We had a brief hiatus from our weekly love letter to The Cure but Heather and I are back! Our last installment found us both choosing songs from the timeless classic Disintegration. This week, we reach further back into this legendary band’s discography. Heather leads us off with the dreamlike “A Night Like This” and I tapped “One Hundred Days.”
The Cure cover loss, love, entanglement, wanting and needing better than any band that I can conjure up even with great effort. “A Night Like This” from 1985’s The Head On The Door proves this point further with lines like:
“Say goodbye on a night like this
if it’s the last thing I ever do”
“You’ve never looked as lost as this
It doesn’t even look like you.”
As someone who may know a thing or 100 about love and loss I understand that as well as anyone. “Coming to find you if it takes me all night” makes perfect sense to anyone who’s lost or is losing a person, feeling or any relationship and maybe not coming to terms with it.
I love this song for a multitude reasons, among which is the musicality of the band and gorgeous tones of Robert Smith’s voice. Couple that with the steady drums, driving guitar and a hot and sexy, thumping bass and I’m a happy girl. Listen to this song in a pitch black room (I’ll allow one, small scented candle), flat on your back and just absorb every beat and breath of the song. No matter your relationship status
“For always and ever is always for you
I want it to be perfect
I want to change it all”
will suddenly be the most true and clear thing you’ve ever heard.
I leave behind the mopey self-absorption of the last episode and return to celebrating the music of The Cure rather than memories associated with it and do so by turning to a minor classic from the band’s early years.
It’s easy to forget The Cure got their start in the days of vinyl when a 45 rpm single or 33 1/3 vinyl LP imposed limits on what a band could do in terms of song length. If you look at a lot of the run time of songs from those early records, there are many that were in the two and three minute range. That would change as the band progresed and the CD era allowed artists to stretch a little further without having to add a second disc or cut back on how many other songs they could fit on a single album. “One Hundred Years” isn’t the first epic number in the band’s illustrious history but it is one of their earliest.
I love albums that open with songs that set the tone and mood for what’s to come. “One Hundred Years” would be a great song on any record but its place as the opening track from Pornography makes it even more special because it does establish the sound and feel for a record that might be the first fully realized album of their career, perhaps their first complete, classic offering from beginning to end.
“It doesn’t matter if we all die” are the first words Robert Smith sings on the record but a tone of decadence and desperation is established as soon as Smith’s droning, bent guitar notes cry out above a percolating, mechanical beat. The quick pace of the rhythm propels Smith to spit his words with an energy and speed that belies the languid feel of “One Hundred Years” and this dissonance and the minor key notes give the song an off balance, off-kilter atmosphere.
Another thing that sets “One Hundred Years” apart from other epics is the word count. Many longer songs that would follow are spare in their words, built on longer musical passages but that’s not true here. There are musical bridges connecting the verses but Smith has packed this song with brilliant word collages and foreboding imagery. Lines like “waiting for the deathblow” and his desperate plea “Please love me” create a palpable tension that suck you into the world of this song and the album to follow. It’s a fast, fulfilling 6 1/2 minutes of dark magic and remains one of the best, most beloved songs in Cure history.