The Cure - 4:13 Dream

2008-12-10 15:57
Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me taught us the best way to smudge your mascara was by making out and not by bawling. Pornography was filled with harrowing melodies so drugged up they actually inspired nights of heroic partying. And hell, even the crawling Disintegration was more darkly seductive than it was gloom laden.

What Smith understood then was that Goth in its essence embraces life by celebrating death. An intellectual assertion of our irrational nature, Goth offers all the comforts of madness and a paradoxical empowerment born of our continual abject degradation. Goth gives us permission to be selfish. Accepting the fundamental cruelty and injustice of all things human, it is the ultimate teen philosophy: a confused, moody, anti-social affirmation of the self.
On the surface The Cure's 13th album seems to live up to that dream. The nightmares, misery, perverse sex and existential ruin are all here: there's lush and stately on "Underneath the Stars". There's fierce and churning on "The Scream". There's also the signature bouncy, petulant pop of "The Perfect Boy" and "The Only One".

Problem is that 'Mad Bob' is now pushing 50 and is more likely to be home watching telly than drowning his sorrows in a night of getting wasted. And it shows. Instead of veering between misery and ecstasy, 3:14 Dream plods along a middleground neither dominated by dirges nor flooded in syrup. The last track sums it up, "It's over."

Goth has never been so boring. Time for Smith to wash his face and hand over the baton to younger misery merchants like Interpol who know how to whip boredom and angst into the ultimate 21st Century gothic party.

- Miles Keylock

The best thing about The Cure was always that for all his misery Robert Smith knew that when it comes down to it "Boys Don't Cry."

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