Creative Team Building and Leadership Resources - In our Elements

Robert Smith’s Cure for Despair

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

This week’s Free Ride* muses on the songs of Robert Smith, front man and songwriter for English rock band, The Cure, who turns 53 today. His distinctive look, with pale face, black eyeliner, red lipstick, and teased hair, along with his lyrics of angst and depression, set the stage for the Goth rock genre and cultural phenomenon of the 80s and 90s. His voice and guitar style are equally distinctive, and taken all together, Smith and the Cure give you what you need whenever you’re feeling a bit too cheery and need something to take your spirit down a notch or two. For an example, we can take a look at one of Smith’s contributions to the songbook of freedom, One Hundred Years from 1982’s Pornography album. The opening line, It doesn’t matter if we all die, opens the album, and gives you a sense of what’s to come.

Waiting for the death blow
Stroking your hair
as the patriots are shot
Fighting for freedom
on the television
Sharing the world
with slaughtered pigs
Have we got everything?
Over and over
We die one after the other
One after the other
It feels like a hundred years

Like I said, cheery stuff. A nihilist’s look at freedom. Which makes the other song I’ve chosen to look at today, Love Song from 1989’s Disintegration album, one of the Cure’s more interesting offerings. As the title suggests, it’s a simple love song, speaking to the good feelings Smith gets whenever he’s alone with his love.  He feels at home, whole, young, fun.

Whenever I’m alone with you,
You make me feel like
I am free again.
Whenever I’m alone with you,
You make me feel
like I am clean again.
However far away,
I will always love you.
However long I stay,
I will always love you.
Whatever words I say,
I will always love you.

It’s reassuring to know that even in the heart and mind of a goth rocker like Robert Smith, who goes a long way to convince us of the depths of his existential angst, there is room for love to break through. Even the most anti-social among us have the capacity to have fun, to be free, and to feel whole and clean. I hope he has many opportunities to be alone with his love, if this is what it takes for him to access that freedom.


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