Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Tres: Day 37
Mon. Mar 4, 2013

The Cure


“♫ This
dream always
ends, I said/ this
feeling always
goes/ the time
always comes
to slip away/ this
wave always
breaks,’ I

No surprise to many fans of The Cure, Robert Smith didn’t always want to be the lead singer of a rock band, , Smith wanted to be a writer, when he once told Rock & Folk magazine, when he said, “My father wanted me to. At the age of 3, every day, he was asking me to read newspapers, he was very strict with that, and it’s not a hazard if my brother and I made literary studies. I didn’t, I would rather have been a football player. The idea of writing books came later, with The Cure, and it remained very abstract: one day I will write a book. The writing of texts, on the other hand, turned into an obsession, especially at the time of “Wish;” I could spend some weeks on a text and through everything and start again. And then, after the Wish Tour, for the first time, I looked back at my life and I considered that, finally, being the singer of The Cure was not that bad. Before that, it was a permanent frustration, unable to appreciate what I was doing, regretting what I would never do. But it’s probably engraved in my character; if I had been a writer, I would have regretted not to be a singer.”

Imagine if there was no Cure but a very successful Lewis Carroll type surrealist author named Robert Smith, what kind of world would that feel like? Unbeknownst to most Cure fans is that Smiths ideas for stories and novels become inspiration for songs as he explained, “I was writing novels for my nieces and nephews. Some of them became songs like “To wish impossible things”, “The last day of summer” or “Lovesong,” a novel written for Mary (his wife). But at that time, I above all had to prove myself I could be an author. Singing in The Cure wasn’t enough; I spent my time comparing my texts to my favorite writers’ ones, it was terrifying. I was reassuring telling myself they didn’t write songs, but it’s quite frustrating to understand I would never reach their level, I would never touch the art of Jorge Luis Borges words (Argentine writer of “Fictions”).

I believe Smith is one of the most underrated songwriters of our generation. Most of all some of his best songs are like epic stories told with metaphorical rhythms on a canvas of rhythms that bring color to Smith’s literary infused lyrics. Take the title track for 2000’s Cure album, did you know that “Bloodflowers” was inspired by a famous painter? Smith talked about the inspiration for “Bloodflowers” when he said, “I read a book of letters of the painter Edward Munch. He said that he was sure that he had done a good artwork when he felt that a blood flower popped out from his heart. I thought this image was very romantic. As a coincidence, about the same time, I was reading a poetry book about World War I, and one of the poems described how a wound in one of the soldiers, hit by a bullet, opened a blood flower in his body. I liked this analogy, between pain and art – these two images.”

What makes “Bloodflowers” such a classic Cure epic is Smith’s dedication to create something deeper than your average pop song as he explained, “I throw away most of the stuff that’s formulaic because I slip into it very easily. You actually reach a point where you think it’s not pure, it’s not right. It should come from the heart, but sometimes you can’t write songs like that.”

I can’t say enough about the ingenious fury that Robert Smith layered over his climatic guitar moment that he once described as, “The guitar solo in Bloodflowers. After I had done it in one take, I thought: This is what I have wanted to create since I was very young. It was very personal; I have never played a guitar solo that I was actually happy with. This and then coupled with the whole context the solo is played in. Bloodflowers is as close to the perfect, atypical Cure song as possible.”

Between my older hermano we can never agree on our favorite Cure album, he prefers Disintegration while my choice LP is Bloodflowers. What we can agree on is our love for the music and enduring legacy of Robert Smith and The Cure. There was talk that Bloodflowers, my favorite Cure album almost didn’t get made, as Smith discussed when he said, “Making Bloodflowers was such a great surprise – because I didn’t think we’d be able to. I had become very disillusioned. I was under the impression that we had been reduced to an average band, and that the passion had disappeared. And I thought it was my entire fault; that I had lost the drive.”

Like any great work of art, Bloodflowers had to live and Robert Smith crafted one of his magnum opuses. Bloodflowers was so essential, to Smith’s ears, that he included it in his 2002 Trilogy concerts that included The Cure playing the full albums of 1982’ Pornography, 1989’s Disintegration and 2000’s Bloodflowers. Smith claims that all three albums are linked when he explained,”I mean, I did myself use Pornography and Disintegration as touchstones. I nicked a couple of phrases from Disintegration and a couple of lines from Pornography and kind of worked them into Bloodflowers songs. Just droppin’ little clues. I wasn’t trying to patch together some kind of tapestry of Cure things we’d done before. But I thought I liked that, and thought I could do that kind of thing a little better now. There are elements of both albums. But Bloodflowers is, for me, a totally different sound. You’re right — as an artist, I feel totally different now than how I felt certainly when I made Pornography and to a lesser degree Disintegration.”

Smith is right one of things Bloodflowers has in common with Pornography and Disintegration is, because not only are Robert Smith’s lyrics on Bloodflowers masterpiece in the literary sense but the accompany music is the color that would impress Jorge Luis Borges. Robert Smith once claimed that he would “never touch the art of Jorge Luis Borges.” But, I believe Borges would disagree, Jorge Luis once said, “Truly fine poetry must be read aloud. A good poem does not allow itself to be read in a low voice or silently. If we can read it silently, it is not a valid poem: a poem demands pronunciation. Poetry always remembers that it was an oral art before it was a written art. It remembers that it was first song.” That song is Robert Smith’s “Bloodflowers.”

American modernist Poet Wallace Stevens, must have been thinking of Robert Smith [sic] when he once wrote, “[the] cure of the ground / or a cure of ourselves, that is equal to a cure / Of the ground, a cure beyond forgetfulness;” Stevens eloquent description is the kind of narrative Robert Smith has been perfecting as lead singer of The Cure. Smith has mastered of his verse-chorus-verse vessel. Robert can compose a whole story and make it come alive in the figure of one of the most beautiful and wicked songs ever written. Why did I choose “Bloodflowers?” When many think of the best Cure albums and songs, Bloodflowers definitely deserves to be in this conversation. So let it bleed, we honor the legacy and eternal glory of “Bloodflowers.”