Three Imaginary Boys- The Cure

Release Year: 1979

Rating: 7/10

The Cure’s 1979 debut is nothing too exciting and is very confusing. It doesn’t even sound like a cohesive album, but rather a collection of songs that shows what the band is capable of. There are even some tracks that make you question the sanity of the band. But even though it may be weird, it’s still worth giving a listen to

This is definitely the most experimental Cure album. Unlike their other albums where there is a constant sound and theme throughout, the sounds on this album varies. There are some songs that have a punk feeling to them (“It’s Not You”) and some even have a 70s rock n roll influence (“Object”). Some of the songs even have hints of their later material. “Another Day” has a slow guitar riff during the verses that’s reminiscent of Seventeen Seconds, while the lyrics are dark, cold and somber like the ones found on Faith. It’s pretty obvious that the band hadn’t found their sound at this point, but some songs prove they were well on their way.

A lot of the songs are pretty boring and forgettable, but there are quite a few that standout. One of the tracks on the album is “Fire in Cairo.” It starts out with this guitar riff that has an Eastern flavor to it. And there’s just something catchy about this song, the spelling out of the track title probably helps with this. Another great song is “Three Imaginary Boys.” It has this nice slow, melodic guitar playing that continues throughout the song. The lyrics also have some great imagery in them, such as “See the cracked reflection/standing still before the bedroom mirror/Over my shoulder, no one’s there.”

But then there are other songs that are just weird and not memorable. “So What” finds just Robert Smith reading an ad for a cake decorating set. It’s an interesting idea, but this song is ultimately a throwaway track. It makes it seem like the band didn’t even care what they put on the record at all. Another forgettable track is “Accuracy.” It’s not the most terrible song on the album, but it just doesn’t stand out. Smith doesn’t seem comfortable singing on this track. He sound drunk and a bit unsure of himself. It does have a good rhythm to it, but otherwise there’s nothing great here.

There is also a horrid cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady.” There is some banter at the beginning of the track that makes it seem like this is the first take of the song. And the singing is just awful. The vocals here are done by then Cure bassist Michael Dempsy and he sounds as if he is wasted. It turns out that this was a soundtrack that was not meant to be on the album.

The thought of the band not caring what went on the record isn’t that far fetched. It’s well known that a lot of decisions regarding which songs went on the album and what the art work was going to be were out of Smith’s hands. As a result, he was very unhappy when the record came out. And this unhappiness is clear to the listen when hearing this album. To this day he has mixed feelings about the record and it’s easy to see why.

Overall, I give this album 7/10. It’s not a horrible record, but it’s definitely not the band’s best. There are some classic songs on here that the band still play today and some of the songs are really catchy. But there are many songs that are forgettable. The album itself is a disorganized mess. It’s not very cohesive and there are some songs on the album that were obviously meant to be left off. When listening to this it’s amazing that The Cure even got the chance to make a second album.

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