By Kelly Dearmore
The blanket of night, that transitional curtain that drops us from one square of the calendar to another, is a subject matter that gets Robert Smith’s creative juices flowing. The sleeper car that gets us across that bridge is a powerful vehicle for the frontman’s storytelling prowess. Let’s deconstruct the dreamiest entries in The Cure discography.
Ironically, the surging guitar intro of Seventeen Seconds’ penultimate track is the spot on the album most likely to shock you out of a slumber. That’s okay, though, because Robert Smith can’t sleep, either. A serene rhythm jangle and hauntingly distorted lead riff soundtrack the singer’s futile attempts to drift into the night. “I watch the hours go by,” the wide-awake 21-year-old says. “You sleep in a safe bed.”
This Disintegration centerpiece originated in the oddball nighttime stories that Smith’s father would tell him as a child. The music of “Lullaby” takes on an especially perilous tone as the song builds, its tales of an evil “spider man” weaving a wondrous web around the listener. We wouldn’t necessarily add “Lullaby” to a toddler’s bedtime repertoire, but it’s an essential brush of The Cure’s 1989 masterstroke.
"If Only Tonight We Could Sleep"
As opposed to the frightening dream scenario that Smith details in “Lullaby,” sleep is presented as a glorious cure-all in this selection from 1987’s Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me. Following an ethereal opening salvo, he dreams of a fantastical flowerbed before disturbingly describing sleep as a “deathless spell” in which you fall “into deep black water.” On second thought, how about some caffeine?
"Sleep When I'm Dead"
It must be the middle of the night, because Smith is ferociously defiant on this 4:13 Dream cut. He knows sleep is necessary, but he’s resolved that making his own decisions before settling down is of paramount importance. The singer is dead-set on earning his rest before slipping under the covers - as evidenced by the final line: “I may as well be tired, I think / Before I lay me down to dream.”