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1/26/2000  Pandomag.com
The Cure
Bloodflowers

Why did we ever love The Cure? Why were they once so important and loaded with meaning? Why do we even care about another album from a band that has embarrassingly pissed all over itself more than once?

Can you remember the staggering misery of 'Faith' the first time you lived it, the acid-sex of 'Head On The Door,' the magnificent low of 'Disintegration'? Do you still think 'Lovecats' is one of the funnest sing-a-long songs ever written? Was 'Let's Go To Bed' divine and strangely erotic in a lets-wear-costumes-tonight way? Is there anyone in the world who hates the drip-drip-drip on a Saturday night? Do I even have to bring up the evil bass-a-thon of 'A Forest' or the heavenly lost-love kitchen-sink ennui of 'A Night Like This'?

We love The Cure in a special way most bands never receive, and because of that we give them one more chance to make something special before we kick them into the REM bin. The advance word on 'Bloodflowers' has been nothing but positive, for months and months now, and Lord knows that when I finally got this CD in the mail (thanks, Monkeytorture!) my expectations were screwed to the sticking point and disappointment would probably have killed me dead. So, here it is, a guided tour of 'Bloodflowers.' Note that I'm still alive…

"Out Of This World" takes us back iInto the old shades of Cure Brand ™ Black with a whisper not a shout or, thankfully, a mariachi band or a giggling fool or whatever else the abysmal 'Wild Mood Swings' threw against the wall of lost creativity a few years back. Think of this as 'More Pictures Of You.' World weary not hap-hap-happy, oh so happy. "One last time before it's over, one last time before it's time to go..." mutters Captain Bob, mysteriously, and The Good Ship Depression that we all love to sail on is sliding from 'deep hole black' into…

…'dense rock black' with "Watching Me Fall." Minute after minute of it. This is a looooooooong song. Eleven minutes to be exact. Eleven magnificent minutes, and I'm already thinking to myself, fuck, they did it, they made one final great great album. So far. Simon Gallup, spiralling super-goth guitars, references to blood and Japanese sex and screams and beds…you know the rest. Blueline Classic Cure. The exploding choruses are back, even. "The night is always young!" shouts Big Bad Bob before launching into his trademark 'Yeeow!'s and bringing the guitars to their knees. "Watching Me Fall" leaves furrows across your floorboards.

Some drums. Some more drums. A tambourine. A lazy guitar soliloquy. A standard heart-breaking chord change. Uncharacteristically deep Smith vocals. "Where The Birds Always Sing" is a serious song. "The world is neither just nor unjust" warbles Smith. Nice. Nothing spectacular, just nice.

"Maybe Someday" is another nice thow-away track. Nice always sounds like the biggest insult. I need a new word. Pleasant? That sucks too. Satisfactory? I guess. A nice, pleasant, satisfactory progession, complete with Manzarek-esque keyboard doodles. Next!

Simon Gallup! How low can you go! Bass! Here it is - BAM! This is a Cure jam! OK, I'm kidding, "The Last Day Of Summer" is ultra-downer Cure, neither nice nor pleasant nor satisfactory. It's way better than that. Slow, languid build-up into slow, slightly less languid middle into slow, languid ending. "It used to be so easy, I didn't even try" sings Smith, commenting on his songwriting abilities, methinks. A confession of sorts, and all the more enchanting for it. Sweet, sweet Cure.

"There Is No If" is a love-song outtake from 'Disintegration.' It passes by, you nod your head, here comes the next one…

Straightaway notice the unusual sounding keyboard effects going on here in "The Lowest Sound." This is prime 'mentally disturbed' Cure. "Nothing left to say" Smith sings, very sadly, and it seems more and more like this is an official goodbye record from the band. Every song seems to have a double-meaning, on the outside talking about traditional love, on the inside commenting on The Cure's creative abilities.

"So the fire is almost out and there's nothing left to burn…I've run right out of words." See what I mean??? This entire record is a confession of spent talent, an ended career, a suicide bullet in the head. Knowing that fact, this song "39" (get it?) is kinda disturbing, and the fuzzy distorto-guitars just add to that effect.

We're reaching the end of the album - the final album - which means it's time to bring on the funeral band. Big drums (like 'Hanging Garden') and sparkling black-lipstick guitars (like every good pre-'Lovecats' Cure song) lead a procession of solemnity in the title track "Bloodflowers" with Smith holding the bleeding heart flag and repeating 'These flowers will never die" over and over. Basically, don't forget us, he asks, please, despite our errors of judgement…then the cruncher, as big Pink Floyd guitars crash down and Smith shouts "These flowers will always die!" and everything mires itself in horrible lack of faith and disappointment. "Between you and me, it's hard to know who to really trust, how to feel, what to do." God, this is fucking horrible, but in a hugely entertaining way. It's the sound of a band dying right there on your stereo. "Never die!" is the final shout of hope as the album closes, as The Cure's recording career terminates, as a huge chapter in rock music buries itself. Goodbye, and thank-you, thank-you.

- Reef Valmont

 

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