Rank the Videos: The Cure 1986-1990 (REDUX)

I know I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The Cure are one of the best bands from the 80’s. Not only is the proof in their amazing songs, but it can also be found in their crazy, cool videos. If you’ve been following long enough, you know I’ve already ranked these videos. But since I’m lucky enough to be seeing the band next month, I wanted to revisit all of their videos. Have my opinions changed? Was I too harsh on one clip? Join me as I once again rank these Cure videos from best to worst. Where will your favorite land?

“Lullaby” (1989)

This is one of The Cure’s best videos and the best part is it still holds up 27 years later. The creepy song has an equally creepy video, which finds Robert Smith being eaten by a giant spider. For added effect, he is also shown covered in webs as this “spider man” who comes to eat people. Smith lays in bed gradually being covered in spider webs and even turns into a weird human spider sprouting several arms and legs. And even though it looks kind of cheesy, when they show Smith on the ceiling like a spider it still creeps me out; maybe because they linger on it longer than they should. Definitely don’t watch if you’re deathly afraid of spiders. Great make up, cool costumes, and one weird looking spider prop all make for an amazing video. Fun fact: originally a spider was supposed to be crawling all over Smith, but he refused since he is afraid of spiders.

“Close to Me (Remix)” (1990)

In 1990, the band released Mixed Up, their only remix album, and it included a new version of their hit “Close to Me.” They decided to film a new video to go along with and it has to be one of best things they’ve done. What makes the clip so ingenious is it continues where the original video left off. We see the wardrobe falling into the sea, then we are taken underwater where Smith and Co. swim out and explore the underwater world. More awesome costumes and weird props, including a trumpet playing octopus out to get Smith make the video odd, but fun. I love the part where they make it look like bubbles are coming out of Smith’s mouth while he’s singing. What makes the video even more charming is that they did this all on a set; no CGI found here. Unfortunately, this clip gets overshadowed by the original, which is also awesome.

“Why Can’t I Be You?” (1987)

This is probably the only time you’ll see The Cure attempting to dance and yes, it’s just as awful as you imagine. At least they tried. This is like a bad fever dream featuring awful dancing, flashing lights, bright colors, and a pair of disembodied lips. The band looks like they raided a Party City for various costumes ranging from vampire to bear. And let’s not forget one of the members imitating Louis Armstrong. Yeah…it’s pretty awkward. Aside from that it’s the silliest video they’ve ever done and it’s amazing. It also shows that it wasn’t all death and depression for the infamous dark band. They knew how to have a good time in the most bizarre way possible. Pope dubs it as the video he always wanted to make. The 12” version of the video features additional footage of the band dancing.

“Never Enough” (1990)

This is another quirky and odd video from the band featuring each member performing in a freak show. Robert Smith does double duty as an overweight woman who keeps flashing her thighs and a Siamese twin with bassist Simon, while Porl plays the bearded lady. Some of the visuals are really cool, such as The Cure looking gigantic while playing on a small stage or when it looks like Smith is hanging over the ocean. There are even some gruesome close ups of Smith in black make up that are kind of creepy when you look at them long enough. It’s videos like this that make you realize The Cure should get more credit for having some of the most creative and innovative music videos of the 80’s and 90’s.

“A Night Like This” (1986)

Even though this song got the video treatment, it was never officially released as a single, which is a shame because it’s one of their best. Unlike their previous videos, there’s nothing whimsical here. It’s mainly the band standing there playing the song looking morose, but what makes it stand out is how it seems to be running backwards. The band’s movement is very slow and spastic; Smith looks like he has no control over his arms at times. Also, rather than the camera zooming in on the group, it’s constantly moving away from them, something you don’t see very often. It’s a video that’s easy to miss, but it’s still one of their better clips.

“Just Like Heaven” (1987)

If you don’t know The Cure, you’ve at least heard this song. It’s still their most popular and most accessible single. The video is pretty memorable with the band back at Beachy Head, the cliff where they “fell off” in their previous video “Close to Me.” The video marks the only appearance of Smith’s long term wife Mary Poole; she’s the one who comes out and dances with him during the dreamy sequence. This is probably what The Cure will always be known for, but you can’t complain; it’s a great song. The clip is simple, yet beautifully shot. Though the band are wearing all black, they somehow manage to stand out against the sky backdrop.

“Boys Don’t Cry” (1986)

The whole idea for this video is actually really cute. Even though the video was released in 1986, the song was first recorded in 1979 for their debut album when the band was a trio, which is how they’re depicted here. They even went so far as to get their original bassist Michael Dempsy for the shoot. What makes the clip so adorable is that there are three young lads representing members of the band, while the members dance around as silhouettes. It gets kind of creepy at the end when the silhouettes of the members suddenly sport glowing red eyes. It doesn’t sound like it should be that scary, but it’s actually quite disturbing.

“Catch” (1987)

This is probably one of my favorite Cure songs, even though it doesn’t seem to get that much attention. Something about it is so relaxing and pretty. That might’ve been the vibe they were after with the video. There isn’t action or whimsy here. It’s only the band at the beach enjoying the beautiful scenery. And Lol walking around pretending he knows how to play the violin. It has to be one of the most unremarkable Cure clips out there. It’s almost surprising to learn that Tim Pope directed this one too, since his videos seem to find the band in odd situations and costumes. Though nothing much goes on, it’s still an enjoyable video for the beautiful outdoor shots.

“Lovesong” (1989)

This video is kind of awkward since the band are surrounded by phallic cave formations and yes, they look phallic on purpose (thanks Tim Pope). The opening shot is clearly a dick. It’s just hard to watch at times. No wonder the guys look uncomfortable sitting there. Smith looks like he wants to disappear as he curls up in a ball while Simon looks at the scene very disapprovingly. Smith originally wrote the song for his wife as her wedding present, but it must be hard to sing it when surrounded by a cave full of dicks. No joke, the director said he wanted to show the raw sexual power of the band. Is that really something you think of when you think of The Cure? I didn’t think so either.

“Hot Hot Hot!!!” (1988)

If this video is notable for anything it’s Robert Smith’s lack of hair. This is around the time where he decided to practically cut it all off and needless to say Cureheads were shocked by Smith’s new look. Weird ass puppets, awkward dancing, and “dwarf” versions of the band are all found in this chaotic and confusing clip. It’s not a boring video, but it’s not that memorable. The same can be said about the song. The clip is just weird and Smith’s embellished singing is hard to stomach. If you ever wondered what The Cure would sound like as a weird funk, Jazz band then check out this video; yes the results are as disjointed and awkward as you think. Why did they think the video, let alone the song, was a good idea? Probably drugs. Believe it or not there’s a 12” version that features more head scratching footage.

“Fascination Street” (1989)

The video for the US only single originally had a cool concept involving time travel and Doctor Who references. But due to time constraints and not being sure if American audiences would understand the concept, they settled for the band playing their instruments with some hazy effects over them. A part of the original idea is seen during the beginning; there is a police box shown much like the one used for the Tardis in Doctor Who. It’s a shame that such a great song got a mediocre video.

“Pictures of You” (1990)

This is another video I’ve always found disappointing. This is one of the songs that made me fall in love with the band, so it’s sad that the video is kind of boring. The set up is actually pretty cute: the band performs in a winter snowstorm in Scotland surrounded by palm trees and beach toys. There’s nothing else to it. Sure, it looks like they’re having a great time and Smith looks amazing in it, but there’s nothing about it to hold your attention til the end. It’s one I’d rather skip.

“Killing an Arab” (1986)

This seems to be the band’s artsy video. It doesn’t feature them at all, rather just an elderly man walking around a village until he reaches the sea. It actually looks like the same guy on their greatest hits album cover. The video seems to take inspiration from The Stranger by Albert Camus, which is what the song is based on (not the actual killing of Arabs). Beside from that, nothing else happens. It’s kind of bland and boring, especially when compared to their later videos. But it is appropriate for the song. This clip can only be found on their 1986 video collection Staring at the Sea: the Images. The Cure have since re-named the song “Killing Another,” because they were tired of the constant racist accusations.

“Jumping Someone Else’s Train” (1986)

This is a great song from their debut album, but the video is nothing but train tracks sped up from the point of view of the train. I guess it’s an interesting idea, but that’s all that happens. The band isn’t in it and it’s not like the train crashes at the end or anything like that. It basically goes from one stop to the next. The video wasn’t even released along with the single in 1979. Rather, it was specifically made for their first video collection, Staring At the Sea: the Images. It’s interesting to see at least, but it’s not something that you would watch again and it’s definitely not memorable.

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