Top Five: Obscure Cure

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


mojo-photo-curestuff.jpg

Want to feel old? Chew on this: the Cure got their first record deal 30 years ago this September. Where’s my walker? Fortunately, band leader Robert Smith isn’t showing his age, and in anticipation of the band’s forthcoming (as yet untitled) 13th album, they’re releasing a single every month this summer. The latest installment, “Sleep When I’m Dead” (below) is a rerecording of a rejected track from the 1985 Head on the Door sessions, and it has that era’s quirky, jaunty feel, like a darker “Let’s Go to Bed.”

Back in the day, it seemed like the Cure could do no wrong: even B-sides and obscure album tracks were amazing. After the jump: five great Cure songs that never made it to the hit parade.

1. “The Upstairs Room” (from The Walk EP, 1983)
A hypnotic balance of robotic synth-pop and aggressive, angular guitar work, “Upstairs Room” also features Robert Smith at his most sassy: after declaring he couldn’t love “anyone but you” he adds a biting “dear,” and then, just to make it clear, deadpans “that’s for sure.”

2. “M” (from Seventeen Seconds, 1980)
Even though this song has the bare-bones production typical of the era, its swooshing cymbal and extended coda offer tantalizing hints at the band’s future. Plus, what better mantra for the ’80s club scene is there but “you’ll fall in love with somebody else again tonight”?

3. “Like Cockatoos”
(from Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, 1987)
Another track that sounds better in retrospect, “Cockatoos” is easily overlooked on the sprawling, 17-track Kiss Me, but its swirling production and Eastern tones point directly towards the 1989 masterpiece Disintegration.

4. “Plastic Passion” (from “Boys Don’t Cry” single, 1979)
While the lyrics don’t really make any sense (are they talking about credit cards?) the track’s propulsive, new-wave energy make it a worthy B-side to “Boys Don’t Cry,” and there’s almost a taste of “Close to Me” in its double-time beat.

5. “Sinking” (from Head on the Door, 1985)
Sure, Head on the Door isn’t exactly obscure, but “Sinking” is almost lost amongst the towering hits like “Inbetween Days” and “Close to Me.” It may be the 8th best song on the album (just ahead of “Screw” and “The Baby Screams,” in my humble opinion), but it presages the epic turn the band would soon take.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate