Just like heaven
The Cure has always been a band that was synonymous with the term "cult following." It didn't so much have fans as it had disciples: legions of pale-skinned, spidery-haired Robert Smith clones pretending that every day was Halloween. They didn't just listen to the albums, they believed in them. The problem with this sort of worship is that, inevitably, the cult gets over it. Mildly depressed adolescents become adults with real jobs and normal lives; the albums that once got them through the day, every day, are filed away and listened to sparingly. Of course, the band didn't help its case much by taking a four-year layoff from recording, after which they released 1996's Wild Mood Swings, a spotty affair.
Wild Mood Swings was the sound of a band whose time had passed and who was struggling to keep up. But just when it seemed time for the band to finally call it quits, the Cure released "Wrong Number," a great single and proof that maybe the boys had a little life left in them after all. Unfortunately, the song is included on the album Galore, which is a singles compilation culled from 1987's Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, 1989's Disintegration, and 1992's Wish, as well as Wild Mood Swings. Listened to alongside classic tracks like "Hot Hot Hot!!!" and "Lullaby," "Wrong Number" begins to lose some of its original luster. It can't match up to the quirky, catchy pop songs that the band used to toss off effortlessly.
Staring at the Sea--a 1986 singles comp celebrating the band's first decade together--was a palate cleanser; the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next. Galore seems more like the end of the book, and perhaps it should be. It would be a shame to see a band that has been so important to so many people shuffling off into its twilight years, becoming a sad parody of its former self. They shoot horses, don't they?