Sunday, 1 May 2011
The Cure - Pictures Of You (1990/ No. 24/ 6 weeks/ Fiction)
By 1989, Robert Smith really had hit upon a unique form of song writing. This is a remarkably sparse song. The trademark sonorous bass line and spectral guitar don't do very much, but evoke a deep fluidity that could go on forever (and effectively does on the 12") that foregrounds the lyrics.
This is a quiet song of lost love, but a devastating one. It isn't, as the chorus might lead you to think, a song about looking at photographs of an ex-girlfriend. The girl, "running soft though the night, bigger and brighter and whiter than snow", and the love were extraordinary, beyond temporal limits, "so much more than everything".
But with this ethereal quality, the loved one was also ill-equipped for life. Unsettling descriptions of her state increasingly blot the song; fear, screaming, being lost, slipping away, finally finding "the courage to let it all go"
Madness and suicide. It’s an Ophelia story. It hooks you in.