The Cure – Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me
Released May 25th, 1987 on Fiction Records and Elektra Records
Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me marks the indelible transfer of The Cure from dense gloomsters to buoyant Eighties pop stars. 1982’s Pornography marked the peak of the band as the poster children for goth as both a musical expression and a fashion choice. The Top and The Head On The Door are bridges, with former being the album where they experimented messily with their form and largely failed, and the latter being the same but a success. Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me took the expansive vision that Robert Smith had been trying to articulate and blew it up into ridiculous proportions. The album was long, especially by 1987 standards; it took up two LPs and clocked in at just under 80 minutes. It was a collection that emphasized the best parts of each of their last three albums; there was Pornography-era chorus-laden guitar grind (as on the opener “The Kiss”, “Tortureor ), experiments with sound, form, and culture (“If Only Tonight We Could Sleep”, “The Snakepit”) and balls-out brassy pop (“Why Can’t I Be You?”, “Hot Hot Hot!”). “Catch”, “The Perfect Girl”, and “Just Like Heaven” are quirky love songs without parallel. “Like Cockatoos” and “Icing Sugar” marry their earlier crushing pomp with pop brassiness, a preview of what Kiss Me‘s follow-up, Disintegration would hold (although the ribbon of saxophone on the latter is something that didn’t show up nearly enough in the band’s work afterward). While a career retrospective shows Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me to be something of a hot mess compared to the best Cure records, the album contains some of their very best compositions and, when it falters, some songs that at least make an attempt at pushing the group’s peculiar sense of artistry over.
Ghost Culture – Ghost Culture
Signed to a record deal on the basis of one single track (“How”), London electronic producer James Greenwood delivers on the hype and has released a debut album that croons darkly like vintage Depeche Mode and has a bottom end capable of filling most any dancefloor you can name. This is house music for people who grew up on Eighties synth ballads and Bat Cave goth-retro sounds, which means it fills a specific niche in my heart. “How”, strangely enough, is not that floor-filler; it’s a sighing, burbling kind of track that builds into an eventual shuddering peak. Greenwood’s vocals are oddly reminiscent of Strokes leader Julian Casablancas, if Casablancas put his voice through filters and grew up on a steady diet of Dave Gahan. This is dark disco, not the party music that Todd Terje spent last year spinning, but music capable of soundtracking a certain kind of party – the distinction is subtle, but it’s there.