Monday, April 7, 2008

No. 442: Boys Don't Cry

Band: The Cure
Album: Boys Don't Cry
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: Before the Cure became a 1980s staple and a Goth-rock institution, they were a post-punk trio. Full of angular guitars, great hooks and thwomping bass ines, the record is tons of fun.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: The production on the album isn't just thin, it's anorexic. The drums sound like they are played on a Toys R Us dum kit.
Best song: The title track is brilliant and "Killing an Arab" is great.
Worst song: "Three Imaginary Boys." Meh.
Is it awesome?: Not really.

As a freshman in college, my then-girlfriend and I would often rent movies and watch them in her dorm room. Often, they were sweet movies that were good for boyfriends and girlfriends to enjoy together. Other times, they were new releases or recommendations. One such recommendation was the film named after this film.

I remember looking up the film on the Web and seeing that it had gained an R rating for a "brutal rape scene." Not just a rape scene. A brutal rape scene.

Not a great date movie.


"Boys Don't Cry" is an interesting record to juxtapose against "Disintegration." "Disintegration" is a lush record while "Boys Don't Cry" is more a post-punk record. The production on "Boys Don't Cry" is so different, I had some trouble listening to it.

The grand example is "10:15 Saturday Night." The guitar on the song sounds thinner -- even though Smith dual-tracked the guitar -- than later Cure records. The drums, specifically, are problematic, as the cymbal work sounds very thin. Quite frankly, the production started to eventually distract me.

With that said, "Boys Don't Cry" is really a nice record. The title track is wonderful and the hook has been in my head for several days. The lyric is s similar theme the band would reuse, but poignant nonetheless. "Subway Song" has a great bass line and "Jumping a Train" is jumpy and punk. "Killing an Arab" -- on Clear Channel's list of banned songs after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks -- is wonderful. Based on Albert Camus' "The Stranger," the song is pretty and clever. I'm kind of a sucker for songs based on my favorite books, so I have to love that song.

"Boys Don't Cry" is a nice record and a picture of a band finding its feet. The post-punk angular guitars are something the band would mostly abandon, but make for a fun record.

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