Paris

The Cure

Fiction / Elektra Records, 1993

http://www.thecure.com

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 12/31/1998

If you've been reading these reviews in alphabetical order, you'll know that I admitted one review ago that I buy some albums on impulse. (What!?! You haven't been reading these in alphabetical order?)

When The Cure released their live album Show in 1993, for some strange reason, I felt like I had to pick it up. Then, I saw they had released Paris as a companion live album (and, from what I remember, it was supposed to be a limited edition). Well, you can't just buy one album and not buy its comanion, can you?

We'll get to Show one day on these pages. But Paris is an interesting listen; it features Robert Smith and crew caught between the two worlds of the goth-rock the band loved and the more sensible melodies of pop music. Thing is, this band successfully straddles both territories -- and you don't need to be a diehard fan of The Cure to appreciate this music.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The first half of the album features Smith and his bandmates tackling the more cerebral gothic side of their music - this seems to be the portion of the show that was meant for the long-term fans. Tracks like "One Hundred Years" and "At Night" will not be as familiar to those people who only know The Cure from alternative radio -- but these tracks are so good, they may just inspire some people to check out some other Cure albums. (Side note: When I was listening to this side at home the other day, my 2-1/2-year-old daughter started dancing to the music - almost Devo-esque, to be honest. It both made me laugh and scared the hell out of me - namely because she's a better dancer at her age than I am at 28.)

And while the audience is very receptive to the five songs that make up the first half of Paris, it isn't until the second side is reached with seven more radio-friendly numbers that things really get electric in the crowd. Numbers like "Lovesong,""Catch" and "Close To Me" are eaten up wholly by the crowd - even if Smith doesn't always sound like his heart is in the performances. (While "Lovesong" has never been a particularly energetic number, Smith sounds more lethargic on this version.)

Meanwhile, the rest of The Cure - especially bassist Simon Gallup -- put on an impressive showing musically. If you weren't convinced that The Cure is a solid band musically, then one listen to Paris should change your mind quickly.

So where are some of the better-known songs, you may be asking? Well, that's where Show comes into the picture. Paris acts as the "for-the-diehard-fans" live album - but you might find yourself enjoying this disc more than Show, especially once you begin to delve into The Cure's discography.

Of course, having a pretty good knowledge of The Cure's music helps a lot with Paris - but even if you can't sing along with the songs, you can still get quite a bit of enjoyment out of this album - proving that being gloomy isn't all that bad.

Rating: B

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© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Fiction / Elektra Records, and is used for informational purposes only.