Friday We're In Love (With The Cure): Apart / Sinking

  |   Comments

We had to put our beloved weekly series devoted to the awesomeness of The Cure on hiatus but we're back! Heather and I hope we can bring you reflections on and memories inspired by the brilliance of The Cure. We've gotten so much great feedback and response to the entries we've written together so far. It makes us happy to know so many of you share our love for this fantastic band and we hope you'll continue to read, comment, and share them. Heather leads us off...


''How did we get this far apart
We used to be so close together
How did we get this far apart

I thought this love would last forever" is a very simple refrain from the gut-wrenching "Apart" off The Cure's 1992 masterpiece, Wish. It's a simple, straightforward statement about a relationship in serious trouble or possibly already over.

I got this tape (yes, I said tape) when I was a Junior in high school (okay, go do the math - it's true I was a five year old high school Junior) and even in my youthful naiveté I knew this was a song beyond my years and too heavy for my comprehension. I assumed it was a song about divorce or death. Now this many years older I realize the dissolution of a relationship is a death. You lose a lot and sometimes it feels like you'll never be whole again. Everything is a huge ordeal and simply getting out of bed, smiling at work or keeping a stable voice and demeanor for your child is literally all you can do in a day.

The couple in this song wants more from the other than they themselves are willing to give.

"He waits for her to understand
But she won't understand at all
She waits all night for him to call
But he won't call anymore."

These are things we tell ourselves and our loved ones in a doomed relationship: "if he would just___ we could move forward" or "he used to ______and now he doesn't." There just isn't a magical fix and both sides need to have the same end goal for it to even have a snowball's chance.

"He waits for her to sympathize
But she won't sympathize at all
She waits all night to feel his kiss
But always wakes alone."

Thank goodness what we want isn't always what we need and the Universe somehow knows this and helps us take care of it even if it feels like the end of something we can't live without. Just because you can't see a future beyond this dysfunctional present doesn't mean it won't happen. A lot of times we protect our hearts and prolong the inevitable by making the past more important in our minds and trump up the happy times to even happier when really what needs to happen is a clean break. Robert Smith and company know this and encompass it not only in the lyrics but the melancholy, somber accompanying music. 

''How did we get this far apart
We used to be so close together
How did we get this far apart
I thought this love would last forever" is sometimes permission to let go and be happy. 


There had been lineup changes within the band prior to them recording their sixth album in 1985, The Head On The Door. Bassist Simon Gallup returned, Porl Thompson became an official member of the band, and Boris Williams took over on drums. The return of Gallup is felt throughout The Head On The Door, one track in particular being the album closer "Sinking." His bass line is both steady and swinging, a moody low end to anchor the rhythm of Williams' slightly behind-the-beat drumming. Lol Tolhurst gives one of his finest performances with keyboard work that soars to the heights the man in this song is falling from, his playing sweeping and dramatic. Tolhurst's keyboard and Gallup's bass dominate the foreground of the song but Robert Smith's liquid guitar flows through a few open cracks, adding a shimmering dimension to the ambience.

I spent days torturing myself writing my review of The National's latest album Trouble Will Find Me, confronting the kind of thoughts Smith expressed in this song. I can't help thinking he was far too young to appreciate the truth in the opening couplet:

I am slowing down
as the years go by
I am sinking
So I trick myself
Like everybody else

I wonder if he gets a perverse kick out of singing in 2013 those words he penned in '85 the way Springsteen does when he thinks about being 24 years old when he wrote "Thunder Road" and said "so you're scared and you're thinking that maybe we ain't that young anymore."

You don't have to be of a certain age to feel like you're fooling yourself and suspect you're not alone in the charade. As kids, we did it to discover ourselves and where we fit in, to figure out who we were going to be. It is natural for that time in your life but that didn't make it any easier- at least it didn't for me. I didn't find anywhere to fit in and felt like a fraud trying. Fast forward a couple decades and I still feel like I'm tricking myself, only now years are going by and I'm slowing down. It hasn't gotten any easier.