“It is very difficult to hold on to your younger self. When you’ve written about it, it’s like a diary when you write songs, and you kind of think, “F*** me, was I That sad when I was so young?’ I had no idea.”
So said Robert Smith on opening night of the sold-out three-show Cure at Los Angeles’s 17,500-capacity Hollywood Bowl, speaking to an admiring generation that has grown up — and aged — listening to his anguished, anguished confessionals over the past four decades. . Over the course of each night’s nearly three-hour set, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame-induced post-punk band performed more sombre selections (especially “A Thousand Hours,” with its opening line, “How much longer can I cry? into this wind?/For how long long can I cry like this?”) certainly resonated differently in 2023. But it was the six unreleased tracks from The Cure’s long-delayed and highly anticipated 14th studio album, Songs of a Lost World (which will be their first LP release since 2008 4:13 Dream) that were particularly dark – even by Cure’s standards – as Smith, now 64 years old, struggled with his mortality in a way he couldn’t in his twenties and thirties.
“I experienced more of the dark side of life, in real life. I used to write about things I thought I understood. Now I know I understand. The lyrics I’ve written for this album are more true to me personally,” Smith told Britain’s NME in 2019, when he first teased plans for the new record. ‘They are fairer. That’s probably why the album itself is a bit more doom and gloom. I feel like I want to do something that expresses the dark side of what I’ve been through over the years, but in a way that resonates with people.” That same year, Smith told the Los Angeles Times That Songs of a Lost World would be “very on the dark side of the spectrum. I recently lost my mother and my father and my brother, and it clearly affected me. … It is worth the wait. I think it’s the best thing we’ve done, but then I’d say so. Many of the songs are difficult to sing and that’s why it took a while.”
One of the most instantly recognizable voices in rock, Smith actually sounded flawless as he dug deep into the new material. Debuts a new one Songs of a Lost World song “Another (Happy) Birthday”, which was dedicated to an unnamed lost loved one, he lamented: “And your birthday is the worst day / I’m singing to a ghost / ‘Happy birthday’ … I forget how you are.” While that song’s origins date all the way back to 1997, Smith could have sung it to his piano-playing mother, Rita, or to his late brother, Richard, who was affectionately known as “The Guru” and was 13 years older than Robert. , was a huge influence on The Cure, teaching Robert how to play basic guitar and introducing Robert to his extensive record collection in the early 1970s.
“I Can Never Say Goodbye” was introduced each night as specifically about Richard, and featured the heartbreaking chorus: “Something bad comes this way / Out of the cruel and treacherous night / Something bad comes this way / To save the life of to steal my brother away.” Every night is the other Songs of a Lost World previews included “Alone”, “A Fragile Thing”, “And Nothing Is Forever”, and the aptly titled pre-encore closer “Endsong”, in which Robert sang, “And I’m outside in the dark/Staring at the blood rode moon/Remembering the hopes and dreams I had/All I had to do/And wonder what became of that boy/And the world he called his/And I’m out in the dark/I wonder how I got so old.”
In fact, The Cure’s music is timeless and their Shows of a Lost World Tour wasn’t all death and despair. As one of the most shape-shifting bands of all time, their nightly setlists diverged from the Spartan punk pop of Three imaginary boysto the bustling Eurodisco of “Let’s Go to Bed” and “The Walk”, to Altamont psychedelics of The top‘s “Shake Dog Shake”, until blissful 120 minutesera classics of The head on the door And Kiss me, kiss me, kiss me…and then back to the funeral laments of the two albums that seem to have the most in common with the forthcoming one Songs of a Lost World1982 Pornography and the years 1989 disintegration.
Smith has cried, claiming every album will be The Cure’s last since the release of disintegrationwhich many fans (including the South Park kids!) and critics consider this to be the pinnacle of the band’s career. (Ironically, Smith wrote that depressingly claustrophobic with the intention of it being “commercial suicide,” as he once explained to Yahoo Entertainment, but it ended up being the Cure’s biggest release, selling 3 million copies and spawning a hit single, “Lovesong,” which went to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was later covered by 311, Adele and at least two american idol participants.) However, it looks like it Songs of a Lost World really could be Smith’s final, defining statement.
In 2020, keyboardist Roger O’Donnell narrated Classic doll that he had advised Smith: “’We have one more record to make. It has to be the most intense, saddest, most dramatic, most emotional record we’ve ever made, and then we can just walk away from it.” He agreed. Listening to the demos, it is that record.” A year later, Smith himself told the UK Sunday Times“The new [album] is very emotional. It’s 10 years of life distilled into a few hours of intense work. I can’t think we’ll ever do anything else. I certainly can’t do this again.”
But regardless of what the future holds for The Cure, the lyrics to the new song “And Nothing Is Forever” resonated deeply with the band’s loyal L.A. fans, many of whom came to the Cure’s Hollywood Bowl run all three nights. had attended. “My world has grown old / But it really doesn’t matter / If you say we’ll be together,” Smith begged. “Promise you’ll be with me eventually… You’ll remember me tonight.”
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