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Musical Pairings: The Cure – Wish (paired with roasted asparagus soup with spring herb gremolata)

I’m going to start this pairing with a confession.  I dislike asparagus.  In fact, it is one of two common food stuffs that I actively dislike (the other is olives).  In other words, asparagus is tied for first place on my two item list of things I dislike.  So, as you can imagine, I approached this roasted asparagus soup with spring herb gremolata with more than a hint of suspicion.  But, I’m glad I tried it nonetheless, as I’ve discovered time after time with both music and food, if I remain open-minded, I allow myself to be happily surprised by something I expected to dislike.  Similarly, when I was in high school, I actively disliked the Cure.  At the time, I had a friend who was obsessively into the Cure: shirts, posters, books, towers of CDs, etc., and I think I found my friend’s extreme fandom slightly annoying (the way some people have probably find us hardcore Radiohead fans somewhat off-putting).  And I heard the Cure’s singles on the radio maybe a little too often (tunes like the appallingly upbeat “Friday I’m In Love”).  It was probably a combination of those two factors that led me to dislike the band.  Well, that, and just having bad taste in music when I was in high school.  Having since given their music a fair listen, the Cure’s Wish has become one of my favorite albums.

The biggest complaint that can be leveled against Wish is probably that it suffers from a stunning schizophrenia.  The album begins with the cut “Open,” a darkly atmospheric 7-minute sprawl of reverb and sinister, gloomy guitar.  It’s beautifully paranoid and brooding.  As “Open” comes to a close and moves on like a dark storm cloud, Wish becomes all rainbows and blue skies with the sparkling single “High” as lead singer Robert Smith sings ” when I see you sticky as lips / as licky as trips / I can’t lick that far / but when you pout / the way you shout out loud / it makes me want to start.”  The album also hosts my personal favorite Cure song on any record: “From The Edge of the Deep Green Sea.”  At 7 minutes and 45 seconds, Smith & Co. lay out a insistent melody that wades neck-high through high crashing waves of love-sick gloom alongside some of Smith’s most wonderfully melodramatic lyrics: “And she listens like her head’s on fire / like she wants to believe in me / so I try / put your hands in the sky.”  “Doing The Unstuck” is get up-and-dance happy and features a strong melody.  The sincere and restless “A Letter to Elise” is another highlight – as is “Friday I’m In Love” which turns out not to be so appalling after all – if you just give it a chance.  You can score a copy on vinyl at Amazon – but it’ll cost you a pretty penny.  The CD is pretty readily available everywhere though.

The Cure – From The Edge of The Deep Green Sea

Head back to eating/sf to read Kasey’s recipe for roasted asparagus soup with spring herb gremolata.

Posted by Matthew Hickey


Matthew is the music editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. He’s addicted to vinyl records, pour over coffee, craft beer, small batch bourbon, and pan roasting pork chops.

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  • Lucy

    It sounds like your friend in high school had amazing taste in music for such a young person. I’m sure she was just very enthusiastic and just wanted to share that with you. And, in actuality, she was right! It was certainly better than the likes of Bush that some people were listening to at the time! The Cure have such a varying repertoire that anyone can like them if they just take the time and listen. I recommend Disintegration (both song and album) for a decent listen.

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