Three Imaginary Boys by The Cure

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Three Imaginary Boys by The Cure
Three Imaginary Boys by The Cure

Album Released: 1979

Three Imaginary Boys ::: Artwork

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1.10.15 Saturday Night3:41
3.Grinding Halt2:49
4.Another Day3:44
6.Subway Song2:01
7.Foxy Lady2:29
8.Meat Hook2:18
9.So What2:37
10.Fire In Cairo3:23
11.It's Not You2:49
12.Three Imaginary Boys3:17
13.The Weedy Burton1:04


Lest we forget, they were boys too. Formed in 1976 whilst still at school and just in time for the punk explosion, this debut set from 1979 clearly betrays the group's punkish origins, although they were already moving beyond such limited confines.

Robert Smith's writing slows the pace down for some songs, and has a more usual punk speed and style for others. So it's quite a varied set. In the US, this album was repackaged as Boys Don't Cry, substituting certain tracks here for a couple of singles. It made for a more commercial, if less pure album, but I won't be discussing that particular set here. Instead I'll focus on the types of songs here I imagine Robert Smith and his Cure fellows were playing way back in 1976/1977, when they were mere lads.

The closing "The Weedy Burton" is the kind of inconsequential one minute track a group might play to wind down their set at an early pub gig. A cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Foxy Lady" is sung by Michael Dempsey, the group's then bass/guitar player, replacing the original music, melody, and many of the words of the Hendrix original, to come across as very light, weak, punk rock. It's the kind of style that would've got the group absolutely nowhere had they persevered with it.

Then there's "So What", a musical transition point towards the group's immediate future. Indeed, the move away from covers like "Foxy Lady" to producing material like "So What" and "Meat Hook", through to the assured melodic pop New Wave style of "10.15" is the kind of progress it would take many groups years to achieve, rather than over the course of one LP. That's due to The Cure writing new songs at a rate of knots, such that Three Imaginary Boys contains a mix of old and new compositions.

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by Reviewer: Adrian Denning (blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews)

The Cure started out in the late-70's as a three piece singing heavily punk-influenced pop/rock ditties that revolved around frontman Robert Smith's knack for writing catchy tunes, that either had a deep-rooted meaning else were very modal pieces.

Smith was an existential, minimalist, obsessively instrospective fellow who really knew how to bang out a catchy tune. After two albums in 1981, the band moved on from proto-indie/pop into the territory they would most often be associated with for the rest of their career: gloomy Goth/rock (except it wasn't really Goth).

So, two albums of minimal moody pieces, followed by the full on Goth attack of 1982's Pornography, marked the beginning of one of the most enduring careers for a New Wave rock act. And the band's musical stylings seemed to change as often as their lineup. I mean, not only are The Cure known as one of the key Goth bands of the 80's, but also for wuss-rock anthems like "Boys Don't Cry" and "Just Like Heaven".

The Cure had an ever-changing lineup of players, the definitive one and fan favorite being Smith of course, Bamonte, Williams, Thompson, and Gallup, a lineup that proved to be the most satisfying and cohesive, both in the studio and live.

Although I do quite like most of the band's output, I personally prefer their first three albums over the rest of their discography, because while still the same conceptually, the execution is much more minimal and to the point. I like things that are done simply.

Three Imaginary Boys is the band's (not-so) punk album, made up of catchy, quirky, 3-minute songs that jangle. There are no keyboards at all - The Cure were just a three piece at this point - so people only familiar with their later "Just Like Heaven" / "Close To Me" sound will hardly recognize the band on this album. It does include some of my more favorite stuff of theirs though: "10.15 Saturday Night" / "Accuracy" / "Fire In Cairo" especially.

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by Reviewer: Austin (blogging at Austin's Page)