The Cure is easily my favorite band of all time. I’ve been listening to them my entire life and their music has been a key factor to many of my favorite memories. I even met my wife because of our mutual love of The Cure and have a Cure tattoo. Needless to say, I’m a diehard fan. So picking 10 songs has been almost impossible. This list has changed so many times since the idea to make it came to me, and would probably be different a week after this is posted (minus the top 3, which are always the same). I could talk about The Cure all day, so feel free to leave your list in the comments or hit me up on Twitter and let’s talk about fun Cure things!
Number Ten: Six Different Ways
Following a string of darker albums (Seventeen Seconds, Faith, Pornography, and The Top), The Cure released the much lighter The Head On The Door in 1985. Six Different Ways is the fourth track on the album and is incredibly fun with it’s poppy keyboards and Robert Smith’s over the top vocal performance, which sometimes sound like he’s trying to hit notes he can’t reach. This is one of those songs that is impossible to be sad while singing along to. There is also and incredible Peel Session version where Robert sings the last third of the song in a ridiculous falsetto that is amazing.
Number Nine: From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea
Taken from my favorite album of all time, 1992’s Wish, From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea is one of those songs The Cure wrote during their most popular time that straddles that line of being kind of heavy while also being incredibly memorable. The Cure wrote the best gloomy, yet poppy, songs ever during the end of the 80’s and beginning of the 90’s. This song features one of my favorite bass lines from The Cure and what has lately become my favorite Robert Smith vocal performance (“Never never never never never let me go she says/hold me like this for a hundred thousand million days”). The swirling guitar solo in the song is also excellent.
Number Eight: Babble
“Shut up, shut up and let me breathe!” The raucous and noisey Babble was originally released as a b-side to Fascination Street in the US (Lullaby in the UK) and later on the Join The Dots collection. Babble sounds so out of place with any of the other songs recorded during the Disintegration period. It’s angry, fast, and features some of the craziest keyboards in The Cure’s catalogue (rumored to have been played by a dog since the actual keyboardist was passed out). Lyrically, it’s pretty standard drugged out Robert Smith weirdness. This is probably one of the most underappreciated Cure songs, in my opinion. I rarely hear anyone talk about it, but I absolutely love it.
Number Seven: Push
Another one taken from The Head On The Door, Push is one of those songs I can listen to on repeat for hours without getting tired of it. The guitar throughout the song sounds like nothing else The Cure has done before or since. It’s a pretty unique sounding song in their vast catalogue. Lyrically, I’ve seen a lot of debate between fans trying to figure out what the song is about. I’ve always heard it as advice to a woman about leaving her terrible or abusive boyfriend (“push him away, no no no don’t let him stay”), but there are also live recordings of Robert saying it’s “about a train ride” or “about wearing a dress.” Either way, this song is a pop masterpiece.
Number Six: Doing The Unstuck
This has to be the happiest song ever written, right? Another one from Wish, Doing The Unstuck is almost ridiculous at how joyful, positive, and fun it is. The song is mostly about just pushing negative and bad things out of your life. And like most Cure songs, there is a underlying theme of sex throughout (“It’s a perfect day for kiss and swell/for rip-zipping button-popping kiss and well/there’s loads of other stuff can make you yell/let’s get happy!”). Doing The Unstuck also has an equally excellent alternate mix that was released on the Join The Dots box set.
Number Five: Underneath The Stars
The newest song on the list, Underneath The Stars comes from The Cure’s 2008 album, 4:13 Dream. This song is the standout of the album and feels like it was written for Wish or Bloodflowers. It’s slow, beautiful, epic, and absolutely stunning. Musically, it almost sounds like it could be a sister song to Plainsong at times. The lyrics are as wonderful as the music, portraying a love so deep that nothing else matters. Being so at peace being with someone else that everything else just becomes a blur. This song is absolutely magic.
Number Four: One Hundred Years
The opening track from 1982’s goth masterpiece, Pornography, One Hundred Years sets the stage for the rest of the album. It’s bleak, drug addled lyrics and repetative music would be the building blocks of what eventually became goth music. The lyrics are a poetic mess of hopelessness and feature one of the most iconic opneing lines ever (“It doesn’t matter if we all die!” Robert Smith has stated that he knew who only had two options after their recording and touring cycle for the previous album, Faith, had ended: either commit suicide or get it all out by recording what would eventually become Pornography. You can hear and feel that pain while listening to One Hundred Years.
Number Three: The Kiss
The Kiss is, in my opinion, the heaviest song The Cure ever wrote. Opening 1987’s Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, The Kiss starts off with almost 4 full minutes of swirling guitar and doomy bass that just feels angry before any lyrics come into play. And those lyrics! The Kiss features the most hatefilled words Robert Smith ever wrote (“Get your fucking voice out of my head/I never wanted this/I never wanted any of this/ I wish you were dead!”). The vocal performance just bleeds emotion and intensity. You can feel the lyrical stab with every line Robert delivers. This song still gives me goosebumps to this day. I also have all of the lyrics to this song tattooed on my arm.
Number Two: Disintegration
This fucking song. The title track to The Cure’s 1989 masterpiece, Disintegration is maybe the best song ever written. Nothing I’ve ever heard comes close to the emotinal resonance of this song. The lyrics are so brutally sad and devistating. Lines like “And now that I know that I’m breaking to pieces, I’ll pull out my heart and feed it to anyone” and “It’s eaier for me to get closer to Heaven than ever feel whole again” are so unbelievably dark, yet relateable. This is a perfect song about the end of a relationship and the devistation that follows. Listen and get sad.
Number One: Jupiter Crash
Jupiter Crash is maybe a surprising choice to most Cure fans. Wild Mood Swings in general is a pretty underappreciated album. It’s weird and different and sounds nothing like the rest of their discography. It was an album that I generally ignored until I met my wife. Her favorite song is Jupiter Crash and she made me fall in love with this song and album. Jupiter Crash always makes me think of her anytime I ever hear it. The acoustic guitar is spacey and beautiful while the lyrics are gorgeous and wonderful. It even features what is probably my favorite lyrics Robert ever wrote (“She left to the sound of the sea/She just drifted away from me/So much for gravity”). It’s a song about love, sex, and longing.
These songs were part of this list at different points while making it. I genuinely love every song The Cure has released and can’t recommend their entire discography enough.
Faith- One of my favorite songs from The Cure’s gloomier period. It’s a bleak and perfect ending to the album of the same name.
Plainsong- Plainsong is one of the most beautiful songs ever written. It’s lush and spacey and features some stunning lyrics.
Charlotte Sometimes- Another amazing Cure song that straddles the line between goth and pop.
A Letter To Elise- My favorite Cure single. A gorgeous pop song with dark undertones.
Lost- Lost is a song that builds and builds into a heavy crescendo and features some of Robert’s best yelling vocals. Highly underrated.