Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I’ve Never Been This Old Before

Growing old is so weird. Don't get me wrong, I dig it. You're not likely to hear me ever complaining about it. But it's just so weird the random changes that can take place over the course of 30 or so years. Like, I used to hate onions. But one day, as an adult, I loved them. I used wear black on the outside cuz black was how I felt on the inside. Now I'm lucky if I can find more than five pieces of black clothing in my so-called wardrobe. When I was young, I thought nobody understood me. Now I think there's not a thought in my head that someone around me won't identify with. I remember sitting by the radio waiting for Pink Floyd's “Comfortably Numb” to come on so I could tape it and then try to identify as many of the lyrics as I could, filling a whole notebook of lyrics to my favorite songs. Now I find that the instrumentation of a song is much more important to me than the lyrics, to the point of liking a lot more wordless "post rock" than most. And Lord knows I used to listen to my Jesus & Mary Chain Psychocandy cassette tape to the point of dementia. Now I can't bear more than one song from it....What the?? Does that mean I'm gonna start loving New Age? Um, no, cuz I find that I actually get bored with a lot of music unless it starts rocking my socks off (Kinski anyone?). Well who knows, it's hard to pinpoint what's going on. There's no identifiable trend. No rules to abide by. One thing's for sure: it's impossible to stay the same. So it's kinda weird that I still get giddy about The Cure after 23+ years. I've been a huge fan since 1985 when I discovered Faith and Pornography to be the most perfectly fitting soundtracks to a certain drugless mood I often found myself in. And even though I eventually pulled through the devastations of that mood and "grew out of it," the importance of the music that went with me on that journey has never faded. And even though I've not always adored what The Cure has done since Disintegration, I'll never NOT be a Cure fan. I now understand that with age comes unexpected changes. I'm not at all the same person as back then. And neither is Robert Smith. I should never expect him to write music that would impact the person I used to be. So I made sure to listen to the new album with the ears that are attached to the current me.

It seemed odd to tour North America without first finishing the new album, but it was actually a brilliant move for The Cure and it created a shitload of anticipation for the new album (remember back when we actually allowed ourselves to anticipate?). They trudged tirelessly around this nation giving us 3-hour sets filled mostly with those fantastic classic Cure songs, showing us that yes they've changed while aging as well: they're older and bolder, and still those crazy-good musicians who can outplay any of today's younger rock stars and can still whip their old fans into a frenzy, causing many to take charge of virtual chatrooms and swear at "Anonymous" for having the nerve to criticize Robert's thinning hair. And after finally hearing the album, I'd say they're just as deserving of such defensiveness as they've ever been. "Underneath the Stars" is a spectacular opener and I still can't listen to it without imagining that I'm under the skies at Red Rocks watching them play it. It's got the most atmosphere of any song on the album, with Robert's floating vocals surrounded by the mood of the instruments. From there, the songs are more singles-oriented, although one thing hasn't changed: mainstream radio still sucks, so who knows if we'll hear any of them on the FM airwaves. The four songs that were previously released as CD/7" singles are catchy and playful. "Freakshow" in particular is such a fun song, seemingly written by Robert Smith's quirky dance moves. And it feels like "The Only One," "Perfect Boy" and "Sleep When I'm Dead" are old familiar favorites, since they were sprinkled into the set lists on the pre-album tour. Many of the other songs are getting better and better with every listen and I can't tell you how happy I am to have Porl "Wah Wah" Thompson back home. But the last two songs have already claimed their top spots on my favorite-songs-on-the-album list. "Scream" is a fantastic, slow-building song with a mid-song fade and re-entry that adds even more drama to an already impacting song. And "It's Over"... holy crap. This is exactly how my current self wants The Cure to sound: guitars and drums up in the mix equal to the vocals, with everyone just slamming it. Jason creaming the drums and Simon pounding the bass and the guitars going crazy and your heartbeat wants to keep up with the music until your insides explode and you're out of breath. Makes you just long for the live version, eh? And who knows - maybe in a month I'll wonder why that was ever my favorite song, cuz clearly "This Here and Now With You" takes the cake. And maybe tomorrow I'll hate onions again. But nowadays it's easier to just let it all go and allow whatever changes necessary to get me through this life. As long as The Cure are still in it.

It's Over - Live in Rome

*While supplies last, get a free poster with purchase of 4:13 Dream

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