Top critical review
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10 out of 10 for trying, but you're trying TOO hard !!!!!
on 1 July 2002
This album appears as a quite obvious attempt by The Cure to almost make a compilation album made entirely of new songs (if you follow my meaning..?). This is reflected in the albums title Wild Mood Swings, which was to suggest that finally you could hear The Cure's different styles all brought together on one album. What the band seemed to have forgotten is that they had already done that on 1987's Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, which happened to be a brilliant album and at 17 songs in length represents far greater value.
Anyway W.M.S. kicks off with Want, which is one of the few really brilliant songs on the album and was in fact quite a taste as to the direction the band would go in for the follow up album, Bloodflowers (2000). The next song, Club America, happens to be in my opinion one of The Cure's best ever songs. This is the sound of Jimi Hendrix if he had used sitars on any of his faster songs (or ANY of his songs) and it's got an excellent bridge with a guitar refrain lifted entirely from David Bowie's Man Who Sold The World. Quite a mix for one song and it's easily the joint-best song on the whole album !
The other joint-best-song, This Is A Lie, follows straight after. A string quartet plays over a sad accoustic guitar chord structure, with lyrics that every person will face at some point in their lives (i.e. the why am I here and what am I doing with my life type questions !!). The 13th follows and was the first single from the album. It's a nice latino tune which sounds like it came straight out of Brazil or Cuba and knowing how much South America loves The Cure it was probably number one in both countries for about 3 years !! It's an amusing story about being picked up by a woman who promises to take him on "another kind of ride" and the triumphant trumpets will have you reaching for the tequila !!
Strange Attraction is where the album starts to fall down a bit. While making this album the band were still on the lookout for a replacement drummer (to replace Boris Williams who sadly quit in 1994) and finally settled on the equally excellent Jason Cooper. Unfortunately they must have recorded this track before Jason joined and instead they've used a pathetic drum machine which doesn't really help this already Cure-cliched song to pick up any. Everybody actually sounds incredibly bored on this tune...
Mint Car comes up next and is essentially Friday I'm In Love version 2. If you've never heard Friday you'll like this. If you have heard Friday you'll be asking yourself "Why did they bother?".
The last really good excellent song, Jupiter Crash, appears now and is sadly at only the halfway point of the album. Remember the meteor's that crashed into Jupiter around 1995 ? Well, that's what this song is about. It's really refreshing to hear somebody singing about something other than love or "we are the kids" crap for a change, although he still has to stick a reference to his wife in !!
Round & Round & Round is another stab at creating a pop moment and it passes over you in a nice summery way, but it's not really something that will stick into your head - other than the accoustic guitar solo which is very catchy and a nice redeeming feature.
Gone! sees an attempted return to jazz (last seen on The Lovecats) and is quite a hummable pop tune, but it's very likely to leave "outsiders" wondering what on earth a guitar band like The Cure are playing at. This songs best potential was realised when they performed it on The Jools Holland show (not yet available for purchase) and Robert was accompanied by two very soulful female backing singers (who do not appear on the album version and who I have recently seen performing with Starsailor). The album version sounds a lot more English !!!
Numb is according to Robert Smith partly about Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) and his last days fuelled by drugs. It's probably really touching for Nirvana fanatics to hear, but to be frank The Cure have made better songs that sound like this on Wish and Disintegration.
Return sees the mood swing back to pop again and really all of the previous comments about the other pop songs apply to this. It's alright, but they've done much better elsewhere.
Trap is a strange one. A bit of a light-rocky one that doesn't really sound like it's going anywhere until it gets to the change at the 2:38 mark (there isn't a "chorus" as such). The change sounds really fantastic and as such it relies on what comes before it to make it work, but if you only listened to the first minute you would think it's not such a good song.
Treasure is another song seemingly made without the services of Cooper on drums and it suffers for it. It's also a bit boring and again sounds much too much like other superior Wish and Disintegration tracks. Saying that, you'll probably like it if you're into dippy love-song stuff !!
The final song is Bare and this is a blatant attempt at trying to make a wholesale return to the Disintegration sound. I don't really think they pull it off to be honest, although as with one or two other songs on here it does hint at what would become their great return (i.e. the Bloodflowers album).
To sum up, I would say that if you have never bought any Cure albums before, this would not be such a bad place to start as it does have a lot of their variety on it.
If you do however already own 1 or 2 of their albums then I would recommend going for a different Cure album instead.