Wild Mood Swings by The Cure

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Wild Mood Swings by The Cure
Wild Mood Swings by The Cure

Album Released: 1996

Wild Mood Swings ::: Artwork

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2.Club America5:01
3.This Is A Lie4:29
4.The 13th4:08
5.Strange Attraction4:19
6.Mint Car3:32
7.Jupiter Crash4:15
8.Round & Round & Round ...2:38


Four years was too long to stay away if all Robert Smith and fellows were going to offer was an uninspired retread of their previous record, with added Britpop overproduction.

Wild Mood Swings is a Cure pop album in every sense of the word, which makes it somewhat strange that the two lead singles should be so uninspired ...

"The 13th" sounds like every other Cure popsong of a mid-tempo happy nature, all rolled into one. And "Mint Car" just sounds so horribly recorded and mixed, which may well be a big part of the problem with the album as a whole, as the guitars are mixed in such a way as to sound almost embarrassed by themselves. Robert Smith's vocals also leave a little to be desired, as they're too upfront, thus only drawing attention to their deficiencies.

I like the opening track though - it's atmospheric enough and good enough to classify as a decent Cure tune, though not exactly a special one. Otherwise, The Cure seemed to have run out of new ideas, bar making the production glossier. With the procession of songs that follow, nothing seems to happen at all - no different textures, no interesting things to grab the listener. Only the closing "Bare" almost but not quite manages to be beautiful misery.

‚ÄčThe modern production touches don't integrate well with the band's sound - the keyboards no longer organically create the bedrock of Cure songs, instead they're just superfluous icing on a not particularly tasty cake.

My feeling is that Wild Mood Swings would've been a better album if it had been naturally miserable instead of unnaturally happy. Maybe that's just me, but I genuinely struggle to find much to recommend about the album outside of the miserable tunes. The Cure just sound so ordinary everywhere else, to the point of sounding like a weak parody of their former selves, albeit one designed to sell records.

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

On Wild Mood Swings The Cure turn to teen pop. And I dislike that kind of pop, it's happy/dippy rock high on sugar.

"Return" for example is exactly the kind of 'rocking' music with loud guitar chords that appears in teenage TV dramas - as it starts playing, I can see the establishing shot of the College, and the following scene, where two young girls are talking about relationships or whatever. It must be my personal bias, but this album is disturbingly close to that kind of music, and it just plain disgusts me - it doesn't offend me, it just makes me feel nauseous.

Still, at least the band dropped the angsty factor for good here, but ... isn't that weird? ... aren't The Cure the patriarchs of suicidal angst-rock? Here, they're dropping the Gothic approach of Disintegration and bits of Wish in favour of ... totally happy music? And it's not even the kind of 'ambivalent happy' music of The Head on the Door - this is Robert Smith trying not to be what he really is. Problem is, he's forcing it a bit too much, and it shows. It isn't natural.

Take "Strange Attraction" for example - with its pseudo-"Pictures of You" vibe, except with chimes and effects so childish it's almost gay. And "Mint Car" - yet ANOTHER remake of "Just Like Heaven" and "Friday I'm In Love", though without any creativity or freshness this time. And everywhere else, there are pointless things like "Round & Round & Round", that lasts 2 two minutes or so, but even if it were shorter would still have no reason to exist.

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

Wild Mood Swings is a fondly nostalgic yearning for the fucked-up pop-fractured days of The Top, which to me is rather like having a wet dream about your first root canal.

Just as Wish was more a collection of songs than a cohesive album, Wild Mood Swings is more a jumbled mass of different stylistic exercises masquerading as a real live Cure album than, well - a real live Cure album.

Now that I think about it, Smith seems limited to creating about three different types of albums ... first, there's the intense burner - the Pornography or the Disintegration (or less successfully, Faith and Bloodflowers) - albums of such nerve-laid-bare teeth-gritting gristle that they define The Cure as a 'goth' band.

Then there's the masterful pop excursions, like Head or Kiss or Wish. Else there's the Boy George albums like The Top and this one, albums that somehow girlify The Cure ideal into something that looks a lot like Smitty himself ... a fat aging kid with thinning hair and too much messy makeup. They're just not very aesthetically pleasing.

Wild Mood Swings is maybe one of the more 'difficult' Cure releases. Not difficult like Disintegration, which was just mind-blowingly intense and beautiful, but just sounding like nothing is coming easily. And when things stop coming easily, we get U2-aping Zooropa bullshit like "Club America", where Smith does a godawful Michael Hutchence impersonation while the guitars play wah-wah'ed discoteque over a backdrop so ironic it may as well not even exist.

But the fun's only just beginning ... "This Is a Lie" flips the dick with an incessant barrage of weepy glop (this time addressing religion and how Smith doesn't 'get it'). That topic always threatened to lie under the surface of a lot of the superior Cure material that's been released since Head. Well, this track gets knee-deep in it, and we get to feel the worms crawling over our kneecaps.

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

Smith loses his mind and decides to record it, Part Two ...

A lot of negative criticism has been tossed at this album, but I feel much of it is excessive and unmerited (mind you, by drawing on the B-sides, I gave it a facelift and put together a really solid album that works well. But as that's not how the band released it, I'm of course not reviewing my version).

Wild Mood Swings is every Cure fan's all time favorite whipping boy. And some of the negativity is justified (with songs like "Club America" and "Return", I have to admit I was pretty pissed off myself), but some of it just plain gives the album a whipping it doesn't rightly deserve, as there is a good album floating about somewhere within, it's just that you'd never know from just listening to it.

"Gone!" for example is a brilliant song, 6/8 time signature, trumpet solo and all; the melancholy numbers "Treasure" and "Bare" are quite tasty too, and the opening "Want" plays like a sequel to "Never Enough".

Overall though, as its title implies, Wild Mood Swings is just too up and down for most people to notice the good bits. So if you're new to The Cure, steer clear of this one.

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by Reviewer: Austin