The Cure - Pornography
The album is dark and brooding and can provide an uncomfortable listening experience if one tries to take in the whole album at one sitting. Robert Smith, in interviews conducted to promote the album's release, had claimed that the band had set out to produce an album that was so uncomfortable that it would be un-listenable. He has largely succeeded.
Whatever may have been said about it, Pornography is a majestic album. Yet in order to appreciate its majesty fully, you have to be prepared to take in the whole album at one sitting, if only once. Throughout the album the backdrop is set with a combination of musical sounds intended to invoke darkness and moodiness within - taut bass lines, pulsating drum beats and above all guitars wracked with reverb and lower sonic level distortion. Against that are set the lyrics, sung in Smith's inimitable style of personal pain and anguish, reaching out to you as if pleading for some recognition and acceptance that you too share his pain.
The opening, and oft-misquoted, line of the whole album starts off the whole album on the path it means to go. If ever any line was the epitome of an album and not just a song, the opening line to "One Hundred Years" is just that. Each song builds upon the next, with highlights (if you can use such a term in this context) being "Hanging Garden" and "The Figurehead" By the time you get to "Cold", an apt title if ever there was one, you being to wonder if there is any way out of this album. The final, and most unconventional, track, "Pornography" does nothing to provide you with a guide and it is only because the music stops at the end that you realise you have survived the experience unscathed.
And it is an experience. If you suffer from depression or are bi-polar I would strongly recommend you stay away from this. There is no catharsis in here. This is the tunnel where there is no light at the end. If you imagine that the cover is a visual representation of a bad trip, then the cover matches the sounds within perfectly. The sounds contain no fixed reference points onto which you can hitch your emotions and ride out the coming storm.
This is not an album for the faint-hearted. It was, as Smith stated, intended to challenge you. And it does. It challenges your ideas about what is listenable is music by proffering something which is both repugnant and fascinating at the same time. It is a hard album to listen to. It is even harder to get under its skin before it gets under yours. Approach with caution, but do approach. You will not regret it.
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on 2012-05-28 SolitaryMan Said:
This has always been one of my favorite Cure records, one of only a handful I own and actually enjoy front-to-back. I think, more than anything, it considerably raised the band's credibility for being a creative entity. At least more so than they'd shown prior.