Pornography by The Cure

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Pornography by The Cure
Pornography by The Cure

Album Released: 1982

Pornography ::: Artwork

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1.One Hundred Years6:40
2.A Short Term Effect4:22
3.The Hanging Garden4:33
4.Siamese Twins5:29
5.The Figurehead6:15
6.A Strange Day5:04


Robert Smith goes all out here to create an album intended to be a 'fuck you' - who that was directed at remains unclear from the lyrics, but they're consistently dark and death/murder obsessed.

It's difficult to say Pornography is an album to be enjoyed, but then that was true of Faith and Seventeen Seconds as well. It's clear however that the path Smith had been pursuing had reached some kind of end with Pornography. Well, perhaps not so much an end, more of a crossroads - no devil waiting though, as the devil was inside Smith's own mind.

So it's easy to see why Pornography was latched onto by hordes of similarly-minded souls, the darkness is comforting when the light seems too taunting. "Cold" for example could be the soundtrack to a suicidal soul, a distant relative of Joy Division's "The Eternal", it could also be a big Robert Smith hug for the lonely.

And "One Hundred Years" is utterly brilliant, the jerky drum pattern and synths are perfectly in tune, and the guitar is suitably doomy. Again, could The Cure have created it without Joy Division's Closer - the shadow of that band hung heavy over early-80's alternative music in the UK.

The first half of this album is flawless. After the stunning opening track, "A Short Term Effect" contains genuinely sinister guitar noises and a rhythm section that sounds almost funky in contrast. The best-known song "The Hanging Garden" is the only tune that could be described as even slightly cheery, and it does provide some variety.

The album naturally enough isn't for everyone, The Cure apparently having abandoned any notions of being populist right from their debut, since then carving out their own niche. And Pornography cemented that niche quite spectacularly.

Rated: album ratingalbum ratingalbum ratingalbum ratingalbum ratingalbum ratingalbum rating
by Reviewer: Adrian Denning (blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews)

On Pornography, Robert Smith sounds as if he's at last taken control of himself and his band. His newfound energy creates a riveting hallucinatory trip through the funhouse, where the lights are all blood-red and the faucets run razorblades.

Pornography screams 'This is Goth!' in a way Smith never would in person, the album serving as a fine introduction to the ways of the black-eyelinered cartoon-fetishist world of Goths. Like real porn though, Pornography is disposable - meant to be used, enjoyed, and tossed out in the trash before your wife sees it - it isn't really meant to be used over and over again.

At first glance, the album blitzes your senses with cavernously-booming syndrums, echo-slathered guitar figures, and Smith's anguished yelp, and the initial dose is amazing, suggesting that Smith had finally learnt how to communicate his brand of bile with a touch of originality and a good dose of energy.

Consequently - not long ago - I would've awarded this album 7 stars, if only for the visceral *ka-plow!* of being heaved into the deepest wells of Smith's personal bogieman headspace, but I don't quite feel that way anymore. Repeated listenings indicate that Smith's new impact is more the result of style than substance, and now I'm almost as underwhelmed by the melodies on Pornography as I was by the ones on Faith.

I mean, I realize things are supposed to be torturously slow, but is there one fucknut of difference between the melody of "The Figurehead" and that of "The Hanging Garden"? Not on my life there ain't! They've both got just about the same vocal melody and guitar figure ('riff' being too specific to slap on this kind of echoey three-note twiddle Smith loves so much), except "Garden" is about 'all the animals dying' and "Figurehead" is, I dunno, about the lack of European Common Market regulatory oversight for haddock fishing in the North Sea, or something.

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by Reviewer: Capt Bonanza (blogging at Capn Marvel's Bonanza [Defunct])

Where Seventeen Seconds and Faith were white and hazy, Pornography is just plain dark. And I do mean dark - as in pitch black, and devoid of light or hope.

The opening "One Hundred Years" begins with a fast drum machine rhythm, but that doesn't mean it's rocking or energetic like "Primary" was. The guitar produces screams and squeals from the bottom of a well of despair and anguish, the synthesizers growl, and Smith spits words of hopelessness and anger.

The song just speeds along on two chords, occasionally throwing a chord or two that feels like it might resolve into something nicer, but then just falls back into doom and fear, And it doesn't seem to want to end - clocking in at almost seven minutes, it does indeed feel like a hundred years.

People usually say Pornography is the ultimate Goth album, but at this point I'm not so sure. In fact, I don't think this is Goth at all. After all, isn't Goth about bringing out the beauty in sadness and darkness, what with those big majestic churches and all? Or the poems that talk about sadness and hopelessness as things of true beauty? Well, that's not the case here - Smith is only interested in offering the ugly / sick and disgusting side of sadness, not the beautiful side - this is sadness and depression in a sick and angry way.

The drums continuously bash out untrivial rhythms without fills or frills, and the band sings and plays as if they didn't give a damn about the actual music. And the album has a production that lends it a strange distant sound ... listen to it at low volume, and it will sound like it's coming from the far end of a long steel pipe, but if the volume is pumped up, it simply engulfs the listener in darkness and shadows, swallows them whole.

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by Reviewer: Fernando Canto (blogging at Sir Mustapha's Album Reviews [Defunct])

Now considered one of the pillars of Goth/rock, Pornography is deemed to be one of The Cure's all time classic recordings. If Seventeen Seconds and Faith were the countdown, this album is the explosion that goes in all directions at once.

From a song that describes losing your virginity as if it were the worst thing that could ever happen ("Siamese Twins"), to acid-soaked images of dead animals falling from the sky ("The Hanging Garden"), Pornography just drowns in its own excess.

Understandably called mopey and suicidal upon its release, the album proved very influential, and it's remained a definite fan favorite. And it is quite a good record once you get past the initial shock of the whole thing, though unfortunately most of the best parts of the album are drowned in the over-the-top production techniques of the day.

Pornography is a good album, but - initially at least - a challenging listen.

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by Reviewer: Austin