10 Best Cure Songs
Even the Cure's biggest fans will tell you that their best songs aren't the deep tracks buried on one of the half-dozen albums they recorded before they got super huge. The very best Cure songs are the ones you probably know. Like so many groups from the beginning of time until now, the eyeliner-lovin' British quintet stuffs its albums with quite a bit of filler to go along with a handful of killer songs. Those standout cuts are most often released as singles, and the greatest of them make up our list of the 10 Best Cure Songs.
The Cure hit a creative and commercial peak in 1989 with 'Disintegration.' It's their biggest-selling album and the first to crack the Top 20 in the U.S. It spawned four hit singles (all of which make our list of the 10 Best Cure Songs), including this slinking mid-tempo number with nightmare-inducing imagery ("quietly he laughs and shaking his head, creeps closer now, closer to the foot of the bed"). Sweet dreams!
The first single from the band's first album to get much notice in the U.S. is also one of its all-time brightest songs -- all blasting synth-horns and frontman Robert Smith's playful vocals just skimming the surface of the springy melody. There's not much to the song (it's in and out of there in a little more than three minutes), but it's a whole lotta fun, dispelling the myth that the Cure are a bunch of moody sad sacks.
The Cure's only Top 10 U.S. hit (it reached No. 2) is one of their most popular songs. Adele covered it on her mega-selling '21' album; stoner-ska goofballs 311 recorded it too. But the Cure's original take from 'Disintegration' remains the definitive version. As the title claims, it's a love song, and a relatively simple one at that. But the sincere sentiment, coupled with the lilting melody, makes it one of the band's most immediately engaging cuts.
The fourth single from the Cure's best album is a brooding ballad that has more in common with the band's deep album tracks than most of the other cuts on this list of the 10 Best Cure Songs. For one thing, it runs more than seven minutes; for another, it's way gloomy. But Smith delivers it with just the right amount of ache in his voice. And it's not nearly as self-indulgent as so many of those deep album tracks.
The staccato handclaps, the bubbling bass, the ghostly keyboards and the general wooziness of 'Close to Me' add up to one of the most musically claustrophobic songs ever recorded. Smith practically whispers his lines, like he's afraid of waking some hungry beast that might be hunched over in the corner. Put this one on your Halloween mix.
'Disintegration''s first single takes a while before it really goes anywhere -- rumbling bass pretty much dominates the first couple minutes of the song. But once it kicks in, there's a ton of things going on in the busy mix. 'Fascination Street' is one of the Cure's biggest modern rock hits and a staple at concerts, where it's occasionally dragged out for 10-plus minutes.
The first single from the band's sixth album, and their first consistently listenable one, is somewhat misleading. It features one of the band's catchiest tunes, but listen closely to the lyrics, and you'll hear a dude fretting about his future. It's typical downer Cure stuff, but it's totally disguised in one of the cheeriest refrains found on this list of the 10 Best Cure Songs.
After releasing their kinda-dismal debut single 'Killing an Arab' in 1978, the Cure followed up a year later with this deceptively cheery breakup song. It sets the template -- uptempo rhythm track, bummer words -- for some of the band's best cuts. And how about that spare but striking guitar line that runs throughout the chorus?
Three years after their U.S. breakthrough, the Cure returned with 'Wish,' which reached No. 2 -- their highest-charting LP. The album's first single, 'High,' is kinda blah. It's the second single that anchors the album with its wonderfully poppy hook and Smith's giddy performance -- basically, it's a song that's as happy as it lets on. It's the band's second-highest-charting single in the U.S. They haven't hit the Top 40 since.
Remarkably, 'Just Like Heaven' wasn't the first single released from 'Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me.' It wasn't the second single either. When it finally started picking up airplay six months after the album came out, the track became the Cure's first Top 40 hit (it actually didn't get any higher than No. 40, but little victories, right?) and one of the defining songs of the burgeoning alternative nation. From the rolling, almost tripping-over-themselves drums that start the song to the glorious synths that just sorta drift into space at the fade-out, 'Just Like Heaven' indeed sounds like it comes from a most heavenly place.