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