Originally a Goth-flavored post-punk outfit, the Cure evolved into one of the truly seminal bands of the '80s, and ultimately one of modern rock's most celebrated and influential acts. Guided by creative visionary Robert Smith, the Cure's signature sound balances a dreamy pop savvy with a dark, brooding majesty and fuses superbly crafted, literate songs with a feverish emotional intensity. The band's early catalog-newly remastered and expanded with a wealth of rarities-is a series of masterpieces that laid the groundwork for their phenomenal and enduring popularity. Elektra. 2005.
Singer Robert Smith was determined to make the Cure one of the most distinctive groups of any age. After jaunty power pop was in vogue, Smith shifted to tone poems and ethereal freakouts. However, with Pornography
, he entered the downward spiral that prompted the greatest music of his career. The title track is sheer hell as Smith abandons music altogether. But the remaining tracks are among the finest the '80s had to offer. "One Hundred Years," with its grinding riff, "Siamese Twins," with its stuttering beat, and "The Figurehead" ("I laughed in the mirror for the first time in a year") are gothic studies in terror par excellence. Nothing sounded like Pornography
, not even other Cure records. It has since been decided that Pornography
is the first volume of a trilogy that's completed by Disintegration
. Both are worthy, but nothing beats the first installment. --Rob O'Connor