Author Topic: gothic cure?  (Read 14005 times)

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Offline japanesebaby

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gothic cure?
« on: August 03, 2007, 10:29:40 »
EDIT: i've split this topic that started in the WMS thread since it mostly had very little to do with the original topic anymore.

They're never going to be a Gothic band again, folks. Don't hate everything they throw at you because it's not Gothic.

they're never going to be a gothic band again?
why do people go on about the cure being gothic? yes there are some parallels between the gothic genre and the cure's output/visuals/lyrics but not enough to categorize them that easily. and just like robert always said he hated gothic rock and typical goth bands like sisters of mercy & co.

i thank the lord that the cure (surely) isn't going to be a gothic band and also that they never even were one - and i wouldn't even be hanging around here every once in a while if they were!  8)
« Last Edit: August 05, 2007, 13:16:10 by japanesebaby »
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Offline Bloodflower

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« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2007, 23:39:58 »
Well hell, I don't know -- if you've a gun to your head and you have to categorise an album like Pornography or Faith, what would you choose? Nothing so broad as Alternative, I hope....

And for the record, I have Disintegration labelled in iTunes as a Gothic Pop record.
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Offline japanesebaby

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« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2007, 00:22:18 »
well i surely hope that no-one ever holds a gun to my head because of such things! ;)

and alternative vs. gothic? well i think i'd rather choose a broad category than a narrow one what comes to bands like the cure - and not because i was confused about what they really are but because i'd do it consciously. because they are "broad" at what they do... (by the way i mostly like bands/artists that are difficult to categorize - that's often a good sign... when you can categorize something very easily it's most often something that turns out to be less interesting in the end too!)
anyway, and for me categorizing them is like chopping of their arms and legs in order to fit them in a too small square box or something... it's too violent. it's unfair from the start.

and besides, i find it (categorizing) is most often unnecessary too. people argue about it every now and then: "is the cure gothic band or not? yes no yes no..." - like here, look at us haha. ;) but why? does it make us understand them better, make us realize better what they are about? not always.
ok, of course there are situations where you have to do this, where you need to label things in order to keep them organized somehow. but maybe those labels shouldn't stick outside their initial context. well ok maybe i'm being too cryptic: what i mean is that it's somehow reasonable to say the cure was part of the gothic movement if you're writing a chapter in a history of popular music in the 70s/80s. it serves a purpose there, to tie a group of bands together that are somehow connected, that share certain same origins/aspects when observed in a rather overall-ish sense. but it doesn't serve a purpose to label them as a gothic band outside this context. because that's where categorizing stops being a handy tool you can use to help you organize and pinpoint your thoughts/the things you want to say, and it turns into something pretty much opposite: something that actually maims and belittles and distorts its subject rather than helps you to create an image of it.

like i said, there are surely parallels to gothic movement/subculture/whatever one would call it, pornography probably getting closest. and maybe it still seems like i'm splitting hairs here but i do argue that it's still not fair to call them a "gothic band". there's hardly anything gothic on head on the door or wild mood swings? even bloodflowers: it's hardly any 'gothic' either.

another way to look at it:
i think the point is that faith and pornography may be (falsely?) described as 'gothic' because they were creations of their time - the "gothic-ism" in them in connected to a specific time and place, a specific state of mind, the famous "zeitgeist" so to speak. those albums have a connection to that certain time and place in the history and there's something in this time/place that makes us make the connection with them and 'gothic'. but the band moves on with the time... maybe this is just poetic gibberish to someone but i'd say it's more like they shifted through the gothic era and left their mark on it with those albums - but not the other way round. it's not that the "gothic-ism" labeled them. left it's mark on them. compared to the bands that are/were truly 'gothic': those stopped moving and stayed in that gothic state of mind, thus they got truly marked by it.

the way i see it... the cure is and never was a gothic band.
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Offline dsanchez

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« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2007, 00:48:03 »
They're never going to be a Gothic band again, folks. Don't hate everything they throw at you because it's not Gothic.

Agree. The trilogy (17 Seconds-Faith-Pornography) is rather just Dark than just simple Gothic music (Sisters of Mercy).
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Offline Bloodflower

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« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2007, 03:01:21 »
well i surely hope that no-one ever holds a gun to my head because of such things! ;)

and alternative vs. gothic? well i think i'd rather choose a broad category than a narrow one what comes to bands like the cure - and not because i was confused about what they really are but because i'd do it consciously. because they are "broad" at what they do... (by the way i mostly like bands/artists that are difficult to categorize - that's often a good sign... when you can categorize something very easily it's most often something that turns out to be less interesting in the end too!)
anyway, and for me categorizing them is like chopping of their arms and legs in order to fit them in a too small square box or something... it's too violent. it's unfair from the start.

and besides, i find it (categorizing) is most often unnecessary too. people argue about it every now and then: "is the cure gothic band or not? yes no yes no..." - like here, look at us haha. ;) but why? does it make us understand them better, make us realize better what they are about? not always.
ok, of course there are situations where you have to do this, where you need to label things in order to keep them organized somehow. but maybe those labels shouldn't stick outside their initial context. well ok maybe i'm being too cryptic: what i mean is that it's somehow reasonable to say the cure was part of the gothic movement if you're writing a chapter in a history of popular music in the 70s/80s. it serves a purpose there, to tie a group of bands together that are somehow connected, that share certain same origins/aspects when observed in a rather overall-ish sense. but it doesn't serve a purpose to label them as a gothic band outside this context. because that's where categorizing stops being a handy tool you can use to help you organize and pinpoint your thoughts/the things you want to say, and it turns into something pretty much opposite: something that actually maims and belittles and distorts its subject rather than helps you to create an image of it.

like i said, there are surely parallels to gothic movement/subculture/whatever one would call it, pornography probably getting closest. and maybe it still seems like i'm splitting hairs here but i do argue that it's still not fair to call them a "gothic band". there's hardly anything gothic on head on the door or wild mood swings? even bloodflowers: it's hardly any 'gothic' either.

another way to look at it:
i think the point is that faith and pornography may be (falsely?) described as 'gothic' because they were creations of their time - the "gothic-ism" in them in connected to a specific time and place, a specific state of mind, the famous "zeitgeist" so to speak. those albums have a connection to that certain time and place in the history and there's something in this time/place that makes us make the connection with them and 'gothic'. but the band moves on with the time... maybe this is just poetic gibberish to someone but i'd say it's more like they shifted through the gothic era and left their mark on it with those albums - but not the other way round. it's not that the "gothic-ism" labeled them. left it's mark on them. compared to the bands that are/were truly 'gothic': those stopped moving and stayed in that gothic state of mind, thus they got truly marked by it.

the way i see it... the cure is and never was a gothic band.

See, but this is where I disagree. They were, to my mind, a Gothic rock band, from the period of late 1980 to mid 1982, they released two 'Gothic rock' albums. During that period, they were primarily playing and releasing so-called Gothic rock, and thus, for that period of time, were a Gothic rock band. That is not to say that what came before this period was Gothic by proxy, or that anything they did after had to be Gothic as well. For a period of two years, from end of the end of the Primary Tour through the end of the Pornography tour, I could classify them as primarily Gothic rock, and I could do so with impunity.

I think it is unfair to look back at the entirety of The Cure's discography and say that, overall, they are a Gothic rock band, because it's impossible to be a Gothic band and have songs like The Lovecats and Just Like Heaven. So The Cure, to my mind, IS not a Gothic rock band, but HAS been for moments in the past.

If that makes any sense at all.
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Offline japanesebaby

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« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2007, 03:21:02 »
I think it is unfair to look back at the entirety of The Cure's discography and say that, overall, they are a Gothic rock band, because it's impossible to be a Gothic band and have songs like The Lovecats and Just Like Heaven. So The Cure, to my mind, IS not a Gothic rock band, but HAS been for moments in the past.

exactly. and the point i've been trying to say is that there is a difference in saying "they were a gothic band" or saying "they did some gothic/gothicly oriented albums".
because the cure never succumbed to the "masquerade-ish mindset" that is so vitally essential to the gothic genre. they never pretended to be actors in some kind of show, acting out the gothic gloom... they never even succumbed to the gothic looks either - the big-haired lipsticked robert came only later - and that's what considered a gothic icon, funnily. although there were already definitely past their "gothic period" - if they ever even had one.
so yes, they did some albums that parallel the gothic movement in certain ways but i still don't think they were a gothic band at all. they have always (as well then as  now) lack all that theatrical masquarade that's so essential to gothic genre. even when they used to smear their faces with lipstick to make themselves look like their eyes were bleeding - yes they came quite close there but they still didn't let it take control over them! they never pretended they were sleeping in coffins or anything like that and so they never let that sort of things to shape their image, to point them somewhere - just because gothic bands were/are supposed to do this or that etc. so they never let the genre take over them and never let it define them in a way that would have let them be "forced" to say that "we cannot do this or that - because we're a gothic band". and that's why they could go and do things like 'the lovecats' and LGTb and 'the walk' so easily and so soon! would a true gothic band ever do such a thing? i really can't imagine sisters of mercy suddenly doing something like 'the lovecats', never, ever.

so there IS a difference there, i'm going to be difficult and insist on this. because i think there really is.
because "to be a goth band" is not simply the same as to make music that sounds gothic or gothic-ly influenced - it's a lot broader subculture that craves various other factors, a much broader involvement too, so to speak.
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Offline themurderchair

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« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2007, 07:39:29 »
i don't think many fans would say this, but the 13th is one of my favorites.  Its a fun song  and with lyrics like "if you want i can take you for another kind of ride" its probably the most perverted song they've done.   

most perverted is definately reserved for 'see the children'
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Offline devoblue

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« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2007, 16:04:38 »
Answering 2 different discussion points here....

Early Gothic Rock bands were not necessarily associated with the Goth Subculture, having evolved from post-punk.  See also siouxise and the banshees or joy division/new order.  For a few short years in the early 80's it was possible to produce gothic rock and be a gothic rock band without being a member of the goth subculture.

During this time the cure produced 17 seconds, which was a darkening of their post punk origins towards the evolving gothic rock genre.  This was followed by faith and pornography, which were clealy gothic rock by the contemporary definition, and as such the cure could at that time be categorised as a gothic rock band.  At the same time, gothic rock was closer to mainstream and not regarded as wierd.

Since this time, the cure and the gothic rock genre have gone their seperate ways.  The Gothic Rock genre moved further away from the mainstream and it became the norm for gothic rock bands to be members of the goth subculture.  Although most cure album sinces have had varying levels of introspection and darkness which for some would have been sufficient to be classified as gothic by the 1980 definition, they were never gothic by their contemporary definitions.

Because gothic rock withdrew from mainstream attention, and because the cure continued to produce music that could sometimes have been categorised into a previous definition of gothic rock, the mainstream media continued to refer to the Cure as a gothic rock band.  The Cure, quite rightly and correctly, rejected such categorization.

So I believe that in 1982 you could not deny that the cure were a gothic band, and there is nothing wrong or embarassing about that.  By 1983 the label no longer applied and there would be no return to it.



As for wild mood swings. There are mood songs like 'Want' and 'Treasure' which could fit on wish, and 'This is a Lie', 'Numb', and 'Bare' which could fit on bloodflowers.  All of those songs have the typical moody atmosphere of the cure.  If you listen to just those songs it becomes quite easy to see the cure transition from wish to bloodflowers.

The four pop songs that WMS contributes to Galore fit quite well on that collection.  Sure they are pop songs and hardcore cure fans gave up on those after experiencing disintegration, but they aren't bad pop songs (such as 'just say yes').  Something that lets the album down however is the absence of a killer pop song, and even the inclusion of 'wrong number' wouldn't have fixed that.  This is an album that needed great pop-songs, if it was to follow the same formula as wish, but that's not it's major flaw.

'Club America' and 'Jupiter Crash' are typical B-sides - Good songs that don't fit the rest of the album and are usually left off of cure albums.  The problem is that 'Club America' sits at track 2, disrupting what is trying to be established by 'want' and 'this is a lie', and Jupiter crash sits after the singles and before Round & Round & Round, so you aren't sure what to think of it.

Round & Round & Round, Return, and Trap are album filler.  Trap is ok, as album filler, but RRR and Return are similar to filler on wish ('wendy time') and bloodflowers (if you got the version with 'comming up' on it).  Get 2 more mood songs to replace the b-sides and get slightly darker filler tracks and the album would really start to come together.  The unfortunate thing is, these songs existed as b-sides to The 13th and Mint Car.

Make the following changes albums songlist
2. It Used To Be Me replaces Club America
7. Ocean replaces Jupiter Crash
8. Adonais replaces Round & Round & Round
11. Home replaces Return
Call the album Bare.
Strange Attraction becomes the first single and gets a video clip.

But that didn't happen, so yeah, it is their worst album, but it doesn't have the worst collection of songs.

Edit: fixed up wrong song names
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Offline japanesebaby

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« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2007, 22:36:16 »
Early Gothic Rock bands were not necessarily associated with the Goth Subculture, having evolved from post-punk.  See also siouxise and the banshees or joy division/new order.  For a few short years in the early 80's it was possible to produce gothic rock and be a gothic rock band without being a member of the goth subculture.

ok maybe it's just a matter of how one defines the terms then but i wouldn't call bands like joy division (or new order at least!) as gothic rock. i'd like to consider bands like joy division and early cure (and most of what the banshees did too) as post-punk bands and since new wave is maybe a too broad term i'd put them under so-called "dark wave", together with what i consider to be the true gothic rock bands (sisters etc.) and also certain early electronic/synthpop bands and the so called "medievalism" etc.thus dark wave could be a fit "umbrella term" for all of these subgenres which one could say all tended towards moody/dark-ish colors/style of expression but actually achieved it in different ways.
.
like i said, it's just about how we define the terms itself. but imo 'gothic rock' is not a really good and valid term when it's used as such an "umbrella term". because it's already more defined than that, and so in my opinion it should definitely be used as a subgenre and not  as the name of the whole of the "dark-ish genre". because if new order is seriously considered to somehow belong under 'gothic rock' then i think we would be almost bound to call something like depeche mode as gothic rock too. and at least to me that pretty much stops making no sense then soon.

(to avoid misunderstandings: i don't want to argue about the simple usage and definition of terms just for the sake of it. i just feel that many of these terms like 'gothic rock' are often used quite vaguely, without really stopping to define what it's supposed to stand for and how it relates to the other dark-ish music genres of that period.)

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Offline devoblue

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« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2007, 00:04:25 »
(to avoid misunderstandings: i don't want to argue about the simple usage and definition of terms just for the sake of it. i just feel that many of these terms like 'gothic rock' are often used quite vaguely, without really stopping to define what it's supposed to stand for and how it relates to the other dark-ish music genres of that period.)

And I think thats the point, early on the term was so vague and the cures output so dark that they fit there.  The vague definition is one of two that continues in use.  Outsiders will look at the early definition and say the Cure are Gothic.  Those who understand what Gothic music is about will look at later or modern definitions where the Cure clearly don't fit.  This is a problem that will never get resolved.

I think when a cure fan refers the cure having a gothic sound, we know what they mean, and when the same fan later says the cure are not gothic, we still know what they mean, and they aren't being contradictory.

Calling New Order and Depeche Mode gothic would be unheard of today, because they both evolved into  synthpop and dance bands.  However, New Orders initial offerings didn't fall too far from Joy Division, and Depeche Mode went through a phase (around Blasphemous Rumours) that was close to gothic.  Not trying to start an argument here, in fact just illustrating your last point.
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Offline japanesebaby

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« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2007, 00:51:52 »
(to avoid misunderstandings: i don't want to argue about the simple usage and definition of terms just for the sake of it. i just feel that many of these terms like 'gothic rock' are often used quite vaguely, without really stopping to define what it's supposed to stand for and how it relates to the other dark-ish music genres of that period.)

And I think thats the point, early on the term was so vague and the cures output so dark that they fit there.  The vague definition is one of two that continues in use.  Outsiders will look at the early definition and say the Cure are Gothic.  Those who understand what Gothic music is about will look at later or modern definitions where the Cure clearly don't fit.  This is a problem that will never get resolved.

yes but there's nothing that would force us to use the term 'gothic' today in the same way it was originally used. "the vague definition is one of the two that continues in use" - i'd argue this.
because that's exactly why i was talking earlier about the genres being tied to their specific time&space: since we do have over 20 years of perspective to the gothic music (or as i'd really prefer to put it, all the different original early sub genres of the dark wave) i don't see why we should keep using the term vaguely, just as it was used originally. because of course all the efforts to describe any genre are a lot more vague in the beginning: it's always difficult to pinpoint and describe something while it's happening. :!:i think it's clear that this applies to a lot of things: it's difficult to see something clearly when you're too close to it. so in order to be "successful" (by which i mean that it's something detailed and nuonced enough that can actually tell us something about its subject and not just lump everything vaguely together!) - in order to be successful this effort (of trying to describe/categorize music into genres) craves perspective in time, some time must pass between the observer and the object before we can really say what it was and how to describe it in the most meaningful way. and so i don't agree that the term 'gothic' should be used in a vague way anymore "just because that's waht it originally was". to me this is the same as saying that the sun revolves around the earth "just because that's how people before copernicus originally thought it was". yes there are surely situations in life when the first impressions can be crucial but they shouldn't have some kind of special value just for the sake of it - meaning that in this particular case, the first impression is not the most helpful/practical one anymore because it was bound to be too vague simply because it lacked temporal perspective(!).
but ever since those days we have gathered enough information to see it all better/the different subgenres also evolved into different directions which also gave us more perspective - and thus this whole process was actually needed for us to define everything all a lot more in detail.
i truly believe this to be so because the same thing applies to most everything else in life/in this world too.

"a problem to be solved": to me the term itself is not problematic, its usage is. but even that problem ceases to be if we only recognize whether we are talking about things "back then" or "right now". in other words if we recongize the temporal perspective.
of course it depends on the situation, which one is better: the old vague term (=without perspective) or the nuonaced one (=with perspective). i can easily imagine situations where the first one could be even better. but what i mean is that we shouldn't consider the first one to be somehow more exact or even more valuable/informative "just because it was first". and when describing music/albums today it would be better and would really help avoiding a lot of misunderstandings(!) if we used our "nuanced apparatus" more and recognized the subgenres. because it would simply be more informative in many cases, i'm quite sure of it.

with all that said, i'd still hold to my initial conviction that something like "dark wave" is a lot better term when we need to use a broader, more vague term. and that the term 'gothic mucis/gothic rock' should be deserved to the subgenre that really strictly fulfills the well-known requirements of 'gothic'.

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Offline strange_day

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« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2007, 01:44:07 »
Bloody hell japanesebaby! thats just about summed it up.  ;)

Although personally id prefer to say The Cure are genre defying completley, as soon as you think you know what theyre about, they change. Genres are for lazy journalists... but i must admit, im guilty of it myself at times, Of course the 'look' stays fairly the same on Roberts part, but everything else is on its own path, they dont try to fit into anything, they just are what they are, thats the best thing about them. Listening to all that music through the years has not taught me to have big hair and red lipstick, its taught me to be whoever i want - and that is ok.

Offline Bloodflower

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« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2007, 04:12:45 »
devoblue is my hero.
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Offline devoblue

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« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2007, 05:33:54 »
devoblue is my hero.

I don't know whether thats serious or cynical.  Perhaps you shouldn't have said that? :D
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Offline devoblue

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« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2007, 05:59:38 »
... and so i don't agree that the term 'gothic' should be used in a vague way anymore "just because that's waht it originally was". to me this is the same as saying that the sun revolves around the earth "just because that's how people before copernicus originally thought it was". yes there are surely situations in life when the first impressions can be crucial but they shouldn't have some kind of special value just for the sake of it ...

Sure, but we teach the solar system in school to almost every kid, and we have good reasons for it.  I don't see a "By the way, the Cure are not actually Gothic" campaign about to kick off.  The "Mama Cass didn't actually choke on a Ham sandwich campaign has similarly failed".

It brings me back to the whole reason I joined this thread, when the original poster refered to the Cures earlier sound as Gothic.  Yes we would all prefer a more precise term be used, but we knew what he meant, and he wasn't wrong to call it that.  Sometimes incorrect terms get Grandfathered in, especially when there is no incentive to correct them.  We could make a rule here that the correct term is 'daisy pop' or something, and every time someone new joins we go over and over again.

I think Dark Wave is a better term, but its also lower profile and has its own connotations, one of which is that in some quarters its just another term for Gothic.  When people ask me what kind of music I like (cure, placebo, interpol, etc), I don't say gothic.  The best I can usually come up with is something like "post punk alternative, usually heavy on the bass and guitars, but not metal, that sort of thing", which doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.
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