There hasn't been a new Cure album since 2008's 4:13 Dream, but that didn't stop them from launching a huge world tour earlier this year. Every night they play for three hours, mixing in big hits like "Pictures of You" and "Friday I'm in Love" with lesser-known songs like "At Night," "Primary" and "Out of This World." Each show wraps up with "Boys Don't Cry." We asked our readers to select their favorite Cure songs. Here are the results.
Robert Smith was just 18 years old when the Cure recorded their debut album, Three Imaginary Boys. "The pop songs like 'Boys Don't Cry' are naive to the point of insanity," he told Rolling Stone in 2004. "But considering the age I was and the fact that I had done nothing apart from go to school – no real life experience, everything was taken from books – some of them are pretty good." "Boys Don't Cry" became their second single in 1979 and got a tiny bit of traction on the charts, pretty much jumpstarting their entire career. Smith's performed it over 850 times, though that number grows every night they do a concert.
About a decade into their career, the Cure found themselves playing huge arena concerts and hearing their music all over pop radio. "I realized at this time that, despite my best efforts, we had actually become everything that I didn't want us to become: a stadium rock band," Robert Smith told Rolling Stone in 2004. "Most of the relationships within the band and outside of the band fell apart. Calling [the album] Disintegration was kind of tempting fate, and fate retaliated." Single "Fascination Street" – which was inspired by a boozy night in New Orleans – shot to Number One on the Modern Rock Tracks chart and remains a live favorite.
While most 1980s bands struggled to find their place in the 1990s, the Cure transitioned into the age of grunge with tremendous ease. Their 1992 LP Wish was a massive success thanks to their huge hit "Friday I'm in Love" and they continued playing stadiums. "From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea" wasn't a single, but it's become a fan favorite over the years. The lyrics were likely inspired by Smith's wife Mary, who he's been with since he was fourteen. "And all I want is to keep it like this ," Smith sings. "You and me alone, a secret kiss/And don't go home, don't go away/Don't let this end, please stay."
The Cure reached the peak of their popularity with the release of 1989's Disintegration. This was no longer the cool cult group beloved by your older brother, but the band you heard all over the radio and blaring out of kids cars in the parking lot of the mall. Robert Smith posters went up on teenagers walls all over Middle America. It wasn't just the weird, sullen kids either, though many of them probably played "Pictures of You" and "Lovesong" over and over and skipped "The Same Deep Water as You." It's a nine-minute song about an intense love affair that seems hopelessly doomed. "Swimming the same deep water as you is hard," Smith sings. "The shallow drowned, lose less than we."
By the time the Cure got around to recording their 1981 LP, Faith, they were in a pretty dark place. Fame wasn't the dream they imagined, and drugs were beginning to enter the picture in a big way. "There was a lot of jealousy and sour grapes and people saying, 'You've changed!'" Robert Smith told Rolling Stone in 2004. "We became much more insular. We would just drink ourselves into oblivion, and play these songs." The disc wraps up with the title track, which radiates with sorrow. "Rape me like a child," Smith sings. "Christened in blood/Painted like an unknown saint/There's nothing left but hope."
The lead-off single from 1985's The Head on the Door landed in the summer of 1985, and captured the Cure on a real upswing. Robert Smith expanded the band to a five-piece and tracked songs live in the studio, easily churning out one tune after another. "I bought a good metal six-string acoustic, and as soon as I picked it up I started playing the chords to 'In Between Days,'" he told Rolling Stone in 2004. "I'd never really bothered playing one, because I'd never owned a good one." The result was a classic Cure tune that became their first to crack the Billboard Hot 100 in America. There would be many, many more in the coming years.
Robert Smith turned 30 while working on Disintegration, and he was unsure if carrying on with the Cure was a good idea. He was also doing a lot of hrd drugs and decided it would be best if he didn't really talk to anyone. All of this lead to some very dark moments on the album, most notably on the title track, which is essentially an acknowledgment that his drug addiction may end his life." I leave you with photographs, pictures of trickery," he sings. "Stains on the carpet and stains on the memory/Songs about happiness murmured in dreams/When we both of us knew how the end always is."
Robert Smith's long relationship with his wife Mary has inspired countless Cure classics, including their 1987 breakthrough hit "Just Like Heaven." The euphoric single was inspired by a trip they took together to the seaside town of Beachy Head, England. It connected with millions of people around the world, becoming their first Top 40 hit in America. The only problem became when his label wanted to hear a bunch more songs like it, and Smith wasn't about to repeat himself.
The Cure cut their 1980 album Seventeen Seconds in just eight days, with the six-minute epic "The Forest" getting the most attention. "I wanted to do something that was really atmospheric, and it has a fantastic sound," Smith told Rolling Stone in 2004. "[Label chief] Chris Parry said, 'If you make this sound radio friendly, you've got a big hit on your hands.' I said, 'But this is how it sounds. It's the sound I've got in my head. It doesn't matter about whether it's radio friendly.'" It was radio friendly enough to become their first real hit in England. Smith continues to think it's among the best work of his career. The group has played it well over 1,000 times, more than any other song in their vast catalog.
Shortly before work began on Disintegration, a fire broke out at Robert Smith's house. As he looked through the damage he came across a collection of photos of his wife Mary Poole. It sent his mind back to their old days together and inspired the lyrics to the majestic "Pictures of You." "Remembering you standing quiet in the rain," Smith sings. "As I ran to your heart to be near/And we kissed as the sky fell in/Holding you close/How I always held close in your fear." It became the fourth single off the album and only reached Number 71 on the Hot 100 ("Lovesong" hit Number Two), though many people now consider it the superior song.