Exploring the Back Catalogue

Started by SueC, January 26, 2020, 02:58:00

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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:


"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 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, 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:


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.  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!  🥳
SueC is time travelling


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!
It's never enough...



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:

...while we prepped our wall build:

...and laid the very first bales:

...the first of maaaaany...

...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.  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...


It's a perfect day for letting go
For setting fire to bridges
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.

It's a perfect day for getting wild
Forgetting all your worries
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
SueC is time travelling


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:


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).  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 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...
SueC is time travelling



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 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 the hairs on the back of my neck stand up 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.
SueC is time travelling


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.)
It's never enough...



I can already tell you this much for sure - where I'd put this album in my little diagram:


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!
SueC is time travelling



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.


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:

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 lovely 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.  ♥
SueC is time travelling


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
It's never enough...


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! 🦇
SueC is time travelling


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, 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 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."
SueC is time travelling




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:

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:

[still knitting]
SueC is time travelling