, of course...


QuoteOf course I'm well aware that musically KM KM KM is a great album and much more "varied" than "Disintegration" - however emotionally the latter is just "it".

Yes, it's very good.  But I did hear about the mountain of beer cans (never mind the cocaine budget) and I swear you can hear it in some of the songs!   :winking_tongue  :kissing_smiling_eyes:  :lol:
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: Ulrich on July 16, 2020, 17:59:55
Quote from: SueC on July 16, 2020, 01:50:27Of course, CDs before the loudness wars were so much better - it's been very sad to see the quality of music recordings take an unnecessary backward step with this ridiculous phenomenon.  :evil:

Not to mention the "compression" wars ...
As described by Mr Alan Wilder in a recently revived topic:
Quote from: undefinedSo when the already squashed CD master is then consumed via MP3, the flattening effect is enhanced further. The result - an unsatisfying, brittle, indistinct, hollow experience with no punch.
http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=4647.0

"Digital" may be perfect in theory, there is however one flaw: my ears are "analogue"...

Quote from: SueC on July 16, 2020, 01:50:27I would say that you were first listening to this album as a young person and therefore really relating to a lot of the emotions on it, since they were concerns naturally matched to that phase in life etc.

Of course, the summer of 1989 was a difficult phase. School was over, a hopeless love interest (she just disappeared out of my life), lost touch with many old friends... :'(
"Disintegration" was the perfect "soundtrack" to it.

Quote from: SueC on July 16, 2020, 01:50:27Yes, it's very good.  But I did hear about the mountain of beer cans

Erm, I don't think you heard right. That was around 1982 as far as I know (at a time when the Cure sometimes slept in Fiction Records' office or on studio floors).

In 1986 when the band recorded KM KM KM, they had way more "style" (and money), so they moved into a studio on a vineyard in France!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studio_Miraval
(Legend has it that they drank a lot of wine there... and you can hear it on the album!) :yum:
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on July 16, 2020, 20:54:18
Quote from: Ulrich on July 16, 2020, 17:59:55
Quote from: SueC on July 16, 2020, 01:50:27Of course, CDs before the loudness wars were so much better - it's been very sad to see the quality of music recordings take an unnecessary backward step with this ridiculous phenomenon.  :evil:

Not to mention the "compression" wars ...
As described by Mr Alan Wilder in a recently revived topic:
Quote from: undefinedSo when the already squashed CD master is then consumed via MP3, the flattening effect is enhanced further. The result - an unsatisfying, brittle, indistinct, hollow experience with no punch.

Yes! Excellent description.  When MP3s were first a thing, that's exactly how I heard it, and people were telling me, "Oh, but your ears can't hear the difference."  Yes they could...


Quote from: Ulrich on July 16, 2020, 17:59:55"Digital" may be perfect in theory, there is however one flaw: my ears are "analogue"...

Well, that's true, but it's also true for your eyes, and yet digital photography became a lot more crisp than film photography, so that you actually can't see the pixels with your naked eye anymore, with a sufficiently large file size.  I don't think it's being digital itself that's the problem, with recorded music.  It's things like people cutting down file sizes, cutting out chunks of things they hope you won't hear, and those stupid loudness wars...

Fun technical discussion here:  https://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=31382.0


Quote from: Ulrich on July 16, 2020, 17:59:55
Quote from: SueC on July 16, 2020, 01:50:27I would say that you were first listening to this album as a young person and therefore really relating to a lot of the emotions on it, since they were concerns naturally matched to that phase in life etc.

Of course, the summer of 1989 was a difficult phase. School was over, a hopeless love interest (she just disappeared out of my life), lost touch with many old friends... :'(
"Disintegration" was the perfect "soundtrack" to it.

I bet it was.  And to mature-age me, Disintegration is the perfect emotional fit for reading Naomi Klein's This Changes Everything, and the like, that show the depths of corruption and resistance to positive change inherent in our political and economic systems.  Not a theme on the album, but its mood is very like the mood that puts me in, and when I'm in that kind of mood I find that music cathartic.  I don't read a lot of stuff like this because I already know we're on the Titanic, and because I need to be able to function well to make any kind of positive difference myself.  But if you're going to read just one book on the state of the modern world, this is an incredibly informative book from which I've learnt a lot, including many things I wish I hadn't - but then again, I am also glad I know that same stuff now, even though it's terribly depressing.  It's like weighing up the power of understanding why things are so rotten, so that you have the awareness to be able to see through the spin, against how many hours of that per day you can take before it starts to hamstring you.

But occasionally you find things to make you laugh, like reading somewhere that economics was invented to make astrology look respectable.  :lol:


Quote from: Ulrich on July 16, 2020, 17:59:55
Quote from: SueC on July 16, 2020, 01:50:27Yes, it's very good.  But I did hear about the mountain of beer cans

Erm, I don't think you heard right. That was around 1982 as far as I know (at a time when the Cure sometimes slept in Fiction Records' office or on studio floors).

In 1986 when the band recorded KM KM KM, they had way more "style" (and money), so they moved into a studio on a vineyard in France!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studio_Miraval
(Legend has it that they drank a lot of wine there... and you can hear it on the album!) :yum:

You're correct on dating that famous beer can mountain!  :cool  My mistake.  I just remember feeling queasy after reading about it, two Christmases ago in the coffee table book Brett got me, and it was so hot we did nothing but read all Christmas.  Partly I was queasy from that kind of information, and partly I was queasy from the narrative style.  :angel

Well yeah, I'd far rather drink wine than beer.  I had a really bad experience with beer at around age four when some adult tried to convince me after I turned my nose up at the taste that beer was something that didn't taste good until you hadn't just dangled your tongue in it tentatively, but actually taken several large gulps.  I felt so sick after taking a gulp that I still feel sick at the smell of the stuff more than four decades later, and will only use it to make Welsh Rarebit, or gravy.  And besides, it smells like stinky socks.

But, even wine I much prefer in desserts or cheese fondue or Bolognese Sauce or stew, etc, than to drink - some of that stuff tastes like paint stripper.  Generally speaking, dry cider is much more palatable, to my own palate - especially pear cider.  Yet even with that, I can't go beyond half a glass before it begins to taste acrid to me.  And so was I saved from an expensive habit, and have therefore been able to invest more in books and music than I otherwise could have.  :angel

In case you didn't guess from this, I'm one of those chemically sensitive people.  Have to avoid breathing in the cleaning products alley.  Artificial fragrances make me physically ill.  I also can't walk in a straight line after half a glass of cider.  :lol:

(https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Ftse1.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DOIP.XjqHhbRW8tTXsdK_NsIFeAHaF1%26pid%3DApi&f=1)

PS:  Since we've already veered off-topic a fair bit here (but tell me you're not enjoying the scenic drive!  :angel :evil:), here's a bit of thrilling science about the detoxification of alcohol (specifically, ethanol) in the human body.  The first step of the detoxification process in the liver paradoxically turns ethanol into the even more toxic acetaldehyde, which is then (usually) rapidly degraded into less toxic substances.  However, in some people there is a mutation in the usual genes for this, so that little of the enzyme that breaks down acetaldehyde gets made, and/or the enzyme is ineffective at its job.  As a result, acetaldehyde quickly builds up in the bloodstream and, unless a person takes note of the resultant unpleasant feeling quickly and ceases to imbibe alcohol, they will become violently ill.  Indeed, a common drug to treat alcoholism is based on this principle, and makes the acetaldehyde-degrading enzyme so ineffective that taking a drink will cause quaking nausea and a feeling of apocalyptic doom.

(https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fmedivizor.com%2Fblog%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2016%2F12%2F500-Functionsof-the-Liver-kdh.jpg&f=1&nofb=1)
Love your liver.  Recipes here: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/liver

The ineffective version of the acetaldehyde-degrading enzymatic process is commonly found in a few Asian countries, which also consequently have a lower than world average rate of alcoholism in the population.  Of course, mutations like that can also pop up independently, and I've wondered whether I have it myself, since I have never in my life been able to bring myself to drink more than the equivalent of one standard drink,* just because I reach a threshold where it starts to taste rapidly bad to me and my body is going, "No, no, no, no more!" with a gigantic megaphone.  Of course, it could just be my overactive imagination - but whatever it is, it's definitely a physical thing.

*...with one exception - as a university student I had such a bad cold once I couldn't sleep for three nights running because every time I got horizontal, it felt like I was drowning in my own fluids.  By Night Four I was so desperate for sleep that I made myself a concoction consisting of half a (water) drinking glass of rum from a bottle I found in the kitchen, about eight squashed garlic cloves, with some honey added in a misguided effort to make the whole thing more palatable.  I held my nose, and down the hatch it went.  I lay down knowing I was either going to get some sleep at last, or drown obliviously in my own fluids, but had gotten to the stage I no longer cared about the latter possibility.  Alas, I woke up again after a looooong unbroken night of blessed rest, feeling much better.  Sort of like that sheep in James Herriot's All Creatures, for those old enough to know what I mean.  Technically I would have had to be well over 0.08 from that at some stage in the night, but there wasn't a morsel of consciousness of any of that.  So, does it count?

While I'm going on about biochemistry, Brett wants me to throw in the one about the ethylene glycol, so here goes.  In the 1970s there was this wine adulteration scandal where evil winemakers were adding ethylene glycol (antifreeze) to their hallowed products to make them taste sweeter.  Now if you drink actual antifreeze itself, it will kill your liver and, consequently, you.  But, if someone tries to suicide on antifreeze, there is an antidote if you can get there quickly enough with it:  Ethanol.  That's one time it can be spectacularly good for you.  You might be interested to research the science behind this further.  :angel   And so, back to the adulterated wine:  As long as there was enough alcohol in the wine compared to the ethylene glycol, nobody was actually dying from it...

A big thank-you to Dr Robert Mead of Murdoch University, who imparted these fascinating snippets on a certain group of wide-eyed students back in the early 1990s.  :cool  And yes, his name really was Mead.  We also had a lecturer called Howard Gill, who specialised in fish.  Nominative determinism is such fun...

Returning to regular programming soon.  :)
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: Ulrich on July 17, 2020, 19:29:30
Quote from: SueC on July 16, 2020, 20:54:18... digital photography became a lot more crisp than film photography, so that you actually can't see the pixels with your naked eye anymore, with a sufficiently large file size.

Yeah, strangely with photography things seem to have become much better in the digital age (except maybe that some people look at them on tiny screens of their phones).


Quote from: SueC on July 16, 2020, 20:54:18But occasionally you find things to make you laugh, like reading somewhere that economics was invented to make astrology look respectable.  :lol:

Huh?  :lol:

Quote from: SueC on July 16, 2020, 20:54:18But, even wine I much prefer in desserts or cheese fondue or Bolognese Sauce or stew

Woah, now here we have some things which smell like well-used socks too (or even worse)!
(Have you ever tried smelling spaghetti bolognese when someone just sprinkled parmesan over it?)

Quote from: SueC on July 16, 2020, 20:54:18PS:  Since we've already veered off-topic a fair bit here

No problem, as I remember you did start these "Exploring..." topics so that you could veer off in any direction you like.  :cool

Quote from: SueC on July 16, 2020, 20:54:18Indeed, a common drug to treat alcoholism is based on this principle, and makes the acetaldehyde-degrading enzyme so ineffective that taking a drink will cause quaking nausea and a feeling of apocalyptic doom.

Eh, makes me think Robert tried this a few times before he wrote his lyrics, huh?  :winking_tongue

Edit: I have no idea why the smileys don't work in this post. I'd saved a draft, as I was interrupted, maybe that was a problem?
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on July 18, 2020, 00:37:03
Quote from: Ulrich on July 17, 2020, 19:29:30Yeah, strangely with photography things seem to have become much better in the digital age (except maybe that some people look at them on tiny screens of their phones).

Yeah, and that's so ironic!  :P   All those insatiable appetites for ginormous TV screens, and then those very same people, generally, using little postage stamp screens for Internet...  :1f635:

We use a normal computer screen to do Internet stuff, and our TV isn't much bigger, and was bequeathed to us by an obligate upgrader!  :1f631:

The size of our bookcases, however... shall we just say we've run out of non-strawbale walls to put them against without causing traffic obstructions?  Brett is considering mounting some more bookcases on the ceiling and velcroing books into these...


Quote from: Ulrich on July 17, 2020, 19:29:30(...cheese fondue...) Woah, now here we have some things which smell like well-used socks too (or even worse)!
(Have you ever tried smelling spaghetti bolognese when someone just sprinkled parmesan over it?)

As regards the cheese fondue:  How are you making yours?  You're not using Andechser, are you?  ;)  Now that stuff is stinky.  So stinky, teenage boys used to use it to prank other passengers on the Munich train line, by surreptitiously sticking a used Andechser cheese wrapper to the underside of the train furnishings before leaving the carriage... :evil:

As regards the parmesan:  It depends what type you buy.  The best type smells like sweaty bare feet that have been running around on green grass.  :yum:   Most commercial packet types smell like sweaty feet that have been in nylon stockings and synthetic shoes for several days.  :1f635:

When I was a child I had the blessed experience of seeing an entire parmesan wheel getting literally wheeled down the street from the village cheese factory in northern Italy where it had been maturing.  :cool  The centre of such a wheel is relatively soft and breaks into delicious chunks which are the most fabulous eating in the universe...  :heart-eyes  The outside parts of the wheel are harder cheese and commonly used for grating.  The green-grass notes that should be there are because the dairy cows ought to be grazers, rather than cooped up in buildings fed with industrial farm produce, but good luck with that nowadays.  :1f62d:

And on that side note, the best milk I ever had in my life was from an Italian heirloom breed cow (when nobody called them that, they were just the cows) grazing alpine meadow with all sorts of herbs on it.  I got to milk it myself into a glass when I was a little girl.  That all began because I was friends with a donkey down the road, whom I used to visit in his pasture.  One day when I was sitting with him, his owners turned up to engage him in some farm work and asked if I wanted to come see what he did.  This was a small-farm couple probably in their 60s, whom I'd not met before, but Italian communities just work like this - you're all extended family just because you live there.  So I got to go up to their homestead block a little further up the mountain, which is where I found they'd just brought half a dozen cows in for milking, and hand milking was a skill I'd learnt from the dairy farmers in the German village where I lived for the rest of the year... and this couple was over the moon that a little German tourist girl could actually milk a cow (my father was a toff), so the woman brought me a glass and said I should try the milk!  :heart-eyes  So I milked one of their cows straight into that glass and that was the best milk I ever had in my life...  :heart-eyes

I'm so lucky to have had such experiences... so many people grow up urban or suburban and never even see a cow up close, let alone milk one... childhoods like caged rats, with little toys in their cages... no wonder so many people are unhappy... childhoods living like battery hens, or barn hens at best, but definitely not free range...


Quote from: Ulrich on July 17, 2020, 19:29:30
Quote from: SueC on July 16, 2020, 20:54:18PS:  Since we've already veered off-topic a fair bit here

No problem, as I remember you did start these "Exploring..." topics so that you could veer off in any direction you like.  :cool

Well, this is true, but you know, I still feel obliged to return to the main topic one day soon!   :angel


Quote from: Ulrich on July 17, 2020, 19:29:30
Quote from: SueC on July 16, 2020, 20:54:18Indeed, a common drug to treat alcoholism is based on this principle, and makes the acetaldehyde-degrading enzyme so ineffective that taking a drink will cause quaking nausea and a feeling of apocalyptic doom.

Eh, makes me think Robert tried this a few times before he wrote his lyrics, huh?  :winking_tongue

I understand there are quite a few techniques one can use for inducing moods of apocalyptic doom in the self, should one desire such a state.   :angel

And especially reading about how this band made Pornography, it seems to me that the doom and gloom was deliberately manufactured, rather than naturally occurring... or leastways, if any of it was naturally occurring, then a determined attempt was made to amplify this mood, in order to become "deep and meaningful"...  :angel

Which makes people who grew up in metaphorical broom cupboards with metaphorical wicked stepmothers and snarly wolves and howling emotional voids and hunger and dejection and real doom and gloom kind of giggle, that people would do such a thing...  :angel


Quote from: Ulrich on July 17, 2020, 19:29:30Edit: I have no idea why the smileys don't work in this post. I'd saved a draft, as I was interrupted, maybe that was a problem?

Yes, it's a software bug - none of the smileys will work once you work from a saved draft.  So to get around that, just copy and paste your text into a fresh window in the thread you're posting to.  :cool

@Ulrich, do you like The Cure's early albums?  We don't have any of those yet (The Top is the furthest back we've gotten so far, and that one we like), but of course people go on about them.  We heard all of Pornography live on Trilogy, and that wasn't a bad experience, but then we only very rarely don't like something the Cure perform live - even stuff I will turn off if I hear it on the radio.  (Every Monday like clockwork, radio stations will play Bob Geldof's I Don't Like Mondays, and every Friday there's Friday I'm In Love, and I want to scream and jump up and down, and not in a complimentary manner, because this is so unbelievably annoying...  :smth011)

I'm asking because we were so unimpressed by Disc 1 of Join The Dots.  I think so much is about context, and it's the context that may not be there 30-40 years later.

@MAtT, likewise... I do get the impression that to have grown up with that early music is a vastly different proposition to coming at it as an adult.  Which is why I'm interested in hearing these stories.  Because to be honest, I tend not to like the early studio stuff I've heard - but when they perform early material live, that dislike drops away for me.
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: Ulrich on July 18, 2020, 16:03:44
Quote from: SueC on July 18, 2020, 00:37:03So stinky, teenage boys used to use it to prank other passengers on the Munich train line, by surreptitiously sticking a used Andechser cheese wrapper to the underside of the train furnishings before leaving the carriage... :evil:

Sounds horrible. Dangerous noawadays - could be viewed as a "terrorist attack".  :winking_tongue

Quote from: SueC on July 18, 2020, 00:37:03As regards the parmesan:  It depends what type you buy.  The best type smells like sweaty bare feet that have been running around on green grass.  :yum:  Most commercial packet types smell like sweaty feet that have been in nylon stockings and synthetic shoes for several days. 

Mmmm. Yummy.  :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:
For me when I put parmesan on warm spaghetti bolognese, it mostly smells like fresh vomit. (But it tastes good, you just need to close off your nose.)

Quote from: SueC on July 18, 2020, 00:37:03do you like The Cure's early albums?  We don't have any of those yet (The Top is the furthest back we've gotten so far, and that one we like), but of course people go on about them.  We heard all of Pornography live on Trilogy, and that wasn't a bad experience...

Well, at first I didn't have all the old albums, it went "step by step". After "The Head On The Door" which I bought in 1985, I got myself "Boys don't cry" (vinyl - now of course I know this was originally a US release of the debut "TIB" with a few changes) and "Japanese Whispers" (now I know this wasn't really an "album" but a collection of singles + b-sides).

Then came the singles collection "Standing on a beach", which I borrowed from a friend. Thus I knew a few songs from the old albums, but still not all of them.
Then came KM KM KM (great album), which I got for my 18th birthday (at my own wish).

Only later, in 1988-'89 I got me the old albums (on vinyl): Pornography, The Top and finally Seventeen Seconds + Faith (this was around the time "Disintegration" had come out and I could tell how this new album was a bit of a return to the melancholy feel of the older albums!).


Quote from: SueC on July 18, 2020, 00:37:03I'm asking because we were so unimpressed by Disc 1 of Join The Dots.  I think so much is about context, and it's the context that may not be there 30-40 years later.

As I knew most of the songs, I bought "Three Imaginary Boys" much later (in fact when the remastered version w/ bonus was released, circa 2005?)!
This is a document of the band trying to find its own style and it's not a bad album, but it just doesn't "click" with me as the other old albums do.
The b-sides on JTD disc1 can't really "represent" the band as it was (imho). (This might be the case with later phases from '85-'96, when the b-sides were basically "album outtakes", but earlier some b-sides were specifically recorded to be b-sides, e.g. "Descent" which is clearly a b-side to complement the a-side "Primary".)

When I listen to "17 Seconds" now, I can't help thinking "this sounds rather minimalistic, naive and simple", but I still like the songs - and they don't remind me of 1980 (as they would for those who got it when it was new), but rather of 1989 and early 1990, when I listened to them a lot!  :cool
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on July 18, 2020, 17:50:24
Quote from: Ulrich on July 18, 2020, 16:03:44For me when I put parmesan on warm spaghetti bolognese, it mostly smells like fresh vomit. (But it tastes good, you just need to close off your nose.)

...and now I have to tell you a terrible joke.  :1f635:

It was a cold winter's day, and this man was freezing and hungry, and popped into a restaurant near a railway station.  The special of the day was lentil soup, so he ordered some.  There wasn't much seating, so he sat opposite a guy reading a newspaper.  He couldn't see that guy's face, because the newspaper was held up in front of it, but he saw that he too had ordered lentil soup, and the steaming bowl was just sitting there in the middle of the table, while its owner was reading the paper.  And our man was very hungry, so that after five minutes of his own soup not arriving, he couldn't stand it anymore, and he pulled the bowl towards himself and started to eat, thinking, "Well, this guy clearly isn't hungry, and when my soup gets there, I will give it to him."

He ate and ate, and when he got to the bottom of the bowl, he saw that there was a worm in it, and promptly vomited everything back up into the bowl.

And the man opposite him lowered his newspaper and said, "Yeah, that's how far I got before, too."   :-D
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on August 15, 2020, 03:47:32
It's been a while; we're reminiscing elsewhere (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9345.0) on this forum, plus things have been busy.  I'm trying to explain some of my enthusiasm for The Cure on my "other forum" and half expecting to get censored and reprimanded because I put The Kiss in the playlist there (https://www.horseforum.com/member-journals/trotters-arabians-donkeys-other-people-479466/page267/#post1970897019) (I couldn't post And God Said (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=3438.msg773374#msg773374) there the other day because that would surely get me banned :evil:), and the people officiating at that place (Brett says "miserable puritans" would be a better choice of words) probably wouldn't like the lyrics to that (although they may not get through the gloriously noisy four minutes or so that precede them)  - it's funny what offends Americans, and what doesn't when it so totally should... You can spew hate speech about women and minorities and gibber idiocies all day long and be elected president there, but you can never ever say "fvck" because man, that's morally bad.  (I am disinclined to its use myself, and when people use it for punctuation or to genuinely offend I want to vomit, but I'm not opposed to the use of that word when it's truly appropriate.)  You can't sing, "I wish you were dead!" but you can blow up Japanese civilians with a nuclear bomb, or take out hundreds of non-American civilians to avenge one American death - yeah hey, that makes total sense.  :evil:

(By the way, the person I was responding to there has the coolest Welsh first name in the universe in real life, and was walking with MLK in the 1960s - she's a hero of mine for a number of reasons, not the least of which is her constant kindness and fabulous attitude - people like this are shining beacons who can elevate all of us just by being who they are. ♥)

@Ulrich, thank you for being a great moderator.  Here, I can always bat straight and not worry about who will take offense over banalities, and this is incredibly liberating, and makes me love writing here.  And when I do slip up and am less kind or thoughtful than I could be, you let me know in a kind way.  :cool

Anyway, I got back to this thread this morning because I was bubbling over with enthusiasm about the tracks off Kiss Me I stuck on that list, and here's the best place in the world to bubble over with enthusiasm about this music.  :)  We've been listening to both albums (KM and The Head On The Door) in the couple of months since they arrived in the mailbox, and KM, to which our initial response (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9295.msg773083#msg773083) was already overwhelmingly positive, has just continued to grow on us, so that it's now firmly in my own top three personal favourite Cure albums so far.

Meanwhile, we're both finding The Head On The Door is not our cup of tea - unlike KM, it sounds very distinctly 80s, and we've never been general fans of distinctly 80s music ourselves.  In a way it's listening to these albums as a pair which is driving down our patience for KM's predecessor.  The brilliance of one of them makes the other one pedestrian by comparison.  The Head On The Door is not a bad album, it's just not one I'm dying to listen to.

The other day, we put on one of those "100 songs from the 80s" (about ten seconds of each song, or it would have killed us) compilations on YT, and it made us cringe and produce exclamations of woe, and there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth.  :1f631:  :1f629:  :1f62d:  :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:  :1f635:  After that, I can appreciate The Head On The Door better, because OMG, there was some dreadful music in the 80s.  :1f635:

Now as we figured out with Howard Jones (over here (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9345.msg773369#msg773369)), I can look past that to a degree when there is something useful being said in the lyrics, but I honestly don't feel that way about anything I'm hearing on The Head On The Door either.  I'll keep looking and listening - sometimes something will grow on me, we'll see how that goes.  But to be honest, I'm running into very similar problems here as I was with CD-1 of Join The Dots.  I became a Cure fan because of Bloodflowers, not because of their 80s music or their radio hits.  That album has a maturity and a sense of perspective which The Cure's early albums just don't have - even when the music is wonderful.  If I was 20 now, perhaps I'd feel differently, but I'm not and life is a journey, and OMG I would never want to be 20 again.  (35, 40, OK, but not 20...  :1f635:)

Honestly, I also feel that the lyrics on KMKMKM are a vast leap from what's on offer on its predecessor.  I know some of you will be very fond of The Head On The Door because you grew up with it and were the right age for it etc, and if you wish to educate me on any of the lyrics, and why you personally love this album, you will find me a willing listener.

Personally, I was a bit surprised to be reacting with underwhelm, since both of us rather like The Top from a couple of years before that.  Lyrically, The Head On The Door seems to be a backwards step from that, and earlier Cure material like Letter to Elise and a whole bunch of other stuff.  It seemed to me like you could write a lyrics algorithm which specifies the inclusion of various suggestively poetic words and phrases, and instructions to mix them in with obscure padding and mumbo-jumbo, and prohibit any daylight from reaching any of that, and you'd have a fair approximation of the lyrics on that album.  But as I said, educate me if you think I'm in need remedial lessons.

The opener of that album, In-Between Days, was the first Cure song I remember having a distinctly warm response to as a teenager - it was constantly played during our middle school summer camp in 1985, along with Bryan Adams' Heaven, and both songs take me back to that memorable summer in the Darling Ranges (end of middle school, hooray), and the Jarrah forest, and the swimming holes, and the golden sun that suffused everything, and the awful sugary packet cereals we all had for breakfast, and the rumours that one of our teachers had had a serious wardrobe failure with his bathers when swimming with a group of students (the one that always blushed like a beetroot when he was supposed to be giving us sex education lessons as part of the Health curriculum).

Musically I still really like that song, but the lyrics actually annoy me more often than not, and I would prefer it in Swahili I think.  The studio version of Push I also like musically, but bleh about the lyrics.  I actually love the saxophone part on A Night Like This but I don't want to think too much about the lyrics in case it's going to be another This Is A Lie (is it? (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9201.msg771200#msg771200)).

On a positive note, I've decided that for all the kudos David Bowie gets, and despite of my academic appreciation of how important he was in influencing other artists etc, I actually get less interested in his music the more I explore it, and have never bought an album by him for that reason (the best-of was a present and I actually like it better than his revered obscure stuff, in which I've been getting an education on this forum), while the opposite is true for The Cure.  Personally, I think The Cure are way more versatile than Bowie ever was, and are much more cohesive musically as players, and unlike him, actually have a lot of musical warmth (ed. - to me - and not every track of theirs, just in general).  Even the Bowie tracks I really like are anything but warm (ed. - to me) - they're like something off a distant planet, being beamed back to Earth.  The Cure, on the other hand, you just know they are flesh and blood, and that they're on the same planet as the rest of us, and that they (or at least some of them) have hearts without teflon coatings over the top of them.  :smth023

PS:  I have received some information backstage to say that people can experience Bowie's music as warm.  :cool  I'm looking forward to hearing more, and it also has me thinking about brain settings all over again - and I've put bracketed edits in above that counters the implied presumption that what's warm or not to me is warm or not, so thank you for the feedback!  :)
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: MAtT on August 17, 2020, 08:49:27
Hey Sue, I know where you're coming from with The Head on The Door. I tend to think of it as their most poppy and accessible album, though like you, I didn't come to it on release, but (for me) a few years later (Kiss Me was their latest LP when I discovered them, and Disintegration their first release post discovery).

It was certainly instrumental in their rise as a popular band here in the UK; the kind of band that got them pieces in poppy teen mags like Smash Hits, as well as in the more serious music press like the NME and Melody Maker, which they'd already had for a while. And the Inbetween Days and Close To Me singles both did well in the charts. The latter's video was especially popular, so much so that people I knew who didn't know them well would sometimes later call them 'that video in the wardrobe band'!

The album itself reflects that shift I think. Unlike The Top before it with Shake Dog and Give Me It, and Kiss Me after with the opening statement of The Kiss and more to follow, there's nothing I'd really call 'heavy' on it. The deepest it gets for me is Sinking, which is its only song I'd really put up there as classic (non-pop) Cure.

The other songs I do like quite a lot are Kyoto Song (something about its sparseness and simplicity gets me, a bit like the later B-Side Sugar Girl), Push (jangly, whimsical) and Six Different Ways (innovative - I like that it's a 3/4 waltz). But The Baby Screams and Screw I've never been fond of, The Blood and A Night Like This are only 'when-in-the-mood' pieces for me, and the singles are - well - singles: better than so much else in the charts of course, but nothing special by Cure standards.

For me, in the grand scheme of things for me, HOTD is a lower tier Cure album. It's better than the post 2000 offerings and (maybe) WMS, it's up there with Three Imaginary Boys & Wish, but (just) below The Top. And it's nowhere near the fantastic, mature diversity of Kiss Me, the mature class of Disintegration and Bloodflowers, or the ultimate raw genius of Seventeen Seconds, Faith, and Pornography.

(All subjective I know!)



Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on August 17, 2020, 16:11:57
That's really interesting, @MAtT - thanks for the comparisons.  :cool  Yeah, it's all very subjective, and I keep thinking about my all-time favourite classical piece (Tabula rasa, part one), which to me is awe and joy and the ultimate musical thunderstorm, and to a good friend is depression and anguish and torture and she can't bear to listen to it.

Also it's funny how the way we use vocabulary depends on how we think.  I double took when you said that HOTD was "accessible" because I guess I live in an upside-down universe (and the southern hemisphere ;)) and what's accessible for me is the opposite of what's accessible in the "general world" - to me personally, Fear of Ghosts was instantly accessible - as was If Only Tonight We Could Sleep, The Kiss, Plainsong, Disintegration, Lullaby, Jupiter Crash, Chain of Flowers, lots of stuff like that - and all of Bloodflowers - my brain just went "click" with these, from the first listen.  Perhaps "accessible" isn't the best way to describe that (for me) - clearly I'm drawn to complex stuff and therefore come at things in an inverted way.  I'd far rather read the Thesaurus than a tabloid, climb a mountain than go to the gym, eat Harira than a cheeseburger or a hot dog etc.  I don't want to be anaesthesised, I want to continuously learn things, I enjoy being reminded how amazing the things are that are generally taken for granted, and I object to the toxic crap spawned across many aspects of our society.

But when I flipped my thinking around, then yes, I can see why you described HOTD as accessible.  Ditto the radio hits, and all that.  I'm an outlier and if the lemmings run one way, I'll go another, always have.  Something about the herd mentality just unsettles me, and I've always stood outside of that, whether that's organised religion or binge drinking or convenience food or pop music or anything that smacks of rigid dogma - or greasy-pole climbing etc etc.  When people start acting like a bunch of robotic ants, I get intensely uncomfortable and walk away.

On words again, I can see why you used the word "mature" where you did, but because I came in at Bloodflowers and in my early 40s, when I use the word "mature" these days it sort of has to be philosophically mature as well, which I really don't think KM and Disintegration are, on the whole (though aspects of them are) - much as they are musically very mature; and excellent, incredibly creative offerings.

In other news, due to the pandemic I'm still waiting for two albums I ordered early this year, that had to come from the UK - Big Country's The Crossing, The Waterboys' An Appointment With Mr Yeats and it turns out they're coming by sea because they couldn't get cargo on a plane due to reduced traffic, and even the sea freight is delayed.  I'm pretty sure Wish is available from within Australia though, and it sounds like I should go ahead and order it in - might even arrive before Christmas!  :yum:

Always fun talking to other music enthusiasts!  :)
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: MAtT on August 17, 2020, 17:03:05
Ah yes, I agree with all that, and by using "accessible" I mean 'accessible to a general audience' rather than to me personally now. Unlike you, when I got into The Cure it really was going from a Madonna loving popster 'general audience' type to something completely different, so the accessibility issues may well have applied to me back then. Fortunately, looking at the order in which I discovered the back catalogue, I was able to have a gradual introduction, completely by chance. I suspect if I'd been immediately confronted with Pornography, Faith, or even (the yet to be released) Disintegration I would have balked more at taking them to heart. I recall vividly putting a newly purchased Kiss Me on my brother's turntable while he was out, having only heard the singles album and Three Imaginary Boys, and being pretty taken aback at The Kiss - the violence of the guitar sound, the ferociousness of the lyrics, the profanity! I was quite innocent really!

Quotewhen I use the word "mature" these days it sort of has to be philosophically mature as well,

... which I guess means the lyrics. As said before, I take note of the lyrics much less than you (one of the reasons I find your takes interesting). It's not that I don't love certain phrases and concepts, but that's more for their poetic/sonic qualities rather than the literal meanings and messages. Nearly all the ways I describe my thoughts on songs refer to the music or overall feel of the songs (with some exceptions). But yes, I think you're right that the song meanings have matured differently - more lineally with his age I'd think.

Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on August 18, 2020, 04:07:51
I find it so fascinating to compare notes on stuff like this, @MAtT - when you think about it, we all start as embryos and get born by lottery into often very different circumstances, and often have very different roads even to get to a particular vantage point we end up having in common.  I think it's so endlessly interesting what makes people be the way they are, especially if they are people who continuously grow and think.  If the lottery had thrown me into even slightly different circumstances, my roads would have been different, and who I am today would not be the same, either.  We do have agency, and some inbuilt traits, but so much also depends on circumstances, and on how we react to those circumstances (which is where learning is so helpful).

And to bring this back to The Cure, it seems to me comparing our different paths for getting into their music, from a particular starting point and then in a more general way, that they've done very well being so consciously "smorgasbord" and doing such a diversity of stuff.  So you know, maybe I prefer Spaghetti Marinara, and Moroccan Harira, but while I'm up there I just might sample a small bit of Pavlova as well, even though I'd not generally do that because it's so sickly sweet, but when you're getting enough solid nutritious complex stuff, a little serve of (well-made) Pavlova with fruit and cream can actually be a nice thing - in combination with those other things, but never on its own, for me.

But then I know others who would happily have Pavlova for main course and come back for even more Pavlova. :)  And perhaps, when they're up there at the smorgasbord, they will notice, I don't know, the sashimi and think, "OK, I wouldn't eat that normally, but I liked the Pavlova, it was much better than average, and so I'm going to give this a shot."  And this might change the way they eat, and they may become more adventurous, and improve their nutrition that way (bwahahaha, sorry, couldn't resist that one :angel but of course I don't think that way entirely anymore, it's just this naughty imp part of me that can't resist making a comment like that :lol:).

It's certainly broadening me, in terms what I will and won't listen to.  But... if I'm going to eat Pavlova, I'm not going to eat the supermarket stuff.  :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:  :1f635:
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: Ulrich on August 18, 2020, 10:14:43
Quote from: SueC on August 15, 2020, 03:47:32Honestly, I also feel that the lyrics on KMKMKM are a vast leap from what's on offer on its predecessor.  I know some of you will be very fond of The Head On The Door because you grew up with it and were the right age for it etc, and if you wish to educate me on any of the lyrics, and why you personally love this album, you will find me a willing listener.

To me, KM KM KM seemed always like a "logical" follow-up to "Head On The Door". (I used to joke you could re-package The Top & HOTD as a double album and it would be similar to KM KM KM...)
Unlike "Disintegration", which did not seem like a logical step (but a good step anway!) by returning to the "doom & gloom" of earlier days.

Back in '85 the first Cure song I heard was "Inbetween days" (on the radio) and I didn't even know how the band looked, so to me they were a normal "pop group" like other 80s bands, it was only a bit later when articles in music papers appeared, that I learned more about them, how they were seen as "dark, brooding" etc.
To me, it was interesting that "Inbetween days" was basically a melodic pop song, but the lyrics seemed darker ("I felt like I could die" etc.)!
Of course, when I got the album, there were "darker" songs (e.g. "Sinking") indeed.
Thus to me (& many others) The Cure made it seem a "normal" thing to be pensive or melancholy for a while...
What I also liked was the diversity on the album (different styles - something they explored even more on KM...)!

In retrospect, I think "Head On The Door" was a fresh start for the band. Simon and Porl were back in the group, they'd found a new drummer. Robert had freed himself from being involved in too many projects (e.g. by leaving The Banshees in '84) and was focussed on The Cure alone. (This was to be the first Cure album without a co-writing credit for Lol Tolhurst.)

They were growing together as a band, hence the songwriting credits for KM KM KM included all of them.  :cool
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on September 28, 2020, 14:41:56
Thank you for this perspective, @Ulrich, and for "gap-filling"!  :)

I've stopped dithering about whether Wish is likely to be re-released, and just gone ahead and ordered the version that's available. Since it's shipping from the UK and the ETA is 4-6 weeks with the pandemic grounding a lot of aircraft, that's giving me a month to have another listen to The Head On The Door after putting it aside for 6 weeks, and to wrap up writing about that and KMKMKM (which hasn't left the regular-play pile since arriving in this house).  So I'll give The Head On The Door another listen this week.

Oh by the way, @MAtT, the next one after Wish, backwards from Bloodflowers, that we don't have yet will be Pornography.  ;)  Logically, after Wish, we're either going to look at that one, or at the self-titled, which is the only album missing in the forwards direction.  Since we do have Trilogy I've heard all of Pornography live and in sequence; it might be interesting to do a comparison between that and studio.  Also, I'd really like to have a close look at the lyrics of that album, which I've not done yet - I'm only getting about half the lyrics just listening, but some of those seemed carefully written to me and less murky than the things I tend to complain about.  :angel
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on September 29, 2020, 06:33:02
ANOTHER LOOK AT THE HEAD ON THE DOOR

I'm on a slightly early teabreak, owing to The Head On The Door being barely over 35 minutes long.  I've listened again after putting it away for six weeks, and today's impression was a bit more favourable than my earlier impressions of this album (here (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9295.msg773118#msg773118) and here (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9295.msg773375#msg773375)).

Frame of mind and whether you're giving something your complete attention are just two of the things that can change the way we respond to something - and this morning, I was in "go with the flow" mode, and I was not giving the album my total attention - I was doing some weeding, a necessary chore during spring flush even if you're doing weed-avoidant permaculture stuff.  Of course, weeding isn't all-bad; it yielded a couple of tubs of livestock fodder, and quite a few tubs of organic material for the compost heap - bringing carbon back to the ground and getting nutrients recycled, while making oodles of compost worms happy.

It may seem counterintuitive, but not giving something your total attention can sometimes be helpful - for instance, as a teenager I noticed that doing art while listening to music and chatting with friends resulted, in my case, in better paintings and drawings than setting myself up in complete silence - distraction can actually prevent overthinking.  Being analytical has its place, but gets in the way of free-flowing creative stuff that needs other parts of your brain to work unsupervised.

When I listen to music, sometimes I give it my full attention, and sometimes I "background" it a little more - both approaches can be useful (and fun), and they're complementary anyway.  For outdoors chores, the iPod is my friend - music and podcasts can feed your brain while your body is working.  This morning, I had an appointment with The Head On The Door.

For this appointment, I wanted to shake things up a bit.  When you want to look at things from different angles, rather than the just go with default or autopilot - when you deliberately want to see something from a different vantage point than you have before - there's a number of techniques available, one of which goes by the acronym of PMI - plus, minus, interesting.  That particular technique is one of a number used in classrooms to break people out of the traditional "good or bad" black-and-white default thinking that's pretty widespread, to get more nuanced thoughts and discussion.  I consciously wanted to approach it from a different perspective today, rather than just gut reaction and/or wearing my existing neural "grooves" on this subject deeper.

I also wanted to consciously listen more like one of our other forum members told me he listens to this music:

Quote from: MAtT on June 25, 2020, 20:31:07Personally I've probably thought about the meaning of the lyrics less than I might have over the years. I love the music and the lyrical flow, neither of which necessitate any insight into what Mr Smith is waxing lyrical about! (I mean, I'm also a big Cocteau Twins fan, and many of their songs are sung in a made-up nonsense language!)
from http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9201.msg773133#msg773133

So from that perspective, with my verbal-analytical hat off, I enjoyed the listen-through.  Just based on the music and scattergun words flying my way, the songs I liked the most were In Between Days, Kyoto Song, Push, A Night Like This, and Sinking.  Four of these crop up fairly frequently in live sets, and this may have biased me towards them - but on the other hand, there's also songs I enjoy live that I don't particularly enjoy the studio versions of.

I therefore won't do a close look at the lyrics until the end of the process, and then I'll do it separately, just words on a page.

So, P, M, I - and those are personal responses, rather than attempts at objective evaluation - and they may grow with time as I add things on...


In Between Days

Pluses for me include that it's catchy without being annoying.  This is musically charming stuff, just like this piece (from a totally different genre):


:lol: C'mon, tell me you don't love it, even if in some deep dark hidden cavern in your brain!  Tell me you could listen to this all the way through and not smile!

Both tracks are distinctly impish feel-good music.   Shall we look at the science of the attributes of music that make it charming, funny, happy, upbeat etc, as opposed to melancholy, or wrist-slitting, etc etc?  There's a lot of it documented already - effects of various rhythms, keys, tones, etc and worth going down some rabbit holes for, if you ever feel like falling into the Internet because you're otherwise flat.  :angel

Minuses for me, for In Between Days, are that I periodically get annoyed about its lyrics.

Interesting for me, the composition of it, and that like a lot of music, it reminds me very much of the place I first heard it - which was my end-of-middle-school end-of-year camp, back in 1985, where it compared rather favourably with other music then on offer.

Interesting about the title - it has appeared "officially" in different spellings.  In Between Days, In-Between Days etc.  So - is this about being in-between days (for instance, when you're supposed to be sleeping), of about "in-between" days as in, days with nothing much happening book-ended by days with exciting stuff happening?  Other alternatives exist, of course.  With my evil hat on, I'd be spinning this tune to panty liner manufacturers, of course... ewwww...  :angel  (...sorry - but I've never forgotten the horoscope in the Prosh (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prosh_(University_of_Western_Australia)) paper that said, for Libra, "You're not a star sign, you're a tampon, you fool.")


Kyoto Song

Pluses here for me include the "world music" elements (which is also something I really like about my favourite tracks from KMKMKM, The Top etc), and that there's a puzzle in this song.

It would be a minus if this puzzle didn't come together for me somehow - if it's just an illusion.  That would feel like having a mirage instead of ice-cream.  I do personally find it a minus that this track sounds distinctly 80s, even though it's quite "alternative"...  Oh yeah, and I really don't like people going "you-hoo-hoo"... :1f635:

Interesting, again, the way this comes together.  (My main problem with PMI, by the way, is that P almost always has huge overlap with I, because to me anything interesting is also a plus...)

Before I go to the next song, just to get back to "you-hoo-hoo" and what it does to me, I think this clip sums up this very well, and lots of other pet hates I have about popular music.  Enjoy.  :angel  :evil:


Bwahahahaha.  :evil:


The Vlood :-D  (...was this written in Vloodivostok?)

Pluses:  The acoustic intro, the very Spanish guitar bit; the song moves along...

Minuses: :1f636: When I look at the lyrics up close after all this, will I find anything sensible?  I'm getting cognitive dissonance already...

Interesting: It'll be interesting if I can get past that cognitive dissonance! :P


Six Different Ways

Pluses: I kind of like the rhythm, and the elven sounds made by things that sound like indigenous instruments, pipes, xylophones, glockenspiel etc.

Minuses:  See The Vlood

Interesting:  The keyboard parts at the very beginning for some reason reminded me of a Joe Cocker song, which I can't recall much else of, and I'm not a Joe Cocker fan, just got him played at me a lot by radio stations...


Push

Pluses:  To me, one of the musical standouts of this album.  A song with distinctive phases, each of which is really interesting.  I love the complexities, the textures, and the intensely interactive / collaborative feel this has musically.

Minuses:  Can't actually find any in the music.  Maybe someone else can help.

Interesting:  Is this a mea culpa?  I'll have to get my microscope out and look more closely at the lyrics.


Baby Screams

This reminds me of the time I was ill and feebly in bed, and my then-prospective-husband said to me, "Why don't I make you an omelette!"  And when he brought it to my bedside, I looked at it suspiciously and asked him, "What's this?" (...just because it's yellow and round and made of eggs doesn't mean it's an omelette...this was a sort of dehydrated egg disc, with egg as its sole ingredient...)

He still teases me about this incident.  As a matter of fact, he's just said to me, "Anytime you'd like me to make you another dehydrated egg disc, just let me know!"  :winking_tongue

So, this song - what's this?  ;)

Pluses:  Well, it has energy and madness in it.  It's musically competent, sort of like Toad in the Hole is culinarily competent.

Minuses:  This kind of rhythm triggers migraines in me.  Too much bang-bang-bang, not enough space for my poor sconce.

Interesting:  What I can make out of the lyrics.  I'm intrigued to decipher more.


Close To Me

Pluses:  Madness and mayhem.

Minuses:  The breathing sounds a bit like a dirty phonecall made by a super-neurotic teenage virgin.  Also, the artificial handclaps are so 80s.

Interesting:  As a composition I do actually like this; there's all sorts of weird things thrown together in this, not least of which are various nonverbal vocal sounds piled on top of each other, reminiscent of a tribe of pygmy Zulu cartoon people who have been transported to the Arctic circle and are now trying to do their tongue-clicking and other non-verbal musical effects while very cold and nervous.


A Night Like This

Pluses:  Nice song.  Lovely saxophone on the studio version.  C'mon, it's a pandemic, one of these guys can surely take up saxophone in the interim so that this can be part of the regular live performance... (Brett says:  "I can only envisage one person in The Cure with a saxophone, and that's Reeves Gabrels.  He's the only one cool enough in that line-up to be able to play saxophone."  :yum:)

Minuses:  There's one line I can't quite decipher and I wonder if I have actually deciphered it and just constantly get traumatic amnesia, over and over again...

Interesting:  In counterbalance to the minus, here's something rather wise:  I want to change it all... I want to change.  ...because the only thing we can really change is ourselves, and what we do and don't do, etc.  This may then change other things, as a side-effect.


Screw

I don't know if it's just the mood I'm in, but I'm actually really enjoying this one, even though it could very well be featuring as the centrepiece of Playschool for Future Weirdos.

Pluses:  There's something infectious about the guitar playing, the notes of which are strangely corkscrew-shaped actually, so well done with getting a sound to suggest a shape...  I'm assuming this is guitar; it's so distorted it's a bit hard to tell the difference between distorted stringed instruments and a synth effect these days...

Minuses:  Bit 80s maybe?  The doo-doo-doo-doos seem to be indicative of that.  It's like someone imported those by the containerloads in the 80s...


Interesting:  I'm very keen to get my microscope out on these lyrics.


Sinking

Pluses:  Musically this is exactly my cup of tea, or should I say more accurately, this is exactly the sort of thing to be found in the assortment of diverse teas I keep in my tea cupboard for my enjoyment.

Minuses:  Pass.

Interesting:  Just the layering, textures, atmosphere of this thing.  The bass line is the backbone of this, as with so many of my favourite Cure tracks. ♥


So, that was The Head On The Door by PMI, by yours truly.  Now could someone please explain to me what a head on a door is supposed to be, because I'm still scratching my head...

I suppose this means the verbal-analytical hat goes back on next time, when the lyrics get pulled up as words on a page, may the force be with you etc... 

Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on September 30, 2020, 01:44:48
...and now, the lyrics.  Sigh.  This is the bit I'm especially struggling with, for this album; at least for the songs I've known a while off it (and by the way, I can see I'm going to have to look specifically at Bloodflowers one day as part of this thread, because that album didn't present me with major difficulties in that department, or I'd not have become a Cure fan in the first place - the lyrics, along with the music and band as a whole, have clearly evolved in a direction that's less problematic for me).

Let's start at the beginning:


IN BETWEEN DAYS

Yesterday I got so old
I felt like I could die
Yesterday I got so old
It made me want to cry

Go on, go on
Just walk away
Go on, go on
Your choice is made
Go on, go on
And disappear
Go on, go on
Away from here

And I know I was wrong
When I said it was true
That it couldn't be me and be her
In-between
Without you
Without you

Yesterday I got so scared
I shivered like a child
Yesterday away from you
It froze me deep inside

Come back, come back
Don't walk away
Come back, come back
Come back today
Come back, come back
What can't you see
Come back, come back
Come back to me

And I know I was wrong
When I said it was true
That it couldn't be me and be her
In-between without you
Without you
(etc)


There's a fair few songs about bizarre love triangles / quadrilaterals / pentagons / hexagons etc, and this kind of has the smell of one of them, and I don't find that particularly edifying personally, although each to their own.  There is a lot of poor-me in this, which is OK-ish if the narrator is the one being cheated on (until they get over it, and it's important not to let someone else's bad behaviour affect your life for longer than absolutely necessary), but a total narcissistic joke if he's the one doing the cheating.  Of course, they may all be cheating, or in agreement that there's no such thing as cheating if you permit it, but then again this song doesn't seem to be about ecstatic polyamory either - there's definitely someone walking, whether in protest or to greener pastures.

On the source (https://genius.com/The-cure-in-between-days-lyrics) for these lyrics, there was an in-a-nutshell comment from a Heather (hello!  :cool):  "Still unsure if he's a cheating backpedalling prick, or an accused lover..." - which are two of a number of unhappy possibilities... and this is not a happy song, even though it's musically charming...

Also, I've never been able to parse this chorus, if it's even possible to parse:

And I know I was wrong
When I said it was true
That it couldn't be me and be her
In-between without you
Without you


I'm not an expert in parsology, so if anyone can help out, please do...

But yeah, this is a prime example of a Cure song which gets really annoying if you pay close attention to the lyrics, and that's a theme for quite a few songs on this album...
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on September 30, 2020, 07:46:32
SCENIC DETOUR:  LOOKING, AND LENSES

I wasn't planning on doing more on this thread today, but I've just heard Waleed Aly on Radio National, talking about the lenses through which we look - reminding listeners that, for example, common lenses through which people are taught to examine novels include feminist, colonialist and political readings, and various other perspectives which help to uncover assumptions, social issues, philosophical and ethical problems and so forth.  Those lenses are ideally tools to help broaden perspective, and are ideally complementary - sort of like prisms set up to show up different wavelengths of light.

Waleed Aly was talking today about his concern that different lenses were competing for primacy, instead of being complementary - "the way" to look at something, rather than one of many ways we can and should look at something to get a broader and more complete picture.  (He thinks that right now, the lens of politics is overly dominant - that it's hard to have public discussions about other realms without them being turned back into politics - just look at the politicisation of mask-wearing in the US, for instance.)

I thought that discussion was really topical to this thread, because this is open journalling, and I've always journalled in order to understand the world, and myself, better.  While you can explore and learn about different perspectives in private journals, open journals are so much better for that, in part because if you're going to put something out in the public sphere you tend to think about it more critically and thoroughly than if you're just writing something you're going to lock into your cupboard.  But even more importantly, on an open journal others can jump in and offer their own perspectives - thanks a million to the people who've done this here, especially @Ulrich and @MAtT and @word_on_a_wing - and that way, there's more brains and eyes and experiences to go around, and the picture becomes more complete.  Also, it's actually more fun to talk to other people than to write monologues - although extended writing is more than a monologue, it's an exercise in learning to think better, and to express yourself better.


WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ART?

Just before Waleed Aly came on, I was thinking about my last post here and asking myself what it was I wanted from art.  I came up with three things I generally want to see in paintings, books or music:  Skill, thoughtfulness, and love - and not in that order actually; I'm always going to think love is more important than skill, and can make up for some rawness in that area, and be the primary driver for improving personal skills anyway.  To an extent, the same is true for thoughtfulness - that's more important than skill to me, although it's also a skill, plus it helps to improve your skills across the board.  And I think thoughtfulness and love go hand in hand.

And it's really something I want not just from art, but from life more generally.  I'd rather eat food someone has made with love and thoughtfulness and skill than food that's been mass-produced for profit; and when I make food for others (and also if it's just me), it's very important to me to do that with love, thoughtfulness and skill.  We've got this old carved wooden wardrobe we bought second-hand because of the love, thoughtfulness and skill that are in that piece, which you're not going to get in a mass-produced chipboard-and-melamine piece.

I'm not a woodworker by any stretch of the imagination, but I made a simple hall stand from leftover beautiful materials - rustic architrave strips I'd cut that were a little too warped, or were the end piece I'd cut from the board; and some packing pine that had come with our roofing iron originally, and had weathered from an ugly orange into a soft driftwood grey, after a couple of years outdoors.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/1672/26355280166_6dc8f33cc8_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/G9VGAb)

The level of skill in that piece is relatively basic, but the love that's in it is considerable - for the beauty of the materials, and in the respect for these scraps of once living trees that could have gone on a bonfire - and with a little thought, they could become something, and this is now a much-loved and useful item of simple furniture that really suits our house.

Some people these days believe that graffiti is just as valuable as Shakespeare.  To me, usually it compares unfavourably in terms of the skill, love and thought that are in it.  I generally prefer Monet's Water Lilies to modern and postmodern art, because it generally has more skill, love and thought behind it.

I was thinking about a hypothetical piece of art I could make:  I could throw up on a canvas, spread it around more or less artfully, let it dry, and perhaps apply a clear coat.  I wouldn't want it in my house, but it might win a Tate Modern - that prize has been won by body parts floating in tanks of formaldehyde.  My canvas could be seen as some kind of sublime analogy for the state of the world, or the human condition in general, whether or not I intended it that way.  I might just be shit-stirring.  So, does the intention of the artist matter, or is it all in the eyes of the beholder?

I'd not have needed much skill or love or thought to make that hypothetical canvas.  Of course, if I intended it as an analogy, then that would mean more thought had gone into it than if I was just being obtuse.

Generally, I think skill, thoughtfulness and love are really important qualities, both in humans and in any of their work, art or otherwise.  With art though, it's sometimes enough for me if it just makes me think.

How do you see that, in your life?

PS:  When I asked Brett that question last night, he said that what he wants out of art is for it to tickle the lobe of his brain that makes him go, "Oh, this is so cool!"  :cool
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: word_on_a_wing on September 30, 2020, 14:24:43

I can see how certain lyrics may seem trivial and not very deep... but my feeling is it may be very well hidden.

In Between Days is a good example. Ok, objectively perhaps it is a tale of human relationships, however what I hear reaches much deeper and into vast and infinite spaces. What I hear is "here we are, woman and man, but without You we feel old, cold, lifeless. We can't truly exist without You". ...so now I pose the question...
Could another mortal human being have such effects? If not... then who/what is he singing to?

I bet you could give me the most trivial sounding lyrics by The Cure and I'll be able to interpret it in such a way as to show Robert Smith is an enlightened being (or my world shall fall apart) 🙃
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on September 30, 2020, 17:02:54
Hello, @word_on_a_wing!  :)  It's nice to hear from you, and also has been great to see the numbers finally improving in Melbourne - may they stay low this time.

I'm interested in whether you're suggesting that Robert Smith is referencing a "higher being" in that song - are you?  Because every interview I've ever seen with him where the subject is broached, he says things like that religion is crap etc etc, and doesn't go on to make a distinction between organised religion and any other form of spirituality.  This is not to say that he couldn't possibly, just that I've never yet seen reference to it, not in interviews and not in any of the songs I've looked at - it seems to run the other way - for example, they were referencing existentialism early on in their careers, as an alternative to theistic world views like the Catholicism they encountered culturally at school etc (and of which they didn't speak very highly in any interviews I've ever seen from them).  I've never personally seen any kind of religion referenced positively in the Cure songs I've heard so far; and one of their more mature-age songs, Where The Birds Always Sing, strongly suggests a non-theistic world view, and coming to terms with the limitations mortality imposes.

But if you've seen anything I've not, please send me a link.

Cure lyrics sometimes make reference to religious motifs, which is what you'd expect in a culture that's got a long association with Christianity, and from people who went to Catholic school etc and had those motifs drummed into them.  The use of these motifs isn't always synonymous with having religious beliefs - they're cultural, not just religious.

On the other hand, various other artists in my personal collection often reference spirituality - U2 are fairly obvious about it, Mike Scott pretty consistently did that for decades (he's a very alternative type) and may still be doing it (we can ask Ulrich, his collection is more up to date ;)), Hothouse Flowers and Big Country were shot through with spiritual ideas (which aren't necessarily indicative of conventional religious belief), Sinéad O'Connor has pretty much always tinkered around with various types of spirituality; etc. And I really don't see that in The Cure, after listening to well over half their total collection.  That's not a criticism, by the way - I listen to music produced by people with a range of world views, from pretty full-on conventional religious to self-declared atheists and anything in-between, and as long as there's a decent set of ethics in there somewhere, that's all fine as far as I'm concerned.  :cool

Personally I'm post-Christian, agnostic, and married to one of those self-declared atheists who worship at the altar of Saint Dawkins.  :angel
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: word_on_a_wing on September 30, 2020, 23:48:43
Oh hell no I'm not referring to organised religion (perhaps the biggest scam ever conceived ...convincing humans they are small limited beings and need a middle-man to experience something beyond this).  Quantum physics is perhaps closer to what I was thinking about when I wrote my last post
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: word_on_a_wing on October 01, 2020, 00:20:28
An interesting documentary, related to what I'm referring to

Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on October 01, 2020, 04:42:50
Quote from: word_on_a_wing on September 30, 2020, 23:48:43Oh hell no I'm not referring to organised religion (perhaps the biggest scam ever conceived ...convincing humans they are small limited beings and need a middle-man to experience something beyond this).  Quantum physics is perhaps closer to what I was thinking about when I wrote my last post

Ah!  :)  I like quantum physics, but don't quite see the connection with spirituality myself - obviously various other people do (e.g. some religiously inclined physicists, such as Paul Davies).  Now I'm thinking about CS Lewis, and his book Out Of The Silent Planet, in which he invented a world in which the spiritual and the physical weren't actually dualistic - the spiritual was embedded in the physical, if you like.  It was a really interesting book; what I loved the most about it is how totally unlike standard humans the three articulate social species on planet Malacandra were - they were so utterly reasonable and ethical... the protagonist (conveniently, a linguist, who'd been kidnapped by evil scientists to be offered as a sort of altar sacrifice to the natives who actually didn't operate like this at all...) had difficulty even explaining what war and conflict were to them, in their language - because they just didn't think like this, and didn't have words for it.  You know, like trying to explain a linear view of time to Hopi Indians who had (/have) a cyclical view of time, and vice versa.  There's this incredibly comical scene at the end where their Oyarsa (higher being) suggests the evil scientists have overheated brains in need of cooling, and wants to help them - when what "ails" them is really just garden-variety narcissism / anthropocentrism / a general sense of entitlement.  :lol:

It's funny you talking about the middle-man etc.  That's kinda why I was a mystic, once upon a time.  ;)  This morning my husband and I were talking about some common religious concepts of God, which are really interesting viewed through the lens of transactional analysis (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transactional_analysis), because of the parent-child nature of the perceived relationship (never adult-adult, so it tends to be infantilising) - and it often seems to be a projection of a "super-parent" based on experienced "models" in family life - which in themselves are often dysfunctional.  So the Allah described by some (not all) Muslims doesn't want people competing - only he is perfect, etc - which sounds like a classic narcissistic parent, who really doesn't want you to get a higher university entrance score than them, and so on.  On the other hand, the Mormons have a God who actually wouldn't mind if his "kids" improved on his performance - but this particular God has an underwear fetish... :yum:

If anyone at all wants to go side-track on this, or otherwise go off on tangents, please be my guest - that's what this particular thread is for, as much as it is about the music of a particular band and all the different tangents that come off that... but tangents to tangents are also OK here... :angel
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on October 01, 2020, 06:41:41
THE CROWD AND THE TEA-LEAVES

We may get some more tangents to delight in on this scenic road, but meanwhile I'm just going to link to a web page (https://songmeanings.com/songs/view/7544/#comments) where a crowd was asked what In Between Days was all about.  I usually avoid such places like the plague, especially if I'm going to write about music that's new to me - I want to just start with what I can see from cold, and work out from first principles myself, before consulting others for their interpretations - and said web pages are not usually renowned for high-quality comments - which is why I prefer to talk to my husband, friends and other music nutters about it.

There's 57 comments currently in the link, espousing various theories, ranging from the very far-fetched to interpretations for which there is a bit more evidence - but it's a tea-leafy kind of song, which could fit various situations more or less well.  @Ulrich tends to make the point that a bit of tea-leafiness is an advantage for adapting a song to a particular circumstance a listener would like it to be about, so that they can borrow it for their own lives, so to speak.  I'll go further sometimes myself, and deliberately bend a song in my own ears so that I can appropriate it for something that quite obviously isn't its intended theme, point of view etc (shameless, I know  :kissing_smiling_eyes:).

Most of the crowd commenting on this one did read it as a human-relationships song, and most of those thought that there were three parties involved (as items or otherwise), all of which were presumably human.  There's I, her and you.  The exact relationship between them is murky, but the general impression most people seem to be getting is of some sort of love triangle, whether directly, or old flame versus rebound partner / this week's distraction / etc; things like that.

There was one theory in the crowd that the narrating I was Robert Smith personally and not a persona, and you was in fact Simon Gallup, and that the last track of the previous album had also been about him ("...please come back, like all the other ones do..."), and that the first track of this next album continued with this theme, and celebrated his return.  He went on to say that her is Mary (and not the cat's mother), after which I needed brain bleach (https://www.pinterest.com.au/shakacholo/brain-bleach/) when contemplating the chorus, whether figuratively or literally. :1f635:

Brett said to me last night, "Well, you know, you're jumping to conclusions that they're all human.  Maybe it's one person and their multiple personalities.  Or two people and something personified - maybe she is a bottle of vodka, with which the narrator is having a close relationship.  In fact, maybe the protagonist is living alone, and she is the bottle of vodka, and you is the bottle of beer."  (He also wanted me to clarify that he doesn't just worship at the altar of Saint Dawkins, but has a thing for Thor as well.  I noticed in day-to-day life that he also mentions Baal quite frequently, particularly around fundamentalist Christians :beaming-face).

@word_on_a_wing is invoking another realm altogether to try to put this puzzle together in a satisfactory way. 

Speaking of puzzles, that's part of the reason I find thinking about these lyrics rather grating.  I usually enjoy a good puzzle, but something that frustrates me no end is if I borrow a 1000-piece jigsaw from the library, and find out at the end that there's missing pieces.   :1f629:  Of course, this may just be some people's ideas of training you for reality:  Puzzles that can't be solved in a satisfactory way.  Maybe they're even sitting there sniggering about how this is going to annoy the people who are concerning themselves with these puzzles.  :evil:

Another thing I rather dislike is doing a "blind" puzzle that turns out, as you put it together, to be a photo of an infected toenail, or hippopotamus droppings, or a syphilitic chancre, or something equally delightful.  :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:  Lyrical equivalents, to me, are songs where people apparently blithely treat someone, or each other, badly.  And regardless of this point, songs or other texts about people's torrid affairs, threesomes, foursomes, someone's orgy or S&M session hanging off a ceiling don't get an enthusiastic reception from me either, especially if there's no metacommentary or other means of making an interesting point going on - you know, like the inevitable brainless car chase in a mainstream American movie.  :1f634:

While there are indeed many different ways in which the tea-leaves that's the lyrics to In Between Days could be read, none that I've encountered seem particularly satisfactory - something doesn't quite fit, and the scenarios are all pretty unpalatable to me.  I'm not intrinsically opposed to break-up songs or relationship-difficulty songs, but for various reasons, this one seems to be straight out of OMG-ville - which is a pity, because musically it's such a lovely, effervescent number, plus I really don't enjoy discussing why I don't enjoy something (although I'll try to paint a detailed picture).  :1f62d:

I would like to draw attention to the much improved treatment of this general topic on Bloodflowers, after a decade and a half of further evolution.  The songs on this album are far less tea-leafy, and the lyrics so much more thoughtful.  Both There Is No If and The Loudest Sound are in my view excellent contributions to the discussion of human relationships - they're not surface froth, they foster understanding and empathy, they're evocative and a whole bunch of other good things...
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on October 03, 2020, 01:25:38
While we're talking about lyrics, I want to put in a little sample bracket from Suzanne Vega, who's one of our favourite lyricists (and musicians) - neither of us can think of anything she's written that we found annoying or unsatisfactory, right from the start.  This is from her debut album, released 1985, like the Cure album I've been discussing.


She's mostly a storyteller lyrically, but her writing is incredibly evocative, swimming in imagery and filled with astute observations.  Take this apparently simple sketch of a morning visit to a coffee shop - the opener to her second album:


As a teenager I found these songs immediately arresting, and a wonderful contrast to what was generally being played on the radio in the 1980s.  Brett too took to this in high school, and one of the things we had in common when we met is having a lot of Suzanne Vega albums we played frequently.

The title track off the second album was the kind that gave me major goosebumps when I first heard it, and 30 years later it still has this effect on me.  It's one of her more well-known songs:


We listened to this album start to finish the other day and were once again bowled over with how good every single song on it is.  The lyrics are hypnotic, the music diverse, the singing and instrumental playing unrelentingly outstanding.

Here's a song about a summer romance she had as a young person with a fellow Leonard Cohen fan when working at a summer camp (she isn't shy about telling live audiences the back stories to her songs):


You will hear yourself in song blowing by one day - the imp.  :lol:

Let's go out with a dark number about not giving up your spirit under duress:


...there's so, so many fabulous songs by this artist, but I'm going to restrain myself and end this bracket. 


And I'm going to finish with one of the many Cure songs which I think are in that same league lyrically as the Hermione of song.  ;)



Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on October 15, 2020, 08:28:50
I've been procrastinating looking at more lyrics from The Head On The Door but here goes - the music was already discussed separately before (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9295.msg773582#msg773582) and the lyrics of the first track the post after that.  The second track:

KYOTO SONG

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

A nightmare of you
Of death in the pool...
I see no further now than this dream
The trembling hand of the trembling man
Hold my mouth
To hold in a scream

I try to think
To make it slow
If only here
Is where I go
If this is real
I have to see
I turn on fire
And next to me...
It looks good!
It tastes like nothing on earth
It looks good!
It tastes like nothing on earth
It's so smooth!
It even feels like skin

It tells me how it feels to be new

It tells me how it feels to be new
A thousand voices whisper it true
It tells me how it feels to be new
And every voice belongs
Every voice belongs to you



So here's something of a choose-your-own-adventure story - what if anything the writer particularly intended this to be about (if it was even supposed to be about something specific) is unclear, although in interviews Robert Smith apparently said that the song was partically inspired by a nightmare of his wife drowning.  From that starting point, one of the happiest interpretations of the rest of the song is the narrator waking up, realising it's a nightmare, finding his beloved alive and in fact next to him (the floor of the night before could be falling asleep on a rug in front of a fireplace - it doesn't have to be a post-intoxication scenario, but of course it could be), and seeing and appreciating her afresh, as we often will when we feared something was lost but then mercifully find it still with us.  It's one thing that can shock you out of taking someone you love for granted even slightly - like taking their continued existence for granted, which is usually our working hypothesis in day-to-day life, if we're not always aware of our own mortality.

The one thing that seems to contraindicate the above interpretation is that the person lying next to the narrator is "a stranger" - although of course there's several ways you could make that still fit, like the common scenario of not instantly recognising your surroundings when you wake up from a nightmare, or reflecting that there are things we don't know even about people we think we know really well.

Or maybe it is literally a stranger - maybe it's a casual fling on the side, or maybe someone (else) substance intoxicated (from the night before) - search me.  If it's the former, then maybe it's a song about an open relationship, with each others' blessing - and that then affects how you read It tells me how it feels to be new / A thousand voices whisper it true / It tells me how it feels to be new / And every voice belongs / Every voice belongs to you.  (And I can't in my own head make that sufficiently fit any other kind of actual stranger, but if you can, pipe up please.)

Other people have mooted that it's about cannibalism, or about a girlfriend who drowned in a pool being replaced by a sex doll in the aftermath of the bereaved narrator's life.  One of the more interesting interpretations I saw on the Internet was this:

QuoteThis song is about hedonism and even self-destructiveness and avoiding dealing with your fears. It's written in a surreal way, but he's basically grasping at things that give him pleasant sensations, and trying to block out unpleasant things. The first verse shows that these unpleasant thoughts creep in through his dreams, and they scare him and leave him trembling. Ultimately, he cannot get past these fears, as he is avoiding them when awake by focusing on physical pleasures. So it ends up being that his real life is like a dream, but his dreams show the reality of his life.
from https://songmeanings.com/songs/view/7545/

This particular interpretation would tie in with what's been said about this particular studio album being a "drug-free album" (see https://genius.com/albums/The-cure/The-head-on-the-door) - which would then perhaps offer a bit of hindsight about the kind of stuff discussed in the quote above.

As I said, choose your own adventure with this one.  I do think the allusions to the voices are very spookily effective, whichever way you choose to read this one.

In the course of looking for background to this album, I found several interesting links on the Genius website above which others may enjoy reading -  extracts of interviews with various band members on these matters, from 1986, 1992, 1993 and 2000 respectively:

http://www.musicfanclubs.org/cure/press/I102.html
http://www.musicfanclubs.org/cure/press/I10.html
http://www.musicfanclubs.org/cure/press/A11.html
http://www.musicfanclubs.org/cure/press/medicine.html

Enjoy. ;)

Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on October 15, 2020, 14:52:34
THE BLOOD

Tell me who doesn't love
What can never come back
You can never forget how it used to feel
The illusion is deep
It's as deep as the night
I can tell by your tears you remember it all
I am paralyzed by the blood of Christ
Though it clouds my eyes
I can never stop

How it feels to be dry
Walking bare in the sun
Every mirage I see is a mirage of you
As I cool in the twilight
Taste the salt on my skin
I recall all the tears
All the broken words

I am paralyzed by the blood of Christ
Though it clouds my eyes
I can never stop

When the sunsets glow drifts away from you
You'll no longer know
If any of this was really true at all



If it seems a bit weird to have an atheist writing about the blood of Christ, consider this: 

Quote from: undefinedIn a fanzine, Robert Smith said "The Blood" was written about "a Portuguese drink called 'The Tears Of Christ'. I drank a bottle and this came out."

When he was asked if he was aware that in America, The Cure were being labeled Satanic because the lyrics to "The Blood" were supposedly being sung to the Devil, Smith responded: "I believe in neither the Devil or God, so it's bollocks!"
from https://genius.com/The-cure-the-blood-lyrics

On the first point, an aside:  Why is there this public misconception about "drugs and alcohol" when the latter is a subset of the former?  It's like when people talk about "birds and animals" grrr.  It's so untidy when people get categories confused like this.  (End taxonomic rant.  :P  If this makes no sense to you, read the previous post...)

On the second point: Typical American reaction, and preoccupation. :1f635:  They're so holy that more than 40% of them still think it's a good idea for a misogynistic, white supremacist, cheating, lying, intellectually vacuous, completely vile narcissist to run their country.   :1f635:  :1f631:   Just as long as he makes abortion illegal, they'd vote for the devil himself.  And isn't it funny how a human embryo is sacred, but a homeless person isn't - they deserve what they get, apparently.   :evil:


I well remember in the 1980s the preoccupation various religious nitwits had with "subliminal programming" in music.  "If you run the tape backwards it says to worship Baal!"  (Big deal.)  One of my classmates back then wouldn't do the music project for English because he didn't want to be contaminated... he refused to listen to any popular music for that reason and would go to the library while the rest of the class got on with their presentations.  His father read his books for him and put paper clips on the "bad" sections so he wouldn't have to see them.  (When I asked how come his father could do that, he said his father didn't believe in God and was going to hell anyway.   :1f632:)

But I digress.  Back to the lyrics, which leave me somewhat underwhelmed.  I had a housemate once in sunny London who drank herself under the table solo every Friday night if the other girls had gone out without her before she got home.  I was home Friday nights, since I was on a working holiday and that was my time slot for recording notes about architecture, visits to museums and art galleries, general impressions etc into my journal - my treat after a week of toil.  :P  (Hey @Ulrich, one such Friday night Mike Scott was on the radio, chatting about the music he was making!  :cool)

Anyway, I'd a thousand times rather spend my Friday nights like that, than go out to drink myself legless, shag strangers, and be hung over half the weekend.  I had other hobbies.  But I would keep my housemate and her inevitable bottle of wine company for a while if the others had gone out without her.  I'd have half a glass to be sociable, and observe the same pattern every such Friday:  Progressive variations in mood as the level of the bottle went down.  After the first glass, she became more chatty, and subsequent glasses would describe a trajectory from happy and laughing to maudlin and despondent, and then, when the bottle was empty, she would pass out, and I'd get her quilt from upstairs and wrap her in it because I worried she might expire from hypothermia after the central heating went off at midnight.

So after that bottle of the Tears of Christ, had our writer reached the maudlin stage, by any chance?  Just wondering.  The tone sort of matches.  It's not badly written, it's just a bit like my ex-housemate used to be after three or four glasses of wine.  There is this inevitability about it, to me - but that's just how it strikes me.  I've got a fair bit of Italian DNA and never understood why it is that a fair few English background people don't seem to enter into emotions very much until they're somewhat intoxicated...but then it can become kind of predictable.  Personally I can't walk in a straight line after half a glass of wine, but at that level my moods aren't affected, while my Anglo husband gets all giggly and expansive after one standard drink - which I can't have because I'd just fall over on the spot - I've got a lot of super-sensitive reactions to various chemicals, including alcohol, paracetamol (both just make me keel over), artificial fragrances (instant headaches and nausea), polyester (skin rashes, can't wear it), something in ripe bananas (blisters my oral lining instantly), etc etc etc.  But some of the moods some people seem to only enter while intoxicated are sort of standard emotional repertoire for me.  I can laugh myself silly without alcohol, ditto weep, get thoughtful and contemplative, or even hit a black hole, etc - and I know other people who are like this too - but maybe we're aliens who got snuck into the hospital cots, who knows.  (Or maybe it's a Mediterranean thing...)

I just found some more information on that wine, by Robert Smith himself:

QuoteIt's a very cheap Portuguese wine, it's a very heavy drink that all the workers drink... it's about 12p a bottle. I was given a bottle of it and I drank it, and I noticed the label, which is the Virgin Mary with Baby Jesus under one arm and a bottle in the other hand. It was completely brilliant. [...] I was convinced I was Portuguese, I just sank into this reverie of being a Portuguese flamenco guitarist.
from https://genius.com/The-cure-the-blood-lyrics

I'm still keeping the PMI technique (applied earlier (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9295.msg773582#msg773582) to a playthrough of the whole album) in mind as I'm taking a magnifying glass to the lyrics - it encourages you to look from different angles, to look for positive things but also feel free to raise problems, and things that don't sit quite right with you (and why), and importantly, to endeavour to look more neutrally if you can, so that not everything is "good" or "bad" etc, and just point out some things you notice from that more neutral viewpoint.

From the perspective of lyrics, I don't take naturally to many of the songs on this album - which is very different to how my first listen to Bloodflowers went - those lyrics are far more mature and thoughtful, and I found it easy to relate to most of them personally.  On The Head On The Door I find a number of things irritating, sort of like walking around with little stones in your shoes while trying to enjoy the scenery.  That's why I'm doing PMI instead of just throwing my hands up in the air and getting exasperated (though this may still happen on occasions before I'm done).

So, let's look again, and closely, from the beginning, this time also perhaps imagining how the Dalai Lama might read this piece - bring patience, kindness, and a sympathetic listen to it.  (A good technique if you're switched off for some reason.)

Tell me who doesn't love
What can never come back
You can never forget how it used to feel


...you may never truly know what you have until you lose it, etc - although you can learn to look, reflect, consciously appreciate.

Balanced against this, from a set of lyrics by another band, "You glorify the past when the future dries up" - we can see this at funerals - the exaggeration of the positive aspects of the narrative, the rose-tinted nostalgia.  People are funny critters.  Take something away and it's the most precious thing in the world, even though previously it was perhaps taken for granted - or perhaps it was actually not that great at all...  The grass is greener on the side of the fence we can't get to, and so on.

The illusion is deep
It's as deep as the night
I can tell by your tears you remember it all
I am paralyzed by the blood of Christ
Though it clouds my eyes
I can never stop

How it feels to be dry
Walking bare in the sun
Every mirage I see is a mirage of you
As I cool in the twilight
Taste the salt on my skin
I recall all the tears
All the broken words

I am paralyzed by the blood of Christ
Though it clouds my eyes
I can never stop

When the sunsets glow drifts away from you
You'll no longer know
If any of this was really true at all


On a simple level, you could just read the blood of Christ as a straight metaphor for alcohol, for what that bottle of wine did to the writer's perspective.  Though it clouds my eyes, I can never stop will then be read with a corresponding slant - ditto How it feels to be dry, and the last stanza.

Or, you could look at the blood of Christ more literally - the narration would also work for a person reflecting on lost faith in a world view they were raised with.  I've listened to a fair few podcasts of people telling stories about that, and the deep grief many of them have at the loss of what they now see as just fairytales - the sadness that there is no loving higher being, no justice or consolation in the long run, no ultimate happy ending for someone who died abused and unhappy, no ever-expanding opportunities for learning and growing, you'll never see those who died again, you'll never read even half the books you want to, or get good at more than a small fraction of the things you'd love to learn.  (But don't let that stuff make you give up! ♥)

You could layer things further, and see one of those scenarios being described in terms of the other, with deliberate parallels.

Or, it could be about something else, like a situation specific to the narrator, sketched in terms that also work for other scenarios.  I'm not going to speculate further, and if you want a cross-section of what other people are thinking, there's stuff here (https://songmeanings.com/songs/view/7546/) and other places online.  One thoughtful take from there:

QuoteThis might be a good example of why artists shouldn't answer questions about what a song, or line, is about. They often explain the inspiration for the song, but rarely ramble on about what the song means. Sure, "the blood of Christ" line was inspired by a drink called "The Tears of Christ". This doesn't necessarily mean that the lyrics are just the random, meaningless thoughts of Robert Smith when he was drunk. It belittles the lyrics to claim that.

I can't fit everything together, but there is a lot of interesting stuff here. Obviously, the chorus can be taken in a religious sense. A Christian realizes that he has been blinded by his own religion, but knows that he can't give it up. On the same note, the verse including "walking bare in the sun" seems reminiscent of Christ spending forty days and nights in the desert and being tempted by Satan.

Can you really attribute the first verse to simply drinking wine? It is really great stuff. This verse could be about how we look at distant relationships through rose-colored glasses. Like how a child of divorced parents will "hate" the custodial parent, but think that the distant parent is great, even though they never see them. In this case, there was apparently a break-up, but he still has the illusion that everything was great. He is blinded to the truth but can't help it. However he later "recalls all the tears" and "broken words". This brings into question the narrator's very concept of reality: "You'll no longer know if any of this was really true at all..."

These are just my ideas. Songs like this are great because they are so open to personal interpretation by the listener. I wish there was more of that on this website.

And just as a closing aside, if you'd like to read a novel written from the point of view of a bottle of wine (and I've only ever come across one), may I recommend the rather charming Blackberry Wine (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackberry_Wine), by Joanne Harris (the UK version, not the re-written US version!).  :cool

PS:  Spending time with this song really helped me appreciate it better, but I know I'm going to get exasperated with the next song.
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: Ulrich on October 15, 2020, 16:38:16
Quote from: SueC on October 15, 2020, 08:28:50One of the more interesting interpretations I saw on the Internet was this...

Well I said before I normally do not look up "song meanings" on the internet. Robert Smith is a lucky man for being not dead yet, otherwise he'd be turning in his grave upon some of those...  :P
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on October 16, 2020, 01:05:33
Quote from: Ulrich on October 15, 2020, 16:38:16
Quote from: SueC on October 15, 2020, 08:28:50One of the more interesting interpretations I saw on the Internet was this...

Well I said before I normally do not look up "song meanings" on the internet.

Bwahahaha!  :beaming-face  I don't normally do that either (and never before I have a think about it myself first, so as not to be "led" etc), and you're right, about half the song interpretations on the Internet are total shockers - and the more dodgy the interpretation, the more adamant the proponents often are about the one and only truth of their take (Dunning-Kruger Effect (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJz66wm95-M) again.)  I've seen The Loudest Sound fervently interpreted as depicting a wovely-dovely warm fuzzy "perfect" romantic relationship - OMG.   :1f631:

But with the Head On The Door lyrics, I'm finding it quite entertaining, and at times even educational, to look up other people's takes after exhausting my own hypotheses.  I'm clearly not on whatever The Cure are variously on, but some people out there are, so that can be helpful.  :angel  :winking_tongue

Since I'm already blaspheming, I might as well go to town on it, and paint you a little picture of our morning scenario here in our little hidden corner of the Antipodes.  The sunlight was starting to angle through the east windows, and I asked Brett sotto voce if he wanted a cup of tea, since he was beginning to make feeble sounds and twitch a little.  He looked at the alarm clock (he always does that in the morning, when asked if he wants a cup of tea - doesn't consult his own body, but interrogates a piece of technology), groaned, and mumbled he was "still submerged in murky waters"...  so I said to him, "Quick, write a Cure song!"   :angel  He replied, "I'll have to remember to include something ambiguous about who I'm sleeping with!"  :lol:


Quote from: undefinedRobert Smith is a lucky man for being not dead yet, otherwise he'd be turning in his grave upon some of those...  :P

Yeah, did you like the one about the bereaved widower and the sex doll?  I thought that was a touch of genius.   :kissing_closed_eyes:  That one got my literary award for the day.  :smth023

He's a lucky man for not being dead yet, for all sorts of reasons I think; plus, I'm really looking forward to the upcoming album.  :)

Dead people can only turn over in their grave at things like this.  Living people are potentially way more entertaining.   :angel
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on October 16, 2020, 09:44:23
SIX DIFFERENT WAYS

This is stranger than I thought
Six different ways inside my heart
And every one I'll keep tonight
Six different ways go deep inside

I'll tell them anything at all
I know I'll give them more and more

I'll tell them anything at all
I know I'll give the world and more
They think I'm on my hands and head
This time they're much too slow

Six sides to every lie I say
It's that American voice again
"It was never quite like this before
Not one of you is the same"
Doo doo doo doo

This is stranger than I thought
Six different ways inside my heart
And everyone I'll keep tonight
Six different ways go deep inside

I'll tell them anything at all
I know I'll give the world and more
They think I'm on my hands and head
This time they're much too slow

Six sides to every lie I say
It's that American voice again
"It was never quite like this before
Not one of you is the same"



There's obviously different ways to read this - but sadly it just happens to fit "The Happy Two-Timer" to a T (though in this case it would be a six-timer).  The "girl in every port" guys do exist, as do bigamists, trigamists etc.  I don't personally much enjoy songs sung in a playschool voice, and even less so if a song is readable as, "Hey, look what I'm getting away with!"  ...and that's whether or not that was intended that way.  There's too much male entitlement around for that to be funny for a lot of women - and I might add, I'm sure a lot of men wouldn't enjoy the idea of being one of a secret harem either, when they imagine they're in a dedicated relationship.

The thing that I find so deeply objectionable in such cases is the deception, the dishonesty, the treating of other people's hearts with carelessness and disdain.  And if I hear someone boasting about something like this, I want to vomit, preferably on them.  :evil:

Let's make two things completely clear, so there's no misunderstandings:

1. I don't care if people want to sleep with multiple other people, sequentially or in parallel or even at the same time, so long as there is complete honesty about this, and everyone is able to give (or withhold) properly informed consent.  What I object to is deception and treating other people with utter contempt.

2. This is not the only way this song can be read, but it does bother me that it can - that it can be turned into a narcissist's jingle, can be used in such a way.  And because it can be read like this, it will inevitably remind some people of real-life examples of entitled posterior orifices they've met along their road in life.  People have a right, of course, to write such a song - but people in the audience also have a right to really dislike it.

I was in high school in the 80s, an era which spawned arguably the biggest me-generation that's ever existed.  Take take take, all that you can get, by hook or by crook, became this mantra.  A friend of mine fell in love with the (alleged) dreamboat of our school year - a Tom Cruise lookalike (never my type :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:) with superficial charm and a massive sense of entitlement, who also wasn't kept awake at night by ethical questions.  I didn't like the way this boy, and his friends, talked about the girls - like they were merchandise, like they were disposable, like they were objects and not people, like they existed for their personal benefit - nor did I like their frequent boasting about their sexual conquests, which could be overheard quite a few times, because they also didn't keep their voices down.

I still to this day don't know how she fell in love with him - he was so obvious - but no, to her he could do no wrong, he didn't say things like that, we were making it up, perhaps we were jealous because he was interested in her and not us, etc.  - My friend was stereotypically beautiful in that slim, blonde 80s model style, and had a fair bit of interest from the males of our year, but to choose the worst - what, because he was stereotypically good-looking?  Because he told her what she wanted to hear?

She was happy to believe the lies he told her.  He charmed her, she believed he really loved her, and eventually she had sex with him.  He trumpeted it all around the playground; his attitude disgusted me.  And then he dropped her, and was onto the next conquest, while she spent months mortified and her grades took a dive. 

This was the first time I saw that kind of scenario close-up.  That was pretty common behaviour, and still is, in our generation - that kind of sexual predation and dishonest game-playing.  Some people actually have a heart; they're not your disposable vagina, your score, your "pussy" - but it seems to me that for some people, the breaking of an actual heart and the mortification of another person when they realise they were had all along is a bonus enjoyment, and the icing on the cake of their sexual exploits, and another feather in the cap of their hideous take on masculinity.  (Which is not to say there's not female predators as well; I'm just telling you what I've personally seen - and I'm asking you honestly if you can think of any female equivalent of Trump in that category - and if anyone would vote for a woman like this, in droves like they vote for that specimen.)

And others playing these kinds of games may not derive pleasure from other people's pain and mortification - they just may not care, so long as they get what they want.  Which is how the narrator to Six Different Ways sounds, if you read it that way - blithe, who-cares, I'll lie to get what I want - "I'll tell them anything at all" - and perhaps as a rationalisation, "I know I'll give the world and more" - as if that would justify the deception.  And as if one of him is worth six of them.


If you look it up (https://genius.com/The-cure-six-different-ways-lyrics), Robert Smith has said that this song is about multiple personalities - and that it came from a facetious argument about how many ways there are to skin a cat.  It's also been mooted that this song is about lying to journalists in response to being asked idiotic questions.  But whichever way I try to listen to it, and even if it couldn't be read as a song about playing half a dozen romantic interests along, I still can't make friends with the flippancy which which reference is made to the deliberate deception of others, in whatever context.

And that's why it's a good thing that there are plenty of songs that can be listened to, by this band and by many others, which don't create this acrid taste in my mouth when I have a close listen to the lyrics.

PS:  Other ways of reading it here (https://songmeanings.com/songs/view/7547/) - some of them quite interesting, whether or not you agree.  The nicest possible interpretation I found - and I can actually see how it would fit - is that it's about adopting a number of different stage personas which espouse different viewpoints etc not actually held by the performer.  And that's the slant with which I'm going to listen to it from now on, and perhaps that will exorcise the ghosts and the acrid taste for me.
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: Ulrich on October 16, 2020, 11:07:28
Quote from: SueC on October 16, 2020, 09:44:23There's obviously different ways to read this - but sadly it just happens to fit "The Happy Two-Timer" to a T (though in this case it would be a six-timer).

You seem a tad obsessed with this possibility to interpret any lyrics? Threesomes, two-timers keep appearing in your posts on a regular basis - any reasons why? (Bad experience in the past?)

To me it's kinda off-putting and one reason why I won't read the most of these "explorations" any more. (Same as with the "meanings" on the net.)

Robert Smith himself had this to say (from the book "Ten Imaginary Years", page 86):
"The words are about the way I treat people. The six is not that important - it could've been five."
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on October 16, 2020, 12:40:58
Quote from: Ulrich on October 16, 2020, 11:07:28
Quote from: SueC on October 16, 2020, 09:44:23There's obviously different ways to read this - but sadly it just happens to fit "The Happy Two-Timer" to a T (though in this case it would be a six-timer).

You seem a tad obsessed with this possibility to interpret any lyrics? Threesomes, two-timers keep appearing in your posts on a regular basis - any reasons why? (Bad experience in the past?)

Reasons always in posts - including here.  And as has been mentioned before, another time when this came up - your lived experience, as well as your vicarious experience (like what I related about my friend), always comes to the party when you encounter any text.  I think another female CF member tried to explain to you last time you got annoyed that this kind of thing goes deep; you're not female and you've not lived this side of it, the same as I'm not black and have not lived that side of it - so I try to listen, and walk a mile in the shoes of someone who has had very different life experiences as those that are afforded to the more privileged groups of people in society, and whose traumatic experiences perhaps differ from my own.  Which is why I clapped when the slave-trader statue was thrown in the harbour - because I could see the pain it had caused others, even though I could have walked by unawares before.

I've not suggested that a Cure song ought to be thrown in the harbour, by the way - not even this one - which if you actually read to the last paragraph in the post that riled you, I've found another way to listen to already, which I'm giving a shot.  But if I did find a Cure song, or any other song, that was undoubtedly intended as offensive, or was just terribly thoughtless and hurtful, I would throw it in the harbour.  It wouldn't mean I'd throw the whole catalogue in the harbour either, or the band - since we're all chimeras, and works in progress.

And just in general - there's a difference between not listening to a song because you don't enjoy it for various reasons which may or may not include ghosts conjured for you, and throwing it into the harbour.  And had the "Happy Two-Timer" been the only possible interpretation, or the avowed interpretation by the artist, then I would have thrown it in the harbour, for sure.  But as was clear from my last post, that was not the case.

When you open-journal, you record your honest responses to things in this world, including any initial reactions which may then evolve with more reflection, or other people's input (and I take care to record all my gut reactions here, however they may turn out).  But it's a two-way street - people can learn in both directions.

Also, it's OK to fall over sometimes - you just have to get up again - and it's OK to make honest mistakes, as long as you keep trying to learn from those.

Our greatest learning doesn't happen when we agree with others - it comes when there is friction, and we then have to learn to get past that friction somehow (usually by trying to look from different angles and listen to other perspectives, but also by holding your ground when necessary).  When you teach professionally, you actually try to create cognitive dissonance when presenting new material, because it causes puzzlement and mental engagement, and is an effective way to unlearn misconceptions.

The Cure are particularly good at creating cognitive dissonance in me with their lyrics, which actually makes them more valuable for me to listen to than artists with whom I can agree easily and who present no difficulties for me.  That's why I'm finding that I'm learning lots from journalling about their material - even if, and actually I think because, it requires me to deal with things with which I am really uncomfortable.  Of course, there's also common ground, and it's actually because of common ground with others that we'll consider perspectives we otherwise perhaps wouldn't.

Nobody is obliged to read this stuff, and if you don't get something out of it, then don't.  That's OK.  :)
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: Ulrich on October 16, 2020, 13:09:25
Maybe it's just a misconception of mine, but it seemed to become an obsession. (And sadly we've had this before in the forum when members went on and on about one thing...)

Quote from: SueC on October 16, 2020, 12:40:58Nobody is obliged to read this stuff, and if you don't get something out of it, then don't. 

Ok, but could we re-title it "Exploding the back-catalogue"?  :winking_tongue
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on October 16, 2020, 14:12:15
No we can't. :winking_tongue  Because I'm not - because if I thought this stuff was worthless, I'd have given up a long time ago.  The one thing that does on occasions feel like it's exploding is my head.  :-D

And I do genuinely like the majority of the material, and even the stuff I don't take to straightaway I usually give another shot, for the same reason I ate sashimi for the first time (because I respected the person who prepared it, on prior evidence).  Some stuff that challenges me at first, I end up genuinely liking, and some I never take to, but I think that's OK.

Perhaps you shouldn't read my reactions to one of your favourite albums.  ;)  I'm OK with the fact that you don't like Hugh Laurie's music, and that John Farnham makes you gag.  People just have different tastes, when it comes to music.

But the examination of lyrics can become a real powderkeg - because that's when it gets personal, for most of us.  Because then it becomes about more than musical tastes; then it becomes about values and opinions and ways of looking at things, and this can really take us out of our comfort zones.  And texts are very much open to misinterpretation, particularly if things are a bit vague.

I think the red-flag thing about betrayal of trust is there for me automatically because I needed very much to acquire the ability to detect it, in order to prevent train wrecks in my own life (and not just romantic ones either).  When I was younger, I was duped a fair bit, and had to learn to notice the red flags to keep me out of trouble - I trusted people way too much, wasn't cautious enough.  Think of it as a metaphorical lion detector - from a survival perspective, it's much better for something like that to be overly active and give you false positives, than for it to give you just one false negative.  Better to jump at a hundred kangaroos in the bushes, than not to jump just once at a real lion looking for lunch.

I think I go through a lot of texts about relationships with a fine-tooth comb, looking for the potential BS - and it's a good virtual exercise in developing BS detection skills.  There actually is a lot of BS in what humans write about the subject - myself inevitably included.  If we grew mushrooms on all that BS, it would become the most abundant food in the universe.

One real point of contention for me is how men in positions of power treat women - well or otherwise, and unfortunately it's often otherwise, as you've seen from the me-too thing etc.  And also, really how anyone in a position of power treats anyone else - well or otherwise.  At the same time, of course we can't tar everyone with the same brush, etc.  But I have seen a lot of abuse of power that's harmed other people, and that's harmed me directly too - from males as well as females, actually.  And I'm sure that regardless of gender, a lot of people have had crap experiences with others, romantically and otherwise.

Anyway, I can get hypervigilant around things like this, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.  The side-effect is a very fine focus for a lot of things, which can be really useful.

And you do not ever have to read any of my open journalling ever again, and I'd still like you anyway.  You don't have to go digging around in my lengthy reflections about navels and the cosmos to be my friend.  And you certainly couldn't get through all the journalling I've ever done in my life unless you had several years with nothing else to do.  Plus, I think we all have to be really choosy about our reading material, or we'll never get through the book piles on our bedside tables!  :)
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: word_on_a_wing on October 17, 2020, 10:46:38
Sue I was struck by something you said here...
"The Cure are particularly good at creating cognitive dissonance in me with their lyrics ...it requires me to deal with things with which I am really uncomfortable."

I actually wonder if that's the purpose, that perhaps RS is inviting the audience to think for themselves, feel discomfort and uncertainty (including any ghosts hiding in internal cupboards), and in doing so get closer to waking up.
What I'm saying is perhaps it's not that necessarily believes the things he shares.
Like if someone was to say "Be kind to one another" and another was to say "put your own needs first and screw the needs of anyone else" ...they both may lead to the audience considering similar themes, and coming to consider where they stand on it.

I think others may write lyrics in this way too, and was struck by these Lyrics by David Bowie in his final song on his final album:
"Saying no but meaning yes
This is all I ever meant
That's the message that I sent

I can't give everything away"
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: Ulrich on October 17, 2020, 20:22:53
In my humble opinion, whe should say "good-bye" to the notion that each and every songwriter just writes about his own (private or public) life, fantasies and thoughts.
Many have admitted that their own life was just too boring to fill album after album with songs about it! So they turned to writing about "characters", just like a book author would do.

Robert Smith has often used literature as "inspiration". ("Charlotte Sometimes" being a prime example, also "Treasure" was based on a poem with very similar wording.)

Personally, I believe the Cure often intended to create a mood (e.g. on "Faith" or on "Disintegration") and Robert's lyrics were part of that particular mood.
(How many songs has he written about ending a relationship? Even though it is well known that he has been together with Mary since they were teenagers...)

Let's face it: The Cure were never the band to tell us about the environment or who to vote for. They were out to entertain us, to create art, something beautiful to listen to and not to tell us what to do or not to do.

(That might be different with other artists, I mean: Sting was a teacher, wasn't he?  :P )

Quote from: word_on_a_wing on October 17, 2020, 10:46:38I actually wonder if that's the purpose

To create cognitive dissonance? I doubt it.  ;)

Quote from: word_on_a_wing on October 17, 2020, 10:46:38... perhaps RS is inviting the audience to think for themselves

Seeing Robert has always tried to be an "independent" artist (e.g. they signed to Fiction instead of Polydor, who Chris Parry worked for at the time), I would hope so!  :smth023

Quote from: word_on_a_wing on October 17, 2020, 10:46:38I think others may write lyrics in this way too, and was struck by these Lyrics by David Bowie ...

Maybe this changed over the years, but Bowie said he didn't write about what went on in his life - he was always impressed by the people who were able to do it, but he just couldn't.

Also, he had been using this method:
Quote from: undefined...a 2008 interview with Bowie. In it he described how he often comes up with interesting lyric lines by employing the 'cut-up' writing technique used by postmodernist author William S. Burroughs in his controversial novel Naked Lunch.

'Cut-up' is a literary technique designed to add an element of chance to the creative process.
It involves taking a finished line of text and cutting it into pieces--usually with just one or two words on each piece. The resulting pieces are then rearranged to create a brand new text.

David Bowie explained: "You write down a paragraph or two describing several different subjects, creating a kind of 'story ingredients' list, I suppose, and then cut the sentences into four or five-word sections; mix 'em up and reconnect them.
"You can get some pretty interesting idea combinations like this," he said. "You can use them as is or, if you have a craven need to not lose control, bounce off these ideas and write whole new sections."
https://thehitformula.com/2013/04/30/songwriting-tips-try-david-bowies-cut-up-method-of-writing-lyrics/

Thus, trying to make "sense" of such lyrics or trying to find out about Bowie's private life via his lyrics, seems an impossible task to me!

(Doesn't mean he always did it like this.)

QuoteNovelist Rick Moody, who has been privy more than once to details of Bowie's songwriting process, wrote about it in his column on Bowie's 2013 album The Next Day: "David Bowie misdirects autobiographical interpretation, often, by laying claim to reportage and fiction as songwriting methodologies, and he cloaks himself, further, in the cut-up."
http://www.openculture.com/2019/05/how-david-bowie-used-william-s-burroughs-cut-up-method-to-write-his-unforgettable-lyrics.html
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on October 18, 2020, 03:30:17
Thank you both for your thoughtful posts. :cool  Yes, @word_on_a_wing, I don't see any reason why a songwriter wouldn't at times deliberately try to create cognitive dissonance, since that's such an effective tool for engaging a person's thoughts and feelings, current world view, and life experiences.  Teachers do it, writers do it, so logically songwriters may also have that as part of an effective toolbox.

And as we've discussed here before, the narrator and the writer aren't always the same thing (and when I write I use those terms consciously to distinguish between them) - the narrator can be a character from a book, for example, or be the devil's advocate and espouse completely different ideas and attitudes to those of the writer behind the work - and this can be used to parody ideas and attitudes of which an author is critical, as happened in Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal, Bob Geldof's The Great Song Of Indifference, etc.

And yes, @Ulrich, sometimes people write words impressionistically with the primary objective of creating a particular atmosphere.  On one of my favourite 1980s era albums from another artist are several sets of "muddy" lyrics, set in impressionistic music.  I wondered what they were all about, as I do with every song I want to engage with (because I'm very language-driven, as @MAtT pointed out when he compared how he primarily listens to music with how I primarily do that).  I had some ideas, but nothing fitted comfortably - and then teenage me heard an interview with the writer of the lyrics, who said, when asked what one of those songs was about, "I actually don't really know, I'm still discovering things about that when I sing it."  And then he discussed stream-of-consciousness writing.

That postmodern writing technique you mention is also a thing, but I've generally not enjoyed the products of that technique when it's done so randomly.  On the other hand, I like this poem by Adrian Henry:


The New, Fast, Automatic Daffodils

I wandered lonely as
THE NEW, FAST DAFFODIL
   FULLY AUTOMATIC
that floats on high o'er vales and hills
The Daffodil is generously dimensioned to accommodate four adult passengers
10,000 saw I at a glance
Nodding their new anatomically shaped heads in sprightly dance
Beside the lake beneath the trees
   in three bright modern colours
red, blue and pigskin
The Daffodil de luxe is equipped with a host of useful accessories
including windscreen wiper and washer with joint control
A Daffodil doubles the enjoyment of touring at home or abroad

in vacant or in pensive mood
SPECIFICATION:
  Overall width    1.44 m (57")
  Overall height    1.38m (54.3")
  Max. speed    105 km/hr (65 m.p.h.)
  (also cruising speed)
DAFFODIL
  RELIABLE - ECONOMICAL
DAFFODIL
  THE BLISS OF SOLITUDE
DAFFODIL
  The Variomatic Inward Eye
Travelling by Daffodil you can relax and enjoy every mile of the journey.


(Cut-up of Wordsworth's poem plus Dutch motor-car leaflet)

I think that's an incredibly effective way to ask questions about contemporary life and attitudes - and to perhaps wake people up a little about their personal priorities.  The contrast between Wordsworth's poetry and modern advertising is huge and their juxtaposition here very eye-opening.  I also love the way Simon and Garfunkel did Silent Night - recording the Christmas carol against a backdrop of a contemporary news bulletin reporting war and madness.

As regards the private life of a writer, I'm not particularly interested in that, although of course when you're discussing, for example, Emily Brontë's work, it's incredibly helpful to know some background on the Brontë family, how the siblings lost their mother early, lived on a remote moor, played fantasy games for entertainment, how Charlotte fell in love with her professor and Branwell became an alcoholic etc - those experiences shaped these writers and give useful context for their work, and can help to reconcile some of the puzzles you may find in the way they write.

One thing I am always interested in, with any text containing human relationships, is how people treat each other, and if they appear to be treating each other flippantly etc, it bothers me on an emotional level - which is both a result of my own shaping experiences, and actually, I think, a really useful asset to have, because what hope is there for any of us if we don't care how we treat one another. 

Text can be vicarious experience - and the human brain actually, when you're reading a novel, for example, immerses itself in the constructed universe, and tends to go through a lot of the same emotions as if that universe were real.  So, you're likely to get sweaty hands and an increased heartrate at some point if you're reading a typical Val McDermid novel, for example - even though you know it's constructed.  And that kind of magic is one of the reasons storytelling is so incredibly important to human culture and experience.  It can teach us about the world, and our own selves, in really concentrated and super-effective ways.
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on October 27, 2020, 07:14:46

What's that doing here???  That's not The Cure!  :angel

Today, the microscope is back out and we're looking at the lyrics for Push.


PUSH

Go, go, go
Push him away
No, no, no
Don't let him stay

He gets inside to stare at her
The seeping mouth
The mouth that knows
The secret you
Always you
A smile to hide the fear away
Oh, smear this man across the walls
Like strawberries and cream
It's the only, it's the only way to be
(It's the only way to be)

Exactly the same clean room
Exactly the same clean bed

But I've stayed away too long this time
And I've got too big to fit this time



As a song, does anyone here not like this one?  For once, here's a Cure song where I like the studio version just as much as the live renditions - and I love the long instrumental intro, particularly on the studio version.  Along with Sinking, this is my equal favourite track off The Head On The Door.


The lyrics seemed to me on first impression to be relationship advice - possibly given to one's partner, in a fit of self-examination.  "Ditch him!"  (/"Ditch me!")  (...or at least read him the riot act, and stick him in the doghouse!)  ...now, feel free to psychoanalyse me on the basis of this Rorschach test!   :winking_tongue

Robert Smith has allegedly said that the song was inspired by a train journey home (https://genius.com/The-cure-push-lyrics).  (What else was famously conceived on a train?  Harry Potter, of course.)  Someone who's seen Live In Orange reported online that the information was conveyed that the writer had travelled on the train in a dress (https://songmeanings.com/songs/view/7548/).  This particular fan is transsexual and he could read the song as being about transsexuality, in a way that was particularly meaningful for him.

On that same page you can again read a crowd each putting in their own ideas.  Another person likes to read this song with the man as a personification of depression, "push him away" - and he says it reminds him of Doing The Unstuck.  Then there's a person who says that the song fits growing up, and growing into yourself - and again, I can see how that would work.  Yet another take is that it's "do what you want" - whether travelling on the train in a dress, or eating ice-cream etc - although to me, we're getting onto thinner ice with that particular interpretation - all the previous ideas had more points of congruency with the lyrics.  There's more on that page, some of it interesting, some of it not well supported.

However, it is clear that whatever the intended meaning(s) of this song, it's actually quite a flexible fit for a range of situations, and as a result of that, invites people to identify with it in their own particular ways.  It's like this picture:

(https://idigitalcitizen.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/faces-vase-optical-illusion.jpg?w=500)

What do you see?  But once you see both, you can't unsee either.  Now multiply that effect, because there's more than two possibilities that fit these lyrics in a way that could make sense to someone for good reasons.  There's actually something to be said for doing that deliberately sometimes - although of course, at other times it's an accidental side-effect of parallels in various life situations.

And sometimes it's like this:

(https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn%3AANd9GcQi3CBdu8_XOxj5XJLNxAQmUd7_84cQaLK14Q&usqp=CAU)

Most people will immediately see this as a staircase leading from the bottom right to the top left.  But, you can also see it as an upside-down staircase - the drawing works equally well for both cases, but many never see the upside-down version, which can take a little brain-twist to perceive.  Try swapping the foreground and background mentally, or just turn the drawing upside down (or stand on your head), then put it (or your head) on its side until you can switch from one possibility to the other with ease.

Isn't that fun... :)

In closing, here's something cute (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93E-eM7qQIk) we discovered online a while back looking for live versions of Push.  :lol:
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on October 30, 2020, 14:32:16
THE BABY SCREAMS

Heaven, give me a sign
Waiting for the sun to shine
Pleasure fills up my dreams
And I love it, like a baby screams

It's so useless, how can you be proud?
When you're sinking into the ground
Into the ground, fills up my dreams
And I love it, like a baby screams

Couldn't ask for more, you said
Take it all and strike me, strike me, strike me dead
Strike me, strike me dead

Waiting again, waiting like I waited before
Waiting again, waiting here for nothing at all
Heaven fills up my dreams
And I love it, like a baby screams

Couldn't ask for more, you said
Couldn't ever let it end
Take it all, take it all
Then strike me, strike me, strike me, strike me
Strike me dead
Strike me, strike me dead
Strike me, strike me dead

Strike me, strike me, strike me dead

Heaven
Heaven
Heaven
Heaven



It's an upbeat, querulous sort of tune, but I think this is an ode to frustration, depression, ennui, anything but joie de vivre.

I love it, like a baby screams suggests to me the narrator doesn't love it at all.  You could really go to town on this and write a whole other poem or song just describing how odious you're finding something, using that sort of construction:

I love it, like a festering pustule
I love it, like a decomposing elephant
I love it, like a conspiracy theorist
I love it, like an American election
I love it, like an ingrown nose hair
I love it, like a bulbous emerald-green booger
I love it, like flaccid tinned spaghetti

Gawd, this is cathartic.  :smth023  It's just the thing for winding down after a day of frustrating, joy-destroying, soul-svcking (why can't I say svcking?) tax paperwork - you know, a day dedicated to a sort of living death, where you have to give up the dozens of actually useful, creative, happy things you could have done, to do one of the most useless examples of bureaucratic hoop-jumping in the known universe.  I don't mind paying tax, but I do mind all the convoluted, mind-numbing, totally arbitrary mazes invented by the tax people that you are forced to attempt to comprehend in the process of filling in your tax paperwork.

This really sums it up so well:


But come to think of it, I may have just found a legitimate use for this Cure song as well - on endless repeat, while doing tax paperwork...
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on November 03, 2020, 05:33:32
CLOSE TO ME

I've waited hours for this
I've made myself so sick
I wish I'd stayed asleep today
I never thought this day would end
I never thought tonight could ever be
This close to me

Just try to see in the dark
Just try to make it work
To feel the fear before you're here
I make the shapes come much too close
I pull my eyes out, hold my breath and wait
Until I sha-ha-ha-hake

But if I had your faith
Then I could make it safe and clean
Oh, if only I was sure
That my head on the door was a dream

I've waited hours for this
I've made myself so sick
I wish I'd stayed asleep today
I never thought this day would end
I never thought tonight could ever be
This close to me

But if I had your faith
Then I could make it safe and clean
Oh, if only I was sure
That my head on the door was a dream



Imagine for a moment that Robert Smith wasn't singing these words in this song, but instead just going "la-la-la-la" - what would you picture, from the music?  What could you make this a soundtrack for?

I imagine that there's dozens of different ideas different people would have here - a lot of them would probably be happy scenes, but some of them not.  Me personally, I see a litter of kittens tumbling over each other, pouncing on tails, chasing each other, jumping all over the furniture, swinging off the curtains, hissing, jumping out from behind doorways, and generally creating cute, mischievous mayhem.  I can also see a jittery kid doing cartwheels and trying to avoid stepping on cracks in the pavement - it's a jittery sort of tune, as well as an upbeat one.

But now I'm going down the pensieve to when I was 14, and first started hearing this song.  Classmates around me were beginning to be bug-eyed over each other.  As the baby of the class, a year younger than my peers, I put on an anthropology hat and did a lot of observing.  I saw nothing I aspired to, in the romantic practice course others were entering.  Just a lot of giggling and innuendo, garishly bruised necks (it was a thing for a while, and cynical me still thinks it's basically a calling card, like a dog urinating on a lamp post), girls angsting, obnoxious boys leering openly, shy boys hiding around corners, female classmates asking me to rate various male backsides out of 10 (on what criteria exactly? and for what purposes?) while I boggled at the question (I'm not interested in people's backsides, I'm interested in their ideas).

Close To Me was a good soundtrack to that, back then.  The title lent itself to the theme, although on close examination the lyrics are sufficiently ambiguous to not necessarily be about that.  And the song sort of reinforced for me what I saw of my peers' romantic experimentation:  It seemed like it was stressful, wrought, decidedly un-fun, not the kind of experience I wanted to volunteer for - I'd stick to reading encyclopaedias, Thesauruses, dictionaries and the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy to have a jolly old time, thank you very much - and lose myself in the alternative universes of literature, poetry and music.  It seemed a much more productive and low-stress option.

In many ways I think that 14-year-old was right, and if she'd been able to stick to her guns, she'd have had an easier time of it; but alas, we're all subject to some really mind-bending biochemistry courtesy of our DNA (and courtesy of childhood trauma, as well, for those who've experienced that).  To this day, I think you could use Close To Me as an effective warning for starry-eyed, hormonally-hijacked adolescents and adults:  Think before you go through that door.  You may end up disappointed.

But you know, that's just me, I grew up in emotional chaos and really didn't want more of the same.  Of course I got it anyway, probably less so than if I'd not been wary and hadn't fought it - but at least my story ended up with - well, it would be a happy ending if I died today, but I hope it's a happy middle, and that I can enjoy that for another couple of decades, and have it be a happy ending as well, but we can't take anything like that for granted.

Let's turn now from what the song personally made me reflect on, to what its writer said about it, which is that it's about the "disappointment of dreams made real" and a "sense of impending doom" returning from childhood (see here (https://genius.com/The-cure-close-to-me-lyrics)).  Both of these come through very effectively, and both of them are applicable - to all sorts of situations, inviting you in to process your own stuff - did you know you can buy a full-price Cure CD for less than it costs to have an hour of psychotherapy?  :winking_tongue

I'm just having a think if any of my dreams coming true disappointed me.  The major ones, no.  But maybe by the time that happened, my expectations were more realistic than what young people's tend to be.  Having said that, I've been very lucky to have done a lot of things that were personally meaningful to me, and that's still how it is.  I don't look back at any of the professional work I did in my life with regret - it was worth it, and of course there's always bad patches, and purple patches.  I don't regret what we're doing now, living off-grid in a self-fandangled house and looking after an ecosystem.  I don't regret whom I married, he's still my favourite person and I'm appreciating him more, rather than less, as time goes by; and we're both still growing and learning as people.

I once saw a sign above a colleague's desk:  "IF ALL ELSE FAILS, LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS."  That made me laugh, and sometimes it's true.  I think I've tended to place my highest expectations on my own self, rather than on what was going to be dished up to me, or particular experiences - and I'm also pretty good at gratitude.  All of those traits can become a trap too, of course - there's a lot of juggling in life.

Regardless of that, my biggest gripe isn't being disappointed with experiences, but not being able to fit as much into 24 hours as I'd ideally like to.  :lol:

By the way, if anyone knows what the reference to "my/the head on the door" is about, please let me know.***  I've read a theory in the link above that you can get to by clicking the highlighted line in the song text, but somehow I can't buy that one - it seems way too far-fetched and unsupported, to me - it feels like the tail is wagging the dog.  What do you think?

I'm happy to come back to this or anything else at anytime if anyone wants to jump in, but apart from that, I'm going to zoom through the next couple of tracks soon and then return to KMKMKM, which I want to look at in more detail and haven't yet.  :cool

***PS:  Found something that cleared up the mystery:

Quote"At the last minute I sang these words that I had left over. I didn't think there was anything musically that worked with the words. The words were actually about this sense of impending doom that I used to get. I had chicken pox when I was really young and it started there. I used to get these horrible, nightmarish visions of this head that used to hover in the chink of light that would come when the bedroom lights were turned off and the door was just ajar. The shaft of light that came from the hallway used to illuminate this patch of wallpaper and it would come to life and prophesy doom to me through the night whenever I put my eyes in that general direction. And it came back to me when I was writing The Head On the Door album. I was running myself into the ground a little bit and I started to suffer. I suddenly also started to get the same hallucinations, which was very odd.

That song was essentially about those two things, but at the last minute I tried singing them over this jaunty bassline and drum pattern. It just clicked."

from https://www.songfacts.com/facts/the-cure/close-to-me

Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on November 05, 2020, 09:53:04

A NIGHT LIKE THIS

Say goodbye on a night like this
If it's the last thing we ever do
You never looked as lost as this
Sometimes it doesn't even look like you
It goes dark
It goes darker still
Please stay
But I watch you like I'm made of stone
As you walk away

I'm coming to find you if it takes me all night
A witch hunt for another girl
For always and ever is always for you
Your trust
The most gorgeously stupid thing I ever cut in the world

Say hello on a day like today
Say it every time you move
The way that you look at me now
Makes me wish I was you
It goes deep
It goes deeper still
This touch
And the smile and the shake of your head
And the smile and the shake of your head

I'm coming to find you if it takes me all night
Can't stand here like this anymore
For always and ever is always for you
I want it to be perfect like before

Oh ho ho, I want to change it all
Oh ho ho, I want to change

I'm coming to find you if it takes me all night
Can't stand here like this anymore
For always and ever is always for you
I want it to be perfect like before

Oh ho ho, I want to change it all
Oh ho ho, I want to change
Oh ho ho, I want to change it all
Oh ho ho, I want to change



Musically this is a very nice song, and I think that's a great bit of saxophone on it too - as mentioned previously - but right now, I'm finishing up my "getting-to-know" explorations of The Head On The Door by specifically looking at the words to the songs.

Looking at words is a fraught thing sometimes.  Like, when you get an insurance policy, and you've lived a bit.  You no longer go, "Oh, what a nice organisation, all the things they've thought of that could go wrong for me, in the event of which they will have my back, for this very reasonable fee."  Oh no.  When you've seen a few things, you end up reading all the large-print stuff suspiciously, looking for the loopholes and the equivocating, for the weasel words and the ambiguities, the stuff that's not there, and the tiny tiny fine print that can hold all sorts of unpleasant surprises for the unwary.  You try to read between the lines as much as you read actual words, and you mutter to yourself, "OK, where's the catch?"

Similarly, after a while on this planet mixing with the crowd, you can't help but look at songs about romantic relationships the same way - if you're female anyway.  The doe-eyed stage of looking at songs like this lasts until you're around 16, and then you (hopefully) start to say to yourself, "Lofty proclamations - whether from insurance companies, or advertisers, or courting males, or repenting males, make me smell a rat!  Where is this dead rat hidden, exactly?  And just how big is this rat, and what is its state of decay?"

It's sort of sad, because there are probably a few ethical insurance companies run by people who have actually reached Stage Six of Kohlberg's moral development model (https://www.britannica.com/science/Lawrence-Kohlbergs-stages-of-moral-development), and likewise, there are people out there who wouldn't sell their own grandmother to make a buck, and males who actually don't think with their reproductive equipment and who want to be decent to any prospective partner, or established partner.  I'm sorry, by the way, about these remarks being a bit gendered, but I can only speak from my own experience in this world, and from vicarious experience through others - I don't feel qualified to speak for males, although I'm married to one and frequently consult him about his own experience of things.  (However, he's one of that rare breed who thinks with his brain, and cares tremendously about being decent. ♥)

Anyway, people are strange critters, often irrational and inconsistent, fundamentally self-interested, can fall very short of their intentions and proclaimed principles, etc etc.  Think for a moment about all of the things you wouldn't need if every person was always fair and decent:  Locks and keys, security screens, insurance policies for theft or accidental damage, restraining orders, policemen, passwords, spam filters, car alarms, immobilisers, security cameras, agony aunts, psychotherapy, lawyers, fracking (just thought I'd throw that in there), etc.  (Brett particularly wants me to add "forum moderators" to that list!  :winking_tongue)

So a person can get a bit jaded with pop songs for that reason, as well (and for many other reasons :angel), and this is one reason I related that thing about a radio station nicknamed KY-Jelly-FM (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9201.msg773501#msg773501) on another thread recently.

So, anyway, I have a reflex of looking for loopholes etc when reading stuff about this topic.  A Night Like This doesn't present immediate problems to me lyrically like In-Between Days did - it reads like "boy and girl have disagreement, girl walks away temporarily or permanently, boy has a think and then goes in pursuit and is talking about changing, not just things but by implication himself (/I want to change)" and that's all well and good (so long as it's not just words).

But now we're back to context, and who's saying it, and the relationship history - as we always have to be, if we're going to be rigorous in thinking about this stuff.  This could therefore be quite sweet, and I'm sure we can all relate to the scenario to some extent (if you're not sheep, you're going to have conflict, and you're going to have to learn to deal with conflict).  But, you can also put your "reading-insurance-policy" hat on here, and think about who you'd say, "Have a nice life!" to, in response to those same words.  Because actions speak louder than words, etc.

I've gotta say, "For always and ever is always for you" makes me smell a rat, because it's the kind of thing a Don Juan type boyfriend who thinks he's God's gift to women will typically say to you when he's trying to get back in your good graces, you know, "You're the most special of them all, the others don't mean anything, blah blah blah" (with or without, "...and I've seen the error of my ways").  So in the words of George Thorogood's female protagonist, "Don't feed me no lines and keep your hands to yourself."   :1f634:  :P

There is a trust issue in this song, as the narrator refers to having offended his partner's trust - which then makes it seem illogical to me that he would say, "I want it to be perfect like before."  If trust has somehow been wounded, the situation isn't "perfect" - but perhaps the reference is to the way it was before that trust was wounded.  On the other hand, in the case of a Don Juan type boyfriend, of course, "I want it to be perfect like before" could simply mean, "Damn, she found out about that, I liked it better when she was clueless, maybe I can sweet-talk her back to where I want her!"

I've gone out with people like that, and friends of mine have gone out with people like that, and as I've said in previous posts, I can't encounter any text about romantic relationships without that reflex engagement of the experientially acquired BS sensor.  I very much recommend cultivating a good BS sensor to any young innocent not-yet-cynical person about to set foot in the arena of romantic relationships - the sooner you learn to detect the BS, the sooner you won't have to be in it up to your chin, and the sooner you can find yourself a decent person who cares about you as much as they care about themselves and how much cake they get to eat.  ♥

It's good to practise on pop songs, a rich seam of that kind of BS, before you go out in the real world and hear all kinds of stuff from people who are getting in your face (and perhaps other places).  It's as sensible as practising your throwing in your backyard, before you get on the cricket pitch - it will stand you in good stead.   :smth023

Now if only we didn't have to be so cynical.  And if only we didn't need locks and keys, etc etc.  :1f62d:

In summing up:  The organic fertiliser content of the lyrics to this particular Cure song is entirely context-dependent.  There may be none at all, and it may indeed be a fine tune on encountering conflict with a beloved and being determined to resolve it (because the relationship is deemed worth it), and being determined to own one's own crap in the process.  Or, the very same words could be said by someone with ulterior motives that have nothing to do with genuinely wanting to be fair.  In real life, it's important to keep that distinction in mind.

As always, when I'm looking at words on a page I am responding to text, and to narratives - I'm not making surreptitious theories about the private life of the writer - and we've already talked about the difference between writer vs narrator before.  So, hopefully nobody will get high blood pressure about this particular post.  Sometimes it can be difficult to write this way on a music fan forum, because there tends to be a greater preoccupation with the artists, than there is when you're in a book club and discussing books, or in a poetry appreciation group - but to me it's the same principles, when I write. :)

An interesting snippet I caught while looking for background to this song was that it has an evolutionary relationship with another Cure song (https://genius.com/The-cure-a-night-like-this-lyrics) called Plastic Passion (that was one I really didn't like, but now I'm going to have to listen again).

Screw is next on the list - and I'm looking forward to looking at the lyrics of that one, it's quirky and it has actually grown on me!  :cool
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on November 09, 2020, 23:08:55
...I must get a move on... Wish arrived last Friday and we've already had a listen-through.   :smth023   And guess what turned up in the mailbox yesterday?  The self-titled album.  It's still in its wrapper... I have this thing about finishing something before beginning too many other things, but it's preposterous, the idea of looking at the lyrics to every Cure song on an album this way, and it's unnecessary... so I've decided that after finishing the sequential look at lyrics from The Head On The Door, I'm not going to do it like that ever again - I'm just going to pick out things I'm really wanting to think about and write about, rather than making this rod for my own back...

So let's see if we can't get this finished in one post.


SCREW

When you screw up your eyes
When you screw up your face
When you throw out your arms
And keep changing your shape

T-turn, turn the taste in your mouth
T-turn, turn the taste on your tongue
The film on your eyes
Of the way I've become

What do I do when you screw up your eyes?
What do I do when you screw up your face?
What do I do when you throw out your arms
Fall on the floor and keep changing your shape?

J-j-jump, jump right into your mouth?
J-j-jump, jump around on your tongue?
The film on your eyes
Of the way I've become
Makes me sick at the way that I try anything in the world
To impress that I'm doing this only for you

This only for you
Only for you



Again, it's been read many different ways, but I can imagine it well as a relationship (romantic, family, friend, even audience, it would all make sense) comment - I love the lines, The film on your eyes/Of the way I've become - which makes me think of the phenomenon of typecasting, of putting people in boxes and padlocking those boxes - it can actually be really difficult to grow beyond where you currently are if people keep trying to push you back in a box they made for you.  This is one reason a lot of young adults find that going somewhere completely different geographically, to live and work, away from their family and prior social network, can be so incredibly liberating, because then all the people you meet don't have all these preconceived ideas of who you should be, and you've got this lovely fresh canvas.  It's actually so much easier to grow and change the way you want to when you have oxygen and freedom to do it.

I think that's especially true for limitations - so much easier to get past your own areas of struggle when you don't have people around you who think of you as limited in particular ways and who say, "That's not you!" when you're trying something more useful, or just something different.  And excuse me, it is you, when you're applying your brains and efforts to replace a particular autopilot with a more considered approach, in line with your own ideas of what you're trying to grow into.  You're not a computer with an unalterable set of programmes, you're a computer with a set of programmes and the ability to reprogramme your own code, so you can actually evolve.

One of my favourite authors, Jeanette Winterson, often talks about how you should see yourself like a book that you can write.  Well, exactly.  Being a person isn't about being stuck in some mould, it's about continuing to break out of any moulds you discover in yourself, and letting your shape evolve more freely.

That's just me thinking out loud; now let's look at the words for Sinking, the last track on the album.


SINKING

I am slowing down
As the years go by
I am sinking

So I trick myself
Like everybody else

The secrets I hide
That twist me inside
And make me weaker

So I trick myself
Like everybody else
So I trick myself
Like everybody else

I crouch in fear and wait
I'll never feel again
If only I could, if only I could
If only I could remember
Anything at all



This song is commonly read as a comment on the "negative effects of getting older" - and I can see how you can read it that way, but there are other ways to look at these lyrics, too.  Before I do that, though, I've got to challenge this silly youth culture idea that progressing through your life span is cumulative loss - that's such utter BS, even on a purely physical level (which is not the be-all and end-all of who you are either, by the way - it's primarily a container).  Remember all the angsting we're culturally programmed to do turning 30, 40 etc?  Well, personally I was angsting when turning 18, at 21, at 25, and 30 - OMG, I was getting so ancient - and then I discovered that I was actually still getting better, even physically - strength and endurance continued to improve right up to about age 40 for me, and I also think I looked better in my 30s than in my 20s, and I think that's true for a lot of people, especially if they get enough sleep and exercise and have healthy eating patterns.

So by the time I turned 40, that milestone didn't bother me - I was happy, healthy, productive, creative, and married to a guy who has a healthy attitude to the life span, as well as being an all-round lovely husband.  Now in my late 40s, I think it's preposterous to ever angst about your age when you've not even reached your peak yet - but of course, it's what our culture conditions us to do, until we learn it's BS.

Obviously we should know we are mortal, that's really important - but we shouldn't waste our limited time in a persistent funeral mode when the funeral hasn't even happened yet, let alone the life peak (which is actually a series of peaks, more like a ridge walk than a single mountain) - there is so much to celebrate, and to learn, and to do.

If you've not seen a ridge walk before, it looks like this:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50523163037_3807b5d933_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2jYyqaT)

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50523162772_e99ed1f816_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2jYyq6j)

...It's not just going up a single mountain and back down, but actually going ridge to ridge between a chain of mountains/hills, so you stay "up" for a long time and get great views, just like in Lord Of The Rings...

Getting back to the lyrics - the way I look at those is as a portrait of what happens when we're held back, scared, compromised somehow - and that happens to all of us, at some point or other - and if we're unlucky and can't find a way out of that, it can describe our entire existence.  The years go by indeed, but that's not the central problem - and we should be careful not to confuse correlation with causation.  Just because a particular thing, or several things, are perhaps getting worse with the passage of time, doesn't mean the passage of time is what's responsible for that - and I would think, rarely ever solely responsible.

If you look at ageing, for example, it is inevitable that eventually you're going to reach a fatal level of decrepitude and shuffle off this mortal coil, but you do actually have so much influence on how that pans out for you.  If you don't use something, you lose it - whether it's muscles, bone, your brain, your creativity, post-reproductive age sex, fitness, pretty much any skill or virtue, etc.  Many of the things that I thought, when I was a young person, were inevitably lost with the passage of time, are actually primarily and prematurely lost through lack of use, and lack of care (by self and others).  Take fitness, that's chiefly about regular challenging exercise - and though I'd say my own potential physical fitness peaked sometime between 30 and 40, and I'm a bit lower down in that now than I was, in my late 40s all of that is still higher than the average contemporary 25-year-old's - just as my bone density worked out at around one standard deviation better than the average 18-25-year-old's in a recent "you're-nearing-half-a-century" scan.

This is because the general population is way too inactive, not just physically either, but also mentally, creatively, etc.  That's not meant to be a criticism - there's so many structural reasons for that, in the way we're dysfunctionally running our societies - it's just pointing out that we can decide to change the way we do things, to be better stewards of our own selves and each other.

Furthermore, the passage of time doesn't just take - it also gives.  You might lose your ultra-pristine youthful skin, and your hair colour might come out of a bottle, and you may have to fight gravity harder, and bits of you get more creaky - but we've been conditioned to pay too much attention to mere wrapping paper instead of considering what's inside.  You also get - more experience, potentially more happiness, potentially more confidence and security and skills and wisdom.  Your circle of real friends can enlarge with time, you potentially get better at relationships and see yourself more accurately and become more comfortable in your own skin.  You don't have to stagnate.

I hope we're all learning this as time goes on.  Isn't it funny how we can be so tragic about stuff when we're younger, and then laugh at ourselves in hindsight... and isn't it liberating.  ♥
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on November 12, 2020, 07:04:19
THE MAILBOX IS GROANING

CDs have descended on our mailbox thick and fast and yesterday we found Pornography in it.  :1f631:  OMG, the things that happen when you're ordering from the Cure back catalogue... :winking_tongue  Alas, that and the self-titled are staying in their wrappers while I take a look at the 1992 album Wish.

We had our first play-through last Friday night and @Ulrich, the wag, said, "Oh, you listened to Friday I'm In Love on an actual Friday!"  :lol:  But of course, the real miracle was that I listened to the studio version of Friday I'm In Love without rushing to turn it off.   :angel  However, in this case I did - to hear it as part of the album.  It's not a bad song or anything, just like ryegrass pollen isn't a bad thing per se.  I'm just a bit allergic to both of them!   :-D  All that exposure.  I don't know what it's like in other parts of the world, but here in Australia, for the past 28 years, not a Friday has gone by without commercial radio stations playing this song at least once.  You simply can't avoid this song unless you completely shun society. 

On the plus side, it will have helped the band eat.  Also, I was thinking that if I'd never had this song shoved down my throat on a regular basis whether I wanted it or not, and had just met it in the middle of a Cure set, I wouldn't have had that reaction.

I was over-exposed to this - although if Lullaby got played once a week that wouldn't bother me at all, or any of dozens of other Cure numbers - actually, I'd love to make commercial radio play The Kiss on high rotation, or One Hundred Years or The Scream or Freakshow... or perhaps best of all, Babble...  :angel

Brett is saying, "When I become Emperor of the Universe, I will be able to arrange this for you."

Anyhow, so our first listen created a very favourable impression.  It's helpful that it doesn't sound the least bit 80s - the music I enjoyed listening to the most in the actual 80s didn't sound anything like the 80s either and even now is timeless.  I think Wish has a timeless sound too, and so does Bloodflowers, and I don't think you can place Disintegration in the 80s just by listening to it either.  I like it when music can't be easily dated to a particular decade by its sound - I guess I've never liked fashions and fads, and just preferred authenticity.  That carries right into preferring houses that people build themselves with a bit of imagination, rather than getting a McDonald's type experience.


LOVE GONE WRONG, LET ME COUNT THE WAYS

Wish almost feels like a theme album lyrically - so many songs on love gone wrong (or love at least presenting difficulties), one song on love gone right, two on manipulation, a mental health song, and that famous weekday ditty.  That's just on first impression - I may be missing data at this stage.

Speaking of Disintegration, a couple of days later we were chatting about Wish in the car in-between listening to some live Cure, when the title track of that came on.  And isn't it interesting that so many songs from the follow-up release to Disintegration are variations on the theme of the title track of the predecessor.


So now, I've got a difficult task lined up:  Attempting to articulate why the lyrics of the song Disintegration continue to speak to me and to make my hair stand on end at every encounter.  Let's just look at it like a poem on a page - which of course is not what a song is, a song has so many more dimensions - but the lyrics to this track stand up extraordinarily well on their own, too:

DISINTEGRATION

Oh, I miss the kiss of treachery
The shameless kiss of vanity
The soft and the black and the velvety
Up tight against the side of me

And mouth and eyes and heart all bleed
And run in thickening streams of greed
As bit by bit it starts the need
To just let go my party piece

I miss the kiss of treachery
The aching kiss before I feed
The stench of a love for a younger meat
And the sound that it makes when it cuts in deep
The holding up on bended knees
The addiction of duplicities
As bit by bit it starts the need
To just let go my party piece

But I never said I would stay to the end
So I leave you with babies and hoping for frequency
Screaming like this in the hope of the secrecy
Screaming me over and over and over
I leave you with photographs, pictures of trickery
Stains on the carpet and stains on the scenery
Songs about happiness murmured in dreams
When we both of us knew how the ending would be

So it's all come back round to breaking apart again
Breaking apart like I'm made up of glass again
Making it up behind my back again
Holding my breath for the fear of sleep again
Holding it up behind my head again
Cut in deep to the heart of the bone again
Round and round and round and it's coming apart again
Over and over and over

And now that I know that I'm breaking to pieces
I'll pull out my heart and I'll feed it to anyone
I'm crying for sympathy, crocodiles cry
For the love of the crowd
And the three cheers from everyone
Dropping through sky
Through the glass of the roof
Through the roof of your mouth
Through the mouth of your eye
Through the eye of the needle
It's easier for me to get closer to Heaven
Than ever feel whole again

But I never said I would stay to the end
I knew I would leave you and fame isn't everything
Screaming like this in the hope of sincerity
Screaming it's over and over and over
I leave you with photographs, pictures of trickery
Stains on the carpet and stains on the memory
Songs about happiness murmured in dreams
When we both of us knew how the end always is
How the end always is

How the end always is
How the end always is
How the end always is
How the end always is


From a writer's perspective, this is A+ poetry - the use of language in this is magnificent on so many levels.  This piece is so visceral, and so supersaturated with evocative imagery, and displays such a consciousness of words and phrases and their various meanings and connotations... if you're a word nerd, it's a rare treat to encounter stuff like this.

As to the story being told, it's one of those where I want to back right off and let it tell itself - because it's one of those where discussion of it can attempt to railroad people into narrow perspectives, as I think is the case with the annotations to this song on Genius lyrics (https://genius.com/The-cure-disintegration-lyrics) (click on the highlighted text to see), as well as the quotes from the Rolling Stone writer at the bottom of the page.  It's like these people are wanting to pin this song down, "prove" things, like that they have the "correct take" when the beauty of a song or a poem like this is that it's multi-dimensional and operates on various levels.  They'll correctly identify some element or other, but then often be tempted to leap to narrow conclusions from there, as if one proves the other when it really doesn't.

I really want to avoid adding to that pile with what I'm writing.  I don't generally think I have "the" correct take for a song or poem etc, I just have working hypotheses - and generally speaking I'm not as interested in narrowing things down as I am in broadening the way I see things (because that's something you have to work on), and learning to look in different ways.  This is why I started open-journalling about music here - because it's a learning process, and because writing things down has always helped me to think.  I just record my reactions honestly, then think about them - metacognition is something you can do like Pilates, but you don't need a mat for it.  Along the way with this project, I've had some strong personal reactions, both positive and negative, and seen some ghosts come out of cupboards to boot - and I like to joke that a full-priced Cure album costs you less than an hour of psychotherapy.  :angel

Getting back to the lyrics and those comments on them on Genius - attempts are made to personalise this stuff and forget there can be a distance between the writer and the narrator (as there clearly is here, e.g. the writer doesn't have babies...Brett the Empiricist says, that we know about or possibly he knows about, and I'm reminding him that there are surgical methods of permanent contraception if you're determined not to have any) - I've made that mistake before too with some songs (because they're so emotionally convincing - have you ever seen an actor play a string of villains so persuasively that you're starting to think the actor is like that themselves, and then you're surprised they're not?).  Anyway, I see Disintegration more as a piece that's informed by personal experience, than one that's strictly autobiographical - like familiar emotions draped over a fiction or a semi-fiction - which is also what writers of novels and short stories need to do in order to write convincing characters.


[more later]
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: Ulrich on November 12, 2020, 13:40:56
Quote from: SueC on November 12, 2020, 07:04:19Wish almost feels like a theme album lyrically - so many songs on love gone wrong (or love at least presenting difficulties), one song on love gone right, one on manipulation, a mental health song, and that famous weekday ditty.  That's just on first impression - I may be missing data at this stage.

Robert once said the title didn't mean much... but I doubt it. Because "wishing" seems to be theme of the album: to wish impossible things, "i wish you felt the way that I still do", the wish to fly "high" etc.!
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on November 13, 2020, 23:28:10
A few more early impressions of the Wish album, after several listens with headphones while going about chores... Lovely is an adjective that keeps suggesting itself when I'm thinking about the music.  Also, it's an incredibly cohesive album, so much so that I'm not having any urge to skip anything (even Friday I'm In Love :winking_tongue - total miracle that it should be so) - and in that way it's very like Disintegration or Bloodflowers - all the sound on it just fits together, and there's no song that sticks out like a sore thumb - not even Wendy Time, which I've seen much disliked in online fan discussions and I'd braced myself for, but thematically I can see why it's there - unpalatable as the situation in it is, if you're going to present various narratives on relationships gone wrong, you may as well have a narrative on a relationship never getting underway because the target is wise to the crummy manipulation on offer  :smth023 (and notice how the word "relationship" has "relate" in it; it's not a "manipulationship").

The sound, including the singing, on Wish is distinctly different to live performances of the same material, and though I generally prefer Cure material live (because they're brilliant live and the immediacy etc), in this case I'm drawn to both equally - sort of like a situation where you enjoy different "takes" on a classical music piece equally, because they bring out different elements, and all those elements are interesting in different ways.

The singing is kind of - dissonant doesn't quite describe it, because it's not a negative quality... it's kind of brittle and edgy without being grating.  You know how a good narrator of audiobooks adjusts their voice to the prose they are reading, and this really brings out the prose - in a similar way to how onomatopoeia works - the sound is like the sense of the word and this amplification happens as a result.  The distinct voice on this album marries well to the general themes.  In addition, you're not straining to make out what's being said when listening to this album, it's all pretty clear.

Audio quality is very good, almost as good as on KMKMKM (and unlike on our copy of Disintegration, which sounds really clipped and is an impediment to my enjoyment of the music).

Comments on lyrics will be expanded upon in my previous post as I go - because of the open-edit here I can do this retrospectively.  :cool
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on November 21, 2020, 07:17:53
Post #77 is getting too long, and I'm not done with the lyrics to Disintegration so I will reserve that space for that specific purpose, and use this post to have a look at songs on Wish which seem to me to be variations on that theme.


LOVE GONE WRONG, LET ME COUNT THE WAYS (continued)

Wish has one love-gone-right song in High (which in turn has a supercalifragilistic B-side on love-gone-phenomenally-and-spectacularly-right in This Twilight Garden), and a whole swag of love-gone-wrong songs.  Not that it's a binary thing in real life, it's more like a spectrum, but for the purposes of this discussion I'm allowing myself these terms, because everyone will understand what I mean by that.

We're currently looking at people's favourite romantic songs on another thread (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9379) - and mostly looking at love-gone-right songs there, because people say "How romantic!" when they see couples holding hands, kissing, giving off really positive body language, waxing lyrical (if they like the lyrics :winking_tongue), bestowing flowers or home-made marzipan hearts, etc, but (unless they are completely deranged  :1f632:) they most categorically do not say "How romantic!" if a couple is falling out of love, or breaking up, or if they are cheating on each other, or throwing things at each other, or mistreating each other in a multitude of other ways.

And yet, for some reason, the most deeply affecting love songs are often the ones where things are going wrong.  I think in part it's that almost everyone has been traumatised at one point or another by a relationship ending, or never going right in the first place, or starting out fine and then going off the rails (temporarily or permanently) - it's such a universal experience.  Added to that, our brains are biologically set up to pay more attention to bad experiences than to good ones (because this promotes our physical survival) - and tricks like metacognition and mindfulness and practising gratitude are all about working around our brains' preoccupation with monsters under the bed and the things that have gone wrong in our lives, and the things we use to distract ourselves from those.

But we also need catharsis - we can't just look elsewhere all the time, we do actually have to deal with the difficult stuff.  So in a sense, a good love-gone-wrong-song is community therapy, or even preventative medicine.  (A useless love-gone-wrong-song romanticises and therefore perpetuates the inherent dysfunctions - see also KY-Jelly-FM (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9201.msg773501#msg773501).)

And then there's the old argument that the devil has the best tunes.  Do you think that's true?  And to put a twist on this, do you prefer the heartbreak of From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea to the bliss of This Twilight Garden?  Do you prefer a good murder novel to a biography of a person who had a very nice life?  Do you prefer vampires to cherubs?  Jalapeño peppers to a nice sheep's milk cheese?  A bed of nails to a floaty-cloud-mattress?  Piranhas to goldfish? ;)

As readers and viewers and probably listeners, we humans are generally drawn more to drama than to things going swimmingly (though perhaps best to sample from both) - and for many of us, that's probably because we're trying to solve our own problems and understand things that are still murky to us.  Plus, who wants to listen to how wonderful someone else's life is when you've just had a major crisis in your own?

Before I sat down to write this, Brett and I came up with a joke together:  What kind of romance novels do goths read? ...Mills & Gloom, of course!  (...as opposed to Bilge & Swoon... :1f635:)

And as Sally Sparrow said in the very gothic Dr Who episode Blink, "I like sad things.  Sad is happy for deep people."  (Small commercial break - if you've never seen this episode, remedy this matter - this is a good stand-alone story, you don't have to like sci-fi, Dr Who is hardly even in it, and I've never shown it to anyone who didn't like it - that's several hundred people so far! :cool)   See here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHz8hulp2RM

Now without further ado, let's have a look at some love-gone-wrong lyrics from Wish.


APART

He waits for her to understand
But she won't understand at all
She waits all night for him to call
But he won't call anymore
He waits to hear her say, "Forgive"
But she just drops her pearl-black eyes
And prays to hear him say, "I love you"
But he tells no more lies

He waits for her to sympathize
But she won't sympathize at all
She waits all night to feel his kiss
But always wakes alone
He waits to hear her say, "Forget"
But she just hangs her head in pain
And prays to hear him say, "No more
I'll never leave again"

How did we get this far apart?
We used to be so close together
How did we get this far apart?
I thought this love would last forever

He waits for her to understand
But she won't understand at all
She waits all night for him to call
But he won't call
He waits to hear her say, "Forgive"
But she just drops her pearl black eyes
And prays to hear him say, "I love you"
But he tells no more lies

How did we get this far apart?
We used to be so close together
How did we get this far apart?
I thought this love would last forever
How did we get this far apart?
We used to be so close together
How did we get this far apart?
I thought this love would last forever


Like Disintegration, this works beautifully even just on the page - it's so well written, and the choice and arrangement of the words make their own sort of music when you read through.  Here's two people beyond being able to give each other what they most need, ever again - and the impossibility is so wonderfully summed up in the lines He waits to hear her say, "Forgive"/But she just drops her pearl black eyes/And prays to hear him say, "I love you"/But he tells no more lies.  The chorus in turn captures so well the stunned disbelief, and the going round in circles of mourning. 

I really do think it's useful to look at lyrics on a page, to avoid unnecessary misconceptions.  I listened to this song on Paris for years because I often play that album on my iPod while mowing lawn, and I'd half-hear the lyrics, but I always missed that one crucial line, so I had the impression that this was about two people who'd come to an impasse in their relationship, and were pining for each other and wishing they could work things out, but that each was waiting for the other to make the first move.  Funnily, Brett was under the same impression - and it's not as if that's an unusual situation either.


But when I looked at the lyric sheet at last, I noticed the crucial line:  But he tells no more lies.  So, the forgiveness he would like is for not wanting to stay together, not (solely, anyway) for his part in the problems the couple had - while she is having a hard time accepting the relationship is over.  This is also a common scenario (and works both ways; the genders at each end to me are incidental). 

These are the kinds of songs that are very useful for inclusion in relationship education programmes, or in general education (e.g. English curriculum, middle and senior schools) to get people thinking and talking about relationships, expectations around those, when to work on it versus when to give up on it, breaking up and dealing with the emotions around that, relationship ethics, self-care etc.  Fictional scenarios (lyrics, poetry, novels, films etc) are really good for getting everyone involved, and encouraging people to make comparisons with real-life situations they've seen and experienced.

The ethics are a bit of a Pandora's box - and basically, within reason, everyone needs to draw their own personal lines where they think is right for them (and that may change with time and circumstance).  One central ethical conundrum brought up by the song Apart is around breakups of relationships that were begun on the understanding (or maybe the hope?) they weren't experimental - whereas if you have a relationship that's experimental and both sides are clear on this from the beginning, breaking up is usually a less painful experience, since no promises around longevity (and perhaps other matters) were made, and therefore you don't have to deal with broken promises, or the shock of suddenly being on vastly different pages to what you thought you were.

Want to put your hand up if you've been through a breakup similar to the one depicted in Apart?  Well, the breakup of my first relationship, in my early 20s, is a fit for that song - and I was the person who got very hurt and had difficulty accepting what had happened, just like the girl in this song.  However, how different these things are in hindsight - because I don't regret the loss of that relationship in hindsight.   I very soon afterwards learnt the truth of "better a painful end than an endless pain" - and I grew from the experience, and it paved the way to where I am now (and that's a very good place).

It's rather interesting surviving an ending you thought was going to kill you - because after that, you know that these things don't actually kill you, they just feel like they're going to.  This is a very liberating discovery, and puts a spring in your step.  A relationship ending is not the worst thing that can happen, just like death isn't the worst thing possible - it's far worse to live an "unlife" than it is to die, if you ask me.

Something I think is really positive is that in the last 30 years, the pressure on girls to "get it right first time" and immediately (or at all) end up in a lifelong relationship (or at least be prepared to make it one) has mercifully decreased significantly.  The double standard around that has been eroding, and girls are more likely to get experience dating different people, and to learn what works for them and what doesn't, and are less likely to feel obliged to settle down with their first serious boyfriend.  (In that sense, by the way, the gendering in Apart does make a point.)

Breakup ethics, anyone?  What do you do if you've got a relationship that started with the mutual hope that it would be lasting, and continued on with promises being made, and then one person works out that this is not what they want after all, or that it doesn't work for them and they can't make it work?  Or if one person finds that they don't really love the other in the way they think a person in a long-term relationship should be loved - and they work through the whole feelings-versus-actions thing, and are still stuck?  (I'm of the opinion that love isn't just some magical feeling, I'm of the opinion it's a disposition you have towards someone - and that love is a doing thing and a respecting thing, not a magical bit of unicorn dust the universe showers upon you, and that the attitude is more important than the feeling, and that good feelings follow good attitudes, rather than that you stop having a good attitude when the good feelings go temporarily missing.  This is not, of course, to say you should stay in a relationship that's lacking in respect, or that you think isn't going to be particularly helpful for the evolution of both its participants - even if you promised to stay long-term, and that's where these things get hairy... Love includes healthy self-love, self-care and self-respect - and having an authentic self to give from.)

I think it would be really helpful if the general population understood at an early age that a lot of those "magical unicorn dust" feelings are just products of our biochemistry that are about inducing us to pass on our genes - often compounded by situations where people grew up without sufficient love and support, and now any morsel anyone throws them seems like a religious experience by comparison.  A real relationship isn't about magical unicorn dust, it's about actually relating, and really seeing and hearing each other, instead of projecting our own fantasies or failings on other people.  It's about a sum that's greater than its parts, and creating an environment in which both people can flourish, and a couple who are helping rather than hindering each other to grow the way each wants to.  The relationship has to bring out the best in each other, or it's not sustainable, or even worth it.

Although of course, some people cling to, for example, staying married, just for the sake of not being seen to fail or because they don't know what else to do, even if they actually don't have a good relationship at all - and they celebrate their wedding anniversaries with big fanfare and personal pride, but they treat each other with contempt in everyday life, and have both become sad, shrivelled caricatures of human beings, and their own karma.  (That was how it was modelled to me by my own parents.)

All of these sorts of things need to be publicly talked about as a kind of social immunisation to repeating the cycles we were born into - so we can learn to thoughtfully create our own identities, lives and relationships around something authentic, instead of adopting the various moulds on offer.  Those moulds are pushed at you from all around - by consumer society, by politics, by religion, by culture, by your family, by your peers - and to adopt your own thing instead is generally not a popular option, and you're likely to experience blowback from the pushers of moulds.

This can be recursive - groups of people may form as a protest against the commonly peddled moulds, and then create their own moulds.  You see this in ever-splintering organised religion, you can see it even in some parts of the counterculture - hippies with hippie moulds, punks with punk moulds and so on.  The urge to act like a lemming is very strong indeed, for a lot of people.

So we need stories, and we need songs, and we need art that shows us our own tragedy, and that also shows us alternative universes to our own.  Not moulds, mind you; nothing one-size-fits-all - but alternative universes, alternative possibilities, alternative ideas, from which we can dream up our own.
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on November 24, 2020, 05:19:31
I'm really enjoying our new acquisition Wish, on multiple levels - musically there's so much on there that's lovely, and even the stuff that's not I think is the way it is to reinforce the story told by the lyrics - e.g. Wendy Time isn't exactly a beautiful song, but the quacking Donald-Duck type guitars and the dissonance and ner-ner-ness of the thing just goes with the portrait of an insufferable attempt at manipulation, which the narrator is wise to, which in turn makes me go, "Hooray!" because how many people fall for that, not just once but repeatedly...

It's mostly like aromatherapy for your ears (not roses or geranium, and nothing fake with phthalates from the chemistry lab either, more like sandalwood and boronia), while the lyrics to most of the songs are written with great care, go well as stand-alone poetry, and make you think.  If there's a main theme, I think it's interpersonal relationships and the human condition...but I would think that  :winking_tongue - it's like, "What do you see?"

(https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Ftse3.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DOIP.WX9hViT2NgROgtnZ3VeSIQHaFJ%26pid%3DApi&f=1)


TRIGGERS AND ANTIDOTES

I had a bit of a collision with the musically gorgeous track From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea a while back, before we got the album it was on, when I first looked specifically at its lyrics and found that an aspect of them actually triggered some really bad ghosts in my cupboard.  (When I find where that is on CF, I'll link to it...  Aha, it's this thread (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9264.0)!)  And I mean, triggered them to the point that I was physically nauseated and in full fight-or-flight mode - an occasional oh-so-lovely by-product of having complex PTSD.  :1f635:   It took me a while to lose that subconscious response to it, but thankfully that's gone now.

It's been really nice for me to see this song in the broader context of the album it's from, and had I heard it like this in the first place, rather than as a stand-alone in concerts, I'd probably have had an intellectual "click" that would have forestalled the involuntary trigger response. I was unable to see or articulate what was going on clearly at the time - it was just something that jumped me from behind, some ghosts from nearly three decades before, the very smell of which made me want to throw up.

If I had to try to explain that to other people now, I'd say that if you're an inexperienced young person who spent their childhood with narcissists in the home and is now living with a malignant narcissist who makes the business of causing you pain not just a way of deriving sadistic pleasure for himself, but a way of successfully portraying himself to the sycophants all around him as a poet and a higher being than the person he is hurting, and who thinks of himself as the person most wronged by the universe, in this twisted, "It hurts me more to hurt you than it hurts you and I'm such a poet and people should have sympathy for me and isn't this great poetry!" way... well, then you just develop an allergy to anything that can be construed as romanticising or poeticising certain types of situations, and anything that takes you down the Pensieve to the powerlessness and despair you once experienced.

To be clear, if I were talking to that young version of me now, I'd say to her, "You've been brainwashed from early childhood to believe that all problems in relationships are entirely your fault, that you're not a good person, that you're not worthy of love, that anyone who gives you any semblance of love no matter how poor the facsimile is to be put on a pedestal and viewed with awe and gratefulness and I-am-not-worthy-of-thee, that the first person you sleep with has to be the person you're with for life or you're a slut whether or not you enjoyed the sex (not that it should make any difference, it's just highly ironic, and it's so utterly stupid in hindsight :1f62b:) and you're not really supposed to enjoy sex anyway if you're a girl, it's just a service you are beholden to provide for people with Y-chromosomes, and your body isn't really yours, and all sorts of total BS like this, and most of your brainwash isn't in your thoughts - your intellect will help you from early on to cut through those lies - but it's in the way you feel, which won't be changed by reason, and won't in fact go away until the Great Wall Of China (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9196.0) you don't know you have in your head collapses in your early 40s, and then your feelings won't contradict your thoughts anymore, woohoo, something to look forward to!  :smth023

...and meanwhile, please understand that you have a right to remove yourself from situations that are harmful and painful to you, but you don't do it yet because you've been brainwashed to believe that to walk away means you don't love and you don't forgive and that you're of weak character and that you are unable to solve problems plus you're a coward - all which is also BS..."

As Joe Straczinsky says about his father in Becoming Superman:

QuoteI could debate endlessly his reasons for doing those things, or try to figure out why his personality had splintered to the point where he needed to inflict pain on others in order to feel alive, but that didn't alter the fact that those were his problems, his choices.  Like all abusers he wanted me to believe I had no choice but to accept this behaviour, that I could never escape him. That had been true when I was younger, but I was now old enough to walk away from an abusive situation; if I failed to do so, then it became my problem, my choice.  I had no control over my father's behaviour, but I had absolute control over my proximity.  He could only hurt me while I chose to remain within range of the fist and the boot, the lie and the scream.  If I wanted to stop the abuse, all I had to do was step outside his reach...

Was I running away from the problem?  Probably.  But when you're in a situation where nothing will change, running away isn't just a solution, it's the only solution.  No one being chased by a bobcat thinks, Maybe I should stick it out, try to make the relationship work.  And there's some people in this world who are just frickin' bobcats.

It is, of course, textbook to go from a narcissistic family of origin straight into a romantic relationship with a narcissist, and it's actually scarier to be in that romantic relationship than it was to be in your family, because you naively thought that was all over now...

So, no wonder that things that remind me of the twistedness of all that can still trigger me if I'm just mooching about, not expecting that to happen.  It was a song I really liked, and was at that stage not entirely familiar with, and for me to look at the lyrics and get triggered by that recalled all the old OMG I was lulled into a false sense of security, oh no not again where's my radar shock.  And then later you work through that, to discover what's ghost and what's reality, and of course ambiguity and tea-leafiness doesn't make for any cut and dried conclusions.

Something doesn't have to replicate a situation that once really traumatised you, it just has to smell remotely like it, when you've already let your guard down, to create that fight-or-flight response in your brain.  Then, your job is to herd the cats emotionally, while having a good think.  While that kind of reaction isn't pleasant to experience (it's roughly like a migraine in unpleasantness, and equally physical, but very different), it doesn't happen all that often to me these days, and when it does, I've got established ways of defusing it.  Not having a particularly precarious existence anymore has been helpful.  Also, you get to a point where being occasionally triggered by something helps you put the few missing pieces together in the puzzle you've been solving.

So I'll have a look at From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea again, this time without the trigger reaction.  Next time though, I want to look at A Letter To Elise.
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on November 25, 2020, 00:43:35
There's a soft sound to Wish that's probably the closest The Cure have come to folk.  There's a lot of acoustic guitar, quirky keyboards with more acoustic (as opposed to synthetic) sounds like those of bells and xylophones, general jingly-jangly stuff including from cymbals and percussion in general, a bit of piano and viola, and vocal harmonies - all of which are elements I frequently encounter in my favourite folk music.  However, I've never heard folk music with anywhere near that sort of bass playing, not even when Sharon Shannon really gets swinging...

(Look at the expression on her face hahaha, I've seen her live and she's always doing that!  :lol:)


Nor with that level of electric guitar, which is sadly often woeful when folk artists include it.  Here's an example; this piece by Máirín Fahy starts off wonderfully and is then totally ruined by the cheesy electric guitar...


She did an acoustic version of this called Sydney Harbour, without that dreadful guitar playing, that a housemate had on an album, but sadly I can't find it anywhere...  :1f62a:

I can't leave it at this;  to get that bad-cheese taste out of everyone's mouth, here's some dark folk from South Australian outfit The Audreys:



So, no horrible sounds, and happy ears with Wish.  :)

A Letter To Elise today.


I had no idea there was an official clip for this, since this is all relatively new to me.  But look, an extra guitar!  :cool   Interesting that Perry Bamonte is a leftie - I wonder if he strings his guitar the other way around because of it, or plays it as is, but can never seem to catch this information off live footage; it's not nearly as obvious to me as violin stringing.  (Speaking of adjustments people make, there's a violinist in our town who used to play with the West Australian Symphony and then had a traffic accident that made it impossible for her to hold a violin up, so what she did is learn to play it all over again, this time like a miniature cello... was part of an outfit around here with the hilarious moniker "Well Strung"... :lol:)

I heard this track for years on Paris before we got Wish...


It works very well live, and always reminded me of Pictures Of You musically - that sense of a string quartet working together, with the bass like the cello and the guitars working in like violin and viola.  Funnily, I always imagined that A Letter To Elise pre-dated Pictures Of You when it's actually the other way around.  I love the composition on both those tracks.

Back to the lyrics, and the theme for a large group of songs off Wish:


LOVE GONE WRONG, LET ME COUNT THE WAYS (continued)

A LETTER TO ELISE

Oh Elise it doesn't matter what you say
I just can't stay here every yesterday
like keep on acting out the same
the way we act out
every way to smile
forget
and make-believe we never needed
any more than this
any more than this

Oh Elise it doesn't matter what you do
I know I'll never really get inside of you
to make your eyes catch fire
the way they should
the way the blue could pull me in
if they only would
if they only would
at least I'd lose this sense of sensing something else
that hides away
from me and you
there're worlds to part
with aching looks and breaking hearts
and all the prayers your hands can make
oh I just take as much as you can throw
And then throw it all away
Oh I throw it all away
like throwing faces at the sky
like throwing arms round
yesterday
I stood and stared
wide-eyed in front of you
and the face I saw looked back
the way I wanted to
but I just can't hold my tears away
the way you do

Elise believe I never wanted this
I thought this time I'd keep all of my promises
I thought you were the girl I always dreamed about
but I let the dream go
and the promises broke
and the make-believe ran out

So Elise it doesn't matter what you say
I just can't stay here every yesterday
like keep on acting out the same
the way we act out
every way to smile
forget
and make-believe we never needed
any more than this
any more than this

And every time I try to pick it up
like falling sand
as fast as I pick it up
it runs away through my clutching hands
but there's nothing else I can really do
there's nothing else I can really do
there's nothing else
I can really do
at all


(Phew!  The line arrangements didn't make sense to me off Internet lyric sites, so I looked at the CD booklet - with our biggest magnifying glass, the one we use to look at tiny orchids, and my eyes are now sore - tiny black print on a red background, not exactly high contrast... :P)

It's been a strange day - I've picked up writing again after a day planting out tomato seedlings, baking bread, cutting firewood for next winter out of a tree that had fallen into the road, trimming donkey hooves, making a mushroom risotto, etc - and during a teabreak I came across a total idiocy (https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/nov/24/stunning-wife-no-effort-sex-life-losing-interest) in The Guardian, OMG, read it yourself, there's someone who's got it all back to front, but it made me wonder if that person could also read the words to A Letter To Elise and think it summed up their failing relationship (not that I think that particular individual has a poetic bone in his body, but narcissists will give themselves airs :1f635:).

It's not how I personally would read the song, but people will read themselves into things and that's part of the point of lyrics and poetry, that if you leave any wiggle room (and sometimes even if you don't) people will interpret the words in a way that makes sense to them for their own lives, and will try to find things to relate to.  (And yes, I do that too, but that's usually tempered by being professionally trained to take several steps backwards to try to look more objectively at a situation, to reason things out, and to look for alternative ideas, explanations etc, to what my own initial ideas about something are.)

Personally the song made me think of situations in which people are basically role-playing romantic relationships, the same way pre-schoolers will play "mummy, daddy, child, dog" - and then finding that there is nothing underneath, at the core - it's just surface stuff, window dressing for an empty shop.  I think that can happen quite unconsciously especially in people without much relationship experience, where they just go through the motions doing what they think they're supposed to do.

I love the line I just can't stay here every yesterday - it has Groundhog Day overtones (and perhaps actually, that film's message may apply here too - or of course it may not) - and also calls to mind for me that old Middle Eastern tale about a ghost ship, a sailing ship which a shipwrecked person manages to haul himself onto, only to find all the crew dead on the decks, and he's unable to shift the bodies, they are literally stuck.  The ship keeps sailing towards the distant coast, but as night falls, the ship reverses direction, and all the dead come to life and kill each other all over again in this shockingly violent scene.  Then the ship tacks back towards the coast, but by nightfall it reverses direction again, and the dead rise to massacre each other once more.  Our horrified passenger eventually finds that pinning verses from the Koran to each body makes it possible to pick them up off the planks and throw them in the sea, and this breaks the spell, so that he finally gets to the coast.

The relationship portrayed in A Letter To Elise appears similarly stuck.  Sometimes, there's a solution, but sometimes you do have to walk away.  Of course, a lot of people will walk away, only to find that similar problems arise in their next relationship too, and that this won't change until they change themselves.  Nevertheless, compatibility of personalities, values, life goals etc is very important in determining whether you're going to have a good relationship, and if that's not there, it's unlikely to have a happy outcome long-term.

(Brett says, "I have a boy bit, you have a girl bit, seems to work OK!"  :winking_tongue ...and I told him to mind what he says, because he's liable to get quoted.   :angel  He's given to shocking oversimplification just to tease me; e.g. he might grumble, "I hate people!" and I might reply, "Well, I'm a people, you don't seem to hate me, why is that?" to which he typically says, "Well, you have breasts!"  :1f62e:  - and which I typically counter with, "So does nearly half the population!  Your point is?" - to which he'll make various convoluted replies that don't stand up to rational scrutiny but do muddy the waters, should've been a bush lawyer!  :P)

Back to the scheduled programming... I guess because of the way people are, there's a range of contexts for which the words in A Letter To Elise could be appropriated, whether or not it's a good fit.  The song does suggest itself as a breakup letter - and often it is easier to express something difficult in writing than to do it face-to-face, especially in a charged environment where what you're trying to communicate may not even half come out before the arguments and recriminations begin.  (Just don't do this by sms!)  As a model for breakup, I don't think the text does badly - because the character in it has taken time to sit down and explain where he is coming from, and he does express genuine regret that it hasn't worked out.  Also, it doesn't strike me that he's trying to blame the other person, he's just looking at the situation really, and at himself critically too.

Now compare that to the total idiocy scenario linked to above.  That guy isn't breaking up yet but sounds close to it, and he's all me me me and apparently blind to the extraordinary arrogance, entitlement, fault-finding, blame and lack of empathy of what he's written.  It seems to me that he thinks sexual or any other passion is something that's inherent in a person, sort of like a setting on a robot, and that maybe his wife should dial up the setting a bit - and it doesn't seem to occur to him that it has anything to do with the actual relationship and how that's going.  Anyone here think they'd be passionate about a person like that?  Because hello, sexual passion, the lack of which he complains about in his partner, is so utterly related to how you feel about your partner as a person, at least in a long-term relationship - and in that context, is a lot deeper a thing than just the biological fireworks response to a new(ish) mating partner, which is rather one-dimensional and not usually lasting.

And at least from my perspective, how you feel about your partner as a person has so much to do with how they comport themselves in the world, how they think, how they treat other people, how open they are to you, how interested they are in relating to you on all sorts of levels  - and your own ability to see and appreciate and respond to what's there.  So that particular complaining husband actually needs to take a good look at himself in the mirror if he wants his relationship to improve, but he doesn't seem the type that's actually going to do such a thing; far easier to break up and repeat his cycle with the next person - unless he can find someone who's primarily interested in having sex and stroking his ego, preferably simultaneously, and who finds that an acceptable bargain.

As you can see, A Letter To Elise is a good springboard for discussions about breakups, and for what actually makes relationships work - discussions that are well worth having in classrooms, and in the broader community.

When I look at a song, I tend to trip over materials online about it, although I try to avoid that at first, because I'd rather just respond in the raw first, without being pointed in particular directions - that becomes interesting later, when I'm looking at a broader picture than just personal response.  Anyway, apparently A Letter To Elise was influenced by Kafka's letters to Felice (https://genius.com/The-cure-a-letter-to-elise-lyrics#about), so there was some homework for me, because Kafka doesn't feature prominently in the literature curriculum for Australian secondary students, and the only point of recognition we had in our house was a novel by Haruki Murakami on the bookshelf called Kafka On The Shore, and that's one of the few by Murakami I've not actually read yet. 

Before anyone leaps to unwarranted conclusions about the quality of the reading lists of the Australian secondary curriculum, I'm going to point out that the people who usually leap to conclusions about that tend to unjustly privilege European writers and thinkers, and mostly men at that, when they try to dictate to everyone else what a quality literature curriculum should look like.  The same people probably have never heard of Kate Grenville or Kath Walker or Judith Wright or Sally Morgan, all of whom are examples of authors who are extremely valuable for Australians (and others) to read.  They have a lot more depth than just the cold theorising of quite a few invariably white male authors held up by some as the supposed gold standard of writing and thinking - and they think more broadly, and have more openness, and are far less anthropocentric, and they don't look down on having a heart.  Read something by one of them and see for yourself - in The Secret River, for instance, Kate Grenville astutely charts the inevitable collision course between European colonialists and indigenous Australians, and does it with a lot of compassion, and extraordinary poetic prose that captures the Australian landscape so beautifully well.  Her work makes you think - not just introspect and deal with your own stuff, but look at others with more empathy and see a broader picture than what you saw before.

So I looked at Kafka's letters to Felice, touted on Brain Pickings (https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/02/05/kafka-love-letters/) as "beautiful" and "heartbreaking" - and to be honest, I was distinctly unimpressed, because here's another example of the romanticising of relationship dysfunction the world doesn't actually need, except perhaps as an adverse example.  What it most reminded me of is this:

QuoteMost of us seem to be hankering after romantic love. But few of us realize that, far from being timeless and universal, romantic love is a modern construct that emerged in tandem with the novel.

In Madame Bovary (1856), itself a novel, Gustave Flaubert tells us that Emma Bovary only found out about romantic love through "the refuse of old lending libraries".

    ...were all about love and lovers, damsels in distress swooning in lonely lodges, postillions slaughtered all along the road, horses ridden to death on every page, gloomy forests, troubles of the heart, vows, sobs, tears, kisses, rowing-boats in the moonlight, nightingales in the grove, gentlemen brave as lions and gentle as lambs, too virtuous to be true, invariably well-dressed, and weeping like fountains.

...In Greek myth, eros is a form of madness brought about by one of Cupid's arrows.
from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hide-and-seek/201606/these-are-the-7-types-love

Elise is a far more healthy epistle psychologically than Kafka's deluded, bombastic outpourings to Felice as a 29-year-old, and for this I'm truly grateful.  The first thing I googled when reading Kafka's letters was "Kafka & codependency" just to check if anyone else had noticed, and they indeed have.  It's so disappointing for me to make a side excursion into the work of someone deemed one of the most important people in 20th century literature, and then to find this sort of unhelpful stuff - and the same thing happened when I read Sartre's Nausea in my 30s, something I'd really looked forward to because of that person's general reputation and all the hype about it.  I'm beginning to think that the kinds of people who have been classically venerated as important thinkers in Western culture are really just another symptom of the sickness that's inherent in Western societies, and that's driven us to the current point where we've nearly destroyed our own planet, after hundreds of years of destroying other cultures and ways of thinking.

That's not a new idea, of course - it's one of the main ideas behind ecofeminism, and the older I get, and the more I read and experience, the more I think that the philosopher Patsy Hallen (https://philpapers.org/s/Patsy%20Hallen), who taught me Environmental Ethics (excellent course) and philosophical writing 30 years ago as part of my undergraduate science degree, was very much onto something there, and not just participating in some fad.  Of course, her philosophy has much in common with the philosophy of Arne Naess, which you can sample in this classic essay (https://spiritoftheland.ca/resources/deep-ecology/); and my personal philosophy overlaps a great deal with theirs, and not very much with the classical anthropocentric philosophies of the West.

PS:  If you're interested in Robert Smith's book choices when he was in his 40s, here's a nice link I came across while fact-finding about this song.  Just be aware it's a poor translation from French...  http://www.picturesofyou.us/03/03-08-rockandfolk-fr-1.htm

PPS:  Brett just read this post, and said to me to remember that Kafka isn't renowned for relationship insights, but for absurdist novels - and told me he'd tried reading one of Kafka's absurdist novels, and found it didn't do anything for him, and he has no desire to read anything more by him in the presence of so many other books worthy of his attention, and he thinks the same about Sartre's work.  We've got a bookworm friend whose tastes range to more dark and nihilistic stuff than what we prefer, like Gould's Book Of Fish and the biographies of dictators (because he is interested in the pathology of how they think), and who is a walking encyclopaedia on famous "thinking" writers.  So, when I ended up supremely disappointed by Sartre, I asked this friend if he could point out to me some things of worth I might have missed, to which he grimly replied, "I can't help you with that, I couldn't even be bothered to finish that book."  Anyone out there who's a fan of Kafka and/or Sartre, don't imagine that you're automatically a more serious or sophisticated thinker than those of us who aren't (because I've met people like this) - I don't imagine you're automatically a lesser thinker for being a fan of them, either.  But perhaps realise that there's not just one way to think seriously, and perhaps give someone like Kate Grenville a go sometime before you look down your nose at such "lesser" authors - you just might learn something.  And just perhaps, cultivate a bit of criticism of what's considered to be gold-standard thinking by the narrow white boys' club that's been influencing literature lists for a long time.
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on November 28, 2020, 00:02:01
LOVE GONE WRONG, LET ME COUNT THE WAYS (continued)


Here's a gentle, wistful ode to a lost love...


TO WISH IMPOSSIBLE THINGS

Remember how it used to be
When the sun would fill the sky
Remember how we used to feel
Those days would never end
Those days would never end

Remember how it used to be
When the stars would fill the sky
Remember how we used to dream
Those nights would never end
Those nights would never end

It was the sweetness of your skin
It was the hope of all we might have been
That filled me with the hope to wish impossible things
To wish impossible things
To wish impossible things

But now the sun shines cold
And all the sky is grey
The stars are dimmed by clouds and tears
And all I wish is gone away
All I wish is gone away
And all I wished is gone away
And all I wish is gone away
All I wish is gone away
All I wish is gone away



Of course, at a stretch, you could also avail yourself of this piece when your partner has to travel elsewhere without you for a while - but it does rather have a sense of finality about it, and will remind most people of a relationship that ended, which they didn't want to end.

The primary candidate that suggests itself here is the death of a partner - although being "disappeared" in a country that "disappears" people for political reasons would also fit the bill - or any other form of kidnap or imprisonment or detention (like Australia's shocking immigration detention, which has split families up, not to mention made people rot without hope on an island for years and years) or some other party interfering so that a couple is split up against their will.

Of course, sometimes people who have been left by a romantic interest will feel like this too.  In that case there may be some editing skewing the perspective, since the grass is always greener etc, and relationship-ends can be like funerals where nobody wants to remember the bad things, even though they should - even though it's so unhealthy to pretend everything was hunky-dory, and that the person who has died or the partner who has left you was some kind of perfect angel, instead of a human being with good sides as well as flaws.

Here's a really good description of "relationship editing":

QuoteIf you really want to know, there were some parts of going out with Tim that I didn't like.  But when I came home, I'd fall onto my bed and lie there for hours.  I'd watch the room floating with moonlight and scenes from my life would be silvered. Here on the bed I could change things.  I was like a film director, freezing some scenes while I had a good look at a particular expression, a certain gesture.  I played the first kiss scene over and over again.  I felt Tim's hands stroking my face, his tongue tickling my ear, the music beating its way into my body.  It made waves rise up in my belly like the tide coming in.  I'd wanted that song to last forever - 'Fire", it was, and I'd never forget that, no matter what disasters happened later.  I wanted that moment to last, to freeze that frame.  Tim with his arms around me, shining down on me while I quivered in his light.  I could feel his heart hammering hard against mine, the music vibrating through the floor, running like sap through my toes.

On my bed, I'd replay that scene until I was exhausted.  I was a star actor in a million-dollar movie.  Then other moments would creep in.  I'd chop the film there, letting the bad scenes fall into the dark.  I'd grind my heel into those.  I'd crush them down into the bottom of my mind, until no crack of light was emitted.

That's from Sydney writer Anna Fienberg's brilliant novel Borrowed Light, which examines the effects of emotional deprivation in childhood on young people's early romantic experiences.  If you love astronomy and sparkling writing and to learn about human relationships, and you want a book to make you laugh and cry and think and to learn things about yourself you never knew, read this book... and if it's still out of print, get a second-hand copy, or order a special print-run copy, offered by the publisher.

♥ ♥ ♥

To Wish Impossible Things is a song about grief, and I don't know about you, but when I'm grieving, I find it really helpful to listen to songs about grief - it helps with acknowledgement, and with the emotional processing that our brains need to do in situations like this - and apart from these practical considerations, of course, I think we'd not be fully human if we didn't allow ourselves to grieve when sad things happen.

And then, we have to be a phoenix, and rise up from the ashes all over again.

(https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Fshardsofsilence.files.wordpress.com%2F2014%2F06%2Ffire-phoenix1366x76851166.jpg&f=1&nofb=1)
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on December 04, 2020, 23:44:43
POST-SCRIPT TO THIS POST (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9295.msg773978#msg773978)

Philosophy is a huge area, and you could never hope to read everything written about it if you lived to be a hundred and did nothing else all your life.  That's why I'm often suggesting people start with Sophie's World (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophie%27s_World) - it's cleverly written and accessible, and presents the best pocket summary of the history of Western philosophy I've read anywhere.

One of the problems with the way philosophy is commonly presented is that it often privileges the Western, generally white, disproportionately male perspective over and above the many equally interesting ideas and ways of thinking to be found in indigenous traditions, cultural minority groups, etc.  In that way, it can become a blinkers-on pursuit, which is ironic because one of the wonderful things about philosophy is the diversity of ideas which generally help to take the blinkers off people, and show them different ways of thinking and being, outside of their own lived and vicarious experience to date - a hugely liberating thing.

...but only if you keep going, instead of getting stuck in pet parts of it and turning it into dogma - which sadly, some people do, and academia is especially conducive to - both in philosophy and in science.  People can tunnel down in either of these to the extent that they lose sight of the bigger picture.  Just deeper is not enough - we need to be broader as well - I think that's our biggest contemporary deficit in the West.  The German language has a great word:  Fachidiot.  It basically means "specialty area idiot" and refers to people who are incredibly steeped and expert in one particular subject or even viewpoint, to the exclusion of other areas, in which they become really inept through lack of consideration and use.  And that's the thing I think we should avoid at all costs.

Synthesis (reconciling the truths of different viewpoints) is way more exciting and useful to my mind than the theses and antitheses some people get stuck in and defend like a religion (usually with the same misplaced sense of superiority).

In the earlier post this is a post-script to, I once again got frustrated by the immaturity, irrationality and psychological dysfunctionality in a piece of venerated writing in the Western canon.  And this is fine, because the point of reading is to understand, but also to always question what is being presented, and not to defer to other human beings because they have been put on pedestals by other human beings.  For me, reading (and listening to music, and looking at art and drama, and living life) is the ongoing business of slowly putting a huge puzzle together, with different pieces from all sorts of perspectives.  It is not adopting one tradition or one point of view and drilling down in it, and essentially closing my eyes to everything else.

Anyway, when I get a bee in my bonnet, I usually ask for input by trusted people.  Brett, obviously - he has an excellent head on his shoulders, is an even broader reader than me, and is forthright with his perspectives.  But also other people, and when I was annoyed by Kafka's epistles and more broadly the privileging of some viewpoints above others equally or more worthy of consideration, I turned to good friend and honorary family member Elizabeth, who has read Kafka and is familiar with broad swathes of the canons of literature and philosophy, and asked for her thoughts.  She read the above post and sent me this:

Quote"... I'm beginning to think that the kinds of people who have been classically venerated as important thinkers in Western culture are really just another symptom of the sickness that's inherent in Western societies, and that's driven us to the current point where we've nearly destroyed our own planet, after hundreds of years of destroying other cultures and ways of thinking."

That's the whole crux of it right there. I remember reading Madame Bovary in college and thinking, oh yawn, another depressed privileged white lady. I recently finished a new-ish book on codependency and snuck in my thoughts about encultured codependence as a symptom/requirement of systemic oppression into today's post (https://borninprovidence.com/2020/11/29/hunger/) (which has taken me all week to write and I lost sleep over it - (husband's) surgery tomorrow which hasn't helped, lots of stuff converging right now. I remain convinced it's all to make room for a major, positive shift!)

I agree that romantic love is very immature and as such, narcissistic. Very rich and very poor people are equally guilty of longing for ideal partnerships, the kind in love songs, movies and engagement ring commercials. Real love, as you and I are more acquainted with, requires things like cleaning up together after a bout of screaming, hiking while carrying a homemade birthday feast in your pack, doing introspective, messy healing work, having difficult conversations or carrying a box of used dialysis bags to the dumpster for the umpteenth time so the other person can get some rest. Not glamorous but full of much more substance than Hollywood marriages.

While I love The Metamorphosis for the way it parallels my high school bout of anorexia, it's essentially a story about a selfish person who'd rather curl up and die than face himself. At 17, starving myself to death was a narcissistic response to my trauma history and instead of curling up and dying, like the character I played, I chose to die to my ego and tackle all my issues so I could live. What remains is more or less a handicapped coping skill I've yet to find a healthy replacement for.

Anyhoo. Brilliant, spot on insights as always. Since we go against the grain it's hard to get lots of people to hear ya but at least there are blogs and forums to let it all out! I for one am always happy and satisfied to read your thoughts.

Elizabeth is a core go-to for complex discussions, albeit a tad busy at the moment, living in the USA where coal-face professionals work insane hours that have them constantly on the edge of burnout when not actually falling down the cliff of it, all against the perpetual backdrop of continuing economic insecurity, and where having a sick person in the family is not nearly as straightforward as it is in Australia, which has a Medicare system for all.  I'm sure you've all seen Breaking Bad... the financial and emotional stress of having a serious illness in the household when you're not in the moneyed elite is tremendous.  As an onlooker to the US, which has a penchant for priding itself on being a supposedly amazing model of democracy and justice and imagining itself the best of everything, my eyes are permanently wide with disbelief.

Well, Elizabeth has lived it - and like Frank McCourt, has crawled out of poverty and abuse and "made good" - which means she's overworking tremendously, living in rented accommodation with home ownership a distant dream, and trying to fathom the economics of her husband's congenital kidney failure.  I've laughed and cried and thought long and hard reading my way through the mesmerising pages of her fiercely intelligent biography for the greater part of 2019, and I hope the wider world will be fortunate enough to read and learn from her book.  I mention Frank McCourt because to my mind her bio is to the American underclass what his was to the slums of Limerick - but it's more than evocative and poetic and horrifying and funny, it's also incredibly educational and mind-expanding, thanks to the professional lens through which the present-day Elizabeth Bouvier (https://borninprovidence.com/about/) can look back on the dysfunctional microcosm of her childhood and family of origin, and zoom out over the wider dysfunctional macrocosm of US society.  If you want to connect some serious dots, you need to read literature like this.   ♥

A big thank-you for being a person I can bounce things off on a regular basis.  Writing into a vacuum isn't recommended.  Other people help us be and think better, and I think it is important to acknowledge them.  ♥

Back to the regular programming next post!  :)
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on December 05, 2020, 23:56:25
LOVE GONE WRONG, LET ME COUNT THE WAYS (continued)


This was one of our personal favourites on Show, which we had for yonks before Wish.  I guess we're not particularly into shiny music most of the time, so a song like End appeals to us way more than Friday I'm In Love, musically but also lyrically.  Let me hasten to add though that if you were to go the other side of End into deliberately wallowing, wrist-slitting, let's-lie-down-in-this-and-do-nothing-like-we-have-no-agency music, I'd be off the train as well, because I find that seriously annoying - the idea of deliberate victimhood, fashionable with some.  There's a huge difference between that, and healthy confrontation of dark things about life.

Speaking of, Wish strikes me as more together and emotionally mature than its predecessors lyrically (I've heard all but the first three, and I've heard bits of those).  Some (but by no means all) of the earlier material I've heard isn't what I'd consider emotionally mature, but then few people are particularly together in their 20s, and life is an evolution (unless people choose to stagnate).  I'd be worried if someone wasn't writing more maturely in their 30s and 40s than before they were 25.

There seems to have been an extra effort on Wish too, to write the lyrics very carefully and thoughtfully, and as a result most of them make good stand-alone poetry as well.  While that's not the only way to approach music and produce something excellent, it definitely works.

Now, I'm no expert on the history of rock music, but there was something in this musically that reminded me of the 60s and before.  Sort of, if the Beatles had decided to ditch the Wiggles part of them and gotten serious about writing dark songs, they might have sounded similar to this - although I'm biased enough to think that they'd never have sounded this good trying.  After all, in our view at this house, The Cure managed to outdo Jimmy Hendrix with their cover of Purple Haze - no mean feat.  End would have fitted right in at Woodstock.

Before I have a look specifically at the lyrics, I just want to talk about the chorus (usually one of the first things people reliably pick up when listening to a new song), and what it's made me think of for years...

Please stop loving me, I am none of these things

So much of what's thought of as love is actually projection - in romantic relationships, especially when people fall in love in the first place; but also in too many parent-child relationships.  This is when people don't love the actual person because they can't or won't see them; and all they see is a psychological projection.  If you've not heard of this before I found a good introductory summary here (http://intentblog.com/is-it-love-or-is-it-projection/) (but for the record, I'm not into astrology personally, and it's not necessary to agree with Jung's take to get this idea).

So in romantic relationships, people often project a fantasy onto the person they're falling in love with, like they're putting a mask on them and can't see their real face.  If you've had a troubled childhood, it can be particularly hard to get around that, especially in early adulthood.  By my 30s I was tremendously suspicious of falling in love, because I'd been burnt by the process a couple of times, and because I hated the blindfolding and irrationality it could plunge you into, not to mention the direct line this process had to all your oldest, deepest, most painful wounds, which would then put you in hell all over again.

If this is painfully familiar to anyone reading and you've not broken the back of this yet, let me encourage you.  ♥  Do not despair - you can get out of this.  I know it often seems, when you're walking in the valley of that particular shadow, that you're never going to see the sunlight - that you're doomed to stagger around in this darkness for the rest of your days, and be in that amount of pain forever, and the thought of that is unbearable.

There's this saying that the darkest part of the night is just before the dawn.  That's an idea I liked and held onto for decades.  Hope and optimism, and humour too, are things you have to cultivate, because you can't do this without them.

When we were toddlers, we learnt to walk - and that process involved so much falling over, tripping up, experiencing hard landings and soft landings, getting bruised, frustration, pain, etc.  I love it when I see some parents respond to their toddlers' crashes by saying, "Ooopsie-daisy!" and combining humour with warmth and encouragement towards them - and this encourages their toddlers to laugh at their own crashes, and try again.  If parents handle this the wrong way - with indifference, or with chiding, for example - they set up their children for anxiety around making mistakes and around not getting to grips with something straightaway, and for internalised negative views of themselves and their own ability to learn.  These things stay with you - in your "reptile brain" - right into adulthood if you don't intercept and challenge that lot of BS programming that's been bestowed upon you.

Basically, if you had lousy parenting even in some respects, part of your job in adulthood is to re-parent those mis-parented aspects of you - to do what should have been done, and do it yourself - to zoom back to the toddler you were, and the schoolkid you were, and the teenager you were, and to sit with that person, to listen to them, and to talk to them, and encourage them, and embrace them, the way it should have been in the first place, and the way you would with any other toddler, schoolkid or teenager, if it wasn't actually you (and you learn as you go along that the toddler and schoolkid and teenager you were is just as deserving of love and care as the rest of them - no matter what you might have been conditioned to believe).

In a way, re-parenting yourself is also about seeing who you really were, instead of believing the projections dysfunctional parents routinely made of you, and pretended to themselves were you.  If you had a parent who liked to blacken your name to the world, you'll likely find that they were projecting their own shadow onto you, and hating and punishing you for what were actually their failings and flaws, and turning you into a scapegoat, rather than sorting out their own personal shiitake. 

Scapegoats and Golden Children

There's two classic projections dysfunctional parents make:  The scapegoat, and the golden child.  The kid who is picked as the scapegoat is more likely to be an independent thinker and empathetic and expressive and generally more different from the parent than the other children, and less likely to quietly go along with the parent's ideas and demands.  This kid also, in a sort of poetic justice, is more likely than the others to get their own shiitake together in adulthood, and to reject and escape the role that was imposed on them.  In part it's the nature of these children in the first place, and in part it's that there is no percentage in holding on to a negatively distorted view.  In large part, of course, it's that the pain of that existence drives you to needing to understand.

A golden child is the opposite projection - the parent sees the child only in glowing terms, and it can do no wrong, and if it is occasionally thought to be doing something wrong, it's always someone else's fault that this is so, and nothing to do with them.  The child who classically gets picked by a parent for that particular projection is likely to have key things in common with the parent (including narcissism and entitlement, although both of those are also nurtured into a child by making it the golden child).  The golden child will classically be recruited by the parent into physical and emotional abuse of their other children, and often become an emotional pseudo-spouse to the abusing parent.

While the golden child seems to have it made, and will likely be given a great deal of (excessive) power and showered in gifts and favours and affection, and have a spin-doctor PR machine that makes them out to be perfect and wonderful even when they're not, the golden child is also the least likely to break out of that view of themselves, and to undo their many dysfunctions, when they reach adulthood.  We can all see that casting a child as the villain/scapegoat is emotional abuse, but when you think about it, beaming an excessively glowing projection on a child is also a form of emotional abuse - neither children are seen as who they really are, or loved as who they really are; they're allocated roles instead, and those roles emotionally damage the children.  One of your jobs as an adult, after a childhood like this, is to come to grips with the dark fantasyland of your parents, and to distinguish that from objective reality - and if you're lucky, you will already have started this process by the time you were a teenager.

Because I journalled from age 13, and because I bumped into some really super adults in my orbit outside of my family of origin, and because of books and music and nature etc, I started the intellectual process of working out reality versus projection early on.  (The emotional baggage took far longer, and I wrote about that here (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9196.0).)  The scapegoating looked like this:  I was a "bad girl" from toddlerhood because I disliked the colour pink, which my mother wanted to dress me in, and because I said "no" a lot, and expressed my own wishes, which is completely natural for toddlers to do - it's what they're meant to do.  It also happens that what I liked, and what my mother liked, were diametrically different things - that was true when I was three, and it's true now.  Emotionally immature people find it confronting when people aren't like them, which explains racism, sexism, homophobia, soccer violence, etc.

So even though as a child, I got mostly straight As at school, and lots of academic and art awards, and kept my room clean and tidy, and kept to my own room or the outdoors a lot as my parents preferred me to do, and helped with chores, and had friends, and was compassionate, and kind to animals, and never picked fights with other kids, I was consistently portrayed as "bad" and "trouble" by my mother, and unjustly blamed for all sorts of things that went wrong in her life and in our family.  My mother routinely made up stuff about me that wasn't true, and published it as gospel to the wider neighbourhood, and to my teachers, and my friends.  She was still doing this in my 30s, repeatedly making up stories about how I'd been sacked from work when a fixed-term contract ended (no matter how glowing the references), or how no man wanted me (when I didn't have a boyfriend), or how I was a slut (when I had a boyfriend).  If anyone had anything bad to say about me she'd join right in - I can never once remember her defending my character - and if people said good things, she'd tell them they were mistaken, and that she knew the "real me" (which is so ironic, because my mother has never known, or wanted to know, the real me).

By contrast, my brother could do no wrong - even though he was a bully, and had a pronounced cruel streak, and thought himself too high and mighty to help with housework or offer courtesies to other people, and slacked off in high school to the point he had remedial tuition even though he was bright, and routinely swore at the dinner table (and elsewhere) using the foulest terms that would make even a sailor blush, and said things like, "What crap did you cook today?" to her as a teenager (I was in primary school and remember my shock; she'd have beaten me black and blue if I'd acted like this but all she said to him was, "Please don't say that."), and talked disparagingly of "poofters" and "boongs", and was generally rude and unkind and inconsiderate to the wider world around him.  Furthermore - while according to her, I was a slut for having a boyfriend at one point in my early 30s, she had no criticisms at all when my brother, at around the same time, and while still married and living in the same house as his wife, got his secretary pregnant - a girl barely out of school, and 20 to his 40-something, and in his employ (think about the power imbalance of all that).  But when my mother heard about that, she was gleeful, because she didn't like his wife.  My mother is an avid church-goer, and I asked her if her church lauded infidelity and abuse of power... but let's not go there today, because then we have to get into institutional hypocrisy, on top of the personal kind.  And I'll finish the examples from my own family of origin here, and they're necessarily summary examples.

When an unreconstructed golden child gets to be prime minister, the pattern is predictable.  Tony Abbot is Australia's prime recent example of that.  His sisters attest to him having that role in their childhood home, and what we got was an entitled, narcissistic, broken adult who, in government, continued to play the games he'd learnt at home:  That he is wonderful, that he can do no wrong, that everything he says is truth, that everyone should kiss his feet, that he's entitled to special treatment and more money and privilege than "ordinary" people, that what he says goes and everyone else be damned - and of course, Tony Abbot scapegoated those who have the least power in Australian society - the refugees, the unemployed, the poor, the precariat, the ethnic minorities.

I'm sure you can think of other examples of people in power who are like this, even in a past or present workplace... and they may never change, because they're used to having all that unearned power and privilege, and to running the show as they see fit.  The idea of consulting with others (other than their sycophants) is anathema to them, and they don't see any reason to.  They are God, in their own minds - or at least God's rightfully chosen.

So you can see for yourself the links between the microcosm of the dysfunctional family, and the macrocosm of the dysfunctional society.

♦ ♥ ♦

When I met Brett in my mid-30s, I did see his real face, for months before we became romantically involved - because we started out as very good friends, and I deliberately slowed everything down from my side, plus he's super respectful, and not the kind of man who would push a girl to have sex, even if he physically wanted it - when we talk about that now, he says that for him, the narrative is always more important than a shortcut thrill (and also that he was never particularly attracted to pornography chiefly because the narratives around that are such shiitake).  For my part, I wanted to know him very well before getting pulled under by the spell of sexual biochemistry and all the initial distortions that come with that - and I wanted to make sure I wasn't perversely attracted to the kind of pattern that had been set up in my childhood - I'd seen that too many times.

I did eventually let go and fall in love with him - after lots of getting to know, and a while after he'd made a clear declaration that he hoped we would become more than friends - to which I'd said, "I really really like you, and I hope you can melt through all that protective ice around that part of my heart, and I hope that part hasn't frozen to death in the process..."  But by then, I'd actually seen his real face and he mine, before the inevitable projecting of various fantasies that happens early on in a romantic relationship, apparently no matter how you try to avoid it.  (I have some poems I wrote in those first couple of months of being a couple that make me cringe - and far better poetry from later on, especially after we started having to solve some serious conflicts.)

Looking back, after projecting the fantasy face on him, I spent a while early on in our relationship projecting a shadow face on him, and reacting to that shadow face with all the stored-up pain and loneliness of my childhood experiences.  Then I realised what I was doing, and pulled out of the tailspin.  We each went back to seeing each other's real faces, and then things got extremely solid.  It's wonderful to have that deep level of friendship, relationship and co-adventure, not to mention sex as an expression of that, and not as this wrought kind of insanity that it will be if entirely in the hands of hormones and psychological dysfunction.  And don't let anyone tell you the sex is better when it's like that.  When all is said and done, flying is so much better than falling off a cliff.

I wouldn't wish to paint a picture of having some kind of perfect relationship.  People aren't perfect, therefore relationships aren't, unless you've got your head currently wedged in fantasyland.  But friendship is real, and an egalitarian partnership is a fine thing, and a good relationship can withstand the warts neither of you have managed to remove yet, and the occasional outburst and injustice and unkindness, and even not-so-occasional stuff like that, so long as you're not taking advantage and actually working through it.  Dysfunctional relationships trap people in unhealthy behaviours and stifle personal growth, and are a place of doom (and in some cases, incredibly dramatic near-death sex).  In contrast, imperfect but generally functional relationships encourage healthy and respectful behaviours, help each of you to be the best you can be, and are a place of nurture for your goals and talents (plus don't actually confuse sex with asphyxia).

♦ ♥ ♦

Jeanette Winterson wrote a book called Sexing The Cherry, a longtime favourite.  At the centre of it are dark fairytales with much mayhem.  Somewhere in it, after a particularly dark thing, she says, as your lover describes you, so you are.  You can substitute "parent" for "lover" - same sort of point - and I partly agree, and partly disagree.  I think it's significantly true until you learn not to march to the beat of other people's drums, and more significantly, and harder still, not to care about that drumbeat.  You don't have to be the label, the projection others put on you, but it's one heck of a fight not to be, when you are starting out with that.  Just the defensiveness that usually goes with that territory early on shifts you over towards those false projections - that's partly how curses and self-fulfilling prophecies work, until you learn to defuse them.  And of course, there's the poisoning of the well with others, the character assassination, which creates prejudice, particularly in the gullible and the malicious.  Moving far away and starting again can help, as can not giving a rat's posterior what the gullible and the malicious think about you.

♦ ♥ ♦

What got us here:

Please stop loving me, I am none of these things

A projection isn't reality, and love of a projection is not love of the real person that's being used as a movie screen.  Ditto hate.  The love and the hate are probably real, but on examination they have very little, if anything, to do with the real person they are aimed at - though they speak volumes about the person doing the projecting.  Of course, the act of loving or hating a projection can be very damaging to the people you're projecting on if you have any kind of power over them (parent, employer, spouse) - and also to yourself, because you're no longer in reality there, but in fantasyland - you're basically deranged.   Also, love of a projection is basically just narcissism - it's about your own wish fulfilment.  And the hatred of a projection is about the hate and unresolved shiitake inside of you - and sometimes, it's about some people taking actual enjoyment from the act of hating and harming others (such people do exist).

Please stop loving me, I am none of these things

So says a person who's essentially been put into "golden child" position by another person - rarely, says a person to their parent, rejecting the golden child projection that was aimed at them - more often, says a person who realises that someone who is "in love" with them doesn't actually see them for real and is just in love with a fantasy - and also, may say a person who has been put on a pedestal by anyone else, and is therefore dealing with projections.

The best way to stop yourself from projecting is to not put yourself above or below other people.  In Transactional Analysis (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transactional_analysis) terms, that means adult-adult interactions with other adults (and adolescents) - not parent-child or child-parent interactions.  When you put someone on a pedestal, you're likely to project your wish fulfilment fantasies on them;  when you talk down to them, you're likely to project your own shadow (and you're being condescending).  Neither of these is helpful.

Please stop loving me, I am none of these things

Celebrities are vulnerable to both types of projections by the general public:  Scapegoating, and being put on a pedestal.  It's a popular pastime, and there's entire magazines devoted to the practice.  The concert hysteria we've all seen with some bands, particularly young bands, is rooted in projection of fantasies, to the point of derangement.  It's narcissism in the form of high-pitched screaming, underwear throwing, etc.  It's also sometimes the projection of the kind of role model a person is looking for, especially in the absence of that in their own immediate environment.  As with a cult, that person will then defend his projection onto that person as if it is that person - even though the real person has flaws, and is not the perfect person they imagine them to be (although they may have good traits that were correctly identified by the person doing the projecting).




So can you love people you've never met, in any kind of healthy way?  I'll give that a qualified "yes" and refer back to the different types of love the Greeks had distinct words for (see this post (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9196.msg773968#msg773968) for a summary if you're not familiar with that).  Accordingly, we can have agape-type love for everyone - it's a universal respect and goodwill and concern for welfare we can give other people on principle.  It's the type of love you have when you don't want people you've never met to starve in some faraway land or refugee camp, when you think of kids who have nobody they can talk to and your heart goes out to them, when you wish people well, no matter how well you know them (ditto for other animals; you have a disposition to care).  It's possible because you identify with them; because they are part of the whole which you are also part of; because you know how it is to suffer or be lonely or cold or hungry and you can use your imagination to extrapolate, and you care.

I also find I love some people who are dead.  This includes my maternal grandmother, with whom I had a warm relationship, before I was sadly separated from her at age 11 when we emigrated to Australia - I only saw her one more time, for a few weeks when I was 15, when she visited - but we corresponded avidly with letters until she died, and I have boxes full of letters from her.  She is dead, and we can no longer correspond, or meet, but it didn't change that I love her - that never left my heart, and she lives on in it.

Likewise, I have a love for Charles Dickens, even though he died before I was born and I've never met him.  Great Expectations was a set text for our English Literature class when I was a student, and is a book so full of humanity and compassion and honesty and wisdom that I love the part of this person that gave rise to this book.  I don't just love the book, I love the consciousness than begat it, and I'm glad Charles Dickens ever existed.  I don't imagine he was flawless, and I don't know if I would have liked him in person, but my general experience of that has been that if I like the values in someone's work, I have a good chance of also liking the person that's behind them, on actual acquaintance.

That Charles Dickens example, you can extrapolate to hundreds of other people whose books or music or paintings or other art forms gave me light along the road.  You may not know them in person, but they are part of the village that raised you, and in which you live - and it's important to you that they did what they did, so it's quite OK to love their work, and the part of them that brought it into the world.  It's a bit abstract, but that's OK too - our brains generally start to get comfortable with abstractions by around age 14.

...and now, I really have to stop writing, and go to the beach to get some fresh air and exercise, and social time with my husband and dog.  :)  So I'm going to leave it at that for today, and look at the lyrics as a whole next time around (and I expect that's going to be a bit more clinical, and less of a scenic excursion ;)).

Later!  ♥
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on December 07, 2020, 10:18:12
This thread is called Exploring The Back Catalogue, which was intended to refer to The Cure's recordings going back into the stone age from whence some of us hail. 🤪  It occurred to me after writing the last post that there is a valid secondary meaning to the thread title - because it turns out that when you explore and think about an interesting and voluminous musical back catalogue which not infrequently grapples with various aspects of the human condition, you end up also exploring and thinking about the back catalogue of your own experiences in the process.  That's nothing new of course, that's what good music and literature and art are supposed to do:  Get you thinking about life - both your own, and in general.

This seems to be especially effective if the musical back catalogue co-extends over much of your own life span.  You'll get an album from 1985 and say, "Ah, I heard this song on middle school summer camp!" and you'll remember the weather and the breakfast cereal and that one of the staff members had a wardrobe malfunction with his bathers, and how you brushed your teeth in front of the mirror while the English teacher who introduced you to journalling rolled her eyes at your technique (how rude! 🤬), and you'll get a fierce ghost of the aroma of dust and eucalyptus leaves that early summer, in that particular place.  It's amazing what music brings back to you, and how vivid such recollections can be.  It's also really interesting to retrofit albums you've not listened to before into your recollection of history, and go, "Ah, this and that happened, I wonder if the music referenced that at all."

It's really fascinating to do this trip, both because I really enjoy thoughtful music, and because it's like time travel - sort of like being a detective on a TARDIS and going, "What have we here?" at each stop, which also doubles as a deep dive into the layers of your own life.

Last post, just one idea from the chorus of End kept me very busy - and today, I want to look at the lyrics as a whole.


END

I think I've reached that point
Where giving up and going on
Are both the same dead end to me
Are both the same old song

I think I've reached that point
Every wish has come true
Tired, disguised oblivion
Everything I do

Please stop loving me
Please stop loving me
I am none of these things

Please stop loving me
Please stop loving me
I am none of these things

I think I've reached that point
Where all the things you have to say
Hopes of something more from me
Just games to pass the time away

Please stop loving me
Please stop loving me
I am none of these things

Please stop loving me
Please stop loving me
I am none of these things

I think I've reached that point
Where every word that you write
Of every blood dark sea
And every soul black night

And every dream you dream me in
And every perfect free from sin
And burning eyes and hearts on fire
Just the same old song

Please stop loving me
Please stop loving me
I am none of these things
Please stop loving me
Please stop loving me
I am none of these things

Please stop loving me
Please stop loving me
I am none of these things

Please stop loving me
Please stop loving me
I am none of these things

Please stop loving me
Please stop loving me
I am none of these things



We were just reading through the main verses out loud this morning and Brett said, "The narrator sounds seriously fatigued."  I laughed; it's not the first time a Cure song seems to come from the pitch-black bottom of the deep dark well of burnout.  I laughed not because burnout is funny, but because of the recognition, and because if you don't have black humour about stuff like that, you're doomed.  🌩

Perfectionistic tendencies and burnout correlate significantly - been there, done that, and have seen it in others.  Journalling is a nice antidote for me, always has been - it's actually relaxing, and enjoyable, and I love having no pressure on me, and not having to argue with an editor or withdraw a piece because they wanted to lobotomise it.  Paid writing is very different to this and after ten years, I'm taking an unspecified break and just writing for fun, while running a farmstay.  When the pandemic hit, I couldn't take any more articles about knitting hot-water bottle covers (not that I wrote those, or that there's something fundamentally wrong with knitting a hot-water bottle cover, it was just the umpteenth rendition of it, and the current historical context - let's knit hot-water bottle covers while the planet burns, etc).

I'm much more interested in the human condition than in knitted hot-water bottle covers, and it's far more relevant to what's going on around us.

Back to the song:  I talked about projection in the last post, and End reads well for a number of contexts involving that, but Brett and I both think that this song is particularly spot on as a telling-off to the more deranged music audience members.  It's a pity really, that this plagues contemporary music - and I think that's why I've never been very comfortable at a contemporary gig with lots of screaming fans.  I'm really at home in a classical or folk music audience - and I just found a little clip of what I mean:


That's the kind of audience I love being amongst, which makes me feel connected to the other people there, and happy to be part of the human species.  Have a look at them!  ♥  These are people you can actually talk to in a normal manner, and who aren't going to make the musicians uncomfortable by behaving like lunatics.  I mean, OK, there's clearly some lunatic musicians who enjoy having a lunatic audience - enjoy insane displays of veneration and hysteria, and underwear-throwing.  But I've never liked music by people like that, nor musicians or any other people who love sitting on pedestals.

From what I've read, The Cure came in for a fair bit of audience lunacy when they got commercial success, and I can completely understand why Mike Scott from The Waterboys made a point of disappearing whenever things got too big, or too crazy - went to an intentional community for a while, or disappeared to Ireland to play folk music.  Likewise, Liam Ó Maonlaí quit touring with Hothouse Flowers and went back to his roots:


Look at the audience interaction, it's fabulous.  ♥   Everyone there is on the same level; it's people hanging out as community.  I went to some Hothouse Flowers gigs in the 90s and their audience was actually so much more sane than the U2 crowd I'd seen in the same venue - you could hear a pin drop when Ó Maonlaí was singing a traditional Gaelic piece a capella during an encore, in an 8000-seater filled to capacity.  During louder songs, people were cheering and clapping but not screaming hysterically and fainting.

The first Cure gig I watched on a screen was Trilogy, and I thought to myself, "That's actually a pretty nice audience for a contemporary gig!"  It wasn't too over-the-top and people were doing nice things like slowly waving lights around.  Here's a sample:


I'd have largely felt comfortable with that, as an audience member - and I think the 2018 Hyde Park concert had a mostly reasonable audience as well, compared to the norm for large rock concerts.  Brett saw The Cure in Perth in 2000 (https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/the-cure/2000/perth-entertainment-centre-perth-australia-3d7e5ef.html) and says the crowd there was pretty well-behaved too - and joked to me, "But they didn't play Friday I'm In Love so the audience cut Robert Smith's head off and put it on a spike."  :P

I can't remember if it was Paris or Show, but on at least one of those albums, there's the kind of female audience screeching that can shatter glass, not to mention permanently mangle the stereocilia in your inner ear.  (Brett is betting it's Show because that's an American audience.  :evil:)  I well know the sound from sometimes teaching in all-girls' schools.  :1f635:  A good water pistol ought to be helpful for nipping this undesirable behaviour in the bud.  I didn't encounter it in the classroom, or I really would have brought in a water pistol - it's more that you have to wear ear plugs on sports days, etc.

I know a lot of tricks for managing an unreasonable classroom - but how do you manage an unreasonable concert crowd?  Do you stop the concert and say, "We will resume when people are quiet - meanwhile, security will remove anyone who gets nasty?"  (Probably not, although I have heard of bands stopping mid-song and turning the place over to bouncers if people in the audience are getting crushed or there's fights breaking out.  Lovely.  🙄)

It's funny, isn't it, that people who actually enjoy listening to music for its own sake tend to behave in a civilised manner at a concert.  The hysteria seems to be largely associated with popular culture and fame - and if people go to concerts because it's fashionable or because there's a famous person on stage, that doesn't suggest they're particularly bright, or very mature.  It's this sort of herd mentality, too - or lemmings going over a cliff, I don't know.  I expect that people are more likely to behave like that when they're in their teens or twenties than when their brain matures a bit, although there's always exceptions to the rule... and of course there's also many people who refuse to behave like this even at age 15, etc.

Of course, lunatic tendencies don't always come with ostentatious outward behaviour, and clearly there's plenty of projecting onto people that goes on without screeching or fainting or underwear throwing.  It's a flaw the human brain is given to, and having a human brain is like having a high-maintenance exotic pet that you can't leave unsupervised, and have to engage in a lot of positive activities to prevent various disasters.  ("Oh no!  My exotic pet just ate the postman!  Tunnelled into the neighbour's garden and stole his shoes!  Rolled in a cadaver and then went to sleep on the sofa!  Peed in the pantry!  Chewed up my record collection!  Climbed up the curtains!  Left a dead rat in the washing machine! :1f62e:"  - "Well, you really should take it for long walks more often, dear!")

Ah, the rich tapestry.

Just getting back to the wording of End before I wrap up, here's some particularly nice writing from that song:

I think I've reached that point
Where every word that you write
Of every blood dark sea
And every soul black night

And every dream you dream me in
And every perfect free from sin
And burning eyes and hearts on fire
Just the same old song


It's unsurprising that you can also read these same words for a starry-eyed, overly adoring person in a romantic relationship - psychologically, all these things are related, through being about projections instead of reality.  You can't change people's behaviour, but you can work with boundaries and consequences so that they might think about changing their own behaviour -  and ultimately you can decide whether or not to hang around them.

Primarily though, the behaviour you can influence the most is your own, and that's really your main job in life.  Here's a little song about that which will nicely conclude this post.

Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on December 08, 2020, 11:16:27
It appears we're not quite done with End yet.  Now that I've looked, I've found the following snippet online:

Quote from: undefinedIn a 1992 interview with Propaganda magazine, Robert Smith spoke about the connection felt by his fans towards the emotions reflected in his songwriting. In "End," the lyrics "Please stop loving me / I am none of these things," seemingly forms a plea to fans to limit their idolization of him:

"This will always be an emotional band. I find it easy to write about what pours from my heart.  It just so happens that much of what flows from it is downcast -- almost desperate. Music is my way of moaning, of crying, of throwing a tantrum. It's not calculated, it's how I feel at the moment [...]

Because my very private emotions have constantly been put on display like this for so long, many of our fans have strongly identified with them. These people seem to believe that I somehow have a special insight into things -- that I'm somehow able to deliver all the answers to all their problems in life. I'd really rather not be thought of in that way, which is why I included the song "End" on the last album."
from https://genius.com/The-cure-end-lyrics

Now isn't that interesting.

Psychologically, the problem isn't that people are identifying with emotions or situations - that's something our social-mammal brains are supposed to do, so that we have a hope of living peacefully in groups and so that cooperation and social cohesion becomes possible.  Identifying with others makes you want to be around them, makes you want to be helpful and to act in the common interest, rather than always prioritising your individual interest.  We're actually quite driven by emotional proclivities - by wanting to do things or not do things, as opposed to doing them because we rationally recognise they are good things to do - it's much harder for us to do something just because we know it's good for us, if we don't feel like doing it.  (But there's tricks to use for that, etc.)

So, it's actually a good thing for people to identify with each other, to understand that we have emotions, problems, dreams etc in common - and to understand where our differences lie.  Have you noticed how having common ground with someone else actually helps you be curious about your differences - rather than apprehensive or aggressive?  How a baseline level of respect and trust helps people understand and appreciate those things on which they think or feel differently?  That baseline level of respect and trust comes significantly from identifying with others.

The problem is that we're not doing enough of it - and that our social groups have become too large for our brains.  We're evolutionarily set up for small-tribe living, and we're actually living in complex societies with millions of people in them now.  It's impossible to have working relationships with a million other people - your brain can handle interacting regularly with a "tribe" of maybe 100-200 people in a meaningful way, at a stretch.  More than that, and it gets stressful.  In cities, people tend to avoid each other; and one of our modern dilemmas is that we're the loneliest we've ever been, even though surrounded by an ocean of other humans - too many humans.

And many of us aren't connecting with each other as much as we were necessarily connecting when we were hunter-gatherers, or even agricultural villagers.  In recent decades, with increasing job insecurity in the West and many people forced to up and move many times to pursue the next job, we're getting socially dislocated many times over, and a good support network necessarily becomes harder to maintain.

People who are into sports or religion generally get little plug-in communities when they relocate; but if you're not into those things, or you're introverted, or have social anxieties, or your daytime job puts a hundred people into your face every day and you can't face going to choir group or Scottish Highland dancing or the photography club or whatever else you might be interested in on a weeknight after that because all you want to do is be on your own and read a book, then you may end up having few social contacts that aren't around your work.

In addition to that, you may live in a culture where people tend to be more aloof and aren't that emotionally expressive or interested in welcoming new people into their circles - and this is the common experience I share with people from Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, African and other "warm-culture" backgrounds, as an immigrant to Australia - it's a shock (and if you grow up like that, you may not even realise there is an alternative).  I grew up in part in Italy, and am part-Italian, and that was culturally my favourite place to live because people were just so much more open, expressive, socially welcoming and generally colourful than what I'd seen in Germany, or what I've seen in Australia (although here you can hang out with cultural groups from those backgrounds to at least partially replicate that kind of experience).

The British culture is famous for the stiff upper lip.  It doesn't mean everyone British has it, but it's a cultural tendency.  A lot of Anglo-background men (and many men in general, more than women) would rather walk barefoot on hot coals than express emotions that make them vulnerable.  It's to do with how people are "edited" around culture and gender as they grow up - much is amputated in the process of "civilising" a person to a particular cultural standard.  And throw into the mix the international problem of family violence and other dysfunction affecting many families - well, it all adds up to a lot of disconnection, and a lot of deficit.

Many people who grow up with a lot of disconnection and isolation (and even many who don't) will use books and music as another way of connecting to the rest of humanity.  It's alternative universes you might actually want to live in.  It allows you to dive into how other people think and feel, and see other ways of doing things, including better ways of doing things than what you might see in your immediate environment.  Literature and music saves a lot of people from doom, if you ask me.

One problem with our modern culture is this:  When we lived in small tribes/villages, we had our tribe/village bards, but we actually knew them.  Although their music and poetry might have moved us (unless we were saddled with a Cacofonix), we also knew they had flaws because we lived with these people, and talked to them regularly.  They were just one of us, who happened to have the gift of the gab or of music, while others had the gift of woodcarving or boat-making or whatever.  Plus, music and poetry had more community participation - just look at the centrality of that to the everyday lives of many people who don't live in Western mainstream culture.

I'm going to break this loooong text up a little by posting this lovely clip of Australian indigenous band Yothu Yindi to illustrate that last point:


...and doesn't it make you want to jump up and join in?  It's social glue in that kind of community (lucky people!).  It's really something meant for participation.  There wasn't originally so much distance between performer and spectator - that's a more recent thing.  (If this makes you ache, sign up for an African drumming workshop, you'll love it! :))

These days, we may still have the equivalent of village bards in some places (and we do where we live), but we also have mass communication, including printed books and recorded music.  Someone who would normally just have been a village bard suddenly becomes a bard in many places that have a knowledge of the same language - not quite a global bard, but a bard with an audience of millions, instead of a couple of hundred villagers/tribespeople. 

And on the one hand that's great because it exposes us to so much diversity of styles and ideas.  On the other, it creates a problem for the brain, because we no longer have personal contact with those sorts of bards.  This is unsatisfactory to our small-tribe brains, which are programmed for connection and communication.  There's something missing if you can't sit down around a table with your village bards present.  Furthermore, you don't know from experience that these mass-communication bards have, let's say, really bad halitosis, or a short temper, or hate Chinese people, or are motorheads, or are greedy, or unhelpful, or have bad table manners, or poor personal hygiene, or enjoy stringing reptiles up and watching them die slowly, etc etc etc.  If you don't see that stuff, it can be easy to irrationally imagine that these mass-communication bards are somehow rarefied and extra evolved, and removed from the human grubbery you see all around you, and wish to get away from.

And now I'm going to come back to the point about modern social isolation, and common family dysfunction.  You may grow up with few people in your immediate orbit who enthuse you with their examples or values - but see things in books or in lyrics that you think are so much better (and they may be).  Or you may live in a family and/or society where people don't talk about their emotions, and you have a hunger for that, and then you see it in books or music, and you wish you could have that in your day-to-day life.  And especially if you're young, it becomes so easy for your brain to project fantasy onto those mass-communication bards, in a similar way people do when they fall in love with someone.  Plus, you're not cynical yet and you think it's bad manners to think badly of other people in the absence of evidence.  :angel

I'm trying to think back about the extent to which I did that as a young person.  My immediate family members were violent and emotionally abusive, and I grew up mostly either outdoors communing with nature, or indoors with my nose in books - magic gateways to alternative universes.  I was interested in music from a participation point of view (we had a really wonderful multi-instrumentalist teacher in primary school - a real village bard - and she also taught us to sing harmonies, call and response etc, rather than baa-baa-black-sheep stuff) - there really wasn't much music in the family I grew up in - and I'm not counting my brother's blaring of Kiss and other tasteless stuff through his expensive sound system until the walls shook and the neighbours started complaining.

I grew an embryonic interest in contemporary music when we moved to Australia, through the ubiquity of 96fm in Perth in the 80s - and they really were a very good station, not Top-40 but more educational.  At age 14, I managed to get a copy of U2's The Unforgettable Fire, and shortly afterwards the predecessors to that - it was an eye-opener.  The males in my household (father, older brother) were violent bullies (as was my mother, just for the record, but I'm trying to look specifically at male examples here), not to mention misogynists, racists and homophobes - all they ever seemed to express was anger and disdain, and the concept of love they promulgated was so toxic it took me decades to completely recover from it.

Because Bono (like Robert Smith) is rather free and lavish with his emotions (and wasn't nearly so annoying before U2 hit the big time), it was through those albums that I became super-conscious that not all males were like the ones in my family.  And by the way, I have that in common with Noel Fitzpatrick, the Bionic Vet - similar family of origin dysfunctions, same albums - let's take a little break to look at what he grew up to be (and if you've never seen Oscar, this is a treat):


Noel Fitzpatrick listened to these albums on a remote Irish peat bog, and I, on a remote Australian farm - with music, animals, books and some excellent teachers more common features in our respective stories.

Bono expressed anger, but on behalf of other people, or because of structural injustice - how amazing was that - a male not being angry for the sole reason of not getting their own way.  :1f62e:  Also, what he had to say about love, number one, wasn't primarily about romantic love, and number two, even when it was, actually expressed respect for his partner - how good was that?

I probably did have a hyper-inflated idea of Bono's personal goodness at that point, but the same would be true for authors like James Herriot.  At any rate, even with the warts I can see in those people as a grown-up, they were vastly superior specimens of masculinity than what I saw at home (or in the local community of rednecks), and it was really important to understand that men didn't have to be misogynistic, bigoted, bullying a-holes to be men.  I much preferred that take.  And while I probably overestimated the personal virtue of people like Bono, James Herriot, and other better examples of how to be human, I was much too distrustful of the human species in general to idolise those people in anything like the way I saw my classmates idolise their respective pop stars etc.  And I'd never have screeched or thrown my underwear upon meeting these people who were important role models to me - I would have died of embarrassment to even consider that - it's so vacuous and stupid, not to mention bad manners.

All young children will put their parents on a pedestal initially, given half a chance - and when your parents fall off the pedestal, the search for replacements is on, until one day you (hopefully) learn that pedestals are a really bad idea - and that you don't need to be a child anymore (or at least, that you have an adult at your disposal now).

I think my head solved my existential problem at the time by finding a sort of surrogate non-human that it was OK to put on a pedestal - having grown up non-religious, at 14 I was rather impressed by the way Jesus spoke of the Pharisees, and the Sermon on the Mount etc, and because you're sort of invited culturally to view him as superhuman and a completely different kettle of fish, I did.  By the way, I wasn't proselytised, I was just reading.  But the text invites you to view Jesus as a big imaginary friend you can talk to in your head anytime, and that was some wish fulfilment for an isolated kid (plus it's common for very young children to create imaginary friends, so with religion, you're really scaffolding onto that).  And in retrospect I think it's better to recruit a non-human story-based fantasy figure into your own re-parenting, than to project fantasies onto fellow humans and thereby turn them into some kind of God they're not (and yes, the parallels...).  Michael J. Straczinsky, by the way, put the cartoon character Superman on his personal pedestal for much the same reasons, when he was growing up (his bio is called Becoming Superman and is a great read).

Now where were we?  I know there's one thing I need to come back to before I can wrap this up; and that's the modern deficit in emotional connection.  Because there is a solution to that, and it is that more of us need to become forthright about our own back stories and flaws, and to talk about our emotions and thoughts, and how we got through various horrible things, and all that stuff that's usually hidden away as too personal, so that there's always people like that in the immediate community to talk to, and you don't need to project that wish onto some distant mass-communication bard.

Say I online, which is a form of mass communication too, but actually, a good forum is an online community, and makes connections between actual human beings, in an actual human way.  Just like snail-mail penpals are actually connected on a human level.  And also, I'm like this in person too, and was switched into this sort of thing in my 20 years in classrooms:  Emotional stuff was always invited into the discussion, even if we were doing Physics (but it is easier to do that with Literature classes - having taught both, and a few other subjects).

And now I want to put in a good word for the mass-communication bard.  I consider myself fortunate to have worked with crowd sizes that fitted (sometimes barely, depending on student load policies) into the small-tribe setup of the brain I have courtesy of being human.  Because of this, I could always connect with the people I was working with in a meaningful way, so that they weren't just faces or numbers to me, but actual persons I cared about, and could care about in more than an abstract way, because I could get to know them well enough - through surveys at the start of the year, and essays, and class discussions, and letting them tell me their stories and ideas and dreams - and by not being a robot, myself; not too secretive about my own life and experiences, but openly human.

Likewise, when I joined an online journalling group six years ago, the size of the group was conducive to personal connection and relationship.  It is large enough to have some diversity, but mostly not too big to be overwhelming or a chore.  It's a sort of subgroup in the main group, because the main group is too much to handle - that would be a fulltime job, and I have lots of other things to do...

I spent nearly a decade writing regularly for an Australian self-sufficiency magazine, which forms a kind of community as well.  However, that's where I was running into some limitations.  For nearly two years now I've had reader letters on my desk that I'd hitherto always answered, but it just snowballed, and though I keep saying to myself, "At least I could send a postcard!" the weeks and months go by and I do nothing about it - because it's just gotten too much for me.  The best will in the world comes crash bang up against the fact that I just can't do this forever and ever - it's overloading my brain, and my brain says no, even though the letters are still out and so is the stationery, and these are nice people.  I've stopped writing for this magazine for other reasons, but a nice side-effect is that this problem isn't going to keep snowballing.  And this is the baby version of the problem every mass communication bard comes up against - that you can't personally talk to everyone in your audience who wants to, because you're wired for small-tribe connection and will burn out if you try to do more than that.

Thankfully I was never mobbed etc, in working with the public.  Amusingly, Brett came home one day a couple of years ago and told me he'd been stopped in the supermarket with, "...I wonder, are you Brett Coulstock, husband of Sue, who writes for such and such?  Please tell her that her articles really cheer me up!"  :lol:  We laughed about that - the fact that he was recognised.  This year, I met that reader at the stockfeeds, "Hey, I met your husband at the supermarket a while back, I hope he told you XYZ."  Of course, when you've spent 20 years in education, you get kind of used to getting recognised in the street, around your workplace catchments anyway.  I'm sure some of them are hiding from me, but others definitely aren't, and these kinds of imprompu reunions can be really lovely.  But that's at a small-tribe level, and verbal, so it works out fine.

I can't even imagine how horrible it would be to be doing this kind of thing on a vastly bigger scale.  Unless you put some serious boundaries around yourself, like maybe living in hermitage at the bottom of a deep cave, it would kill you.  That's the other side of the equation of mass communication.

Let's finish by going back to this:

QuoteI find it easy to write about what pours from my heart.  It just so happens that much of what flows from it is downcast -- almost desperate. Music is my way of moaning, of crying, of throwing a tantrum. It's not calculated, it's how I feel at the moment [...]

In other words, the writing is cathartic.

I've sometimes wondered why the UK and Ireland have come up with so much good contemporary music, compared to, say, Italy.  Here's a hypothesis:  Maybe Italians are happy to moan, cry and throw tantrums in everyday life, and therefore don't have the same need to go write songs about it, to let it all out.  ...or maybe, it's because they spend less time stuck indoors in miserable weather...

But I'm going to stop now, before another thousand words pour out.  :lol:

Hopefully, this is the end of the discussion of End and matters arising from it.  :angel

(Mine, I mean.  I'd like to actually get to the next song one day.  However, if anyone wants to jump in, and further discuss End or matters arising from it, that would be excellent, and a good reason to delay going to the next song.  :)  On my other forum people are always jumping in.  Maybe horse people are more verbose or extroverted or whatever, compared to fans of bands said to be gothic even though they're not.  :angel)
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on December 31, 2020, 23:47:52
The end of the year was rapidly approaching and two Cure albums are still queueing - I'd rather like to listen to them, so I better get finished with looking at Wish.


LOVE GONE WRONG, LET ME COUNT THE WAYS (finale)

Cut is a jagged sort of number, a lament for a dying relationship:


CUT

If only you'd never speak to me
The way that you do
If only you'd never speak like that
It's like listening to
A breaking heart
A falling sky
Fire go out and friendship die
I wish you felt the way that I still do
The way that I still do

If only you'd never look at me
The way that you do
If only you'd never look like that
When I look at you
I see face like stone
Eyes of ice
Mouth so sweetly telling lies
I wish you felt the way that I still do
The way that I still do
But you don't
You don't feel anymore
You don't care anymore
It's all gone
It's all gone
It's all gone

If only you'd never pull from me
The way that you do
If only you'd never pull like that
When I'm with you
I feel hopeless hands helplessly
Pulling you back close to me
I wish you felt the way that I still do
The way that I still do
But you don't
You don't feel anymore
You don't care anymore
It's all gone
It's all gone
It's all gone

If only you'd ever speak to me
The way you once did
Look at me the way you once did
Pull to me the way you once did
But you don't
You don't feel anymore
You don't care anymore
It's all gone
It's all gone



Sometimes it's like that and there's nothing you can do - Sensate Focus won't fix this and psychotherapy doesn't look good here either; along with other tools they're better at preventing this kind of disconnection that trying to fix something that's broken into two separate pieces.  Sometimes something is just dead, and all you can do is write a dirge.  The sad thing here is that the death of the thing is so lopsided, as it so often is - with one party checked out, and the other wishing it wasn't so.  All that you can do then is to remember that there's lots of other people you can connect with - and that thinking you're never going to feel again like you felt about the person who checked out is a bit of a grass-is-greener thing, and a bit like when you've had a big lunch and you can't imagine ever feeling hungry again - because you will.

These lyrics are again nicely written.  The words are very balanced against each other, and at one point I can't help thinking, Double, double, toil and trouble/Fire burn and cauldron bubble.  I like the logical structuring, the way the three expanded observations on the present are revisited in a verse about the past, the word flow, use of alliteration, etc.  Very effective piece.


Now another look at a song whose lyrics I had a difficult start (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9295.msg773969#msg773969) with...


FROM THE EDGE OF THE DEEP GREEN SEA

Every time we do this
I fall for her
Wave after wave after wave
It's all for her
I know this can't be wrong I say
(And I'll lie to keep her happy)
As long as I know that you know
That today I belong
Right here with you
Right here with you...

And so we watch the sun come up
From the edge of the deep green sea
And she listens like her head's on fire
Like she wants to believe in me
So I try
Put your hands in the sky
Surrender
Remember
We'll be here forever
And we'll never say goodbye...

I've never been so
Colourfully-see-through-head before
I've never been so
Wonderfully-me-you-want-some-more
And all I want is to keep it like this
You and me alone
A secret kiss
And don't go home
Don't go away
Don't let this end
Please stay
Not just for today

Never never never never never let me go she says
Hold me like this for a hundred thousand million days
But suddenly she slows
And looks down at my breaking face
Why do you cry? what did I say?
But it's just rain I smile
Brushing my tears away...

I wish I could just stop
I know another moment will break my heart
Too many tears
Too many times
Too many years I've cried over you

How much more can we use it up?
Drink it dry?
Take this drug?
Looking for something forever gone
But something
We will always want?

Why why why are you letting me go? she says
I feel you pulling back
I feel you changing shape...
And just as I'm breaking free
She hangs herself in front of me
Slips her dress like a flag to the floor
And hands in the sky
Surrenders it all...

I wish I could just stop
I know another moment will break my heart
Too many tears
Too many times
Too many years I've cried for you
It's always the same
Wake up in the rain
Head in pain
Hung in shame
A different name
Same old game
Love in vain
And miles and miles and miles and miles and miles
Away from home again...



Here's an obvious love-gone-wrong number, which is elastic enough to pull over a variety of scenarios:  Falling in love with someone else when you're already in a committed relationship, and going places (to a greater of lesser degree) where by the ethics of that you shouldn't (unless you're in a consensual open relationship or polyamorous arrangement).  Or, having a pattern of short-term relationships (A different name/Same old game) where the lovers are one after the other under the mistaken impression that something longer-term isn't ruled out, but it is, he's just not admitting it to them (I'll lie to keep her happy).  Or a variant of this, namely serial infidelity.  Or, continuing to come back to a long-standing relationship that's gone wrong somewhere and the narrator possibly wanted to end but can't.

Miles and miles and miles away from home again - that's quite stretchy as well; it could obviously suggest an affair, if you take "home" literally, as a place, an "official" relationship etc.  If you're going to look at it as a concept, however, then you could apply it to just the one troubled relationship that the narrator keeps getting drawn back to, that for some reason doesn't get to the "ideal" of home - which might mean the concept needs adjusting in the person's head, and it's not just the relationship that needs working on.  Some not too uncommon reasons for that, especially in older generations like ours, are things like the Madonna-w'hore complex (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madonna%E2%80%93whore_complex) (I can't believe that got censored!!!) - basic programming errors that are partly cultural, which is why you've got to find and fix the source code and write your own instead.

Choose your own adventure, with this song, I think.  If anyone would like to read a nitty-gritty discussion we had on the lyrics to this a year ago, we did that here (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9264.msg771616#msg771616).  That's where I'm also going to refer people if they'd like to read ooohing and aaahing about how musically, this is one of my favourite pieces by this band (though there are many) - I could spend half an hour writing more about that, or I could be half an hour closer to finishing the journalling on Wish and putting the self-titled album on, which is still sitting there in its wrapper and getting really tempting.  While I am usually on the delayed-gratification end of the marshmallow test (https://www.thoughtco.com/the-marshmallow-test-4707284), I got two Cure albums last year :winking_tongue which I've not even listened to yet, and there is a point at which delaying your marshmallows results in mummified marshmallows... sorry, this metaphor doesn't quite fit, but I think you know what I'm getting at.  :)


Exactly one song to go in the category of Love Gone Wrong - Let Me Count The Ways - and then we can get to the one song about love gone right, two songs about manipulation, one mental health track, and the famous weekday ditty which constitute the rest of the Wish album.  :cool


TRUST

There's no-one left in the world
That I can hold onto
There is really no-one left at all
There is only you
And if you leave me now
You leave all that we were
Undone
There is really no-one left
You are the only one

And still the hardest part for you
To put your trust in me
I love you more than I can say
Why won't you just believe?



Surprised to see this one under "love gone wrong"?  The relationship isn't over, is it?  (Though he seems to be trying to convince her not to leave.)  And the song sounds so utterly amazing that you feel like you're flying through a starry sky far above this planet (if you're me, which you're clearly not, so maybe it reminds you of bathing with a hippopotamus, what would I know :P).

Ah, but it doesn't have to be over to be in this category - it's so much better to catch something quickly before it goes way wrong, than to wait for it to predictably crash and then wheel the broken body into the emergency department.  And trust is very central to relationships - without it, they're mere commercial transactions, I-scratch-your-back-you-scratch-mine, etc.  So when trust starts to erode, or problems around it crop up, that's a very serious thing in a relationship and you should hear the fire alarms going off.  It's a worthy topic to write a song about.

I've got to admit, I'd like to know how the narrator got into the situation that there's only one person left they can trust (I think is implied, but even just to "hold onto"), and it's a bit of an alarm bell, because sometimes it's what a person does, or doesn't do, that alienates people who have hitherto trusted them too, and alienates them generally for good reasons.  In that kind of scenario, the rest of the lyrics would be 1) trying to guilt trip / flatter the one remaining person into not joining the exodus, and 2) trying to convince them that ardent declarations of love make them trustworthy - which rationally is not convincing, of course.  Trust is something you earn through your actions towards other people and the world in general, over a significant stretch of time - not something you can buy with sweet nothings, or indeed lofty poetry - and this general topic I've explored before here (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9201.msg771190#msg771190), in the context of a Cure B-side called Home.

Of course, sometimes there are terrible situations where a person realises that they've trusted people who were never trustworthy in the first place, and they therefore have to reassess the way they relate to the world from the ground up (and that's happened to me, and to others I know).  That's an awful black hole to find yourself in, where you can be lucky if you actually have one person left whom you can trust, or hold onto (and they're not always the same thing, I realise that - but I don't think we need half a page of analysis on that at this point) - and I like to think of the song in that way, because I prefer a beautiful-sounding song to be about something of substance, and not a piece of cognitive dissonance where wonderful music showcases a lyrical house of cards.  :P

So, in those kinds of situations, Trust can be a very relatable song - excepting the concluding, logically non sequitur verse, I'd argue - for reasons explained in the paragraph before last - but that's a common mistake to make, I think, especially when you're in the early stages of adulthood.  Which calls to mind the sayings I've heard along the lines of, "Just when I'm finally getting a handle on things, I'm at the end of my statistically expected life span!"  :angel

I recently found a very lovely fan video set to this song, which promotes the idea of performing random acts of kindness as part of your daily interactions with the world.  Brett and I cooed over this clip, and I got tears in my eyes, because I'm a big softie, but more to the point, because I really get, because I've been there, how little acts of kindness from strangers (that sometimes also end up turning into friends) can make all the difference to you when you're in a difficult spot in life; can keep you afloat instead of drowning, can keep you hoping instead of despairing - to be at the receiving end of kindness, but even just to witness it.  So please, be a little lightbulb to others, because as we've all heard before, better to light a candle than all of us sit in the darkness.  Kindness is the antidote to all the alienation, cruelty and general shiitake out there...


Really gorgeous music, this...total aromatherapy for the ears, as is so much of Wish.
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on January 03, 2021, 03:41:00
LOVE GONE RIGHT

We've looked at the considerable clutch of love-gone-wrong songs on Wish - and now we turn to the one love-gone-right song on the album, High

(For once, not off The Cure's official YT stuff because that forces you into video clips where they exist and I think clips detract from music, and that Robert Smith without long hair is scary 👺 :P)

...of course, when you look at some of the other material from this recording stint that didn't make it onto the album, you will notice a shining gem called This Twilight Garden which is a love-gone-spectacularly-right song, and a gorgeous musical watercolour at that; and people argue about how that should have been on the album instead of Wendy Time, but honestly, I'd keep that one in there because it rounds out the general themes, and simply expand Wish by two tracks, namely the abovementioned gem and The Big Hand - both of which are A+ tracks in every which way, to our way of thinking.

Let's look at the lyrics:


HIGH

When I see you sky as a kite
As high as I might
I can't get that high
The how you move
The way you burst the clouds
It makes me want to try

When I see you sticky as lips
As licky as trips
I can't lick that far
But when you pout
The way you shout out loud
It makes me want to start
And when I see you happy as a girl
That swims in a world of magic show
It makes me bite my fingers through
To think I could've let you go

And when I see you
Take the same sweet steps
You used to take
I say I'll keep on holding you
My arms so tight
I'll never let you slip away

And when I see you kitten as a cat
Yeah as smitten as that
I can't get that small
The way you fur
The how you purr
It makes me want to paw you all
And when I see you happy as a girl
That lives in a world of make-believe
It makes me pull my hair all out
To think I could've let you leave

And when I see you
Take the same sweet steps
You used to take
I know I'll keep on holding you
In arms so tight
They'll never let you go



I'm not always a huge fan of The Cure's radio-friendly songs and I much prefer their other side, but I've always had a soft spot for this particular track.  It's musically not too unbearably poppy, and I like the playfulness of its lyrics.  As their radio-friendly love songs go, this one's my favourite, although I've also really warmed to Love Cats in the last half decade or so, for similar reasons - playful lyrics, musically not allergy-inducing for me, and nothing that can be remotely interpreted as co-dependency.

The writing style for High reminds me of ee cummings - and if you've never read this guy, here's a nice example:


anyone lived in a pretty how town

by ee cummings

anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn't he danced his did.

Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn't they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone's any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.

Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain



I've liked the puzzles and wordplay in his poetry for a long time too... and he's pretty hard to avoid if you do poetry at school. :)


And now, something of a rant.  One of the reasons I'm here typing this stuff on this site is because when The Cure came to Australia last, to do the 30th Anniversary shows for Disintegration at the Sydney Opera House in mid-2019, there was a certain music journalist who wrote a certain piece in The Monthly on The Cure which I thought was a really one-dimensional portrait of the band and their music, and said more about her than it did about The Cure's music (and of course, to a greater and lesser extent that's true for all of us who write, I think).  I got a bee in my bonnet about that and I had a stress fracture in my foot which required me to be off it as much as possible for three weeks and keep it elevated a lot of the time, so I got on the sofa with my laptop and wrote an alternative piece (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9192.0) to the one that had me wrinkling my nose, because what else are you gonna do when you're a bit annoyed and you have a stress fracture and to cap it all, it's pouring down outside day after day in the Australian mid-winter.

One of the things that annoyed me was the music journalist's assertion that Robert Smith was glossing over sex in his relationship songs with pretty metaphors and tame euphemisms and had never left the shy teenage stage of writing about that stuff.  I'm paraphrasing from memory and am perhaps a bit harsh, so go read the original which is linked to above if you want it straight from the horse's mouth, but even as a fairly new Cure fan I was thinking, "Excuse me, which songs has she listened to?"

Quite apart from the fact that The Only One had been in existence for a decade when the journo made that outlandish claim, and is enough to make a fair few people blush with its graphic imagery (and some of us cheer because it's about time someone with a platform in popular culture educated the sub-30s that there is sex on the other side of the big 3-0 and no, it's not their monopoly, nor do they necessarily own the peak), surely if you've delved deeper into their albums you'd have known that it's not the norm for Robert Smith to "pretty things up" for the Mary Whitehouses (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Whitehouse) of this world.

I do remember said journalist quoting from High to make that distorted claim - and apparently forgetting a good dozen or more other songs that would have lent perspective - and I'm not even through the whole back catalogue yet, and this journo was a long-standing fan, at least when she was growing up...

Anyway, I like High, and not every (or any, actually) song needs to be sexually graphic in order to prove to someone else that the writer is an adult.  And now it's time to wheel out this theory I have about people again...

(https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Flive.staticflickr.com%2F813%2F27427825908_bbdf5af50b_n.jpg&f=1&nofb=1)

I think basically that it's all still there, every age you ever were, and that you can access all the ages you've ever been if you go looking.  You can find the infant right in the centre, the 3-year-old, the 6-year-old, the teenager, the 20-something, the 30-something, any age you've been, just like you can in a tree.  Some people don't like to go looking for their earlier selves, especially for the child part of them - it makes them uncomfortable; it was too powerless, they felt stupid, they maybe look down on the very young, whatever the reason - and they wall that part of their life off and say, "I'm an adult now, all that is behind me!"  Of course, it's not; and it creates a lot of problems to stonewall the child you were, not the least of which is that you're going to have trouble undoing any adverse or dysfunctional early social programming; but also, curiosity and wonder and joy and spontaneous fun are just some of the characteristics you're likely to lose that way; and furthermore, people who've walled off the child within usually have difficulty relating to and empathising with children, and seeing them as anything but subordinates and lesser beings.

But the most together, alive and joyful people I know have integrated every age and everything they've ever been and live from the totality of that, rather than just from the surface layers of themselves.  They therefore retain the wonderful aspects of childhood - the awe, the wonder, the curiosity, the joy, the sense of fun and play, the openness - and combine those with the best things that adulthood can give you, like critical and analytical thinking, resourcefulness, independence, deeper insight, lots of experience, a huge mental catalogue of literature and music and art, etc (and let's not forget sexuality and pair bonding).

I think it's important to distinguish between childlikeness, and childishness - childlikeness encompasses the characteristics I listed above, but childishness is essentially immaturity, an egocentric orientation, "Mine!" and not realising you're not the centre of the universe.  I think it's ironic that the people who wall off their own inner child lose the childlikeness, but tend to lapse back into childishness (because they're not dealing with that part of themselves).

And just to return that to our discussion of High:  What you can see in those lyrics is childlike wonder, enthusiasm, joy, playfulness - and having those characteristics in no way disqualifies you from also being an adult - it's complementary, and it makes you more complete.  I can also attest from personal experience that when you're an adult having an intimate relationship with another adult, your life is so much richer if you can relate from all that you are and ever were, to one another - it's a far more complex and deep kind of relationship than "play-acting adult" could ever be.

And now I'm wrapping up this post; I'll tackle the "manipulation" songs next time.  :)
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on January 06, 2021, 06:35:45
MANIPULATION, ANYONE?


Unlike most of the other tracks on this album, Wendy Time is not a lovely track to listen to, but if you're writing a tune about shameless manipulation and terrible pick-up lines, you probably don't want a lovely tune - but one that reflects the nausea-inducing scenario related.  And in that sense, the tune really fits, its unpleasantness and discord appropriate for the topic.  Although this is not a song I'd go out of my way to listen to for its aesthetic appeal, I do applaud its inclusion on this album for thematic reasons.

There's a whole swag of love-gone-wrong songs on Wish - and here's one situation that could head that way but never does, because it's nipped in the bud by the target of the manipulation, who is wise to it - which has me cheering, because so many people fall for this sort of thing.

The lyrics are pretty straightforward, just basic storytelling:



WENDY TIME

"You look like you could do with a friend," she said
"You look like you could use a hand
Someone to make you smile," she said
"Someone who can understand
Share your trouble
Comfort you
Hold you close
And I can do all of these...
I think you need me here with you"

"You look like you could do with a sister" she said
"You look like you need a girl to call your own... like...
Fabulous! Fabulous!
Call me Fabulous!"
And rubbing her hands so slow
"You stare at me all strange," she said
"Are you hungry for more?"
"I've had enough," I said
"Please leave me alone
Please go"

It doesn't touch me at all
It doesn't touch me at all

"You know that you could do with a friend," she said
"You know that you could use a word
Like feel or follow or f*ck," she said
And laughing away as she turned
"You're everything but no-one
Like the last man on earth"
"And when I die," I said
I'll leave you it all"
Door closes...
Leaves me cold

It doesn't touch me at all
It doesn't touch me at all

"You really do need a sister," she said
"You really do need a girl to call your own... like...
Wonderful! Wonderful!
Call me Wonderful!"
And running her hands so slow
"You stare at me all strange," she said
"Are you hungry for more?"
"I've had enough," I said
"Please leave me alone
Please go...
Please go"



It's interesting for a female who's seen atrocious pick-up lines and behaviour around trying to "score" from males to get a glimpse into the sordid world males may experience at the hands of females, on this theme.  It's a different flavour for sure.  What flavour ice cream would you like - vomit or abscess?  Blergh.  :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: 

The Cure, of course, explored an example of how the "other side" can look on a track called The Perfect Boy in 2008 - there's a post (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9295.msg772770#msg772770) on that one earlier in this thread.  The male in that and the female in Wendy Time - I just don't get people like that.  I understand they exist, I've seen it myself for many years, but it continues to boggle me.  What sort of soul do you have, to be chiefly approaching the world and the beings in it in a grasping, predatory way?

Decent sexual ethics to me are primarily about crystal clarity, total honesty, clear consent, considered intention, respect and negotiation.  It doesn't matter to me how people want to go about this stuff apart from that - monogamy, polygamy, polyamory, casual sex, long-term, short-term, medium-term, hanging off the ceiling, whatever, as long as they're clear about it and not misleading a person whose aspirations are different to their own.  People make mistakes, for sure, but there's a vast difference between blundering, and setting out to deceive, even if covertly, by equivocation and half-truths.

So, like the tune or not, from the point of view of getting people to have a think about that stuff, and perhaps even discuss it with each other, songs like Wendy Time are a valuable part of the general repertoire.   :smth023

Oh and...this line makes me laugh:  "And when I die," I said / I'll leave you it all."  :lol: :rofl  :evil:

Totally perfect reply.  :smth023  It reminds me very much of Kaz Cooke's menu of perfect replies for the body police and sexual harassment in Real Gorgeous (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/262926.Real_Gorgeous), her BS-antidote book for teenage girls:

QuoteTHEY say:  "Show us your tits!"
YOU say:  "You can always tell a bottle-fed baby!"

THEY say:  "You're fat!"
YOU say:  "I'm me-shaped!"
or - "Anything else?  Perhaps you could write it down for me so I don't forget."
or - "Why don't you grab your bottom lip and pull it over your head?"
etc etc

THEY say:  "You've got no tits."
YOU say:  "Well, they're bigger than your brain."
or - "Your fly is undone."
or - "Am I supposed to care what you think?"
etc etc

:lol: :lol: :lol:

The next track I'm looking at is Open, which also struck me as fitting under this general theme.  Before I get to the lyrics, I just have to mention how wonderful I think the music to this is.  The opening bass notes have been an earworm for me these past couple of days; every time I'm waking up, I'm hearing those notes.  Like with so many other tracks on Wish there's such lovely interplay between the different guitars... it's rare to have essentially two lead guitars plus bass in a contemporary band; let alone a third six-string guitarist, and that's one reason a lot of Cure tracks remind me of string quartet playing, in the way the instruments are interweaving, and there's depth and complexity in the music.


The drumming is fabulous on Wish (but no need to make rude and meaningless comparisons :P); the singing a real departure from previous albums and very, very effective, especially with the diverse added harmonies, including the whispered backings to Apart.

Let's have a look at the words to Open:


OPEN

I really don't know what I'm doing here
I really think I should've gone to bed tonight but...
"Just one drink
And there're some people to meet you
I think that you'll like them
I have to say we do
And I promise in less than than an hour we will honestly go...
Now why don't I just get you another
While you just say hello..."

Yeah just say hello...

So I'm clutching it tight
Another glass in my hand
And my mouth and the smiles
Moving up as I stand up
Too close and too wide
And the smiles are too bright
And I breathe in too deep
And my head's getting light
But the air is getting heavier and it's closer
And I'm starting to sway
And the hands all on my shoulders don't have names
And they won't go away
So here I go
Here I go again...

Falling into strangers
And it's only just eleven
And I'm staring like a child
Until someone slips me heaven
And I take it on my knees
Just like a thousand times before
And I get transfixed
That fixed
And I'm just looking at the floor
Just looking at the floor
Yeah I look at the floor...

And I'm starting to laugh
Like an animal in pain
And I've got blood on my hands
And I've got hands in my brain
And the first short retch
Leaves me gasping for more
And I stagger over screaming
On my way to the floor
And I'm back on my back
With the lights and the lies in my eyes
And the colour and the music's too loud
And my head's all the wrong size
So here I go
Here I go again...

Yeah I laugh and I jump
And I sing and I laugh
And I dance and I laugh
And I laugh and I laugh
And I can't seem to think
Where this is
Who I am
Why I'm keeping this going
Keep pouring it out
Keep pouring it down
Keeping it going
Keep pouring it down
And the way the rain comes down hard...
That's the way I feel inside...

I can't take it anymore
This it I've become
This is it like I get
When my life's going numb
I just keep moving my mouth
I just keep moving my feet
I say I'm loving you to death
Like I'm losing my breath
And all the smiles that I wear
And all the games that I play
And all the drinks that I mix
And I drink until I'm sick
And all the faces I make
And all the shapes that I throw
And all the people I meet
And all the words that I know
Makes me sick to the heart
Oh I feel so tired...

And the way the rain comes down hard...
That's how I feel inside...



Yeah, wow.  :1f635:  When I first listened to this song, I thought that the narrator was being manipulated by a friend/colleague/manager to do something he didn't really want to do (have a drink and talk to people instead of going to bed - knowing where it leads in this case) - but that's not clear-cut; the words in quotes may be uttered either to the narrator, or by the narrator.  Either way, soon it's just like dominoes all going down one after the other; like a chain reaction the narrator is aware of, but can't pull himself out of.  It's evocatively described in such painful detail that you can easily put yourself in the narrator's position, and shudder...

And I do really think that, substance addiction or not, these kinds of scenarios are so commonly created in the Anglo society I live in, where the social habits of a large swathe of the population can create a quicksand that people can fall into before they're really aware of what's going on, and if by then substance addiction has become a part of it, it can get hard to get out.  I do, by the way, believe people have personal responsibility and a degree of free will they can exercise, and that they can't blame the crowd or their drinking buddies once they've become aware of the trap - then it's up to that person who has had that insight to find a way out of there.  Once you wake up, you don't need to be a victim of your circumstances anymore - although some people seem to prefer to remain in whatever undesirable situation it is, as a sort of perpetual victim - and others seem to need to stay at the bottom for a while, before finally making an effort to resurface.

I'm as human as the next person and I'm acutely aware that could have been me, as well, except I've always been a social outsider in situations involving peer group pressure - the moment that starts, whether about smoking, drinking, religion, Avon, Amway or anything else people are trying to foist onto me (in all cases, usually thinking they're trying to share a good thing with me), I'm out of there.  That's been a lucky trait, I think, because I have at least two blood relatives who were alcoholics, and one of them even quite functional (and therefore in even deeper denial).  Owing to a rough childhood, I already had enough on my plate, and it was really excellent that this shiitake wasn't complicated by a substance addiction for me.

But, addictions come in all sorts of guises, some of which are even socially acceptable, and like any person, I've had struggles of my own to sort out, including with biochemical addiction to toxic relationships (my first romantic relationship, a subsequent crush, and my family of origin), which I've written about previously (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9201.msg770927#msg770927).  I can't tell you how good it felt to shake those particular shackles, and as regarded my family of origin, I didn't really do that completely and properly until I was diagnosed with complex PTSD in my early 40s (the graphic flashbacks were really helpful in that process, and by the way, Bloodflowers, which I chanced upon on my husband's iPod at the time, was an excellent aid with processing the raw emotions and re-building my world from the ground up).

Emotional honesty is an incredibly valuable thing.  The more we can all do this, the better - although it's often a rather rare commodity; and I think that's one of the reasons why our mass communication bards tend to get put on a pedestal - if you don't see it in the people immediately around you, but only in faraway figures, then it tends to be venerated in those figures, and you've then got essentially the same emotional process that allows cults to form.  So, to solve this problem, more of us are going to have to be emotionally honest and open, and look out for one another.  If you can't find it around you, you can try to be the change you want to see - be the kind of person who would have been helpful to know when you were going through hell yourself.  If you can be a small puzzle piece in the healing of others, you will find that your own wounds will start to heal too.  That just seems to be the way these things work.

And by the way, I think that emotional honesty is on the increase - there's much more of it in the younger generations than there was in my own GenX - and even some of my own generation are learning!  ;)

Why is it good that songs like Open are written?  Because they're incredibly emotionally cathartic, generally both for the person writing it, and for people listening.  Because they let us walk a mile in someone else's shoes, and this teaches us empathy, and without empathy, we're all doomed.  Because it teaches us to look at things from perspectives we've perhaps not considered before.  Because it shows us that the world is complex and has many shades of grey, and that there are no easy answers or one-size-fits-all solutions.  Because it reminds us that the most important thing of all is to love one another, as far as that is possible and advisable, and to try to be a light, and to encourage the light of others, instead of squashing it.  And because we're human, it's good to be reminded.  ♥

Hooray!  I'm now just two songs away from being able to tear the wrapper off the self-titled!  🥳
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: Ulrich on January 07, 2021, 11:43:04
Quote from: SueC on January 06, 2021, 06:35:45When I first listened to this song, I thought that the narrator was being manipulated by a friend/colleague/manager to do something he didn't really want to do (have a drink and talk to people instead of going to bed - knowing where it leads in this case) - but that's not clear-cut; the words in quotes may be uttered either to the narrator, or by the narrator. 

As I remember, Robert said it was about the more "sordid aspects" of what they (the band) do, i.e. they're asked to meet a lot of people.

QuoteAnd the way the rain comes down hard
That's how I feel inside...

To me, that always seemed like a "typical" Robert Smith lyric line!
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on January 08, 2021, 00:10:03
WRAPPING UP WISH, SO I CAN TEAR THE WRAPPER OFF THE NEXT ONE

The two tracks left to consider are Friday I'm In Love and Doing The Unstuck.


I've been pretty vocal about the fact that this is not my favourite song - I really loathed this number for most of my life, chiefly because of constant oversaturation and that I don't generally like pop music, or for that matter, rap or electronic music or heavy metal or boy bands or German ooompa-ooompa Oktoberfest music, and I will turn off the radio if something like this comes on, or run screaming if I can't.  The chief way I will make an exception and undertake to listen to things from these genres is if a person I love is asking me to because it means something to them - and this included student music presentations for English class, because I did genuinely love and respect my students.  In that case I owe it to people to listen to their music, and suspend the judgement and personal tastes, and put myself in their shoes - which is actually a really good exercise.

On those occasions, all that goes to one side, and the focus is on the person who's sharing something that's important to them - it puts me in a different brain space, which turns off all these adverse reactions, and I'm glad that this is so, because I have vivid memories of my favourite music being ridiculed by my birth family, and swore never to do that to anyone else (that's after I got chucked out of Year 12 English class one afternoon for laughing at Why Can't I Be You and realising I was doing the same thing; and if only Pauline-of-the-black-spiky-hair had played the track immediately before that off the same album which was sitting there in that CD player, I'd not only have not been chucked out of the room, I'd have gone and bought the album...and instead it took me another quarter century to realise The Cure actually did other music too :lol:).

...but, it's pretty much all you'll hear on Australian popular radio, by this band - and it's one of the most played songs here, you can hear it every Friday (and run screaming), which really put me off The Cure ("OMG, not that band!").  So it was something of a surprise to me that, having turned this song off for 28 years, in the context of listening to Wish, I have no urge to turn it off at all.  Because it fits and because the rest of Wish makes me forget all of that.

Scenic detour from memory lane:  I actually remember the last time I heard Friday I'm In Love on the radio and didn't turn it off or run away screaming.  It was back in 2012, when we were building our house, and our genius carpenter was constructing the frame and roofing the place, while we were doing odd jobs in preparation for building the bale walls - the first thing on the build we were able to do ourselves.

Chris and his offsiders built this:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/7022/6768621927_d0ff6b7cb5_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/bj7Xu4)

...while we prepped our wall build:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/7205/6902618171_49caec3ed5_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/bvXHU8)

...and laid the very first bales:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/7198/6902618249_1183657e09_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/bvXHVt)

...the first of maaaaany...

(https://live.staticflickr.com/7062/7007893013_386873e535_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/bFghrB)

...but that was later.  Sadly we don't have a proper picture of Chris, because he was camera-shy, and because he never stood still long enough, so if we'd taken any photos of him on the sly, they'd have been blurry. :)

It was at the early stage we had Chris on the building site, and he loves music, so brought his own large portable stereo, which he ran off the generator, because this was in the days before we had an off-grid solar-electric system.  Chris didn't bother playing CDs on the building site; he tuned the radio to Mix-FM (which his young offsider always referred to as "Fogey-FM" :lol:) and blasted the site with the resulting soundwaves. 

That's when I last remember hearing Friday I'm In Love in full (and up really loud), on the radio - and I thought, "Oh no!" when it came on, but didn't say anything - we love Chris, he's a super person as well as an extremely good carpenter and roofer - and he actually started bouncing on his feet and beaming, and going, "I really like this! Do you?"  He also liked Garbage, so Brett gave him all the B-sides he had from them.

Isn't it funny how you can often go right back into a particular point of the film footage of the past, because of a song.

Back to the actual song, here's a nice link to read:  https://www.rollingstone.com/feature/the-cures-friday-im-in-love-7-things-you-didnt-know-111331/

Here's the official film clip, which I've never watched before:


Yeah.  This really doesn't recommend the band to me very much, sorry - and I'm not generally a video-clip watcher, anyway.  This is a bit like when U2, in the 90s, were allegedly being ironic about being rock stars, and doing it a little too well - this is the kind of thing that sold me the idea that The Cure were a lightweight pop outfit - as it will, if it's all you ever see.

In some ways, The Cure are like a thickly iced carrot-walnut cake - I have to take the icing off to be able to enjoy the cake.  And when all I ever saw was icing, I didn't even know there was any cake. (And though I did always like Lullaby, I thought it was a one-off. :lol:)


Next song - last one to look at:


I first came across this on Join The Dots, as an extended version, and wrote about it on this thread (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9201.0).  This was my brief comment at the time:

QuoteDoing The Unstuck is an odd one, to me.  Elements of it I like, others I don't.  The thing I like best about it is the music starting about 45 seconds into it, and for about a minute from there; then it crosses in and out of borderline headachy for me.  The topic isn't bad, the presentation of it just a bit Playschool though - remove the mild sexual references, and you can have preschoolers bopping along to this and singing the words.  Brett doesn't like this one at all, and when I talk about the Playschool vibe, he smiles and says, "Well, guess who is the Dark Wiggle!"   :happy

That was nearly 18 months ago, and this is one of the songs that really grew on me.  The version on Wish is very together, but my favourite bit is still the instrumental stuff from about 45 seconds into the extended version off the B-sides.  I still think this song is a bit Playschool, but not nearly as Playschool as the video to Friday I'm In Love, which I think pre-schoolers would totally adore.  My inner pre-schooler kind of doesn't; she was always dressing up as a Native American and being serious, and she's still doing that.  ;)

It's only in the last post I was looking at childlike versus childish, and I suppose we each draw our lines differently.  Having said that, becoming a fan of The Cure's more serious music has made me a little more receptive to their shinier stuff, and that's probably the reverse of how it works for many others, who maybe get lured into buying an album because of a shiny pop song from the radio, and then may get the surprise of their lives.  :lol:  :evil:

These days, I see Doing The Unstuck as something of a mental health song, and enjoy it.  Let's have a look at the words... I'm going to do a bit of annotating on this one as I go...


DOING THE UNSTUCK

It's a perfect day for letting go
For setting fire to bridges
Boats
And other dreary worlds you know

...usually we're supposed to build bridges, but sometimes it's better to burn them - at the risk of sounding like Ecclesiastes (or the Byrds)...this verse is a bit cryptic, but perhaps "boats" are another means of crossing over to another side you've decided you no longer want to visit, once you've burnt the bridge.  This might be breaking with people who are net-negative for your life, after trying other things; or distancing yourself from difficult family members, emotionally or otherwise; things like that, and yes, speaking from experience, it can be a really good idea to do something like this - go where you're loved for who you are, and where you love people for who they are, instead - breaking away from negative relationships leaves you so much more energy to do that, and can have a net-positive effect both on your own life and mental/emotional health, and on your ability to be a good person to be around, for those who do love and respect you.

...and on another level, you might be burning bridges by throwing out your TV aerial or de-programming the commercial channels from your TV, so that you don't get sucked down into wasting your life with the propaganda, brainwash and 24-hour news cycle offered by many stations, and just retain things like (in Australia) the ABC and the multicultural broadcaster SBS and indigenous channel NITV, where you can actually learn something useful.  This is again about energy, learning, etc instead of time-and-energy-sucks and treading water.

...and that's really like not going shopping hungry, but after a meal and with a list, so you're making choices with your cerebrum and none of the little tricks supermarkets employ to get you to buy the wrong stuff (which is the stuff that's rubbish for you, the community and the environment, but has high profit margins for them) are going to work.  Or, you can just stop shopping at supermarkets altogether, or at least cut it back, and find a nice greengrocer and butcher and fishmonger and farmer's market instead, and perhaps start growing some of your own food in your backyard, or in an allotment etc.

...things like this:  Thinking about your life and making choices that are better for your health, relationships, happiness etc

Let's get happy!
It's a perfect day for making out
To wake up with a smile
Without a doubt
To burst grin giggle bliss skip jump sing and shout
Let's get happy!

...after the first two lines here, we're now digging down to child level inside, because that's what children do and that's what we also can determine to do.  I've never given up skipping, for instance; I still do that.  Sometimes my husband and I impersonate kangaroos and start hopping around the dinner table together in a strange game of chasey.  Why not?  It's exactly the sort of thing I did as a kid.  It's fantastic physical exercise, it's interaction, and it releases a boatload of endorphins into your bloodstream.  Much better than being a "serious adult" all the time and going to Big Pharma for anti-depressants.  I think we need to be every age we've ever been, take the best from all of them, mix it up a bit.

"But it's much too late" you say
"For doing this now
We should have done it then"
Well it just goes to show
How wrong you can be
And how you really should know
That it's never too late
To get up and go...

...there's a common objection, and a commonsense response...better late than never, etc

It's a perfect day for kiss and swell
For rip-zipping button-popping kiss and well...
There's loads of other stuff can make you yell
Let's get happy!

...there's a couple of ways to read these words, but the theme is pretty much the same.  It's clever to use a word so that different denotations of it could apply equally, as has been done here.

It's a perfect day for doing the unstuck
For dancing like you can't hear the beat
And you don't give a further thought

Hahaha.  The short pause in delivery while your mind rhymes, only to change the word.  :lol:  I've seen this before in the Cure catalogue, it just escapes me which song it was...

To things like feet
Let's get happy!

The verse as a whole is a bit like, "Dance as if nobody can see you, love as if your heart has never been broken."  It's a good thing not to be constrained by other people's judgement or by your own adverse experiences, if you can swing it.

"But it's much too late" you say
"For doing this now
We should have done it then"
Well it just goes to show
How wrong you can be
And how you really should know
That it's never too late
To get up and go...

Kick out the gloom
Kick out the blues
Tear out the pages with all the bad news

Sometimes you really can decide to do that; it's a mindset, a determination, and I think it's a good thing to keep in your repertoire...

Pull down the mirrors and pull down the walls
Tear up the stairs and tear up the floors
Oh just burn down the house!
Burn down the street!
Turn everything red and the beat is complete
With the sound of your world
Going up in the fire
It's a perfect day to throw back your head
And kiss it all goodbye!

The narrator started with the mirror here, which made me think of the tendency a lot of us have to look at ourselves critically, and so mirrors aren't necessarily loaded with positive vibes for us.  He doesn't stop there, however - he tears down the whole house and sets it on fire.  Nice metaphor, and it conveys this idea that you hear from people who have lost most of their possessions in bushfires, that as awful as that has been, they understand what's really important in life, and it's not material possessions - they're just stuff, and much of it can be replaced, should you want to.  What's really important is being alive, and the people you love.  You don't literally have to burn down your house, either - you can sell it, think of it differently, etc.  Diogenes famously went as far as living in a barrel, because he thought that people become slaves to their possessions, and there's much truth in this, and that's one of many good reasons many people are now interested in Tiny Houses (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiny-house_movement).

It's a perfect day for getting wild
Forgetting all your worries
Life
And everything that makes you cry
Let's get happy!
It's a perfect day for dreams come true
For thinking big
And doing anything you want to do
Let's get happy!

Yeah, that's nice - it's important to throw the cultural conditioning and social constraints off regularly, and also our own mental ruts, more than anything, I think!  Isn't it ironic (and also handy!) that often, the way to a happier day is just a determination to make it so?

"But it's much too late" you say
"For doing this now
We should have done it then"
Well it just goes to show
How wrong you can be
And how you really should know
That it's never too late
To get up and go...

Kick out the gloom
Kick out the blues
Tear out the pages with all the bad news
Pull down the mirrors and pull down the walls
Tear up the stairs and tear up the floors
Oh just burn down the house!
Burn down the street!
Turn everything red and the dream is complete
With the sound of your world
Going up in the fire
It's a perfect day to throw back your head
And kiss it all goodbye!


Very nice!  And I still like the jangly, rolling bit of instrumental music near the start of the extended version best, musically speaking!  :)

And that's the end of looking at Wish, at least for now.  :cool
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on January 10, 2021, 11:45:45
Having wrapped up my initial tour of Wish, I can now I can go listen to the other two albums that arrived here late last year. 🥳

Just before I do, though, a quick summary of how the Cure studio albums I've listened to so far gel with me personally.  Here's a pictorial representation:


Bloodflowers

Disintegration / KMKMKM / Wish (no particular order)


The Top / Wild Mood Swings / 4:13 Dream / The Head On The Door (no particular order)




Japanese Whispers (not an album, but still)


In other words, so far, Bloodflowers is my personal favourite, followed very closely by Disintegration, Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me and Wish, in no particular order. They're all albums I tend to play from start to finish, with few if any songs that I want to skip - in other words, they are albums I tend to listen to as albums, and they have many, many songs on them I really love, relate to etc etc.

The next tier for me so far contains The Top, Wild Mood Swings, 4:13 Dream, and The Head On The Door, again in no particular order.  I'm glad to have these albums in the house, and there's collectively a lot of songs on them I love, but I tend not to listen to these all the way through, just in brackets.  With Wild Mood Swings and 4:13 Dream there are at least two tracks on each that I very much dislike and therefore tend to skip altogether (see here (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=436.msg773650#msg773650)).  While I skip two on KMKMKM as well, it's a double album.  The Head On The Door overall didn't quite gel with me the same way as a lot of the others, probably because it was distinctly 80s in flavour, but Sinking is a favourite off it.

Japanese Whispers is not an album, just something we bought a few years ago at a music store closing-down sale, and when we listened to it, we really hated most of it!  No amount of trying again made it any better.  The three tracks on it we wouldn't throw away are already on the Greatest Hits and get played live a bit, so we'd not replace this CD if it accidentally came to grief, or turned into a bat and flew away.  :-D  I think Love Cats is a very good song and The Walk isn't bad, apart from its awful bloody 80s keyboards.  Let's Go To Bed isn't our favourite, but we'd keep it mostly for historical reasons.

How would you arrange your Cure album groups?  Or do you actually number them from most favourite to least?  I can't do that - I think there's so much stuff that's equivalent in quality and appeal to me, I just put them in different tiers. :)

By the way, here's how @MAtT, an all-the-way-back fan who's listened to everything and lots of bootlegs as well, arranged his:

Quote from: MAtT on August 17, 2020, 08:49:27For me, in the grand scheme of things for me, HOTD is a lower tier Cure album. It's better than the post 2000 offerings and (maybe) WMS, it's up there with Three Imaginary Boys & Wish, but (just) below The Top. And it's nowhere near the fantastic, mature diversity of Kiss Me, the mature class of Disintegration and Bloodflowers, or the ultimate raw genius of Seventeen Seconds, Faith, and Pornography.

(All subjective I know!)

His original post on that goes into more detail and is worth checking out - just click the link in the quote to go there.  :)

Five studio albums to go - and the new one in the works, for which I have great hopes, considering that the two most recent, standalone Cure songs in the public repertoire - It Can Never Be The Same and Step Into The Light (which I looked at earlier (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9295.msg773221;topicseen#msg773221) in this thread) to me are right up there with Bloodflowers. ♥

Unlike some of you who've been disappointed by the delay of the upcoming album, I like to think it's just being made even better in the meantime, and anyway, I'm still very busy working my way through albums I've not heard before!  :winking_tongue

PS:  I've just realised I've still not looked at any lyrics for KMKMKM on this open journal - that got forgotten because I was actually listening to two "new" Cure albums at the same time, I think.  Some day I may well remedy this - either by editing things into old posts, or by linking new posts to the original ones on this album.  Also of course, there's whole albums I've not written about much here because I already had them before I joined this forum 18 months ago...
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on January 11, 2021, 10:02:02
FIRST IMPRESSIONS - SELF-TITLED 2004 ALBUM

The general vibe about this album from other people had been fairly negative - including from my husband, who sampled it in a record shop when it came out but decided he didn't like the sound.  But you know what, I've just given it a spin and I like it.

Just clarifying - looking at what's been written out there, on Reddit and forums and in the music press, I get the general impression that quite a few of the original fans (or at least the most vocal ones) were never really happy again post-Wish (or some of them, post-Pornography).  The extra-whiny complaining began with Wild Mood Swings, and never really ended. Sometimes I think that some people get stuck in a perceived golden musical age of their own teenage years, possibly because that's when everything is fresh, and a lot of neural connections are being made, and people go through a lot of feelings.  Once you've grown up, you may not be quite so easy to move or inspire again, particularly if there's a tendency to nostalgia, and a dissatisfaction with the present in general.  And the problem may actually be that, and not the music.

Because Brett didn't like this album on first impressions, my expectations were at the low end, but I was pleasantly surprised.  First of all, the sound production on this one is very good - and this was not the case with 4:13 Dream, or with our copy of Disintegration.  Both sounded clipped the way MP3s sound clipped to me, and the 2008 album sadly seems to come from the bottom of a well, and not in a good way.  So, the first thing to like here:  Decent sound.

It's true that the music has a hard edge to it on this album; more on some tracks than on others.  However, I was already used to that from the back end of the 2008 album; songs I ended up making friends with, on closer examination, and after I was over the aural shock.  But there's more on this album than hard edges - there's also a lot of beauty, and a lot of maturity, and above all, a huge amount of passion.

And as is usually the case, there's lots to think about.  The lyrics are already creating a favourable impression.  That kind of mature writing, I so much prefer to a lot of what I heard on The Head On The Door, for example.  But you know, I'm in my late 40s, and not nearly as easy to impress as I was in my 20s - particularly by things that strike me as illogical, or unwise.  Writing does tend to improve with age, when people are open to learning.

Occasionally Robert Smith is a bit screamy on this record, which was one of the things that put Brett off (but he listens to Tool and I don't, go figure).  Sometimes though, the song kind of requires it - Us Or Them was already a firm favourite of mine from live recordings.  I remember when Pride (In The Name Of Love) came out a long time ago, my father was saying, "Is this guy crazy?  Why is he screaming like this?" but Bono wasn't actually screaming aggressively, and the verses were quite restrained, while the chorus carried all the pain and outrage of the subject matter (there's a world of difference between destructive aggression, and that).  I think it's the same sort of thing with Us Or Them.  Why don't we compare and contrast the two, today - considering I've already recently been drawn into the Cure vs U2 discussion (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=5557.msg774255#msg774255) on this forum, and considering that these songs are especially topical again just now.

We'll go chronologically:


There's a lot of melody in this song; it's an unusual track, and one that made my hairs stand on end when I first heard it, and still does, with its combination of rawness and dignity and all-out, unashamed passion and involvement. This has always been a favourite song of mine; and very few on that theme have come near.

Until this one, 20 years later:


Musically it's very different, but the spirit of it is the same to me. ♥

More later; have some more listening to do.
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: Ulrich on January 11, 2021, 11:24:28
Quote from: SueC on January 10, 2021, 11:45:45How would you arrange your Cure album groups?  Or do you actually number them from most favourite to least?  I can't do that ...

Well I don't want to number them as well. I'll try and arrange some groups below:

Disintegration, Wish, Kiss Me, Head On The Door

Faith, Seventeen Seconds, Pornography (aka the first "trilogy"!)

Bloodflowers, Wild Mood Swings, The Cure (2004), The Top

4:13 Dream, Three Imaginary Boys


(Note: I did not list "compilations" like Boys don't cry LP or Japanese Whispers or any "best of" collections or live albums.)
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on January 12, 2021, 06:51:09
SMALL UPDATE - SELF-TITLED 2004 ALBUM

I can already tell you this much for sure - where I'd put this album in my little diagram:


Bloodflowers

Disintegration / KMKMKM / Wish / The Cure (no particular order)


The Top / Wild Mood Swings / 4:13 Dream / The Head On The Door (no particular order)


The individual tiers happen to be in the order of acquisition - not in order of preference - these are tiers that I think are about equivalent.  And since I taught for about two decades of my life, if I had to "grade" these albums, then Bloodflowers would get an A++, the next tier an A+, and the "bottom" tier - which is not so bottomy, after all - would get somewhere between an A- and a B+.  I'm prepared to concede that personal preference is making me lift Bloodflowers above the next tier by a small increment, but then a lot of this is subjective anyway.  However, I do feel that Bloodflowers is a more emotionally mature piece of work than Disintegration, and that it's musically more beautiful than the self-titled (emotional maturity I could make objective arguments for, the question of beauty I cannot).

I've had a couple more listen-throughs with the 2004 album, and it's getting better with each listen - there's so much depth there.  I don't want to skip anything, and the lyrics are excellent.  There's nothing in them that feels borrowed and regurgitated, or not well thought through.  It all feels genuine and up-front and real; the thoughts of a person who's accrued some living, and has been engaged in independent thought, without obvious deference to particular systems of belief or philosophy, but clearly informed by those things.

As I'm getting used to some of the musical hard edges, I'm also discovering a lot of loveliness, in counterpoint but also, interestingly, in the hard edges themselves.  The singing on this album is tremendous; it's so expressive, and also often so melodic, and so acrobatic, that it's breathtaking.  It's often like voice-as-instrument, and like voice-expressing-raw-emotion in the way that mere words cannot.

But this album is not emotion without thought; there's a lot of thinking that's gone on here - and I like to see both the head and the heart in music and literature and other art, not just one or the other - because the intellect without a heart is cold, and the heart without an intellect is anaemic and gullible.

This album is making me think, and it's also moving me immensely - no mean feat.  I don't need to tell you about the musical competence of these people; I think everyone here agrees on that, whether or not the band is playing a style you personally like.  But it's the heart and the intelligence in this music that I'm responding to, with this album (as with Bloodflowers).  ♥

I'll start pulling songs out of this album that are particularly jumping out at me, when I get some more time!
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on January 12, 2021, 11:39:27
AMAZING...

Here's the song that leaps out at me the most - one I'd not heard before.  There's lots of excellent tracks on the self-titled album, and as mentioned before, Us Or Them has been a longstanding favourite from live footage/audio.  But this song is breathtaking - this is going to be a lifelong favourite; and I don't as yet have words, so I'll add those later and for now, just post the song.


I've just played that on the main stereo and even Brett said he thought that was musically fantastic, and that's despite the fact that he left this CD in the shop after test-listening, when it came out.  "It wasn't Bloodflowers," he said - and I laughed, because Bloodflowers is Bloodflowers, it's a one-off, unique album, and it would be rather sad if a band just turned something unique into a formula, and played it to death.  Instead, they turned around and four years later, made something else unique that was not like any of its predecessors.  Wish and Disintegration are also unique in their own way.  Don't ask me how The Cure managed to do these changes in direction, and still sound like themselves, instead of sounding like everyone else.

I'll write more about the song when I find some words.  :)

♦ ♥ ♦

OK.  Let's start with the lyrics.


ANNIVERSARY

A year ago today we stood
Above this same awakening world
I held you...
You never wanted me to know

Another year ago today
Before this same awakening world
I held you...
I never meant to let you go

There was a moment
There always is
When time stood still
And always was this...
One endless moment
You turn in pain
And I always let you go
Over and over again...

A year ago tonight we lay
Below this same remembering sky
I kissed you...
You never wanted me to know

Another year ago tonight
Behind this same remembering sky
I kissed you...
I never meant to let you go

Another moment
There always is
As time stands still
And always is this...
One endless moment
You tell me all
And I hold you and I kiss you
And I never let you go

I never let you go...



The words make lovely standalone poetry, once again - but singing these words, and setting them to music, the way that was done here, takes all of this up to a totally different level.  It lends the words wings.  There's so much that language just can't express, but music can.  I read somewhere that Robert Smith was lamenting sometime ago never reaching the greatness of the writers he admired, but at his best he's as good as anyone I've read, and then there's the music...he's got extra dimensions to paint with, so he really needn't worry about that - this track is as deeply moving as anything I've read in literature, or heard in music.  ♥

The best works of art, whatever they are - visual, written, music - fly me out to the edge of the stratosphere, to give me both a bird's eye view of life on earth - and as part of that, my own life - and a view skyward into infinity.  I see us in our proper perspective, which is that we're tiny ants in an enormous and incredible place - the same feeling I get when I walk on the dramatic coastal cliffs of our South Coast:  I feel how small I am, and how larger than life the landscape is, the forces of nature are; how extraordinary it is that rocks and water, waves and sunlight, gravity and Rayleigh scatter, life on earth exist; and planets, and stars, and black holes, and infinite distance.  I feel how insignificant I really am in the scheme of things, whereas the arrogant, blind and emotionally destitute amongst us, with their childish me-me minds and obsession with possession and control, view us as the cream of creation and the masters of the universe, and to them the whole world, XTC put this so brilliantly, "Is biscuit-shaped / and just for me to feed my face."

My smallness, and humanity's smallness, in the scheme of things doesn't scare me, or make me feel uncomfortable - it actually comforts me.  Whatever happens to us, individually or collectively, these things that many of us like to tread underfoot will still be here a long time after we're gone.  They are bigger and more enduring and don't participate in our fantasy of human greatness.

♦ ♥ ♦

This is a song about love.  There's another incredible thing - that we fleetingly exist and can love one another.  But love is not an easy, happy-ever-after thing, not even in a long-term relationship between two people who are best friends and then some, and have many things in common, and who admire each other for good reasons, and laugh so much their faces are creasing permanently, and love one another to bits, and make adventures out of life, and love to share the road.

Because when you love, you also have to confront the deepest darkness in each of you.  The best songs about love acknowledge this, and it makes them more beautiful, because they are anchored in truth and honesty, and not in fantasy or turning a blind eye or creative editing.  And love is more real and more secure once you stop denying this, once you acknowledge there's flaws in each of you, and when you can love each other without your honeymoon glasses on.  When neither of you feel you have to be perfect in order to love and be loved; when it's enough to be works in progress; when you understand there is no love without compassion and forgiveness, for yourself too.

It's not easy to talk about these things clearly, so I want to also say what I do NOT mean by this.  I've written the above in the context of a healthy, respectful relationship, not as an excuse for abuse and bad behaviour.  I'm aware that habitually abusive people like to invoke notions like forgiveness and compassion with the people they abuse, rather than cleaning up their own act and growing some respect and empathy (if that's even possible for some of them).  Sadly, people can get sucked into these notions, which are very warped notions of what forgiveness and compassion are supposed to be;  because neither are an open invitation to use a person as a doormat, and because love also includes our responsibility to protect ourselves from other people's abuse.

There is a difference between relationships where abuse is a pattern, from one or both sides, and fundamentally healthy, respectful relationships between people who are also human and flawed, and will collide painfully with these flaws from time to time.  The difference is in the acknowledgement, the taking responsibility, and the genuine working on it.  I'd hate for people in a relationship with a habitually abusive person to think, "I need to have more love and compassion and forgiveness for them to make this better;  I need to accept them as they are and put up with it, everyone has flaws." 

Your primary responsibility is to your own mental and emotional health, and to understand where your responsibility begins and ends.  Another person's bad behaviour is not your responsibility, it is theirs; and to change that is their responsibility - you're only responsible for your own behaviour, and you're also absolutely responsible for protecting yourself from other people's bad behaviour.  You can be compassionate and forgiving, without putting yourself back in the firing line - you can decide where your own limits are, and enforce those limits - you do not have to make yourself available for abuse, or to continue to be in a relationship of any sort with a person who has a destructive pattern.  You do not have to fix people like this;  you can't - they have to do that for themselves.  We are all only responsible for our own behaviour - and absolutely responsible for our own behaviour.

It's kind of sad not being able to write about love without also getting into this stuff, but that's the reality, and one that's not sufficiently talked about.  Think about all the people sitting in relationships with abusive partners, who hear songs on the radio about the dark side of love and the flawed nature of humans, and use that to normalise their own situation, which they should be getting out of.  (Or, of course, who are listening to songs about love that promote dysfunctional patterns as "romantic" and "normal" - there's lots of songs like this, because there's unfortunately lots of people writing love songs who aren't clear on stuff like this themselves, or not yet anyway.)

After that unfortunately necessary aside, I will be returning to the fantastic song we started out with.  :)

♦ ♥ ♦

Happy love songs can be OK, but the ones with a bit of vulnerability in them tend to be more compelling, to me anyway.  Also, there's this general principle that it's often not until we are confronted with loss that we become wide awake, and fully realise what we have, instead of taking any of it for granted.  Here's a Leunig poem on the topic:

(https://pilgrimchurchprayers.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/prayer_deco_tinyboat.jpg)
God bless this tiny little boat
And me who travels in it.
It stays afloat for years and years
And sinks within a minute.

And so the soul in which we sail,
Unknown by years of thinking,
Is deeply felt and understood
The minute that it's sinking.



Also tying in with this is Khalil Gibran saying that the more you are carved out by sorrow, the more joy you can contain.  I like art and literature and music that goes to both sides - the pain and the bliss, the dark night of the soul and the flight on clouds - two sides of a coin, in human experience - but then, human experience is a lot more than that particular coin, too!  :)

The song Anniversary could be about a wedding anniversary or another kind of relationship anniversary.  It could be about an anniversary of something significant and/or painful happening in or outside a relationship (which is probably a spouse relationship, but doesn't have to be).  The details of that don't really matter; the imagery is more important; and it's beautiful imagery which points at the vulnerability of human beings, and the vulnerability of love itself.  There's something not being told, and eventually it is.  We don't know what that is, but the details don't matter.  The disclosure of something difficult has a tension most of us would be painfully aware of from our own experience.  People can get hurt either side; can hurt each other with the way this goes.  Can run if they get hurt, or can reach out.

When we were married a couple of years, we had some rough spots, and a wise neighbour who'd been married for decades saw that we were upset and later said to me, without knowing any details, "Forgiveness is really important for going the distance."  It was lovely of this person to come out and say this, just like that, in-between discussing the window installations we were working on at the time.  Just one sentence dropped into the general conversation like that, and a look, and, "I don't want to interfere, it's just I've been married over 30 years and this is the biggest thing I learnt and why we're still together," and then back to the conversation about window installations.  This came back to me when I heard this song, and it is very true.  Wouldn't it be great if you could never hurt each other, but that's not how it is, even if it's really important to you - because you're human and life is complicated.  You can get better at it, which is nice.  I always think that just when I've got it all worked out, I'll be 80 and needing to plan my own funeral.  :winking_tongue

It's hard to express in words why I find this song so moving; I've touched on a couple of points here that come into it, but it's also that after invoking things like vulnerability and tension and fragility and pain and sadness and compassion and personal limitations and even the brevity of life, it ends in love and acceptance.  And that sentence I just wrote is just a charcoal sketch with my left hand, of something that itself is a watercolour, and speaks so much more eloquently for itself than I can speak for it, that I sometimes wonder why I even try!

I love music like this; it's such a vivid expression of being human, and being in this universe.  ♥
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: Ulrich on January 12, 2021, 15:17:50
Quote from: SueC on January 11, 2021, 10:02:02Occasionally Robert Smith is a bit screamy on this record

Which is, I think, because they recorded the vocals while the band were recording their instruments (i.e. "live", with a few overdubs of course), so he had to make himself heard (as compared to those albums for which he sang in a booth with headphones on).

Quote from: SueC on January 12, 2021, 11:39:27Here's the song that leaps out at me the most - one I'd not heard before.

I like this one too and it's quite different from the others on that album, less guitar-driven, less "screamy", with more synth on it (might have to do with Perry Bamonte being composer of the music, so it has been said)!

Quote from: SueC on January 12, 2021, 11:39:27...Bloodflowers is Bloodflowers, it's a one-off, unique album, and it would be rather sad if a band just turned something unique into a formula, and played it to death.

Yep, you gotta love them for not making the same album over and over! :smth023

I've always enjoyed the fact that the Cure were "different" - not just from other bands, but also from album to album.  :cool
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on January 13, 2021, 09:57:40
Quote from: Ulrich on January 12, 2021, 15:17:50
Quote from: SueC on January 11, 2021, 10:02:02Occasionally Robert Smith is a bit screamy on this record

Which is, I think, because they recorded the vocals while the band were recording their instruments (i.e. "live", with a few overdubs of course), so he had to make himself heard (as compared to those albums for which he sang in a booth with headphones on).

Yeah, I read about that on the leaflet, and that it was recorded in a candlelit room etc etc.  Which reminded me of another favourite song of mine, which this artist did for a soundtrack and freaked out the studio personnel by turning off the lights, lighting a candle, and arranging a doll in a corner, which she proceeded to sing to:


The live recording explains some of the immediacy of the 2004 album, I think.  :cool  And as I said earlier, I think the singing on this is actually marvellous.  Screamy or not!  :)


Quote from: Ulrich on January 12, 2021, 15:17:50I like this one too and it's quite different from the others on that album, less guitar-driven, less "screamy", with more synth on it (might have to do with Perry Bamonte being composer of the music, so it has been said)!

Someone told me (I think it was here) that he also composed Trust, which is also wonderful music.  I'm not sure how all of that works, of course, because I've never seen the process, but I imagine that in such cases, mostly, one person brings is a sketch, and then everybody works on it to colour it in?

By the way, Italian trivia, because I'm part-Italian - the surname Bamonte comes from a nickname people had for someone who was such a giant he blocked out the mountain when he was coming down the road.  :lol:


...I'm going to add to the post on Anniversary above when the correct words arrive.  The words have been slightly delayed by being woken by a bat flapping in my face just after midnight last night, and then having to do a stage performance with Brett in order to let it back out into the great outdoors.  :lol:  It's so much fun living in Australia.  The critters! 🦇
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on January 16, 2021, 00:40:38
After a bat-free night, the words returned, and I completed post #97 above.  Wonderful song!  :)

I already know which song I want to get into next, but just wanted to add a little post-post (as opposed to postscript) to #97.  I was thinking about love songs with a high level of tension and vulnerability in them as is the case with Anniversary. From the overall pool of songs about love I've heard, both voluntarily and involuntarily :1f635:, over the last 35 or so years, any artist, these are in the minority.  (Mushy melodrama and hormonal hyperventilating are not the same thing as what I'm getting at here. :P)

Obviously The Cure do a fair few of these - Plainsong and If Only Tonight We Could Sleep are two obvious examples of that, to me.  I wanted to post a few examples from other artists though, that have that kind of liquifying effect on my interior, that kind of heart-stoppingness and needing to remember to breathe.

This one was written by a person in his mid-20s, which I think needs to be taken into account when you're considering the lyrics - I'm not quite sure if he's super aware at this point that we're each responsible for our own selves and that our partner is not our rescuer - like a lot of early love songs by all sorts of artists including The Cure, there's a hint of co-dependency in this one (as opposed to inter-dependency) - and considering there's a fair bit of enculturation of co-dependency (even if your own family of origin was miraculously free of it), that's unsurprising.  But putting that aside, musically and vocally, this fits the category...



A traditional song, lyrics and translation here (http://www.celticlyricscorner.net/capercaillie/breisleach.htm), interpreted by Capercaillie:



Another traditional song, interpreted by Sinéad O'Connor and band, who drag it firmly into this category:



One from Nick Cave:



One from The Waterboys; Mike Scott pens a fair few like this:



When I think of more, I will add them, and reader suggestions are always welcome too.  :cool

PS: Note that the Waterboys track is over 12 minutes long. That's even longer than Watching Me Fall, or The Promise.  Of course, a song is as long as it needs to be.  Still, this little fact got Brett into At Home With The Smiths (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=3872.msg774219;topicseen#msg774219) mode again.  He was going, "The new album isn't out yet."  (Assuming morose cartoon voice:)  "I'll show Mike.  I'll do a song one second longer.  Then he'll have to buy me a beer next time we're down at t'pub."
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on January 23, 2021, 11:11:45
ALL MANNER OF GRIEF



THE PROMISE

How time will heal
Make me forget
You promised me
Time will heal
Make me forget
You promised me
Love will save us all and time will heal
You promised me...

How love will save
Make me forget
You promised me
Love will save
Make me forget
You promised me
Time will heal us all and love will save
You promised me...

I trusted you
I wanted your words
Believed in you
I needed your words
Time will heal
Make me forget
And love will save us all

You promised me another wish
Another way
You promised me another dream
Another day
You promised me another time
You promised me another life

You promised me...

So I swallowed the shame and I waited
I buried the blame and I waited
Choked back years of memories
I pushed down the pain and I waited
Trying to forget...

You promised me another wish
Another way
You promised me another dream
Another day
You promised me another time
You promised me...
Another lie

Oh you promised me...
And I waited... And I waited... And I waited...

And I'm still waiting...



This song leapt out at me for a number of reasons.  One is, do you know how Charles Dickens is famous for his "nutshell portraits" of minor characters in his books?  Here's a few examples in an excerpt from Great Expectations:

Bentley Drummle, who was so sulky a fellow that he even took up a book as if its writer had done him an injury, did not take up an acquaintance in a more agreeable spirit. Heavy in figure, movement, and comprehension,--in the sluggish complexion of his face, and in the large, awkward tongue that seemed to loll about in his mouth as he himself lolled about in a room,--he was idle, proud, niggardly, reserved, and suspicious. He came of rich people down in Somersetshire, who had nursed this combination of qualities until they made the discovery that it was just of age and a blockhead. Thus, Bentley Drummle had come to Mr. Pocket when he was a head taller than that gentleman, and half a dozen heads thicker than most gentlemen.
      Startop had been spoilt by a weak mother and kept at home when he ought to have been at school, but he was devotedly attached to her, and admired her beyond measure. He had a woman's delicacy of feature, and was--"as you may see, though you never saw her," said Herbert to me--"exactly like his mother." It was but natural that I should take to him much more kindly than to Drummle, and that, even in the earliest evenings of our boating, he and I should pull homeward abreast of one another, conversing from boat to boat, while Bentley Drummle came up in our wake alone, under the overhanging banks and among the rushes. He would always creep in-shore like some uncomfortable amphibious creature, even when the tide would have sent him fast upon his way; and I always think of him as coming after us in the dark or by the back-water, when our own two boats were breaking the sunset or the moonlight in mid-stream.
      Herbert was my intimate companion and friend. I presented him with a half-share in my boat, which was the occasion of his often coming down to Hammersmith; and my possession of a half-share in his chambers often took me up to London. We used to walk between the two places at all hours. I have an affection for the road yet (though it is not so pleasant a road as it was then), formed in the impressibility of untried youth and hope.
      When I had been in Mr. Pocket's family a month or two, Mr. and Mrs. Camilla turned up. Camilla was Mr. Pocket's sister. Georgiana, whom I had seen at Miss Havisham's on the same occasion, also turned up. She was a cousin,--an indigestive single woman, who called her rigidity religion, and her liver love. These people hated me with the hatred of cupidity and disappointment. As a matter of course, they fawned upon me in my prosperity with the basest meanness. Towards Mr. Pocket, as a grown-up infant with no notion of his own interests, they showed the complacent forbearance I had heard them express. Mrs. Pocket they held in contempt; but they allowed the poor soul to have been heavily disappointed in life, because that shed a feeble reflected light upon themselves.


Dickens is a master at summing up people in brief but evocative descriptions, and I think The Cure have a similar talent for summing up emotions and situations in (relatively) brief but evocative pieces of music.  The Promise is a vivid portrait of deep disappointment and grief, and it instantly took me back to the last time I'd heard someone express these emotions, to the same painful extent.  The fact that this was also on my iPod and in the garden probably helped to link the two; the brain does things like this...

I listen to a lot of podcasts, including some very unusual ones.  Some years ago one of the topics that interested me is people who were brought up in religious communities undergoing a faith crisis.  This happens to a fair few people born into serious organised religions when they start to get a higher education which exposes them to other world views.  There's a guy in America called John Dehlin who has been podcasting for years about faith crises coming out of Mormonism, and who organises support and social groups for post-Mormon and post-religious people - because one of the problems with people from tight religions losing their faith is that they then not infrequently lose their whole communities, or at least see them very differently after their crisis.

Mormonism isn't quite as bad with that as, for example, the Jehovah's Witnesses, or the Brethren, who totally shun people who cease to share the same world view.  If a Mormon gets excommunicated, it doesn't mean they can't socialise with their tribe anymore - or that they can't attend church, even - it's more like a formality.  There's no directive to shun and exclude, like in the other examples I gave - but that doesn't mean people don't change, when someone starts to question the very things they hold dear.  (And this is all really interesting because it translates to so many situations in the world in general, when people, and particularly people who grow up in "silos" of similar beliefs, have different opinions about religion or politics or other matters to which they become terribly attached emotionally and/or intellectually - often these differences aren't handled particularly constructively, as you can currently observe with the fierce ideological rift lines in the US).

But, Mormonism is a particularly good example of how you can get your heart broken losing your faith, because they've constructed a particularly wish-fulfilling afterlife.  Ordinary Christianity (and Mormonism falls within the fringes of Christianity, and leans strongly towards fundamentalism and literalness) has various portraits of the afterlife, depending on the "brand" and the imagination that got to dominate that brand, but mostly the general public gets these vague notions of an old white bearded guy on a throne and various cloven-hooved devils chasing the undeserving into a fiery hell with pitchforks, while the deserving get to sing hymns of praise forever with the white-winged angels brandishing harps.  That version of heaven, by the way, would make me run... can you imagine the tedium?

The Mormon concept of the afterlife is far more attractive - first of all, no devils with pitchforks, but levels of closeness to the light, so to speak, and people allowed to visit "down" in case they have a relative or friend residing in a lower echelon for the time being - and these levels are able to be progressed from, much like re-sitting a failed exam after more study so you can have another go at passing and going up a class.  Hell exists, but is more a self-inflicted thing; a soul in the painful realisation of the horrible things it did while in corporeal life, with all the consequences and pain for other beings completely in its face, and this is particularly sharp because of the juxtaposition to light and love and beauty, which were its other choices, and from which it can no longer hide either.

In the Mormon afterlife, you're not singing in some kind of celestial choir forever and ever, although you can do that part-time if it's something you'd enjoy (and just maybe, the music is a bit better up there).  Mormons have a concept of perpetual relationships with those closest to you - for instance, marriage isn't just for the corporeal life, but can be for the afterlife (and that's OK because they have bodies of sorts, so I suppose there can be sex of sorts as well, so you don't have to be platonic ever after with a person with whom you've been closer than that during your life on earth, 'cos that would really suck).

And additionally, Mormons have this concept of infinite progression, infinite learning ever after, which is incredibly attractive if you're inclined to nerdiness, like I am.  What's not so attractive is the idea of getting more and more power, to me anyway, because I actually don't want to be a god/goddess, nor do I want to create planets and life forms of my own in this kind of infinitely repeating, infinitely expanding pattern.  And really, with that, you're philosophically back to the same problem as with the idea of there being a God, in order to explain the existence of the universe - then you have to explain the existence of God; and it's a cop-out to say, "Oh, but God has always been there!" - why can't the universe and its preconditions have always been there, then?

Because people want a big wizard with a magic wand.  Just like a big Daddy.  I'm not being facetious; it's an inbuilt part of human psychology - we've got a brain with different levels, like the cerebrum versus the "reptile brain" - and we're pre-programmed to find patterns even when there aren't any, and to think in terms of cause and effect, which really gets in the way of thinking about the origins of the universe.  We're also tending subconsciously to look for familiar patterns, and if you look at Transactional Analysis, many people's relationship with their God is very similar to the early-life patterns of having a big all-powerful daddy who knew everything and you depended upon for your life and who could lavish you with affection or punish you for your misdeeds - and the Second Coming is really an extrapolated case of, "Wait till your father gets home!" - it's all very child-parent, thou art greater than I, and I must believe and obey or else, just like in a patriarchal, authoritarian family.  (Hippie gods are a bit more laid-back, because people create God in their own image.)

People simply have a subconscious tendency to bring their unexamined patterns up again and again in various ways, and also to project their own images on concepts of God, and on other people (which is a real problem).

What's that got to do with that Cure song?  - I'm giving necessary context for a person's story which I was immediately reminded of by The Promise, and digressing a bit because it's so much fun to take the scenic route - all sorts of things to discover there!  ;)  Hopefully, you can now imagine a little of what it's like to grow up being fed this idea that death isn't final but only like a metamorphosis from caterpillar to everlasting butterfly, and that unresolved earthly injustices will be made right in the hereafter, and that there's a perfect parent sitting up there in another marvellous dimension who's not flawed like everyone else you're encountering, and who loves you with a perfect undying love and is completely invested in your learning and progression as a person ever after, and who understands you when nobody else does, and who aches when you ache, and will comfort you now and hereafter - and to grow up believing that all the people you love and lose will be re-united with you, and that your marriage can be forever, and that you will learn and progress not just for your fourscore years or so on Earth, but infinitely after...

...and then to have it dawn on you that fourscore years or so is all you or anyone else has got, and that your life and love and learning then turns to dust, and that you'll never see the people you've lost again, and that injustices don't get righted beyond the grave, nor is there any kind of compensation for a being's agony and suffering on Earth no matter how awful its life was, and that neither your love nor love in general is forever, nor is anything in your life, and that you'll never learn every language there is and read all the worthwhile books ever written and get proficient at all the musical instruments and visual arts techniques you're attracted to, etc etc.

It is actually possible to become reconciled to these things, and to learn to live with these realities, but if you've come from that kind of wonderland-in-the-sky background, there's a hard shock at the realisation, and a lot of pain and grief to work through - as there is with any major loss, real or perceived - and it takes time.

Which brings me to the story that I was immediately reminded of when listening to The Promise.  It's this guy's story:

(https://i2.wp.com/www.mormonstories.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Eldon3.jpg?w=576&ssl=1)

Eldon Kartchner grew up with Mormonism, wasn't heterosexual but was made to believe he was, got married to the person who actually was the love of his life and in her case it actually worked for him that she was female, which is not usually the case with people who mostly identify as gay - you get the impression that sometimes it doesn't matter what gender a person is, you're going to love them that way because of how you love them.  This couple had children, and then his wife Heather got cancer, and they were led to expect a miraculous recovery, but she died.  With her death, his belief system came crashing down around his ears, and the pain of that part of the story has stayed with me since I first listened to it nearly ten years ago, and came back to me the moment I heard that song - it could be written for him.  Of course it's not, strictly speaking - but then in another sense, it is; because I think songs like this are ultimately written for any situation that fits them well, and this fits oh so well.  The ache and the grief and the desolation this man went through is encapsulated in that song, and the words echo so many of his words, about his loss of belief in God, and in the entire belief system he grew up with, and how he could never see anything the same way again, not people, not the universe, everything was turned upside down, just like that and no going back, and having to work through how all of those beliefs ever got established in the first place, and what if anything you can possibly put in their empty aching place.

If anyone is interested in the particulars of his story, the long, long, harrowing four-part podcast is found here:  https://www.mormonstories.org/episodes/top-25-lgbt-themed-episodes/page/2/

...and if anyone out there does listen to his story, play the song afterwards and tell me if it's not one and the same in its raw grief and its grappling with existence.

This story also brings to mind another song, of a person grappling with their faith, at around the same life stage as Eldon Kartchner in the podcast:


I don't think this person lost it completely, but they were certainly grappling.  There's ambiguity in who the dead man is that's supposed to wake up - God, or the narrator - and I think that's an interesting ambiguity.

I personally don't care which way people go in cases like this, whether they stay with a faith of some sort or become agnostic / atheist.  Personally I'm agnostic, but I'd never want to sever someone from a benign religious world view if they find it helpful.  We're all finding our way and I don't want to look down on anyone.  Admittedly I have problems with diehard fundamentalists and with conspiracy theorists, and my patience for those things is continuing to thin, considering how much damage that does in the world - events in the US over the last few years haven't helped, and I'm thinking there has to be a limit to our tolerance.  Where to draw the line is a complex question.

♦ ♥ ♦

Let's look at a live version of The Promise:


This is such performance art - take a black black mood and situation, set it to music.  Usually with the music of this band there's a sense that all the instruments and the vocal are equally important parts of a whole; in this case it seems to me the vocals and the words take the front seat, and the instrumentation adds emphasis and drama to the human being turning himself inside out with raw emotion.

I think this works fine live as well, but this is one of those rare cases I actually prefer the studio version to the live version, with this band.  If you go back and listen again to the studio track at the start of this post, the vocal there is brimming with electricity and doing all sorts of acrobatics that can be very difficult to replicate live, because they're so one-off and coming off the emotion of the moment more than technique, I would guess.

There's a few songs like this in my collection... here's one, by another band, where the vocal in live versions I've heard of this track has actually ended up disappointing:


...as is the case for Pride (In The Name Of Love), A Sort Of Homecoming and the title track off the same album - very hard to do vocals like that consistently live (and that's probably why Bono never sang like that on a studio album again), but the studio tracks, and the studio vocals, are scintillating, and still make me feel like I'm on the top of a rollercoaster and about to drop. ♥

♦ ♥ ♦

I want to come back to the lyrics of The Promise before finishing, because I've chiefly written about a story the song took me back to, rather than the song itself.  The song would fit so many scenarios - it would fit Eldon and Heather Kartchner's story to a T, but so much else as well. 

Because the lyrics are so far up in this post, I'll "reprint" them and do a little annotating - however, not in the traditional sense where you're specifically looking at language and literary techniques etc, but more as free-flowing thoughts in response:


THE PROMISE

How time will heal
Make me forget
You promised me
Time will heal
Make me forget
You promised me
Love will save us all and time will heal
You promised me...


Something unspecified and terrible has happened to the narrator, and someone else has made promises about things getting better down the track.  Which of you hasn't done that, when you've had a friend down a black hole who can see nothing but pitch blackness and pain?  I know that's one of the things I do, apart from sitting with and acknowledging the feeling - something we generally have to train and remind ourselves to do, because there's this instinct to try to stop other people expressing such feelings and to try to cheer them up instantly - but you can't cut this stuff off, it will only go underground and it's actually good for a person to be able to talk about it to someone else, and to air the despair; otherwise they're alone with it.  So, sometimes to be a friend means to sit in their darkness with them together, and to let them get some of this horrible stuff out of themselves, instead of instantly trying to switch on the light.

Brett still has overwhelming instincts to "fix" things, and I do to a lesser degree (these days), instead of sitting with this stuff - but allowing someone to express such difficult feelings is priority number one - unless the house is on fire.  Obviously, there are many times when we have difficulties with things when it can be helpful to hear various strategies that we may not have come across before, that other people have tried - and remember, what may work really well for you may not work at all for someone else - or to be reminded of things we can try under the circumstances.  But while we can support, we can't and shouldn't attempt to "rescue" or "fix" etc - the person we're supporting is in charge of what they're going to do.

So, the most important thing is to hear and acknowledge a person.  Only after we've done this, and if they want it, we can brainstorm next steps, strategies etc with them - and we can share any insights we might have to offer.

Sometimes, a situation isn't "fixable" anyway - like when someone has died, or someone has a terminal illness.  Then the best you can do is come to terms.  It's amazing though how many people who lose a person they love or who get a terminal diagnosis find that people they thought were friends just disappear from their lives.  This is usually because they are "fixers" and unfixable situations make them extremely uncomfortable.  They think, "There's nothing I can do," but that's only true for the loss or the terminal illness and not at all true in other ways.  A friend with terminal cancer was saying to me, "They don't even have to talk about the cancer to me.  We could just talk about our hobbies, do things together."  But many people tend to avoid this stuff, whether by avoiding affected people or by frantically avoiding mentioning it if they can bring themselves to socialise with affected people (as if you can make it go away by putting your head in the sand).

In my circle of journalling friends, there's a huge amount of support around loss - of people, of animals, and just general loss.  These people don't avoid, they actively seek you out when they know you're confronting something tough.  We all do that for each other, and we've all had loss (because most of us have animals and they tend to be short-lived compared to us; and because most of us have by now lost people we know, and people in our families).  It's quite amazing to see it in action.  When we had to put down a 34-year-old, much-loved horse a couple of years ago, I had backup from the moment I began thinking about having to make this decision - both at home, from my husband, and from these amazing people.  We all hate having to make decisions like this, but we make them because in the end, it's how you can best serve an animal you love - when you can physically see the road ending, you can give them a quick out instead of letting them die by inches.

They all knew what day the veterinarian was coming, and on the day I found "thinking of you" messages in the morning - and photos of fields of flowers, etc.  This time around, I was able to for once leave things in the competent hands of the veterinarian and my husband, and wasn't personally needed - the horse was having his morning nap and already comfortable with the vet, plus my husband was feeding him peaches.  So this time around, I don't have memories I can't erase and which the horse didn't need me to have.  Brett came in five minutes later and just hugged me, nothing needed to be said.  And later on, my friends sent me another flood of supportive messages.

Good support is a marvellous thing and helps you see the bigger picture, and other people.  Also, it continues to set an example of what to do when it's another person's turn for grief, so that it becomes the natural response, instead of something you're feeling your way with.


How love will save
Make me forget
You promised me
Love will save
Make me forget
You promised me
Time will heal us all and love will save
You promised me...


...and it's this sort of thing that can backfire, even though often it's true... like I said, generally after someone has shared something really terrible, I've reassured before parting, "But it won't always be this dark or feel this bad; gradually these things get better" - and usually that's true, and I think in the vast majority of cases it's good to offer some hope.  For instance, when loner students from emotionally difficult home backgrounds have told me how sad it is that they feel alone in this world and how they're trying to make friends, I could always say to them that I was in that situation myself in the past (when newly arrived in Australia as a middle schooler; and later when I went to university; and to a lesser extent when I travelled and lived in different places), and that I'd hate to go back to my teens and 20s, but that gradually, a core set of friends I didn't lose to geography or differences started to accumulate, and now I don't feel like this - so my message was, "It's hardest when you're young, it gets better when you get older" - which for many reasons besides this was my experience, and the experience of a lot of my own friends (but isn't going to be everyone's experience).


I trusted you
I wanted your words
Believed in you
I needed your words
Time will heal
Make me forget
And love will save us all


...and in this case, it clearly didn't work out that way.  I'm assuming this is a human-human situation, but at the start of this post I discussed it as also fitting a religious loss of faith scenario - because the emotions are the same.  I think one of the reasons people are attracted to religion is because it offers "fixes" for the unfixable:  Death, inevitable suffering, injustices that aren't getting addressed on this planet, plus prolonged loneliness that's for various reasons difficult to get out of for many people - things like this.  So if you think these things are now "fixed" with your new world view, but then you lose your faith down the track, you have to mourn the crash back to reality, and come to terms all over again.

These words would make equal sense being spoken to a friend who promised things would get better and then they didn't, as they would to a person who took the Gospel of John literally speaking them in despair (and like a sort of aside) to the God they've stopped believing in.


You promised me another wish
Another way
You promised me another dream
Another day
You promised me another time
You promised me another life


Is anyone else noticing that we've come across some of this imagery before?  On Bloodflowers, in various songs; for example, in Out Of This World.  A lot of this is also central imagery in Christianity and other religions - because it's so central to the human struggle with life.


You promised me...

So I swallowed the shame and I waited
I buried the blame and I waited
Choked back years of memories
I pushed down the pain and I waited
Trying to forget...

You promised me another wish
Another way
You promised me another dream
Another day
You promised me another time
You promised me...
Another lie

Oh you promised me...
And I waited... And I waited... And I waited...

And I'm still waiting...



Yeah, that's tough.

Imagine if it's not like this:

(https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Fregularmarvels.files.wordpress.com%2F2013%2F02%2Fleunig-at-the-top.png%3Fw%3D700&f=1&nofb=1)

But, I've always loved these sorts of reflections - here's more Leunig...


When the Heart

When the heart
Is cut or cracked or broken,
Do not clutch it;
Let the wound lie open.
Let the wind
From the good old sea blow in
To bathe the wound with salt,
And let it sting.
Let a stray dog lick it,
Let a bird lean in the hole and sing
A simple song like a tiny bell,
And let it ring.


What's the Use

What's the use of this little hand;
What's the use of this little eye;
What's the use of this little mouth
When all the world is broken?
Make a cake with this little hand;
Make a tear with this little eye;
Make a word with this little mouth
When all the world is broken.


Peace

Peace is my drug;
It stops the pain.
In safe reflecting rooms
Or in a lane,
Or in a park,
I will lie
And have some peace
And get high.
If it's pure
And there's a lot of it about
I overdose
And pass out
And dream of peace:
My favourite thing
When nobody wants me
And nothing's happening.



Also I'm reminded of this little excerpt from Miss Smilla's Feeling For Snow:

QuoteYOU CAN TRY TO COVER UP depression in various ways. You can listen to Bach's compositions for the organ in Our Saviour's Church. You can arrange a line of good cheer in powder form on a pocket mirror with a razor blade and ingest it with a straw. You can call for help. For instance, by telephone, so that you know who's listening.

That's the European method. Hoping to work your way out of problems through action.

I take the Greenlandic way. It consists of walking into yourself in the dark mood. Putting your defeat under a microscope and dwelling on the sight.

When things are really bad - like now - I picture a black tunnel in front of me. I go up to it. I strip off my nice clothes, my underwear, my hard hat, my Danish passport, and then I walk into the dark.

I know that a train is coming. A lead-lined diesel transporting strontium-90. I go to meet it.

This I can do because I'm thirty-seven years old. I know that inside the tunnel, underneath the wheels, down beneath the sleepers, there is a little spot of light.

It's the morning of Christmas Eve. For several days I've been gradually withdrawing from the world. Now I'm preparing for the final descent. Which has to come. (...)

I've prepared myself by not eating breakfast. That expedites the confrontation. I've locked the door. I sit down in the big chair. And invoke the bad mood: Here sits Smilla. Starving. In debt. The morning of Christmas Eve. While other people have their families, their sweethearts, their blue-eared starlings. While other people have each other.

It proves effective. I'm already standing in front of the tunnel. Ageing. A failure. Abandoned.

The doorbell rings. It's the mechanic. I can tell by the way he rings the bell. Cautiously, tentatively, as if the bell were screwed right into the skull of an old woman he doesn't want to disturb. I haven't seen him since the funeral. Haven't wanted to think about him.

I go out and disconnect the mechanism. I sit down again.

Internally I begin to invoke the images from the second time I ran away and Moritz came to get me in Thule. We were standing on the uncovered cement apron that you walk on for the last twenty metres out to the plane. My aunt was whimpering. I took as many deep breaths as I could. I thought this might be a way to take the clear, dry, somehow sweet air back to Denmark with me.

Someone is knocking on my door. It's Juliane. She gets down on her knees and calls through the letter box. "Smilla, I'm making fish ball batter!"

"Leave me alone!"

She's offended. "I'll tip it in through your letter box."

Right before we climbed the stairs into the plane, my aunt gave me a pair of kamiks to wear indoors. The beadwork alone had taken her a month.

The phone rings.

"There's something I'd like to talk to you about." It's Elsa Lübing's voice.

"I'm sorry," I say. "Tell it to somebody else. Cast not thy pearls before swine."

I pull out the phone jack. I'm starting to feel rather attracted to the thought of Ravn's isolation cell. This is the kind of day when you can't rule out the possibility of someone knocking on your windows. On the fifth floor.

Someone knocks on my window. Outside stands a green man. I open the window.

"I'm the window cleaner. I just wanted to warn you, so you don't go and take off your clothes."

He gives me a big smile. As if he were cleaning the windows by putting one pane at a time into his mouth.

"What the hell do you mean? Are you implying that you don't want to see me nude?"

His smile fades. He pushes a button, and the platform he's standing on takes him out of reach.

"I don't want my windows cleaned," I shout after him. "At my age I can barely see out of them, anyway!"

(Peter Hoeg, 1992)

And thusly will I conclude this post, if a post like this can ever be said to be concluded...
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on January 26, 2021, 05:06:15
Construction notice:  Post #101 has been substantially added to - especially for my niche audience of insomniac Cure fans who like going on long meanders.  :angel

Looking below, it's a pristine bit of cyberspace, just asking to be filled, so may as well have a think about another song!


OPENING TRACK


I think this is a terrific album opener - heart on the sleeve, in your face, setting the tone and preparing you for what is to come.

When I first started listening to this song, while doing stuff in the garden (i.e. not analytically, just in the background), every time it came on I was thinking about people getting lost in other people's lives, even imaginary people's lives, like in daytime American TV soap operas, which were always blaring in the background when I was growing up, with their horrible lobotomising soundtracks that paralyse thinking.  I hated these things, still do, and was always running away from them - outdoors miles away, or into my room to put headphones on and listen to something that facilitated, rather than paralysed, thinking.

I think part of the loathing and part of my adult perception of these kinds of shows being anti-human, anti-thought, anti-creativity, anti-love (by presenting a hideous hollow thing they falsely bestow the tag of love upon) can't help but trace back to having a mother who spent hours every day in front of them and was never available to talk to because of it (probably like the smartphone in many modern childhoods playing out now).  Even when I was pre-school age, it was always, "Wait, I'm watching TV!" and in Australia, that became, "Wait until there's a commercial break!" which was never muted, so I then had to compete with blaring jingles and people yelling about products, which often made me give up, and when older, mute the bloody thing myself if I was determined to have a conversation (not that you can have much of one in such circumstances).  The TV seemed to always be on, morning to near-midnight, and even most meals were either in front of the thing, or with it running loudly in the background when people were at the table.  (Needless to say, this is not something that happens in the home my husband and I made - the TV is rarely on here, and we have actual conversations - and if the TV is on, it's more often than not both of us watching something together.)

But I think that the content of such shows is itself sufficient to feel this way.  I spent my childhood watching an adult be caught up in the confected melodrama of shallow characters in what I think of as anti-relationships in a materialistic la-la-land.  There's such a world of difference between that and good drama:  Daytime soap is soma, is anaesthesia to the things that are precious about being alive and being human - while good drama makes you think, and think things you've not thought before, and see differently, and learn, and empathise with others.

So when the lyrics to Lost were first starting to filter through to me, I thought about people who get caught up in depictions of other people doing things instead of living their own lives - people who never develop complex inner lives for themselves, and who avoid actually relating to other people - kind of like the characters they follow, be they soap characters or mindless modern celebrities.  And if you think I'm judgemental here, what I actually am is sad, because of the state of the planet, society and mental/emotional health, and because I've seen for myself how this goes in a family, and because the collective microcosms of what happens in dysfunctional families directly give rise to the dysfunctional macrocosm of greater society.  And my point is, some types of activities, art, drama, literature etc counter dysfunction, while others enable and promote it.  One of the reasons I didn't end up in the gutter, or forever repeating the cycle of my family of origin, is because I was exposed to literature, music and art that showed me different ways to be.  It helped me find myself, who I was, who I am becoming - instead of arresting my development.

The Cure fits into that category for me, which is why I'm writing about it.  I think a lot of their stuff promotes reflection and empathy, in a world that's in desperate need of these things.  For the space that I'm going through the back catalogue, I've ceased paper journalling and am doing my writing here instead.  So it's going to be personal, and not everyone's cup of tea, but it's also something you're not going to find on every street corner.  I'm not doing standard music reviews, or getting into the technical nitty-gritties of the music - I'm just journalling one human being's response to it, and the tracks I've always enjoyed going on when journalling about anything are lived experience, vicarious experience, intertextual stuff (I think of and go into other works that the one I'm looking at reminds me of), human relationships, and philosophy.

Clearly, the lyrics to Lost go many more places than the first place they took me, and I'll go to some of them (and if others were to chime in, which they are most welcome to in this thread, we'd collectively go to many more places).  I'm going to start with the other album opener that I was reminded of by this one - another heartfelt, thought-provoking performance with the vocal as the centrepoint:


Like Lost, this song set the scene for the rest of the album - raw, thoughtful, heart-on-your-sleeve tours de force from start to finish.

♦ ♥ ♦

It's stone fruit season, so the first two buckets of nectarines and plums came in last night.  Since we don't have rumens, we're unable to eat all of that fresh, so the best fruit goes in the fridge, and the rest gets made into things:  Stewed nectarines (future nectarine crumbles) and concentrated plum spread (great on pancakes, waffles, toast, in yoghurt), and the first plum cake of the season (German recipe, brioche type base, plum quarters arranged on top and generously sprinkled with cinnamon - eat with custard or cream).

Of course, when you're slicing up stone fruit, you need musical accompaniment - so this morning I asked Brett, "Would you mind if I put on the self-titled?"  He said, "It's not something I personally particularly want to hear, but I don't mind if you put it on."  So I compromised and went to play the opening track only.  Of course, the CD player is having its roughly annual conniptions at the moment, and started skipping towards the end of the track, and once it does that, you won't get sense out of it for at least another hour or until you've shaken it vigorously in exactly the right manner.  (If this wasn't an intermittent problem, we'd have replaced the item, but it mostly behaves and it still responds to being shaken.  It's probably dust in the works somewhere.)

While the CD player was actually working, we figured out why I like the opening track and Brett doesn't (and this also applies to most, but not all, of the rest of the album).  It comes down to the fact that I'm very lyrics-driven and he's not.  When the lyrics engage me, and the music fits them, I'm happy, even if I'd not listen to the music on its own.  Brett is more focused on the instrumental side and if that doesn't work for him, he doesn't care what the lyrics are one way or the other.  He finds a lot of the music on this album harsh, and this turns him off - paradoxically, considering he listens to Tool and other music like that, which is at least as harsh, and indeed, too harsh for me to want to listen to.

So why, I asked him, does he like other people's harsh music but not The Cure's, and would he like it if he didn't know it was The Cure?  He said that it's a different style of music to the harsh music he likes - that e.g. Tool is very mathematical, has interesting changes in time signature, and works with a limited palette of instruments.  (Can you credit that my atheist husband has just been theatrically apologising to "the gods" for confusing palette with palate?  When I pointed that out to him, he said, "I'm repenting to St Oxford, god of the English dictionary and brother to St Roget, patron deity of synonyms and antonyms..." and went on to expound at length but I omit it for brevity.  :angel)

♦ ♥ ♦

Now let's look at the actual lyrics of the opening track to The Cure's 2004 album, and go some other places:


LOST

I can't find myself
I can't find myself
I can't find myself
I can't find myself
In the head of this stranger in love
Holding on giving up
To another under faded setting sun

And I wonder where I am...
Could she run away with him?
So happy and so young
And I stare
As I sing in the lost voice of a stranger in love
Out of time letting go
In another world that spins around for fun

And I wonder where I am...
Could he ever ask her why?
So happy and so young
And I stare... but...

I can't find myself
I can't find myself
I can't find myself
I can't find myself

In the heart of this stranger in love
Giving up holding on
To this other under faded setting sun

And I'm not sure where I am...
Would he really turn away?
So happy and so young
And I stare
As I play out the passion of a stranger in love
Letting go of the time
In this other world that spins around for one

And I'm not sure where I am...
Would she know it was a lie?
So happy and so young
And I stare... but...

I can't find myself
I can't find myself
I can't find myself
I can't find myself

In the soul of this stranger in love
No control over one
To the other under faded setting sun

And I don't know where I am...
Should he beg her to forgive?
So happy and so young
And I stare...
As I live out the story of a stranger in love
Waking up going on
In the other world that spins around undone
And I don't know where I am...
Should she really say goodbye?
So happy and so young
And I stare... but...

I can't find myself
I can't find myself
I can't find myself
I can't find myself
I got lost in someone else



Reading through these words, you get the sense of someone in midlife looking back, but what is the love story they are getting lost it?  You could imagine this fitting a scenario of comparing one's own life to that of another person's, perhaps in a story, or in a film or play or drama, or even a story imagined for other people.  But the possible reading that strikes me the most is that this person is looking back at their own story, and that the stranger is the younger version of themselves.

It would fit various things, but I wondered what would it be like to sing songs you wrote 30 years ago - in one way it might be like looking at old photo albums, but the way we are "inside" does shift over time. Some things stay the same, or very close - but other things we grow out of. In my 30s looking back at my early 20s I was very aware that I was progressing in ways that were really important, emotionally - I'd had a rough start and had to straighten so many things out, and to my chagrin, you couldn't always just think yourself out of trouble - and in my case, what I thought and what I felt were often quite different, which was a hard nut to crack.

Another ten years later, looking back at my life, the things I've regretted about my 20s and 30s - mostly, running after people who didn't treat me with respect (family, boyfriends), spending too much time going around in circles in my head, and being too isolated - are also things that have an inevitability about them when I consider the dynamics of the family I was born into, and the early life experiences this produced for me. I regret that; how nice would it have been to not have had a vulnerability to people with similar character traits to my family of origin, and to have had respectful and supportive relationships from the outset. How much darkness and pain that would have avoided; how many car crashes often in considerable public view (a friend who specialises in trauma counselling says if you've got money it's easier to hide things like this, but if you're poor you're liable to bleed all over the carpet in public).

So it's not pleasant looking back at those problems, but the silver lining to this kind of stuff is that it does tend to produce desirable qualities like compassion, empathy, a tendency to reflect and to re-assess periodically, an identification with people who are doing it tough (as opposed to the repulsive attitudes you can observe in some quarters about that).

I don't write songs, but I am able to look back at poetry written on and off since my teenage years. Some of it I still really like and identify with, some of it rings alarm bells about what I wasn't seeing when I wrote XYZ. My early-to-mid-20s were my worst time, and the poetry this produced was bleak. Conversely, I wrote some incredibly rose-tinted stuff when I first met Brett, in my mid-30s - and when I think I should already have known better! Textbook honeymoon blindness, but I guess since I'm human it's not so unreasonable that I have typically human pitfalls, even if the psychology books intellectually forewarned me. :yum:

Now, what if you're in midlife looking back at falling in love as a teenager, and this relationship actually stayed with you? Would you get a bigger case of the bends looking back than what I can compare it to? If you read a journal you wrote at the time, or letters to each other, would you be, on one level, jolted by the realisation that you are now significantly different? If so, would you necessarily be jolted in a bad way?

Or: If you're a person who managed to have a relatively decent relationship from a very young age and this has now lasted into midlife without your killing one another or playing "happy families" to the outside while torturing each other with your respective dysfunctions on a daily basis, would you then get nostalgic for the "good old days" when you were in your physical primes, without creaky knees and arthritic finger joints, with peachy complexions and twinkles in your eyes, when you had energy for all sorts of things and you didn't need glasses to read or to write? Would you want to go back to any particular point and have this nostalgia for it? See, this doesn't happen to us, because we assume we couldn't take our current-day minds with us, and we don't want to have to learn various things all over again. I do know some people who say, "If I could go back 20 years knowing what I know now, I would!" - but don't know anyone who would trade a backward leap to youth for their hard-won wisdom since (but our sample isn't necessarily representative of the general population, and anyway, ask us again in another 20 years, maybe...errrr...shall we go back a decade or two and have rip-roaring wild-animal sex with each other, without any sort of pre-planning or preparation? :-D)

Maybe some people pine for a time when they were more innocent, less cynical, things were still fresh, possibilities seemed limitless, they didn't know some things they wished they hadn't learnt about this world or each other... maybe others look back in consternation at the unwise things they did, including to each other, and are grateful to have come out of that comparatively intact.

It will be interesting eventually to watch that little clip in which RS talks about each of the songs on this album, but I'm not doing it until I've looked at all this without the official commentary! :)

Closing thought on Lost: Often, you have to lose yourself before you find yourself - but there's different ways to lose yourself, too - which could start a whole different bit of discussion but I'm out of here now!  :angel
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on April 14, 2021, 09:25:35
If I don't get back into this thread, I'm not going to finish with this album, let alone the four earliest ones I've not listened to yet, before The Cure actually put out their new one, and this is going to cause all sorts of time anomalies.  :1f631:  :winking_tongue

This post is going to be about Labyrinth, which I've wanted to write about for some time.  It just happens that I've just explained how useful a song that is elsewhere (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9418.0), and I'm going to replicate part of what I said about it here (and when I get around to it, finish the post properly).


What a song like this does is to acknowledge the fundamental difficulties you confront as you live your life, rather than gloss over this stuff.  It's a place you can go which says, "This is real, and it's OK to hurt."  It's somewhere you can feel what you feel, and be honest, and just be, instead of putting on a good front for everyone else.  Most of the time I'm positive and constructive, but OMG I couldn't be those things if I was never allowed to feel the despair or the pain and acknowledge them as real.  Feeling like this isn't just about aspects of our individual situations, it's the whole thing - society, the state of the biosphere, the whole mess we're in on so many levels.  Because that's as true as the beauty and the joy we can find, and because I live a lie if I can't acknowledge darkness as well as light.

(Context for this comment here:  http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9418.0
...and I'll look at the song more extensively at a later stage.)

Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on August 14, 2021, 03:08:36
I'm finally getting back to this thread. Here's a preamble for a later song discussion.  :)

THE ULTIMATE LEGO BOX

When you're teaching Chemistry to 13-year-olds, introducing them to the concept of atoms, you need to find a way to help them visualise things that are invisible to the human eye.

So I used to start off all of this by asking how many of the students present had ever played with Lego. Usually that's most of them, because even the ones who didn't have their own had come across it at friends' places. This, by the way, is the simple block Lego I'm talking about, not the more modern, pre-fab, no-imagination so-called Lego where you don't have to construct from scratch...

(https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Ftse2.explicit.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DOIP.rWU2iEtR1RSAAj2Q0pnALgHaE8%26pid%3DApi&f=1)

I'd ask them, "What did you build?" and we'd go around hearing about various construction projects from brand-new teenagers shiny-eyed with childhood nostalgia. So, so many things to make from just the handful of different types of building blocks.

If you hand out periodic tables without that kind of preamble, some students are going to be nervous - chemistry has this reputation for being difficult, periodic tables are not uncommonly seen as big scary things only the nerdy kids are going to understand, etc. I know this because I talk to students, and also because that's how it was for me - I didn't get this preamble when I was in middle school, so I thought, "OMG this is going to be difficult!" - and the real irony is that I was a nerdy kid and ended up winning school science prizes and ultimately a scholarship into an undergraduate science degree. But I was nervous when I first looked at a periodic table, and I didn't want the kids I taught to feel that way, it's so unnecessary if you just explain it properly.

Atoms are like Lego blocks, just much smaller so you can't see them with your naked eye. And then we can talk about, "So how do we know they exist?" and from there, "How can we know anything exists?" and how in science we have models that approximate the reality but aren't the actual reality, and how each successive model gets closer to the reality and helps us understand more and more complex things about reality - and then we can talk about, "What is reality? Is what I see reality? Can I trust my senses?" and we can do visual illusions, and talk about colour blindness, sensory variation, hypothetical body swaps, other animals sensing magnetic fields etc, and then we can talk about the fact that we don't actually "see" solid objects, which themselves are lattices made mostly of empty space, and how what we see is just photons bouncing off the lattices and entering our retinas, passed along as nerve signals to the brain which uses its software to make an internal picture out of all of that for us, which isn't ultimate reality but is our own reality, etc etc.

See? It's fascinating, and I don't know why these things are never on the curriculum when atoms are introduced, but that's how I did it in my classrooms, and the kids consistently responded with switched-on thinking and expressions of wonder - you don't need to be a science nerd to be amazed by the realisation that what you see isn't necessarily how it is, that it's different for the person next to you but you still have overlap, that we can navigate at all in this jungle, and that there are wonderful things waiting just under the surface of a simplification you take for granted - the universe is full of mind-blowing amazingness.

(https://sciencenotes.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/PeriodicTableWorks.png)

Back to the periodic table: It's nature's ultimate Lego box. There's 94 "standard" types up to and including Plutonium, and there's a few more you can transiently make in the laboratory, which are too unstable to stay together for very long. (Atoms themselves are made up of, at the next layer of the Matryoshka-doll-ness of all of this, three sub-components - protons, neutrons, electrons - and then we can talk about other subatomic particles, and the ultimate exchangeability between matter and energy, etc. We can talk about atomic models, and how as you advance in school, you're presented with more and more complex models which get closer and closer to the reality, but how when you're 13 you don't need to know about probability spaces just yet - and we can look at how children of various ages draw people, how at age 3 they draw circles with sticks coming off for arms and legs and how they gradually make more and more realistic representations - and then we're all OK with that idea in relation to the model of the atom.)

(https://images-wixmp-ed30a86b8c4ca887773594c2.wixmp.com/f/946c9423-501e-4b85-bb18-0698ed7b21c3/d9fijep-f39c499b-45b6-40c9-b608-106addb2294e.jpg/v1/fill/w_1024,h_768,q_75,strp/lego_suspension_bridge__old__by_zachmfkattack-d9fijep.jpg?token=eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJpc3MiOiJ1cm46YXBwOjdlMGQxODg5ODIyNjQzNzNhNWYwZDQxNWVhMGQyNmUwIiwic3ViIjoidXJuOmFwcDo3ZTBkMTg4OTgyMjY0MzczYTVmMGQ0MTVlYTBkMjZlMCIsImF1ZCI6WyJ1cm46c2VydmljZTppbWFnZS5vcGVyYXRpb25zIl0sIm9iaiI6W1t7InBhdGgiOiIvZi85NDZjOTQyMy01MDFlLTRiODUtYmIxOC0wNjk4ZWQ3YjIxYzMvZDlmaWplcC1mMzljNDk5Yi00NWI2LTQwYzktYjYwOC0xMDZhZGRiMjI5NGUuanBnIiwid2lkdGgiOiI8PTEwMjQiLCJoZWlnaHQiOiI8PTc2OCJ9XV19.v94uNjX8LVMw0jnC3mhDqToxgRVL8KaCM6gmXKzGlCI)

So: The objects you see around you - chairs, desks, curtains, pens, the floor, the walls, your own bodies, the window glass, the trees outside, the birds in them etc etc - are miniature Lego constructions, made from the different types of atoms (called "elements") in the periodic table. Just like with real Lego, you can use a relatively small number of different types of blocks to make a near-infinite number of vastly different things. And even when you're preparing meals, on one level you're just arranging atoms in certain ways that are going to be tasty - and doing a little re-arranging too with actual cooking (here we can talk about chemical versus physical change, etc).

(https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=https%3A%2F%2Ftse1.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DOIP.QWntHfmWQXYSPXuj3mkKxgHaE6%26pid%3DApi&f=1)

Non-living objects tend to have relatively stable "Lego block" arrangements - you may gradually wear some blocks off the surface of your table, etc. Living things, on the other hand, are constantly changing their Lego blocks! This is pretty obvious with growth and change - but even when you plateau a bit in your 20s and 30s, for instance, the building blocks are changing all the time. The most exchanged building blocks in your body are hydrogen and oxygen - because your body is around 70% water, and water diffuses readily throughout your whole body rather than being built into its biochemical structures, and you're constantly drinking (and eating) it in, and peeing, breathing and sweating (and crying, and snotting, and bleeding etc) it out again.

Here Comes The Identity Crisis!

Knowing about the water going in and out probably doesn't give many people an identity crisis, and neither will the common electrolytes - sodium, potassium, chloride etc - going in and out with the water, in varying proportions. I guess the identity crises begin with the idea that the "solid" things about your body - the biochemical structures that make up your muscles, your bones, etc, and particularly your brain - don't stay the same. The brain, for instance, can look much the same a year later, but have exchanged a lot of its atoms for other atoms mostly the same type - is it still the same brain? (Of course, it's not just on that level that things change - you're constantly making new neural connections and pathways, deleting some old stuff, adding new stuff, editing - and the more you use your mind, the more of this you will do, and this is how you learn, and grow as a person.)

So even when things look very similar from the outside, they can actually be very different, more different than you probably imagined, from a building-blocks perspective. Just like you can take some blocks out of a Lego castle, and put different blocks from exactly the same type into the gaps, and afterwards it won't look any different. But it's different. Does it matter? How, and how much?

It's sort of like the question: If you beam up Scotty, is the Scotty that arrives in the Enterprise the same as the Scotty that just left the planetary surface?

(https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-HhFMGCH5a_o/UZWFE9pdWJI/AAAAAAAAchI/9HCyoVjO9B4/s1600/beam-me-up-scotty-t-shirt-thumbnail.jpg)
Scotty, by the way, doesn't always just do the beaming - he also gets beamed!

And that question has bells on, when you consider that the Scotty problem is about a near-perfect copy, and what happens in life - even in the relative plateaux visually in your 20s and 30s - is about constantly altering copies your body makes of itself.

Which is where we're going to join the Cure track Labyrinth. Let's read the lyrics to that - now that our minds are thinking about change in nature...  ;)


LABYRINTH

Say it's the same sun spinning in the same sky
Say it's the same stars streaming in the same night
Tell me it's the same world whirling through the same space
Tell me it's the same time tripping through the same day
So say it's the same house and nothing in the house is changed
Yeah say it's the same room and nothing in the room is strange
Oh tell me it's the same boy burning in the same bed
Tell me it's the same blood breaking in the same head
Say it's the same taste taking down the same kiss
Say it's the same you
Say it's the same you and it's always been like this
Say it's the same you
Say it's the same you and it always and forever is
Say it's the same you
Say it's the same you and it's always been like this
Say it's the same you
Say it's the same you and it always and forever is
Say it's the same you
Say it's the same you

Yeah tell me it's all the same
This is how it's always been
But if nothing has changed... Then it must mean...

But the sun is cold - the sky is wrong
The stars are black - the night is gone
The world is still - the space is stopped
The time is out - the day is dropped
The house is dark - the room is scarred
The boy is stiff - the bed is hard
The blood is thick - the head is burst
The taste is dry - the kiss is thirst
And it's not the same you
It's not the same you
No it never was like this
It's not the same you
It's not the same you and it never really is
It's not the same you
It's not the same you
No it never was like this
It's not the same you
It's not the same you and it never really is
It's not the same you
It's not the same you

Oh it's not the same
This isn't how it's always been
Everything has to have changed...

Or it's me...



The narrative develops and morphs a bit as we progress from stanza to stanza, so I'm going to look at this in "chunks" - but I'm deliberately leaving the entire run-through of the lyrics to this song as it is, above, because I think it's worth reading through in its entirety and thinking about, and because if you're reading this, you're going to want to do that yourself and do your own thinking, and field your own impressions, and they're not going to be identical to my thinking and impressions, because we're all a different set of personality, life experiences etc.

The title to me is an interesting summary of the song as a whole, which references an old philosophical conundrum about continuity and change - to what extent is anything fixed? What does it mean to say I am me; what is this thing called "me", does the "me" change and how, is all of "me" in constant flux or are any aspects of it constant, or even approaching constant; ditto everyone else, and any given thing in the universe. A Buddhist will have a different answer to the average Westerner, etc - there's many takes on this, and you can literally go around in circles chasing your own tail with questions like this - and feel as if you're in a labyrinth trying to find a way out.

Here's how I think about it.

Say it's the same sun spinning in the same sky
Say it's the same stars streaming in the same night
Tell me it's the same world whirling through the same space
Tell me it's the same time tripping through the same day


We're starting with the universe: Stars, planets, space, time. As the song progresses, we move from the "macro" view of the enormous backdrop within which we live, to zoom in closer and closer - the house, the room, the people, our lives, consciousness etc.

I personally like such a methodological, ordered and holistic approach to considering philosophical questions and existential conundrums. This stuff isn't just suddenly going to reveal itself to you in a smoke haze; it requires thought and effort. The "Eureka" moments we have that seem to come out of nowhere are actually our subconscious, which has been very busy in the background if you've been feeding it well, alerting you that there has been an insight or development - that something has coagulated for you. It hasn't coagulated out of nothing and nowhere, it's coagulated out of the data and impressions that have floated around your subconscious. Since you don't have all possible data and impressions, and since your processing equipment is limited, this isn't an exact or necessarily accurate process.

But, it's sort of like cooking - the better the quality of the ingredients that go into it, the more likely you are to have something useful at the end. (And sadly, much of modern thinking is fast food, and produces low-quality hamburgers. What else can you make out  the soundbites, vastly incomplete information, non-fact-checked claims, etc that are quickly becoming the main thought diet modern humans consume, especially through social media and the devices that are now wedded to their navels... Please, people, if you're not doing this already, cut out the superficial chatter that's standard fare now, and instead of paying attention to that go read books, find complicated texts that stretch you, listen to music on headphones, think, reflect, take your time, write, journal, discuss with a friend...you already know that to feed your body with fresh and healthy things instead of junk is an act of self-care and love; now do that for your mind as well...be selective, because if you aren't you will just be flooded with any old junk by the path of least resistance...)

So: Stars, planets, space, time. The sun may look much the same to you as it did 30 years ago, but it has lost mass and changed composition because it's actually a nuclear furnace burning through fuel. It's losing mass at around 5.5 million tonnes a second, from a combination of solar winds and nuclear fusion, and that sounds like a lot to us, but is negligible in terms of the total mass of the sun, which has been doing its thing for over 4 billion years and is only just middle-aged. You can read more mind-blowing stuff on this; like on this (https://briankoberlein.com/blog/is-the-sun-losing-mass/) proper astrophysics blog.

(https://briankoberlein.com/blog/is-the-sun-losing-mass/flare_hu0640328e99d89217aaaad340fc6a5376_121561_1100x0_resize_q75_box.jpg)

Just like us, the sun will one day cease to be what it is and collapse into other forms. It's confronting when you're a child to learn that even the sun won't go on forever. I remember the horror I felt at about age 7 when I was lying in the dark trying to get to sleep, the day I learnt that one day the sun will burn out. I felt strangely disembodied, and like I was spinning. Later on I realised that because of the comparative puniness our own life spans, this fact isn't of that much practical relevance to us, or the next thousand generations following - which probably won't be following anyway because we're so good at crapping into our own nest and thinking that's OK. (And sadly, politicians largely think in even smaller increments of geological time - only reaching to the next electoral cycle and their own chances of staying in power, and completely myopic beyond this.)

This is a matter of frames of reference: The sun's life span is astronomical compared to ours, which can set us off thinking about the brevity of our own existence, and lamenting about the mere drop in the ocean etc. But now flip that, and compare our average life spans to those of the adult stage of the Mayfly, which usually doesn't last beyond 24 hours - just enough time to mate and make the next generation. I was about 7 when I learnt that and cried for ages, feeling so sorry for the little things - just like I cried when I learnt that dogs only see in black and white. All the gorgeous colours my dog couldn't see! Later on I learnt that a dog can smell "colours" humans can't even imagine, and would probably cry if it understood my own experiential poverty in that department.

(By the way, I've realised that one of the reasons I remember certain things so vividly is because growing up in a traumatic family environment gave me complex PTSD and therefore turned up the volume on my emotions. This resulted in my making technicolour memories like movie clips, complete with attached emotions experienced at the time - because a super-engaged amygdala will give you this. The scenes of family violence, abandonment and other direct trauma in early childhood - the unprocessed stuff - for a long time were "silent" clips without associated sounds and emotions, because that's what a child's brain does to survive. However, it also gave me incredible recall of the more "ordinary" scenes of childhood - so many things that moved me, one way or the other. Coupled to that, I've also recently learnt I've got a form of synaesthesia which makes me frequently experience witnessing something happening to someone else as if it were happening to me, on the tactile and emotional levels in particular.)

So getting back to the song - no, it's not really the same sun spinning in the same sky, it's a sun further along in its life cycle that's had some changes - but from our frame of reference and in our direct experience, it looks and feels the same (the extra burning sensation in our part of the world these days is due to damage to the ozone layer, rather than changes in the sun). And similarly it's not the same stars streaming in the same night - and that's an even more mind-blowing thing, because some of the sources that made the light we see no longer exist, it's just light still travelling in space (and if you think about it, it's a nice metaphor for our own lives - there are still impressions left of us after our death; like words we wrote, songs people recorded, things we've said or done that have been helpful for other people, that they remember when they're facing difficult stuff, etc).

When we look up at the sky, we're seeing the past - because astronomical distances are so enormous that even at the speed of light (300,000 km/s) it takes the light of our own sun about 8 minutes to arrive on Earth. The light even from the brightest stars we see can be hundreds of years old; the light from the Andromeda Galaxy, just visible with the naked eye on clear, moonless nights away from areas of light pollution, takes around 2.5 million years to get to us, so that's how old that light (and the image of the galaxy) is when it gets to our eyes. (Want to play? ...Andromeda, Andromedary... :winking_tongue)

So while the stars at night may still look much the same to us as they did in our childhood, there's a lot more complexity going on than we see at first glance. We're still seeing pictures of the past; these are now several decades more recent, but their appearance to us is still just as delayed as it was when we first saw them. It's a "delayed telecast" with approximately the same delay.

Similarly, we know that it's not exactly the same world whirling through the same space. The world has changed - geologically, plus we're cumulatively wrecking the biosphere and exterminating other species; living things are constantly dying and being born, social and political changes happen (for better or worse), etc. It's still Planet Earth, but a changed one. Also, the world isn't even whirling through the same space - the universe is expanding and our location in it is constantly changing. Because our location in relation to the sun and our own solar system is much the same (although the planetary orbits are pretty individual) we don't tend to notice.

And it's not the same time tripping through the same day either, even though it may feel like it. Time is a continuum, even if we align our concept of it to the cycles of day and night of our rotating planet, and the revolution of our planet around the sun. This spring is not like last spring, and today's midday is not the same as yesterday's. Westerners, interestingly, tend to see time as more linear and "running out"; the Hopi Native Americans and many other Indigenous people see time as more cyclical and replenishing, and that's neither right nor wrong, it's just a matter of perspective - it's like the wave-particle duality of light, both things can be simultaneously as true as each other - and probably neither of them are completely true.


So say it's the same house and nothing in the house is changed
Yeah say it's the same room and nothing in the room is strange
Oh tell me it's the same boy burning in the same bed
Tell me it's the same blood breaking in the same head


Now zooming in on happenings closer to home - the house and room are a bit more pedestrian to consider than things astronomical and living creatures, from my perspective. As we saw in the post's preamble, non-living physical objects aren't constantly changing out their components, although they can wear down etc. Plus, this is just a side view here; and in this stanza, I'm getting more haunted house vibes than anything else.

Tell me/say...



(Constructing...)

Say it's the same taste taking down the same kiss
Say it's the same you
Say it's the same you and it's always been like this
Say it's the same you
Say it's the same you and it always and forever is
Say it's the same you
Say it's the same you and it's always been like this
Say it's the same you
Say it's the same you and it always and forever is
Say it's the same you
Say it's the same you

Yeah tell me it's all the same
This is how it's always been
But if nothing has changed... Then it must mean...

But the sun is cold - the sky is wrong
The stars are black - the night is gone
The world is still - the space is stopped
The time is out - the day is dropped
The house is dark - the room is scarred
The boy is stiff - the bed is hard
The blood is thick - the head is burst
The taste is dry - the kiss is thirst
And it's not the same you
It's not the same you
No it never was like this
It's not the same you
It's not the same you and it never really is
It's not the same you
It's not the same you
No it never was like this
It's not the same you
It's not the same you and it never really is
It's not the same you
It's not the same you

Oh it's not the same
This isn't how it's always been
Everything has to have changed...

Or it's me...







(Constructing, and this is going to be fun, at least for me.  :P  Work to do - will add to this later.)
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: thedrowningman9904 on August 16, 2021, 15:54:23
Hi there.

I just wanted to pop in to say this thread is one of the main reasons I decided to join this forum. I'm thoroughly enjoying reading your thoughts and analyses as you explore these albums. It's so refreshing compared to the usual discussion to be found around The Cure's music and I'm looking forward to the next installments.



Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on August 16, 2021, 16:45:11
Hello, and welcome to our little forum!  :)  We don't often get new people talking to us, so it's lovely that you're actually posting!  :cool

I'm glad you're getting something out of the reams of stuff I produce purely recreationally. I used to do stuff like this in paper journals, of which I have cupboards full beginning in the mid-80s, but had a go at doing most of that online and interactive six years ago on another forum, and found that was fun because it introduced community, and because people can enjoy reading each other's thoughts.

There it was mostly smallholders sharing life in the countryside, and it's a big forum so has lots of participants, and a culture of long-form writing. I used to earbash that writing group about music as well but a couple of years back decided I needed to find a better home for that because I was itching to write more, and particularly about the Cure back catalogue, which is way too niche for general smallholders, haha.  :beaming-face

I can relate to what you're saying about the usual writing on Cure music. I got so incensed at an article that appeared in our press in Australia a couple of years back at the time of the Disintegration gigs in the Sydney Opera House that I sat down and wrote several thousand words in response. The very idea that people - professional journalists at that - project their own BS onto The Cure's (or anyone else's) music and present that as if it was fact just didn't sit right with me. I wished they were honest about that, with themselves and the public. You can't stick music into a box and close the door like this. Music is highly personal, and we all interpret it differently based on our own background and experiences. One of the best ways to get to know other people is to talk about music with them (and books!).

I notice you list Wish as your favourite Cure album. I was listening to that the other day putting in the spring food garden (big task this time of year, the sun has now returned sufficiently to be able to do it). There's a lovely sound on that album which really is like aromatherapy for the ears - even though its themes are often wrought!

Feel free to pop into this thread with your own thoughts anytime. I also hope to read an intro post from you in the Meta section, and lots of other stuff!  :)
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: Ulrich on August 16, 2021, 17:07:44
Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 16, 2021, 15:54:23... this thread is one of the main reasons I decided to join this forum.

Hi and welcome! That's good to hear, Sue will be happy that there are avid readers of her output!  :cool
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: thedrowningman9904 on August 17, 2021, 11:16:19
Thank you both for the welcome!

I have written an introduction post but it's waiting for approval.

You've hit the nail on the head perfectly for why I usually avoid discussions about music, except with close friends. The discussion around music is far too tribal. "If you don't like what I like, and for the reasons I like it, then you're an idiot."

Music, like all art, is an extremely personal and subjective experience. Sure, there are some objective qualities like the technical complexity of music, or use of language, or styles of brush strokes - but they're rarely important in terms of how we experience and appreciate a piece of work.

Our lived experiences have such a huge effect on what music evokes emotion in us, and how we respond to that. That's a large reason why I am enjoying reading your posts. Music doesn't exist in isolation from everything else in our lives, and I appreciate that holistic approach to your writing. It's genuine and it's relatable.

My wife, Jess, and I are in a somewhat similar position to you and Brett. Jess had an extremely traumatic childhood, and after she suffered a breakdown 8 years ago, we quit our high-pressure jobs, sold our house in Sydney and moved to a small country town. We're not quite as self-sufficient as we'd like to be, but we do grow the vast majority of our own fruit and vegetables and exchange any surplus with other people in our town for more variety. The quieter, calmer lifestyle has had a noticeable improvement on our mental health, and our health in general. Spending each day doing meaningful tasks which have tangible results is so much more fulfilling than our old lives were.

I spoke a little about Wish in my introduction post, but since it hasn't appeared yet: Wish was the album that really got me interested in The Cure, and songs from it are connected to a lot of the important moments in my life, happy or sad (and often both). For example, when Jess and I got married, my support dog at the time was an important part of the ceremony - I walked with her down the aisle to 'Trust', and she stood with us through the entire ceremony. We sadly had to have her put to sleep 2 years ago, and I find Wish to be the perfect conduit for remembering her, and exploring the duality of joy and sorrow. And of finding comfort and happiness through (and sometimes in) the pain.

I find it an important part of my mental well-being to take the time to explore (but not dwell on) my "negative" emotions and memories, in order to process them. I used to try to ignore them and that... didn't work out too well.

... and now I'm feeling really anxious about whether any of this makes any sense or is even slightly interesting or remotely relevant for your thread. I'm terribly sorry if it's not. Let me know and I'll delete it.
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on August 17, 2021, 11:49:17
It's fine, don't worry about it!  :cool

I've spent the day putting in potatoes and am too like a jellyfish to make a proper reply to you just yet, but will do it later.

Meanwhile - good luck with lockdown, and best wishes to your household. (Lockdown in the country is generally better than in suburbia, thankfully...)
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: Ulrich on August 17, 2021, 11:53:34
Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 17, 2021, 11:16:19I have written an introduction post but it's waiting for approval.

It must be down to the Admin (dsanchez), because I can't find any unapproved posts in my moderation log. (Seems like it might take a bit until dsanchez is back online again, sorry for any inconvenience.)

Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 17, 2021, 11:16:19whether any of this makes any sense or is even slightly interesting or remotely relevant for your thread.

I see no problem here. We gave Sue the possibility of starting this topic for her explorations, I'm certain she welcomes any such contributions! (Edit: indeed, while I typed this, she replied in a positive way.)  :cool
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on August 18, 2021, 02:51:41
....OK, I've had some sleep and no longer feel like a jellyfish. Here goes:


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 17, 2021, 11:16:19Thank you both for the welcome!

Thanks for joining our forum.  :cool  It's not easy to keep niche forums going in the age of social media, but they offer opportunities for long-form writing, detailed discussions, and a genuine sense of community - which IMO doesn't happen when people are just "twittering" - I think that's too short and shallow for genuine human connection. I write on this forum as an antidote to what a social media mindset does in the world (although I'm not suggesting social media is all-bad either, but its effects on the human brain and the way it gets utilised are a concern, as is the tendency for the propagation of sound and fury signifying nothing, and I care about that). It's sort of like the slow food movement.  ;)


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 17, 2021, 11:16:19I have written an introduction post but it's waiting for approval.

There must have been some problems with spammers. Plus, for some mysterious reason we get so many people joining up and then not posting at all... I hope to read your intro post soon.  :smth023


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 17, 2021, 11:16:19You've hit the nail on the head perfectly for why I usually avoid discussions about music, except with close friends. The discussion around music is far too tribal. "If you don't like what I like, and for the reasons I like it, then you're an idiot."

It's like that with politics, religion, football, etc etc too. Maybe even with interior decorating!  :-D

A psychologist would say that many people emotionally get stuck at the three-year-old stage like this (and probably, all of us - the Dalai Lama included - at least part-time, when we have our moments) - where it's all about them, and where there's difficulty seeing other people's perspectives and not getting hostile. In an actual three-year-old that's developmentally appropriate; but us adults have to work on it.  :)

It's so, so important for humans to learn that people don't have to be clones of each other; that diversity is a good thing and that genuine, respectful multi-perspective dialogues and discussions teach all of us things we need to learn.


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 17, 2021, 11:16:19Music, like all art, is an extremely personal and subjective experience. Sure, there are some objective qualities like the technical complexity of music, or use of language, or styles of brush strokes - but they're rarely important in terms of how we experience and appreciate a piece of work.

Our lived experiences have such a huge effect on what music evokes emotion in us, and how we respond to that. That's a large reason why I am enjoying reading your posts. Music doesn't exist in isolation from everything else in our lives, and I appreciate that holistic approach to your writing. It's genuine and it's relatable.

Thank you very much, that's what I aim for.  :cool  I enjoy writing and reflecting and it's helpful for my own thinking and emotions, so I would write this stuff regardless, but it's really nice when there's some enjoyment / benefit happening for someone else after I've personally walked away from my keyboard-tapping.


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 17, 2021, 11:16:19My wife, Jess, and I are in a somewhat similar position to you and Brett. Jess had an extremely traumatic childhood, and after she suffered a breakdown 8 years ago, we quit our high-pressure jobs, sold our house in Sydney and moved to a small country town. We're not quite as self-sufficient as we'd like to be, but we do grow the vast majority of our own fruit and vegetables and exchange any surplus with other people in our town for more variety. The quieter, calmer lifestyle has had a noticeable improvement on our mental health, and our health in general. Spending each day doing meaningful tasks which have tangible results is so much more fulfilling than our old lives were.

South of Sydney is gorgeous scenery!  :heart-eyes  Sydney itself is a beautiful city if you can manage to live within walking distance of the harbour - I lived there for nearly three years in my 30s, and just loved dropping down from suburbia straight into the wild, after work - you can walk Manly to Balmoral to Taronga and on from there surrounded by dense bushland the majority of the way, and look out to this heart-lifting enormous expanse of blue, with its ferries etc. ♥

(https://external-content.duckduckgo.com/iu/?u=http%3A%2F%2Ftraveltips.gingerninja.info%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2014%2F08%2FMiddle-Head-2.jpg&f=1&nofb=1)Sadly it's an incredibly expensive place to live unless you've inherited family property there - but I'm really glad to have been a resident. Wonderful place.

I love the scenery all the way to the Hawkesbury (ever done the Barrenjoey Peninsula walk right at the edge of that?) but prefer the coast south of Sydney Metro (from Royal Botanical Park south) to the vastly built-up Central Coast. There's spectacular coast south of Sydney and those rolling hills parallel, and little places which just nestle - like Berri (at least when I saw it). There's many spots I could happily have lived in that particular region. I'm sure you're enjoying your scenery, and it sounds like you also have community down there!

Self-sufficiency is a bit of a big one. We grow about half of what we eat, but we also sell surplus: Honey and small-scale organic grass-fed cattle; we turn off around four of those a year - and the one we are currently eating ourselves is going to feed us well over two years; we don't eat that much meat, just enough to cover protein/iron requirements - and we often eat kangaroo when there's been an accident and our neighbour puts the poor thing out of its misery (like a boomer with a broken leg a few years ago, whom I then cut up for us and the dog - the meat is like venison, wonderful stewing, and it would have been a waste to just leave the carcass in the paddock - fed us and dog for six months).

I'm sorry your wife had it tough; but I always cheer when I hear of people from traumatic backgrounds ending up in stable couples and in a nice part of the world doing things they find fulfilling. Plus, I found you can grow a lot of flowers when the compost has matured! 🌻


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 17, 2021, 11:16:19I spoke a little about Wish in my introduction post, but since it hasn't appeared yet: Wish was the album that really got me interested in The Cure, and songs from it are connected to a lot of the important moments in my life, happy or sad (and often both). For example, when Jess and I got married, my support dog at the time was an important part of the ceremony - I walked with her down the aisle to 'Trust', and she stood with us through the entire ceremony. We sadly had to have her put to sleep 2 years ago, and I find Wish to be the perfect conduit for remembering her, and exploring the duality of joy and sorrow. And of finding comfort and happiness through (and sometimes in) the pain.

I'm curious if you've got a vision-assist dog or other type of service dog - I guess because I'm interested in how people deal with various challenges. Did you ever read about Asphyxia, who's an owner builder, artist and circus performer in Victoria, and who is completely deaf? I love her articles, and how she gets around the various challenges that not being able to hear presents. Personally, one main reason we tree-changed and built our own house is because I lost the nerve to one of my vocal cords in my late 30s. At first it was unclear if I'd ever speak again. I couldn't keep teaching and I needed a project. My voice eventually recovered reasonably OK but isn't suitable for long stretches of speaking because that starts to strain the remaining connected-up vocal cord which has to cross a gap to try to meet and align with the disconnected one hanging in space. And of course, I've lost a whole bunch of top notes because that's too hard for one working vocal cord to do. But it's a lot better than it could have been.

That's a lovely song to walk down the aisle to! ♥

I'm sorry about your dog. Our dog is getting older and I'm having to lift her onto her sofa and into the car these days, and I don't look forward to losing her. She's 9, hopefully she'll have a bit of quality life yet - she's OK once warmed up, kind of like Brett and me - we warm out of our various creaks and early-morning limping!  ;)

It's great to have music that doesn't close its eyes to either the joy or the pain in life, but celebrates the joy and acknowledges the pain. ♥


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 17, 2021, 11:16:19I find it an important part of my mental well-being to take the time to explore (but not dwell on) my "negative" emotions and memories, in order to process them. I used to try to ignore them and that... didn't work out too well.

Yeah, culturally I think there's been a lot of BS around emotions and their expression, particularly negative emotions, and I think particularly this idiotic idea that men aren't supposed to cry etc but just bulldoze on...(and to ignore is as damaging as it is to wallow - what's needed is acknowledgement, honesty, emotional processing). That's getting a little better with the younger generations now; I like that there's been a real mental-health awareness focus in Australia lately, but of course with all our social problems - e.g. domestic violence epidemic, prevalence of depression and suicide, not uncommon public violence and bullying, workplace bullying, inept governments who govern largely for themselves and their high-end mates etc - we urgently need this focus.

I was really hoping that the pandemic would get us to stop and seriously reconsider how we do society and our relationship with the planet and each other - because if we don't do that, and do it right now, I think we're doomed. Things looked quite hopeful initially, but now I'm less optimistic. Still, I hope humans don't waste this opportunity for critical reflection.

Welcome again!  :)
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: thedrowningman9904 on August 18, 2021, 11:03:46
I couldn't agree more with everything you've said. Especially at the end there about mental health awareness. We (as a society) had a real opportunity to correct course as a result of the pandemic, but at almost every stage of it, the rich, powerful and privileged have done everything possible to maintain the status quo.

I'm not a fan of social media either. I don't use Twitter, I find it far too aggressive and confrontational for the most part. Despite some definite good that has been achieved on it, it has also provided a platform for bigots and anti-intellectuals to spread their hatred and willful ignorance* to a wider mainstream audience and embolden people to repeat them and act on them.

* By this I mean the people pushing agendas such as anti-vaxxers, flat-Earthers, moon landing fakers... chemtrails, Illuminati, etc. It's not that they are unaware of the facts; they deliberately ignore them.

I can't tell if social media is eroding peoples' ability to empathise with others, or if it has just removed the illusion that common decency was as widespread as we hoped.

Having said all that, I'm glad I ended up on Twitter from the Chain of Flowers blog the other day, or I wouldn't have found this forum. I only use Facebook, and that's just to keep in touch with my relatives who are all in England, and to share photos, primarily of our dogs.

Quote from: SueC on August 18, 2021, 02:51:41I'm curious if you've got a vision-assist dog or other type of service dog - I guess because I'm interested in how people deal with various challenges. Did you ever read about Asphyxia, who's an owner builder, artist and circus performer in Victoria, and who is completely deaf? I love her articles, and how she gets around the various challenges that not being able to hear presents. Personally, one main reason we tree-changed and built our own house is because I lost the nerve to one of my vocal cords in my late 30s. At first it was unclear if I'd ever speak again. I couldn't keep teaching and I needed a project. My voice eventually recovered reasonably OK but isn't suitable for long stretches of speaking because that starts to strain the remaining connected-up vocal cord which has to cross a gap to try to meet and align with the disconnected one hanging in space. And of course, I've lost a whole bunch of top notes because that's too hard for one working vocal cord to do. But it's a lot better than it could have been.

I'm so sorry to hear that. But I'm glad things have improved. From the sounds of things the overall lifestyle change has been a net positive, too?

I just Googled Asphyxia. Her story is very inspiring. It's amazing what obstacles some people can overcome.

My issues are mental health related. I have bipolar disorder, social anxiety disorder and agoraphobia, which are helped to some extent by having an emotional support dog. Zelda, the one at our wedding, was my first support dog.

(https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/346314327021584384/877434207381643294/Zelda_Wedding.jpg)
That's her with her floral lead for the ceremony.

We now have four dogs:
(https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/346314327021584384/877397783798226964/12238371_1942273492665489_1022236255447962165_o.jpg)
That's Midna and Impa. Midna is on the left. She's a 9 year old Alaskan Malamute x Labrador. Impa, on the right, she's a 9.5 year old Labrador x American Staffy.

(https://media.discordapp.net/attachments/627319520381370378/874551065285128252/178006977_3655529168006571_9054644997129114473_n.png)
That's Jackleby and Zora. Jackleby is the sleeping Parsons Russell Terrier. He's 3. Zora's a Bull Arab x Staghound and she is just 9 months old.

When Zelda was 6, she was diagnosed with cancer and given less than six months to live. We got Impa then, so that she could learn from Zelda, and because everyone was worried what I would do. Surprisingly, and extremely happily, having a young pup around really noticeably picked Zelda up. Her cancer went into remission, and she enjoyed a long and healthy 9 more years. For her last few years, she started to struggle with walking due to breed-related hip issues and athritis, so we bought her an above-ground swimming pool. The low-impact exercise helped her stay in shape and helped her regain and maintain strength in her legs. It might be worth trying for your dog, if she likes swimming? I hope you have many years left with her.

For the last 11-12 years, I have only ever been without Zelda and/or Impa by my side twice - when I saw The Cure in 2011, and one afternoon a few years ago when I accompanied Jess to the hospital, both of which I had to be fairly heavily medicated to get through. We very rarely leave our property - usually only to go for scenic drives in our 4wd or for bushwalks, and the dogs are always with us.

Quote from: SueC on August 18, 2021, 02:51:41I love the scenery all the way to the Hawkesbury (ever done the Barrenjoey Peninsula walk right at the edge of that?) but prefer the coast south of Sydney Metro (from Royal Botanical Park south) to the vastly built-up Central Coast. There's spectacular coast south of Sydney and those rolling hills parallel, and little places which just nestle - like Berri (at least when I saw it). There's many spots I could happily have lived in that particular region. I'm sure you're enjoying your scenery, and it sounds like you also have community down there!

When we lived in Sydney, we lived in the Western Suburbs, and did most of our drives and walks out that way, particularly in the Blue Mountains and further west. My dad lived on the Central Coast for a few years, and we went on some really nice walks up there, but as you said, it's quite built-up up there. We did a few trips down near Wollongong/Nowra, which is a very beautiful area.

We now live 5 hours from the coast, but still surrounded by beautiful natural areas, just very different to the coastal scenes of Sydney. We have plenty of National Parks and state forests around us, plus we're not far from the Snowy Mountains. Here's a photo I took in our nearest National Park, which has a few signposted walks through it:

(https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/346314327021584384/877457314557337610/20160923-DSCN1812-1.jpg)

We similarly don't eat much meat. More days than not we don't eat meat. We'd rather a nice salad or a plate of roasted/barbecued vegetables. We haven't had stewed kangaroo, but we do get kangaroo steaks from the local butcher sometimes. Shortly after moving here, we got two sheep, with the thought of maybe eating them eventually. But they became too much like pets and we couldn't do it. :) They're now living on a nearby farm, as the daughter's pets.
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on August 21, 2021, 16:20:17
Hello again!  :)

Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 18, 2021, 11:03:46We (as a society) had a real opportunity to correct course as a result of the pandemic, but at almost every stage of it, the rich, powerful and privileged have done everything possible to maintain the status quo.

That's very true, and I'm worried about something else on top of that: The complicity of significant sections of the general public, even people who are anything but rich or particularly powerful. If you look at Murdoch, for instance, and his role in the whole debacle in the US and UK and also here, there's this section of the population who really seem to love this shiitake, this prolefeed that the Murdoch press makes up, who seem to love having enemies to rail against (like immigrants or refugees or women or Aboriginal people) or spitting on people poorer than them and telling them they deserve it because they didn't try hard enough - just this lack of compassion and lack of sense of community for people in general,  beyond the particular narrow tribe these people seem to hang with.

It worries me that completely horrible, hateful, ignorant, arrogant people like Trump get so much support from people he'd probably spit upon if he walked by them in the street, under ordinary circumstances. It worries me that an oaf like Morrison is elected in Australia, or that Abbot was - these are just such unprincipled people, if you look at their track record on refugees and women and other vulnerable people like the unemployed, pensioners and the homeless - if you look at the whole Robodebt thing and yet how they funnel millions of taxpayer dollars into corporations at the slightest opportunity - if you look at the culture of sexual abuse and misogyny they've tolerated (and indeed created) in Parliament etc.

And it worries me how the state government of NSW is (mis)handling the pandemic, and has been from the beginning, with the Ruby Princess etc. Some of our first cases of COVID in WA were from the Ruby Princess - because they let people with respiratory symptoms disembark and go all over Australia, even while they already knew we were in a pandemic and that there was COVID on the ship. WA stamped it out so we didn't get community transmission, and did it repeatedly over the past 18 months, so life over here has been comparatively normal (just hygiene measures and social distancing most of the time; we've spent very little time in lockdowns as they were immediate, short, sharp and effective). But the way things are going in Sydney, it's likely to infect the entire country before too long (because it's so much easier to breach state borders than the international border, and because Delta is so much more infectious).

And if they'd applied the same principles to their first cases of Delta in Sydney as we applied here, they'd have had a far better chance of containing the thing. It's totally beyond comprehension for us in Western Australia that it's taken NSW months into an outbreak to get serious about stopping people travelling out of Sydney. Over here, they clamp down on people leaving or entering the Perth metropolitan area the moment they have a community case there. We all get segregated into our sub-regions and get locked down into those (with patrolled road blocks and permits for essential travel), and it's been tremendously helpful in stopping the spread of this virus. There's been good community spirit about it in general, and a sense of teamwork.

I just can't understand people who think it's more important for them to have a party etc than it is for someone else's grandmother or other family member not to get ill (or even, apparently, their own). I'm really starting to detest this extreme individualism which says up-yours to the rest of the community. And of course, along with that attitude there's often wilful ignorance and conspiracy theorising.

Without consideration for others, we're not going to get through pandemics or any of the other challenging scenarios we're facing (e.g. climate change), which require human beings to cooperate and to care about each other, and to adjust priorities in line with information from outside our little enclaves.

We're feeling pretty glum about the world at the moment. I thought things were pretty bad 20 years ago, but politically things have gotten so much worse in so many places, and democracy has become a joke lately.

/end rant (...maybe I should be handing out awards if people get this far :1f637:)

We hope your part of NSW manages to band together and keep each other safe.


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 18, 2021, 11:03:46I'm not a fan of social media either. I don't use Twitter, I find it far too aggressive and confrontational for the most part. Despite some definite good that has been achieved on it, it has also provided a platform for bigots and anti-intellectuals to spread their hatred and willful ignorance* to a wider mainstream audience and embolden people to repeat them and act on them.

On that note...  ;)

(https://static.existentialcomics.com/comics/SocratesThroughTime.png)
from https://www.existentialcomics.com

:-D   :evil:


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 18, 2021, 11:03:46* By this I mean the people pushing agendas such as anti-vaxxers, flat-Earthers, moon landing fakers... chemtrails, Illuminati, etc. It's not that they are unaware of the facts; they deliberately ignore them.

I can't tell if social media is eroding peoples' ability to empathise with others, or if it has just removed the illusion that common decency was as widespread as we hoped.

That is a really good question...



Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 18, 2021, 11:03:46I'm so sorry to hear that. But I'm glad things have improved. From the sounds of things the overall lifestyle change has been a net positive, too?

I probably needed something like this to tip me over the edge of doing a major lifestyle change. I really loved my job, but it was taking way too many hours, way way more than I was paid for, and I was increasingly paying for it with my physical health and things I wanted to do away from my work. When I got married I was nearly 37 and decided not to work fulltime anymore, because I wanted to spend time interacting with my 9-5 spouse in the evenings (imagine that!), and not just have dinner together and then mark essays until bedtime. So I decided to change to casual work at the same school - I'd known the students for years and years so I was still able to connect with them and to teach them stuff, but I didn't have to take any marking and preparation home.

Then a colleague of mine got bitten by a shark and they asked me to take his classes while he was recuperating - which once again meant "goodbye evenings", but it was only supposed to be for a term and the students asked so nicely too. Only then, it became another term and then another term. This was a pure English load and I was working 60-70 hour weeks (pure Science was 50-60 hours a week; it's the essay-marking in English teaching that's the killer, especially if language-teaching standards have been poor). I loved the classroom time, the students I had were gorgeous and just so lovely to work with and there was so much learning, not just curriculum but on a human level all around - but the workload was killing me. Four weeks before the end of the last term, while I was in class, my voice just went, just like that. Not like laryngitis - like you're suddenly trying to talk from underwater. Just gone. Between that and exhaustion, I had to leave. I'm prepared to accept that the loss of voice might have been my body deciding to stop me before I fell off a cliff. I could have worked with one leg, but not without my voice.

So the lifestyle change has been very much kinder to me in those terms. I work maybe 40 hours a week now, with birds singing around me when I'm outdoors. But it's a pretty isolated life socially; it's vastly different from having a hundred people in my face every day. That part of my work I thrived on; I love the interactions and being in a consistent group of people, and I miss that, and lots of things about teaching, except the hours, which if we lived in an ideal world would be simply adjusted by reducing class sizes, as well as the number of classes a teacher is expected to teach, so that the whole job could be done in 40-50 hours maximum a week - perhaps even just the time you actually get paid for, imagine that.

But our system in the West is designed to extract the most you possibly can from an employee without actually killing them in the short term, and when they burn out in the long term, you can just hire the next blue-eyed novice and repeat the cycle. And at the same time, there's people who can't get fulltime work, or can't get work at all - we actually need to spread the work around so we don't have a proportion sitting out and trying to survive on the poverty line while others are overworked like this...

From the point of view of having actual time to spend with your partner, and where you're not just exhausted, living on a smallholding is much better than both of you being in the rat race (my husband does 4 days a week off-farm, while I do the farm and farmstay). We've always been foodies, and now that's become huge - we grow so much of our own, and it's so much better, and better for us, than supermarket F&V etc. We do farmstay about a third of the time, and it's fun when we have guests to let them experience what it's like to eat home-grown stuff. The basics of life are much better out here. The thing that's missing is community, in the immediate vicinity - that's a bit unlucky for us, because a bit closer to the coast there's several little villages which actually have a fabulous sense of community, and if we could shift our entire smallholding to there by magic, we would. Out here, we were the odd ones out voting yes for marriage equality etc... we're social progressives in a rural area with one of the highest One Nation votes in the country...and I'm done with the conspiracy theories various neighbours have spouted at us.

What's your locality like? You mentioned bartering produce, etc - sounds to me you're more in a place like the ones south of us - enough likeminded people to actually do something useful together?


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 18, 2021, 11:03:46I just Googled Asphyxia. Her story is very inspiring. It's amazing what obstacles some people can overcome.

She's amazing. I also love the little house she built herself in her early 20s, smack bang in Melbourne!


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 18, 2021, 11:03:46My issues are mental health related. I have bipolar disorder, social anxiety disorder and agoraphobia, which are helped to some extent by having an emotional support dog.

That's quite a bit you've got on your plate there! A friend's daughter has bipolar very badly - she does well when she can be creative and in a stable environment. (And the implications of that for mental health in Australia are...because what are the chances of that, for many people?)

Another friend has agoraphobia, but I had no idea at first. She gave talks in town and obviously went shopping etc, but I wondered why she'd often be stuck indoors on a fine day and why I could only rarely winkle her out of her house, until she told me! She's one of the best-read people I ever met.

I suspect my husband has a bit of social anxiety - he feels incredibly uncomfortable in a group of mostly strangers, if he thinks he's supposed to interact with them (but he was always fine going to gigs). He's OK with groups of people he knows, but prefers not to be very social (except with me). When we have guests I sometimes have to remind him beforehand not to disappear too quickly!   :lol:

I really like the look of Zelda - she just oozes warmth and connection and joy. How cool to have a four-legged member of the wedding party! And what a wonderful story of how she outlived predictions!

By the way, have you ever seen that saying, "The more I see of people, the more I like my dog"?  :lol:

Dogs (certain types anyway) are very good for mental/emotional health support - and would you believe, donkeys too? They are so Zen. We've had stressed-out guests sitting in the grass for hours with the donkeys just hanging with them - it's what they do, they're highly social and will hang around people for hours of their own free will - no food treats involved.

(https://live.staticflickr.com/3929/32835254696_d6f27b955b_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/S2xgfY)

That's Don Quixote, Mary Lou and Sparkle - we also have Ben and Nelly. Ben:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47977310457_f17d295929_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2g6AfTT)

Nelly (Ben's mum) is just coming towards the horse I'm riding in this photo (all three horses are harness racing retirees over 20):

(https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/47977332938_0382d9f9bc_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/2g6Anzu)

The donkeys have also had a calming influence on the horses!


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 18, 2021, 11:03:46For her last few years, she started to struggle with walking due to breed-related hip issues and athritis, so we bought her an above-ground swimming pool. The low-impact exercise helped her stay in shape and helped her regain and maintain strength in her legs. It might be worth trying for your dog, if she likes swimming? I hope you have many years left with her.

Our dog (who's called Jess, after the female dog in Footrot Flats) loves swimming - she's forever jumping into any river, farm dam or bit of surf she encounters!

(https://live.staticflickr.com/4893/32850227718_d68102d872_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/S3S1dw)

That's a good idea though with the pool - when she's older it would avoid having her go into really cold water in winter!


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 18, 2021, 11:03:46For the last 11-12 years, I have only ever been without Zelda and/or Impa by my side twice - when I saw The Cure in 2011, and one afternoon a few years ago when I accompanied Jess to the hospital, both of which I had to be fairly heavily medicated to get through. We very rarely leave our property - usually only to go for scenic drives in our 4wd or for bushwalks, and the dogs are always with us.

Wow, sounds like the dogs are a truly incredible support!

How did you get by when you were still in the rat race?

I could now make jokes about seeing The Cure on drugs, but you've probably already thought that yourself!  :winking_tongue


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 18, 2021, 11:03:46When we lived in Sydney, we lived in the Western Suburbs, and did most of our drives and walks out that way, particularly in the Blue Mountains and further west. My dad lived on the Central Coast for a few years, and we went on some really nice walks up there, but as you said, it's quite built-up up there. We did a few trips down near Wollongong/Nowra, which is a very beautiful area.

The Blue Mountains are full of beautiful walks!  :heart-eyes  I particularly love the Grand Canyon walk and Lillian's Glen.


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 18, 2021, 11:03:46We now live 5 hours from the coast, but still surrounded by beautiful natural areas, just very different to the coastal scenes of Sydney. We have plenty of National Parks and state forests around us, plus we're not far from the Snowy Mountains.

Thankyou for the lovely photos!  :cool Oh wow, you're really inland and up, so you probably get really cold winters! Maybe even snow!

Sounds like a wonderful area to live in - all that scenery and near a lot of pretty unspoilt natural areas!


Quote from: thedrowningman9904 on August 18, 2021, 11:03:46We similarly don't eat much meat. More days than not we don't eat meat. We'd rather a nice salad or a plate of roasted/barbecued vegetables. We haven't had stewed kangaroo, but we do get kangaroo steaks from the local butcher sometimes. Shortly after moving here, we got two sheep, with the thought of maybe eating them eventually. But they became too much like pets and we couldn't do it. :) They're now living on a nearby farm, as the daughter's pets.

I tend to have a hard time selling my cattle when they've grown up. I feel horrible when they go on the truck and for days afterwards. But I do make sure they have a good-quality life while they're here with us. I had to sell a group of cattle this year; we replaced them with four dairy poddies. One of them is incredibly social and tame and spends a lot of time snuggling up to me, which is unusual for cattle, who are normally a bit stand-offish even when they're friendly. He's also making friends with our blind donkey. I already know this is going to be a big wrench in two years from now. But, if he wants to be friendly with me, I'm not going to push him away. He'll have a better life that way, and be less stressed when he goes to the saleyards. By that time, the current lot will be over 700kg each and then it's actually better for the land to take them off it, and buy in the next batch of young, far lighter animals. And if we raise them, we know they'll have lots of food, shelter and adventures while they are with us, and their lives will have been worth living. Plus, average age of bovines in the wild isn't high either...

These are nearly fully-grown Friesian steers:

(https://live.staticflickr.com/8627/16543224207_1f446f0be1_b.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/rcSmcz)

It all gets a bit easier when you're managing an ecosystem, rather than just looking at it piecemeal. We've always got kangaroos dying of various causes too and being replaced by young ones. The pasture that's on the property needs to be grazed; it's not suitable for cropping either - and cropping usually means tractors and monocultures. We do have a permaculture system for growing our own F&V that doesn't rely on mechanised inputs. We used Linda Woodrow's model from her "The Permaculture Home Garden" book. What are you growing, and how? I imagine cherries would grow well where you live? We have enough chill to grow them here but I imagine it's even colder where you are!  :)
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on August 26, 2021, 03:42:50
Public notice: The next instalment of astronomical and philosophical head-spin in relation to the lyrics of Labyrinth is ready here (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9295.msg774665#msg774665). The post is being added to periodically until it's finished, but there's enough added since last time for having with a cup of coffee, for those of you who enjoy reading unusual things.

And remember, there's an open invite so say hello and join in with your own thoughts and ideas.  :cool

Wishing anyone reading a decent day!  :)
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: Pongo on September 01, 2021, 12:52:18
This thread is fantastic. I'll get back with my feedback...in a couple of months time. Maybe I'll throw in my thesis on why Wild Mood Swings is a stellar album.
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: Ulrich on September 02, 2021, 09:43:12
Quote from: Pongo on September 01, 2021, 12:52:18...my feedback...in a couple of months time.

Ho-hum, months? Hurry up a bit, Sue's waiting for it! XD
(Just kiddin', take your time.)

Quote from: Pongo on September 01, 2021, 12:52:18Maybe I'll throw in my thesis on why Wild Mood Swings is a stellar album.

I'm really looking forward to that (seriously, I've always liked this album).
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on September 02, 2021, 10:49:35
No, not waiting for it, Ulrich, you dag!   :yum:

(For those who need lessons in Australian vernacular: A dag is the shitty bit of wool on a sheep's bottom. It's an affectionate insult you use for friendly leg-pulling. :beaming-face)

It would take anyone months to 1) read this entire thread, listen to all the clips and follow all the links, and 2) recover from the subsequent coma.  :winking_tongue

A Wild Mood Swings discussion would be great - we could all chime in; I've not discussed that album on this thread yet (but some of it on the Exploring Join the Dots (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9201.0) thread, via B-sides) - because I listened to it well before I started writing this thread, and for that, focused on whatever albums were coming into my mailbox at the time. So I've not gotten around to Wild Mood Swings (or others from "before this forum") yet and it would be lovely to do that in company. :cool

Currently I'm going at a glacial pace - I've not even listened to Pornography yet (studio album; but have several times via Trilogy) even though we've had it for months - nearly a year? It's because I'm still not "done" with the self-titled, and I have this German thing about order and sequence...

Good things take time, etc. Especially if you only do them when you really feel like it, instead of making a millstone for yourself...  :)

And especially if you are temporarily distracted by writing "The Cure versus Aliens" adventures (http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=9465.msg775309#msg775309)!  :winking_tongue
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: Pongo on September 02, 2021, 11:35:37
Quote from: Ulrich on September 02, 2021, 09:43:12I'm really looking forward to that (seriously, I've always liked this album).

Me too. Initially I thought it was "rather ok". But I found that it's an album I'm coming back to more often than many others. So that must mean I like it, and I think I know why. Stay tuned :)

Quote from: SueC on September 02, 2021, 10:49:35Good things take time, etc. Especially if you only do them when you really feel like it, instead of making a millstone for yourself...  (http://curefans.com/Smileys/twitter/1f600.png)

Can't agree more. And I feel I can't just barge in here and write stuff without knowing what's been said. That would be too disrespectful. I also need to know what I'm up against, in terms of level of scholarship.


Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: Ulrich on September 02, 2021, 11:44:52
Quote from: Pongo on September 02, 2021, 11:35:37Me too. Initially I thought it was "rather ok". But I found that it's an album I'm coming back to more often than many others. So that must mean I like it...

Well after "Wish" I waited four long years for the next album, so I had to like it... ;)
No, I really liked it when it was new. Over the years, some flaws became more obvious and it's not really a "coherent" album, more like a wild collection of songs & moods (as the title suggests). There may be a few "weak" songs (also production/mix sometimes), but in general I still regard it as a good album with many fine songs.  :cool
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on September 02, 2021, 11:55:23
Well, I love Jupiter Crash and Treasure - but I would.  :)

Here's a "summary topic" for tracks people like best and least off various albums, by the way:

http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=436.45

Different people are going to like and dislike different things, and that's normal - all to do with how we're personally different, and have had different experiences etc. I think it's good when someone else can get something positive out of a song that makes me run screaming from a room! :-D

If anyone wants to start on WMS, go for it when you're ready!  :cool It won't "disrupt" me because when I get around to my next sequential post on the self-titled album, I can just hyperlink back to the last one on that topic. And I can think about installing a rough index on Page 1 to make things more "findable" etc.

Or if you're more comfortable, start a new topic. Either is fine by me and I'll participate either way!  :)
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: Pongo on September 03, 2021, 15:39:49
Quote from: Ulrich on September 02, 2021, 11:44:52Well after "Wish" I waited four long years for the next album, so I had to like it... (http://curefans.com/Smileys/twitter/1f609.png)

There are a couple of albums that I so dearly wanted to love but just couldn't. U2's Pop managed to completely kill my interest in one of the big bands of my youth. I tried and tried but it just didn't do it for me. The same with R.E.M and the album that came after Monster. The Stone Roses' Second coming at least has two good songs, but I struggled hard with trying to make that a good record. The Boo Radley's Wake up is very much like that for me as well.
Title: Re: Exploring the Back Catalogue
Post by: SueC on September 04, 2021, 02:33:43
I had trouble with postmodern U2 as well, Pongo. And we even have a related thread:  http://curefans.com/index.php?topic=5557.45

...would be interesting to compare notes on this!  :)