As can be guessed from this album's title, most of these songs deal with relationships and suchlike. Not that Smith hadn't written songs about relationships before, but here he talks so much about women, and kissing and missing, that it seems almost paranoid.
That was probably the point though, this is The Cure after all. The music might have a lighter mood, but the band aren't any less ambiguous or dark.
I'm fairly sure the band's problems with drugs and depression were gone by this point, what with Smith getting married the following year. So Kiss Me
feels like the band aren't as sincere as they once aspired to be. For whilst these songs do evoke pain and sadness, and whereas Smith was trying to make the listener feel the same way with Pornography
, here he just seems to be 'representing' those feelings rather than actually experiencing them.
The sound is developing into something else too. The album has a solid sound throughout, full of stringy keyboards, twangy guitars, plodding drums, and a smart bass.
Then, on top of that happy mix, some guy starts whining, bitching, moaning and screaming, not bothering whether he's in tune or not ... I had liked Smith's vocals a lot so far, for no matter how much I might accuse him of insincerity or whatever, he was always a talented singer, and his voice was quite unique. Here though, his vocals sound like something other than 'singing' - at times, his voice occupies like half the mix, and it's just over-the-top moaning and whining, and it does get a little irritating.
Still, I don't dislike Smith's singing on Kiss Me
, it's just a bit different from how it used to be, rather than 'worse'. Besides, the band do supply some nifty guitar lines, interesting riffs and keyboard patterns, lovely melodies and enchanting atmospheres - there's always something fun going on, and most of these songs range from good to great, with only a few subpar ones.
by Reviewer: Fernando Canto
(blogging at Sir Mustapha's Album Reviews [Defunct]