“Pornography” by The Cure - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1982 →Album Chart of the Decade: 1980s →1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die external-link.png

TJR says

Their fourth album in four years arrived in May, 1982, the trio lining-up: Robert Smith (vocals, guitar, keyboards, cello), Simon Gallup (bass guitar, keyboards) and Lol Tolhurst (drums, keyboards). The blurred cover shot tells a story before the needle drops; a dense and atmospheric journey awaits, and the story will not easily be deciphered, after all who wants the whole world to know all about your depressed state of mind? Most deliberately intense and unfriendly, the record was an exercise in catharticism for the front man, and the partaking of substances various by all was a contributing factor. Setting the existentialist tone “One Hundred Years” is “waiting for the death blow” and comes with a helpful reminder that “Over and over, We die one after the other”. In a most Banshees-like fashion “The Hanging Garden” was such a rhythmic delight that it made #34 in the Pop Chart. Similarly tribal, albeit considerably darker, “The Figurehead” was named after a grotesque skull sculpture that Smith had discovered in the disused asylum where the “Charlotte Sometimes” video had been filmed. As he later revealed: “I took it home to talk to - to confess to? - and this song is about guilt.” Over and over the confession ends: “I will never be clean again”. “A Strange Day” is as close to a pop concession as you'll get on this LP, the melodic and lush synths and guitars being in perfect moody harmony with the front man's hellish escapism: “The sand and the sea grows, I close my eyes, Move slowly through drowning waves, Going away on a strange day”. The fantastic run continues similarly on the chill-inducing “Cold”: “A shallow grave, A monument to the ruined age, Ice in my eyes, And eyes like ice don't move, Screaming at the moon, Another past time”. Such poeticism. He has much to live for. The dark secrets within this LP are many, and I don't think I want to know them all. Was a sickness cured? Through some demons being excorcised came good art, we can all settle for that win-win.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [06:40] 7.5.png The Cure - One Hundred Years (Robert Smith, Lol Tolhurst, Simon Gallup) Post-Punk
A2 [04:22] 5.8.png The Cure - A Short Term Effect (Robert Smith, Lol Tolhurst, Simon Gallup) Post-Punk
A3 [04:33] 8.9.png The Cure - The Hanging Garden (Robert Smith, Lol Tolhurst, Simon Gallup) Post-Punk
A4 [05:29] 6.3.png The Cure - Siamese Twins (Robert Smith, Lol Tolhurst, Simon Gallup) Post-Punk
B1 [06:15] 7.3.png The Cure - The Figurehead (Robert Smith, Lol Tolhurst, Simon Gallup) Post-Punk
B2 [05:04] 8.4.png The Cure - A Strange Day (Robert Smith, Lol Tolhurst, Simon Gallup) Post-Punk
B3 [04:26] 8.2.png The Cure - Cold (Robert Smith, Lol Tolhurst, Simon Gallup) New Wave
B4 [06:27] 6.0.png The Cure - Pornography (Robert Smith, Lol Tolhurst, Simon Gallup) Moodcore

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