The Cure: Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me

ON THIS DATE (25 YEARS AGO)
May 26, 1987 – The Cure: Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me is released.
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 4.5/5
# Allmusic 4/5 stars
# Rolling Stone (see original review below)
Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me is the seventh studio album by The Cure. Released on this date in May 1987, this album helped put The Cure into the American mainstream, becoming their first album to reach the Billboard Top 40.
This hefty double album often sounds more like a compilation than a coherent whole, with musical ideas bouncing frantically back and forth. Nevertheless, in typical Cure style, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me successfully combines catchy pop with bitter despair. Through 17 immensely sensual songs, Robert Smith is at his most poetic (“strange as angels, dancing in the deepest ocean, twisting in the water, you’re just like a dream”) and vitriolic (“get your fucking voice out of my head…I never wanted any of this, I wish you were dead”). The joyous pop of “Just Like Heaven” and “The Perfect Girl” still delights, and the frisson provided by “Shiver And Shake” reinforces the physical nature of this collection.
ORIGINAL ROLLING STONE REVIEW
Even in a year already marked by sprawling, ambitious double albums from Prince and Hüsker Dü, the Cure’s new Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me stands out. Like Sign o’ the Times and Warehouse: Songs and Stories, this two-record, eighteen-song set is about reaching inward. The Cure is trying to deepen and refine an existing sensibility rather than reach outward to expand it. On previous efforts, guitarist and singer Robert Smith has flirted with everything from conceptually orchestrated studio pop (The Top) to sarcastic dance tracks (“Let’s Go to Bed”); now that the Cure has evolved into an actual band, he’s able to consummate those eclectic desires. Kiss Me is a breakthrough all right. For the first time, the Cure’s music is relatively unfettered by pretension and indulgence, and the results are remarkable.
That said, nobody who’s found the Cure solipsistic in the past will be converted by the likes of “Why Can’t I Be You?” – Smith sounds most self-involved when he’s celebrating obsessive love for somebody else. But then nobody who hears this insistent first single on college radio will likely be able to resist, either; it’s energetically dense, like a Joy Division drone embedded with power-pop hooks.
What’s especially striking about Kiss Me is this sense of balance. Saxes and violins – hell, entire horn and string sections – are used here in a manner that’s judicious, not gratuitous. Jittery horns contribute punch and vigor to the breathless, bass-heavy romp “Hey You,” and the breathtaking mix of violin, diverse synths, angular guitar and throbbing bass lines on “How Beautiful You Are …” subtly underline the melody instead of rubbing it out. Even on the expected bits of whimsy (“Like Cockatoos”) and the five-minute therapy sessions (“All I Want”), this group’s tuneful confidence and new-found consistency beam forth like a beacon through a purple haze. More highlights could be cited, but the fun of a double album is digging in and discovering it all yourself. (RS 504-505)
~ MARK COLEMAN (July 16, 1987)
TRACKS:
All lyrics by Robert Smith, all music by The Cure (Smith/Gallup/Thompson/Tolhurst/Williams)
“The Kiss” – 6:17
“Catch” – 2:42
“Torture” – 4:13
“If Only Tonight We Could Sleep” – 4:50
“Why Can’t I Be You?” – 3:11
“How Beautiful You Are…” – 5:10
“Snakepit” – 6:56
“Hey You!” – 2:22
“Just Like Heaven” – 3:30
“All I Want” – 5:18
“Hot Hot Hot!!!” – 3:32
“One More Time” – 4:29
“Like Cockatoos” – 3:38
“Icing Sugar” – 3:48
“The Perfect Girl” – 2:34
“A Thousand Hours” – 3:21
“Shiver and Shake” – 3:26
“Fight” – 4:27
2006 deluxe edition
Disc one
The first disc contains the original album, as above, including “Hey You!” as track 8.
Disc two: Rarities 1986–1987
“The Kiss” (RS instrumental home demo) – 3:40
“The Perfect Girl” (Studio instrumental demo) – 3:26
“Like Cockatoos” (Studio instrumental demo) – 2:11
“All I Want” (Studio instrumental demo) – 3:33
“Hot Hot Hot!!!” (Studio instrumental demo) – 3:49
“Shiver and Shake” (Studio instrumental demo) – 2:55
“If Only Tonight We Could Sleep” (Studio instrumental demo) – 3:16
“Just Like Heaven” (Studio instrumental demo) – 3:26
“Hey You!” (Studio instrumental demo) – 2:32
“A Thousand Hours” (Studio rough mix) – 3:27
“Icing Sugar” (Studio rough mix) – 3:20
“One More Time” (Studio rough mix) – 4:36
“How Beautiful You Are” (live bootleg County Bowl Santa Barbara 7/87) – 5:22
“The Snakepit” (live bootleg County Bowl Santa Barbara 7/87) – 7:30
“Catch” (live bootleg NEC Birmingham 12/87) – 2:32
“Torture” (live bootleg NEC Birmingham 12/87) – 4:04
“Fight” (live bootleg Bercy Paris 12/87) – 4:30
“Why Can’t I Be You?” (live bootleg Wembley Arena 7/87) – 7:43

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Filed under 1987, Kiss Me, Robert Smith, The Cure

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