Waxing Nostalgic: The Cure, The Same Deep Water As You

Published on July 11th, 2014 in: Music, Waxing Nostalgic |

By Jeffery X Martin


Some real wrist-cutting music came out in the Eighties. Gloom and doom, Reagan and Bush, annihilation from without and within; if you weren’t depressed and suicidal, you weren’t paying attention. The fact that anyone made it through the Eighties alive is a testament to how good Full House really was. That’s the only reason we stayed around. We put the blades down long enough to watch Full House, laugh for a few minutes, and when the show was over, we picked the pretty sharps back up and prayed for the cold hands of death to take us away from the living nightmare of suburbia.

If you were to take a poll of Eighties Survivors and ask them what the most depressing album of the decade was, a strong contender for that top spot would be Disintegration by The Cure.

The Cure were (still are) weird and quirky, and that’s the biggest understatement of this article. Even when their songs had happy melodies, the lyrics were downbeat. Songs about the repetition of dripping taps, haunted forests, and screaming animals were the order of the day. They were all in love with dyin’, they were doin’ it in Sussex.

There had been hints before of something great coming from the band, especially with their double album Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, which included the hit “Why Can’t I Be You?” Certainly the happiest song ever written about jealousy and dissociative personality disorder, “Why Can’t I Be You?” brought new fans to the band, who enjoyed the light, horn-drenched poppy hook of the tune.

Certainly nothing could have prepared those newcomers for the emotional bottomless pit that is Disintegration. The record is the culmination of everything lead Cure-ator Robert Smith had been working towards since the late Seventies, a reverb-drenched wall of minimalist gloom, an audio black wave so palpable, you can almost see it ooze out of your speakers and settle on the floor like the thickest, most toxic smoke.

This is coffin-polishing music. Put it on at a birthday party and soon people will just be sitting on the stairs, ignoring the cake, talking about the worst possible way to die. These are songs for avoiding eye contact.

Take for example the song “The Same Deep Water As You,” which is literally about drowning, and how beautiful it is to drown, because drowning.

“kiss me goodbye” pushing out before i sleep
it’s lower now and slower now the strangest
twist upon your lips but i don’t see and i don’t
feel but tightly hold up silently my hands
before my fading eyes and in my eyes your
smile the very last thing before i go. . .

Yep, that’s Robert Smith sinking to the bottom of the ocean with his love. Are you happy now? Are you not entertained?

Of course you are. It’s one of the most gorgeous pieces of music you’ll ever hear. It is the essence of Ophelia. It is a daguerreotype of your great-great-great-grandmother, lying in her coffin. It’s every self-propelled teenage tragedy rolled up into one massive shroud of shoegazing perfection.

Disintegration is a fitting dirge for the Decade of Decadence, and a moon-faced blind leap into the unknown heart of the Nineties. Those who remained on shore? Well, they still had Jesse and the Rippers to keep them company for a little while.

Listen to “The Same Deep Water As You” and other songs from this column, which has been going on for a long time now, on our exclusive Spotify playlist! Old music, older music and music that is not young or new! Enjoy it! Subscribe to it! Do your nostalgic waxing with it!

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