Before they started recording, they fired bassist Mike Dempsey, replacing him with Simon Gallup, whose bass lines were simpler and “linear”. In addition to the work for the first time attracted a keyboard player - they became Matthew Hartley.
However, the synthesizer was not enough for the musicians, and the producer Mike Hedges used a whole arsenal of special effects. After the recorded parts were processed by all sorts of "flanges" and "choruses", they became practically unrecognizable. Smith's vocals and guitar moved into the background, and the rhythm section came to the first. “Blurred”, “otherworldly” sound immediately immersed the listener in the mystically depressive atmosphere of “Seventeen Seconds”.
"A Forest" (1980)
The brightest song of the album, which Smith called "archetypical" for THE CURE, was "A Forest". No wonder it was only for her mixing that the group spent a whole studio day (considering that they only had a week allotted for the whole album).
An eerie claustrophobic composition narrated about a man who saw a girl in the plexus of branches, heard her call, rushed after this ghost into the forest and, of course, got lost. Smith told about the motives that inspired such a plot in different ways. He hinted that a similar incident happened to him in childhood, then he declared that there was no motive here and the song “just about the forest”.
The leader of THE CURE immediately realized that this particular song should be released as a single, although from the point of view of the Polydor label it was not very suitable for the role of a commercial hit. Even producer Chris Perry, who really liked A Forest, asked to make the sound of the song more “radio format”.
“To which I said:“ But the song sounds like it sounds. This sound is from my head. And I don’t really care how radio format it is. ” He sometimes thought that I deliberately braked the group on the verge of success, but this was not the case. One of the reasons why people value our group is because they never suspect that we will throw out further. If we were predictable, we would not last so long. ”
The only difference between the single “A Forest” and the album version was in its length - the song was cut for a vinyl forty-fifths by a minute. The single was released in April 1980 and was highly appreciated by both critics and listeners. Thanks to “A Forest”, THE CURE finally managed to break into the British TOP-40, where the song took 31st place.
It is no secret that Robert Smith recalled with some disdain about many of his early hits - "stupid, stupid, naive." However, he did not change his opinions about “A Forest”. The song became the leader in the number of live performances - THE CURE performed it about a thousand times!
One amusing incident that occurred in 1981 at a Belgian festival was connected with it. THE CURE played in front of Robert Palmer, and the singer’s managers began to rush the band to finish the performance. Smith openly announced to the public that they were being driven off the stage, and in retaliation, he finally played a 9-minute version of “A Forest”, during which Gallup loudly sent Palmer to one indecent place.
In addition to the countless live versions of the song, there are several studio ones - from the “dance” (for the “Mixed Up” compilation of 1990) to the drum and bass (for the Join The Dots 2004 compilation). The latest version was played by Earl Slick - one of Smith’s favorite guitarists.
But domestic music lovers noted the similarity of the bass riff “A Forest” with the riff from the KINO song “We are all crazy” (compare).
"The Hanging Garden" (1982)
"Seventeen Seconds" was the first (and, in my opinion, the best) part of the so-called. “Trilogy of Despair”, which also includes albums “Faith” (1981) and “Pornography” (1982). The further the musicians plunged into the dark atmosphere of gothic rock, the more monotonous and depressive their songs became.
But it was at this time that THE CURE formed a circle of loyal fans who quickly transferred the group to the status of "cult." Over time, the desolate, depressed mood of the music performed began to reflect on the musicians themselves. Smith admitted that at that time he often left the stage with tears in his eyes.
Smith's suicidal misanthropic worldview reached its climax on the album “Pornography”, which begins with the line “It doesn’t matter if we all die.” If “Faith” was mostly miserable, then in “Pornography” there was more disgust and aggression.
When the record label heard the album material, it clutched at the head - it was not clear what to release from this “darkness” as a single. The best option seemed the song "The Hanging Garden" ("Hanging Garden"). As Smith himself said, in her he sings "About disgust and hostility of how animals copulate"after which he added that another song of the album - “Siamese Twins” (“Siamese Twins”) - "About the same, but - between people".
On “The Hanging Garden” was shot the same “fun” clip, where the musicians appeared in white creepy masks. By the way, it was during this period that Smith’s famous image was formed - disheveled hair and lips highlighted with bright scarlet lipstick.
Oddly enough, even such a gloomy single, like The Hanging Garden, managed to reach 34th place in Britain. “Pornography” took the 8th place already, and the most mature fans of THE CURE still consider it the top of the band’s creativity (although for me personally all this monotony and depressiveness is too much). It was already impossible and even dangerous to move further in the same direction, given the then state of the group. And it completely corresponded to their creativity.
“It was a sample of our most chaotic, terrible record. I'm serious! - I can not even remember how we recorded it.
... At that time I was under the influence of a huge amount of serious drugs and, if I were older, I do not think that I would have withstood this onslaught. Simon and I dragged each other deeper and deeper to the bottom. The album itself was a reaction to the previous recording, an incredible round of senseless aggression and violence, mixed with total disregard for everything and everything other than ourselves. ”
All this ugliness was resolved during the 1982 tour with a fight between Smith and Gallup. After which the last left THE CURE and the group actually broke up. Smith himself believed that forever ... But in December of the same 82nd THE CURE would be reborn - and in a completely unexpected quality.
To be continued…