Today is Robert Smith’s birthday. To honor the frontman of The Cure for his 53rd birthday, let’s count down the best songs by The Cure. It was really difficult to pick only 10 songs because there are so many good ones that I left off the list. But after listening to them several times and thinking about it really hard, these are the ten that made the cut.
- A Night Like This
This is a great pop song with a dark twist. Though the music may not be as moody as their other work, the lyrics are what makes this song on the darker side of things. It’s like a gloomy love song where Robert Smith is trying to find this girl, but at the same time is fed up with her. It has all the makings of a classic Cure song and is still a favorite today.
9. Other Voices
The howl at the beginning of this song is what lures in the listener. It’s anguished and frustrated needing to escape. The cool bass line throughout the song is another thing that is so intoxicating about this track. It’s also filled with great imagery that you attempt to picture in your head. One example is “You brush past my skin, soft as fur.” The gloomy song is found on their Faith album, which is how the band got their depressing reputation.
- Fire in Cairo
This is the standout track from The Cure’s first album. It shows great guitar work from Smith, who gives the song an Eastern, exotic flavor, it has clever lyrics like most Cure songs, and it’s catchy. The most memorable part of the song has to be when Smith spells out the title of the track: “ F-I-R-E-I-N-C-A-I-R-O.” It really shows the early genius of both Smith and the band. It’s not a song they perform too much anymore, but it’s still a great track.
Another song from the heavy Pornography album. This song is easy to miss the first time around when listening to this record, but you should really devote the time to listen to this song and check out the lyrics as well. The lyric that kept playing in my head one night from this was “Ice in my eyes and eyes like ice don’t move.” Something about how those words sound together and the image they create is very powerful and haunting. Smith also sounds scared and vulnerable in the track, as if he knows something is after him. The music itself is also very overpowering, heavy and haunting. All the elements come together to make this great song.
- Pictures of You
This is a track of the band’s biggest album Disintegration. Though the song is featured on an album that many would call depressing, the song itself actually sounds kind of bright and cheery. The guitar riff is an infectious and Smith sings softly and sweetly here. It’s another tragic love song that really is beautiful. Everything from the instrumentation to the lyrics are perfect. You such a great song would get a better music video.
- Piggy in the Mirror
This is the fifth track the odd Cure record The Top. Here Smith tries his hand at a different style of singing which finds him wailing and warbling out the words. While it is very odd and may take some time to get used to, it really does fit the song and the album in general. This is another song that is filled with vivid imagery that paints a weird and wild scene. But there are also haunting images here that the band has become known for.
- Shake Dog Shake
This seems to be a favorite of the band as it seems to open all of their later concerts. This song is full of aggression and anger that you not only hear, but you can feel it as well. This aggression is not necessarily found in the lyrics, but it’s found in the drive of the music and the way Robert Smith is singing. He howls, he yells, he shouts. There is also so much power in this song. With this track, he succeeds in making a point of being angry. You definitely need to listen to this song very loud to feel all its energy.
The eeriness just oozes out of this song. Smith even sings in a whisper to make the song even creepier. The song’s not even haunting. It’s just a nightmare! It’s amazing that a song from 20 years ago can still send shivers down your spine. Again, this is another song that plays out in your head or you can just picture the awesome video that accompanies this track. The part that gets me the most is when Robert Smith is presented on the ceiling as a Spider-man being covered in webs. Definitely an awesome creepy track.
- Kyoto Song
This is the most haunting song from The Head on the Door album. The opening lyric sets the tone for the whole song “The nightmare of you of death in the pool, wakes me up a quarter to three…” Once again Smith shows off his magical way with words with the creepy images of death and strange phenomena. The entire song has this very effective eerie feel to it. Not only are the lyrics great, but the music is chilling as well. The keyboard that introduces the song catchy, yet still has an ominous tone and the guitar playing by Smith is excellent as always.
- One Hundred Years
This song is despair, anger and misery all wrapped into six minutes of overpowering, heart pounding music. The opening lyric “It doesn’t matter if we all die” sets the mood of hopelessness and the sense that there is nothing to live for, so just give it up already. This song has some of Smith’s best guitar work. It’s like a ringing in your head that is impossible to get out. This is probably the best song off of The Cure’s 1982 album and it’s definitely a fan favorite to this day.
Bonus: The Walk
This is just a really weird song that doesn’t mean anything. But that’s what makes the song so lovable. The weird synthesizers and beats that play throughout the song and the odd lyrics brings the whole thing together. Another reason this song is so great is because it shows a completely different side to the band. When they first came out everyone said they were doom and gloom, but Smith proved them wrong. All in all, this is a fun song that makes you dance in a really odd way.
Did your favorite song make the list? Is there a song that I missed that needs to be on here? Let me know in the comments!