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Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 144
Fri. June 1, 2012

“Pictures of You”
The Cure
1989

“♫ I’ve been looking so
long at these pictures of
you/ that I almost believe
that they’re real/ I’ve been
living so long with my pictures
of you/ that I almost believe that
the pictures are all I
can feel
[…] ♫”

Growing up, The Cure was my brother’s band. He truly adored their music, so much more than I did. And in 1989, Disintegration was my brother’s choice album. He lent me a copy of his cassette but, much to his peach fuzzed chagrin, Disintegration didn’t last very long in my Walkman.

As soon as I pressed play, I actually imagined this dark cloud of sadness forming around me— so I stopped it instantly and I gave Disintegration back to him. And let me tell you, he was quite insulted. He didn’t forgive me for years. Like I said—my brother truly loved The Cure, but I never liked how that Cure album made me feel. I was already a depressed teenager I didn’t need any more slit wrist selections courtesy of Robert Smith and The Cure’s Disintegration to make me any sadder.

Even so, I still wanted to go see The Cure in concert. Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me was more of my kind of record and Robert Smith and co were one band I was dying to see live. Unfortunately The Cure got caught up in one of our brotherly rivalries and Disintegration was the casualty.

You see, I had my chance to go but my brother thwarted my chance to see The Cure live. He made it so I couldn’t go with him to Prayer Tour show in Dallas. Not to go into petty specifics but my hermano truly feels bad about this Disintegration fiasco now. I realize it was more about him wanting to hang out with his boys without his little brother. I understand now but the consequence was my lack of devotion for Disintegration or The Cure. Thanks bro!

Seriously, it’s not Robert Smith’s fault but that’s what I cathartically felt when I heard songs from Disintegration. That was until today, while doing research for Don’t Forget The Songs365, and listening to some Disintegration songs on random—I found this quote from Robert Smith on what inspired him to write “Pictures of You.”

A heater shorted and it burned almost everything I own. Because we were here for four months, I’d brought all my worldly goods with me. We saved my lyrics, crawling along the floor with wet towels around our heads. We had to make a chain and hold hands because I was the only one who knew where they were, I was the last in the chain.”

“We got really told off by the firemen, it was like being back at school. They were saying “You’re life’s more important than your words” and I was like, “What do you know?” They were the only thing that was irreplaceable, I thought.”

“The next day, I was sifting through the charred remains and I came across my wallet and it had two pictures of me and Mary – the first tow pictures we ever had taken together – and they were still there although a bit charred around the edges and I was really pleased.”

“I genuinely felt happy about the fire, I didn’t feel upset, and I felt relief in a very banal way. I realized I’m holding old pictures of things, even taken before my birth, to give me a sense that things went on.”

After reading those words, I instantly began to feel a kinship with Smith and “Pictures of You.” Smith is a true artist, letting his possessions burn and saving the only thing that mattered his words, his lyrical craft—his art.

And, I am proud to report, I’ve been spinning Disintegration ever since; and there are more than a few Cure songs that are resonating with me tonight like “Plainsong,” “Lullaby” and of course, “Love song” along with “Fascination Street.” I have seen the lightness in shadows of The Cure.

Unbelievable, I 365’ed myself! You see, that’s the goal for Don’t Forget The Songs 365— finding an insight from a song that soon becomes one of your favorites because you never realized how much it resonates within the core of your mix-tape/song-track/playlist existence.

All I can do is apologize—sorry, Robert. But that’s the power and why we love music. Emotional connections to songs can change—for the better. Enough with my drama—unlock your memories, storied mental portraits as you press play—let the rhythm in the reminiscing of The Cure’s “Pictures of You” carry you today.

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