The Michigan Daily
Wednesday, September 11, 1985
The Cure - The Head on
the Door (Elecktra)
Mad Bob's at it again. Just when
you thought you have him figured out,
he flips out again. But it's to be expec-
ted I reckon.
Mad Bob is indeed a mad little
(plump) professor who hides from the
light, dreams and thinks a lot in his
own psychedelic world. Musically
he's like a junkie. He's tried them all,
he's done them all.
He and The Cure started with good,
o1' pop, then went to introspective pop,
then to introverted rock, then to
claustrophobic dirge, then to good ol'
,,dance stuff ("I just wanted to see if I.
could make a really silly and stupid;
song just like everyone else," said!
Mad Bob) and then to Jazz, and then'
to psychedelia and then to more,
psychedelia and then to this, The'
Head on the Door. Throughout, he did,
it his way and always tripped us up a;
bit just when we thought we knew;
what he was up to.
But Mad Bob's hap-hap-happy these;
days 'cause he's got the o1' band back.
Yep, Simon Gallup is back on bass;
and so the line-up that lasted through'
three lovely LPs is back to make us
feel insecure once again.
With the return of Simon we get a.
record that has a little bit of
everything The Cure has done before;
(except for the Jazz, I guess) and then
some; it's quite a nightmarish delight;
that only Mad Bob could give us.
Mad Bob freaks us out from the
*beginning with "In Between Days" -,
the single - which sounds EXACTLY
like New Order until Mad Bob starts!
singing of course; and it is better than
New Order. I guess it's one of his little:
jokes. I can hear him saying, "I really;
wanted to make a song like New Or-
der, just like everybody else."'
Anyways he's been ranting lately
about how he has documented proof.
that New Order ripped off "A
;Forest." See ya in court, you Man-
There's "Kyoto Song" - a pleasan-,
tly slow Japanese flavored;
psychedelic dream. He warbles, It
looks good/It tastes like nothing
on earth. "The Blood" is a piece of:
post-Bauhaus acoustic mayhem.:
Bob wails, I am paralyzed by the
blood of Christ. It is this LP's "Give'
Me It," though not as noisy.
"Six Different Ways" is a cute and
adorable tune that taunts the essence
of Mad Bob as man and enigma. I'll
tell them anything at all/I know
I'll give them more and more/Six
sides to every lie I say. See, he just
wants to have fun.
"Push" is the most straight forward
cut, a steady rockin' beat, Mad Bob
just playing thrashy guitar and just
pushing everything away.
Side two is even better. "The Baby
Screams" is dancey and catchy but
not compromised. It still has The Cure
trademarks that have always
bewildered us. "Close To Me" is a
sparse disco tune that is as infectious
as "Love Cats." It even has those silly
handclaps and lots of other silly soun-
"A Night Like This" could have
been on Pornography. It's got those
razor blade guitars, the slow beat, and
the droning synths. He's distressed: It
goes dark/It goes darker
still/Please stay/But I watch you
like I'm made of stone/As you
The record finishes with "Screw,"
an amazing tune with silly lyrics, the
naughtiest r 'n' r guitar Bob has done
in a while and a really mean rockin'
beat, and "SInking," a typical Cure
ending. It's a slow droning epic that
has Bob harking back to those
This is a nice recovery from the
shakiness of "The Top." Mad Bob,
despite all of his (924) eccentricities,
is arguable the best...oh, I don't want
to label him...the best artist out of
England over the past 10 years. He's
kept his secrets all along. And he's got
a heart. And made some damn great
tunes along the way. And he's kinda
cute and cuddly. And don't ya just
love an eccentric?
The Kingsmen - The Best of
the Kingsmen (Rhino)
Among the many injustices of rock
history - I'm speaking of the public
conscience, not about the record ar-
chivist - is the fact that though
"Louie, Louie" may be one of the
most influential singles in rock's in-
fancy, most folks remember merely
the tune and not the band who immor-
believed that playing the 45 at 33 and
1/3 would reveal obscenities in the
garbled lyrics - and it will likely hold
its own for years to come whether
Washington makes it the official state
song or not.
Of course, whatever it was that
guided the Kingsmen that one fateful
day in a suburban recording studio
they themselves never really under-
stood or were never able to harness
for their own songs - part of the fun
in this collection is hearing how many
times the band blatantly recycled
"Louie, Louie"'s riffs in numerous
"original" songs, like "Death of an
Angel," "Long Green," and "Killer
When they tried other ideas, it was
usually reworking another over-
covered song, like "Money" - which
:they did cut with some real mean ver-
ve - or trying to be self-consciously
cute with innanely contrived gimmick
songs, such as "Jolly Green Giant" or
"Annie Fanny," both songs that
would by better left gathering dust on
some K-Tel Goofy Greats collection.
Even the roughest, unnervingly half-
assed efforts the band cut, like the
almost unlistenably noisy, slipshod
"Little Latin Lupe Lu," outshone the
later, overworked and polished at-
tempts, like the lamely psychedelic
"Little Sally Trase." It's no wonder
that the band retired at about the
same time all the other popsters were
following the Beatles and Beach Boys
into the studios to pay reverence to
the mixing console.
What one has then is only a handful
of rough-cut but still bright gems,
with one real jewel among the lot, by a
band who probably had less of an idea
about what they were doing than any
fan of their songs. When one talks
about the Kingsmen and "Louie,
Louie" being great, it is with the same
tone of voice one uses in referring to a
great B-movie, and though this com-
pilation release seems rather timely
with the whole resurgence of the
garage band movement and the '60s
revivalist fad, the record is a
necessity simply because it's a small
but important piece of rock history,
beside being ridiculously good dumb
fun. -Byron L. Bull
'Head on the Door,' the latest LP effort from The Cure, is a nightmarish delight that only Mad Bob could give
talized it. True, The Kingsmen - who
didn't write the tune or record it first
but made it infamous when they cut it
as their very first single - are a sweet.
bit of nostalgia for many a middle-
aged ex co-ed, but their one great con-
tribution to this most monstrous of'
pop art forms has been rather shab-
Ask anyone who works in a record
store and he or she will tell you that
most Greek babies come looking for
the Animal House soundtrack,
wherein John Belushi singlehandedly
revitalized the tune as the frat bash
anthem, rather than the real McCoy.
And anyone looking for the genuine
article has had to settle for,
thoughtlessly shabby compilations,'
like Piccadilly's worthless The
As is often the case with preserving
our precious vinyl past, it's the
always-hip forces behind the great
Rhino label who've come to the
rescue, with a Best Of collection that
quite neatly summarizes both the
band's chart history and succinctly
represents the essence of just what it.
was that made The Kingsmen great, if
not briefly so.
What it was was luck, because The
Kingsmen were unabashedly
marginally talented novices, sloppy,
uninspired, tearing away at their
songs and instruments with only a
heartfelt desire to make a lot of noise,
and in the process of "Louie, Louie,"
flubbing the lines, barely keeping the
beat, and trashing the arrangement
so carelessly that they of course tap-
ped into that very raw but rich source
of magic that made the song so infec-
tiously appealing. It's hard to ver-
balize and define this element - call
it soul if you will - that lies at the
heart of pure rock, but it's the same
thing here that glowed in Elvis
Presley's best early rockers, in The
Who's first singles, - I'm tempted to
list the MC 5 because they too found
the power source but committed the
unforgiveable sin of exploiting it
without joy - and continues today in
the Replacements' best work. It's
something in the air at the moment,
that has nothing to do with intelligen-
ce, sweat, or musicianship, it just
gushes up out of a band or singer
seemingly out of simple dumb luck,
but it's undeniably there.
Maybe I'm laboring the argument
too much for one miserable little song,
but give the tune a spin and it still
holds its own against almost anything
being cut today, and blows away.
every subsequent rendition of the
song by everyone from Paul Revere
and the Raiders, on through recent
cracks by X and The Pretenders. You
can still feel the magic that has kept
the tune legendary years after its
initial popularity - when it was
The Office of Major Events
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