It's purely coincidental that this week's edition of Friday We're In Love (With The Cure) finds us both mining the masterpice Disintegration, each of us finding our own memories attached to the magic of its songs. This week, Heather responds to the title track while I go strolling down "Fascination Street."
It had to be done and I finally did it for this week's Friday We're In Love (With The Cure) installment.
I went with most everyone's first and favorite Cure album, Disintegration and the song by the same name. A bit of an obvious choice but, I'm in a mood lately and this is one of the best "take your shirt off but leave your bra on 2 hour makeout session songs out there." From the very beginning with the clicking of drum sticks to the glass shattering sound and the sexy, sexy bassline at the beginning this song is begging to be made out to. Not only did I oblige 20 years ago but I'm still kissing and groping in the dark to this song all these years later.
"Oh I miss the kiss of treachery, The shameless kiss of vanity, The soft and the black and the velvety, Up tight against the side of me, All mouth and eyes and heart all bleed,And run in thickening streams of greed."
I may very well be in the minority here but this is pure sex to me. I know this is a song of addiction and breaking up and manipulation and using and a sick, twisted end to something that may have once been so beautiful but, what can I say at 18 this must have been the subject matter that did it for me because I recorded this on a tape back to back 8 times (yes, showing my age here) so I wouldn't have to keep stopping and pressing rewind. Always the problem solver, I am.
As an older woman now this song is still hopelessly dark and wonderful but the ending refrains of "I leave you with photographs, pictures of trickery, stains on the carpet, stains on the memory, songs about happiness murmured in dreams, when both of us knew how the end always is..." mean something more significant.
Endings are rarely pain free and are not often referred to as beautiful but Robert Smith lulls and seduces me into a sense that its possible and all about how you look at it. Everything ends, just make sure you have some good, shirtless nights to remember it by. And don't forget to take the bra off sometimes.
"It's opening time down on Fascination Street..."
Sounds like an invitation, like the start of something big, right? This is such a great song and I should focus on one of the coolest bass lines in the history of rock and the sinister sex appeal and maybe one week I'll come back and tap into that but leave it to me to make a song like this the soundtrack to an endless bummer, one of countless nights where I got the best of me.
I spent a long time as a loner. Part of my solitude was a result of circumstances beyond my control. My family moved to Alabama my senior year of high school, which didn't leave a lot of time to make friends to hang out with before we all went off to college, where we'd all make new friends. Even before that, I was an awkward kid with a big mouth who didn't seem to fit in well with other people and lacked anything resembling the slightest hint of self-confidence.
So for a year after high school, I worked part-time, bought CDs, and sat around my dad's house waiting for life to figure itself out because I had no idea what to do with it. Loneliness and lack of direction were part of what kept me connected to friends back west, which led me to misread all the tea leaves. I made an ill-fated attempt to make it on my own and move back to Washington, by which I mean I was chasing after a girl. Yeah. Didn't so much work very well. There are a lot of other songs that can take me through that story but we'll save it for another time. I was back in Alabama six months later, broke, broken, and lonelier than ever.
I enrolled at our local community college and started to make acquaintances. It didn't lead to much in the way of a social life but it got me out of the house, put me around people my own age, and gave the appearance my life had some sort of plan (it didn't). I sat next to a girl and her friend what used to be her boyfriend in a class my second semester. Nice kids. Churchgoing folk in the best sense of it. However it is these things happen, we started talking before, after (and this being me, during) class. They invited me to hang out with them and a group of their other friends. I can't remember where we all met up now but I made myself go. Classmate girl was cute and it wouldn't have taken much encouragement for me to want to go out on a date with her...until I met her friend at this gathering. She had the nickname Piglet but don't let that fool you. She was very pretty and there was something about her beyond the obvious I found intriguing. Because we're talking about me, of course talk turned to music and it turns out our Piglet coveted The Cure. At this point in time I'd say I was more in like with them than in love, but I knew the songs and we talked about our favorites.
They invited to another gathering, this time at Piglet's house. I accepted but could already feel a slow, sinking feeling. The jig was up. This had to be a prank. Something wasn't right. These were nice people. Why were they hanging out with me? And the girl! C'mon. She didn't want me in her house, even with her actual friends there. Self-doubt begat dread, and dread begat...well, I'm getting a bit ahead of myself.
I loaded myself into my stylish, chick magnet of a car: a light blue '85 Subaru wagon and grabbed a fistful of CDs to drive out into the middle of nowhere Limestone County, AL for a bonfire. I reached for my copy of Disintegration with the sky still blue and sun still shining as I began my journey.
Now kids, this is circa '94. It's important to note this was pre-cellphone and GPS. I hadn't lived in this area very long and it turns out lack of a sense of direction can manifest itself in myriad ways. What I'm trying to say is I began the evening by getting hopelessly the fuck lost. The sounds on the stereo came into sharper focus as darkness descended and against the odds, I was pretty sure I found her house. All I had to do was turn in to the driveway, knock on the door, and I'd spend a Friday night in the company of very nice people who extended the kindness of welcoming me into their circle. Oh- and there was a pretty girl there! Ought to be easy, ought to be simple enough, but not for me...
At first I chalked it up to not being sure it was the right place and being embarrassed to go knock on a strange door. I'm sure that was true. For the first hour. The bass kept pulsing, the guitars ringing- I kept waiting for the fear to set like the sun. I kept circling like the vicinity of the house like the CD spinning in my stereo, singing, playing both air guitar and bass, warbling with Robert. I kept singing and sinking, further into the murk of the song, trying to hide from the growing sense of dread and disappointment, the hurt of the realization I was so damaged inside I couldn't take a simple kindness at face value.
"...move to the beat like we know that it's over..."
I knew by the third pass I wasn't going to go in but I didn't have anywhere else to go. I kept driving, alone, yearning for something -- anything -- to happen, to shake me out of the nowhere I was going. It never did. The hurt and isolation were crushing and yet I felt safe in the company of a song, of this song. As long as it was playing, I was somewhere else and I wasn't alone. I was connected to something. "Fascination Street" scared me less than the company of people.
I don't remember when I finally gave in, I only remember the song kept spinning all the way home.