August 9, 2006

First Listen: The Cure | The Head On The Door [Reissue]

The Cure -- The Head On The Door [Reissue]First listen, second use of that graphic in two days. We spent a thrilling late morning and afternoon listening to The Cure reissues that were released yesterday. This item summarizes our first impressions of the Rarities (1984-1985) disc that accompanies the remastered version of the 1985 classic The Head On The Door. And a one, and a two: Band leader Robert Smith's home demos for the set are like a dream about the studio record: softer, less focused but with an internal watery logic that lets the music go where it must as deemed by the gravity of Smith's unconsciousness. The demo for "Push" is particularly surprising, because it exists on such an understated scale in the early conceptualization, in pointed contrast to the dynamic and vast guitar anthem that is the album version.

The more-polished studio demos also offer interesting insight into the Cure material of that era. The biggest surprise? It sounds like Smith originally worked up some of the lyrics ("yesterday I got so old...") for "Inbetween Days" for the demo "Lime Time," which is a pretty infectious cut of dreamy synth pop despite a melody that ends on the wrong foot. The studio demo for "A Few Hours After This" is notably well developed, but, as elsewhere, Smith is still working out the lyrics as the tape is rolling. It is interesting to hear the main marching horns riff from the album version delivered as a simple, insistent bass line. It's almost more romantic, which we admit doesn't make a lot of sense considering the overblown romanticism of the album version. We'll file further First Listen items about the other Cure reissues if we make any other discoveries of note therein.

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