Endless Loop: The Figurehead

cureHave you ever had one of those songs that gets stuck in your head for days…weeks…years? Sure you have. These are the songs that always make the cut. The songs on repeat. We all have them. I have a ton. Welcome back to Endless Loop.

“The Figurehead” by The Cure

So, 2018 huh?  We’re barely a week into this new year, and so far we’ve had some Youtube star (a person I had never heard of until last week) film and post video of the body of a person who had hanged himself, all with running commentary and snark, the POTUS inch us ever closer to nuclear war over a dick measuring contest with a foreign dictator on Twitter, snow in Florida, a book detailing the inner workings and instability of the current administration, and the ever present and ongoing fracturing and dismantling of our Republic.  We live in continued dire times, each successive year further embodying the “hold my beer” meme ethos of what came before.  You thought 2017 was scary, well check this out.

Dire times indeed.  And quite possibly cataclysmic times on the horizon.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m going to put The Cure into my earspace on repeat for the foreseeable future.  It made me feel better when I was a frightened and confused teenager, so maybe it will do the trick again as terrified and neurotic adult.

It’s worth a shot, right?

I was probably 14 or 15 when I started to paying attention to The Cure.  At first, I wrote the band off, their 1992 single “Friday I’m in Love” playing like muriatic acid against my eardrums.  I hated that song, and hated The Cure because of it.  Even now, as a full-on Robert Smith devotee, I would smile if I never had to hear that song ever again for the rest of my life.  Peace be with me.  And because of all this, I was skeptical of the band’s music, despite a good friend’s encouragement to check them out.  My change of heart started in 1994 when I heard “Burn” from soundtrack to The Crow.  Say what you will about the film, but that opening track is a killer.  From there, my continued foray further into the gloom began in earnest with the 1993 live album Paris.  Opening with the 1-2 punch of “The Figurehead” and “One Hundred Years,” I was floored by it, a smitten kitten from then on.  The heartache!  The anguish!  The utter gloominess!  There are world changing moments in personal pop culture discoveries, moments where you can almost tacitly feel your evolution as a human being picking up its stride.  Those opening 15 minutes of Paris was like that for me.  Naturally I moved on to Pornography next.

1982’s Pornography is a perfect album from start to finish, my very favorite from The Cure’s catalog, and “The Figurehead” is its seismic, heart wrenching centerpiece.  It’s the practical definition of Gothic pop, its broken and pining lyrics screaming into an endless darkness while a cold and icy post punk melody plays beneath it, bleak and sorrowful for all eternity.  The riff plays over and over again in my head, Smith’s dramatic and desperate croon echoing in my ears, the thud and pop of Lol Tolhurst’s drum beat playing like a funeral procession.  It’s perfect.  It’s beautiful.  It’s probably going to play me out as the world ends.

So, here’s your dirge jam to begin 2018 with, continuing this long, waking nightmare.  Be kind to each other.  “I will never be clean again.”

Listen to the original album version…

And here’s the live Paris version…


Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com.

One Response to Endless Loop: The Figurehead
  1. Shawn C Baker

    Shawn C Baker Reply

    “There are world changing moments in personal pop culture discoveries, moments where you can almost tacitly feel your evolution as a human being picking up its stride.”
    Well said. Also my favorite album by the band, though it’s ‘sequel’ Disintegration is a close second for totally different reasons. My sophomore year a girl leant me Disintegration just before breaking up with me. Appropriate, and even as it catapulted me into the airier gloom of that album, it helped me heal as well (heal after a three week relationship – wasn’t pubescence amazing?). A year later I was a different person when a friend played me Pornography and, like you sir, I was floored. How could this dark, almost industrial landslide be the same band? I couldn’t believe the starkness of the arrangements in comparison, the twisted, frothing lyrics or the final crescendo with the title track. And it’s always good to hear another’s experience with an album you love. Incidentally, I’ve never heard the Paris album, so I guess I am in for a treat!
    Thank you and happy weekend my friend! Oh, and to quote Bob, things might be bad, but “Doesn’t matter if we all die!”

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