Boys don’t cry – even when they get snubbed for funky party rockers
December 7th, 2011
05:28 PM ET

Boys don’t cry – even when they get snubbed for funky party rockers

The Cure saved my life. When I was a strange, bullied, sensitive and deeply depressed teenager in the late 1980s, lead singer Robert Smith’s weird, smeared beauty and bloody-voiced yowls were among the few glimmers of a world outside the one where my existence seemed less than entirely welcomed.

Though the band’s 35-year catalogue is often ghettoized as Goth (which they wholeheartedly dispute) and characterized as gloomy and morbid, a glimpse past the cursory reveals a sunny, romantic, terminally goofball side. Wild mood swings from staccato, near expressionless punk to happy, trippy, manic bliss to raging, gut-cutting nihilism are The Cure’s stock in trade, and with each new offering, fans’ appetites are whet.

Back in my basement-dwelling days, I had no inkling that I’d someday be listening to The Cure in the company of another living soul – let alone my future husband, certainly not the tens of thousands of fans singing along with every word at a sold-out Madison Square Garden show several years back, or the smaller, arguably more ardent crowd who fought tooth and nail to score seats at the six U.S. shows where The Cure played their first three (definitely not chart-topping) albums in order last month.

That’d be why so many of us were heard collectively howling into the wind on Wednesday when it was announced that The Cure was passed over for induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in favor of the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It is not up to me to denigrate anyone else’s fandom. We all like what we like, and over at my other gig as editor of CNN’s food blog Eatocracy, we’re fond of saying “If it tastes good, it IS good.”

Plenty of people have had excellent experiences with the Chili Peppers; I’m not one of them. They were never mine in any meaningful way.

In the same way that a Cure song played at a party in college bat-signaled to me that I was in a place among my people, drunk dudes air-jamming to “Knock Me Down” or making white boy bass face to “Give It Away” tended to send me looking for my coat. I indeed was not on their uplift mofo party plan, though it seemed like the rest of the world was down for a funky, funky time.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers have received seven Grammy awards and sold around 70 million records. The Cure have had one Grammy nomination and sold roughly a third of that. That’s certainly millions more than most, but still, though I am a well-adjusted adult with plenty of friends and a distinctly nonsubterranean existence, there’s something about the Hall of Fame snub that sort of wounds me. The cool kids win again, and the weirdos are left skulking in the dark.

It’s OK, I tell myself. From angst comes really freaking gorgeous art, and there’s always next year, or even several from now. It’s not like they’re gonna stop making depressed teenagers any time soon, and on the day they finally do get inducted, it’ll be extra icing sugar sweet. Probably something just like heaven.

soundoff (393 Responses)
  1. gimli

    It won't take long to learn
    The new smile
    You have to adapt
    Or you'll be out of style
    It's always the same
    Your jumping someone else's train

    May 22, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  2. Lucid Catatonia

    This is ridiculous. The Faces? The Cure brings the most eclectic and powerfully executed polyphony in modern popular music history. The soundscapes they create through arrangement and instrumentation are second to none…not even U2. Lyrically, Smith is exceptional and codifies moments of rage, love, hate, self-reflection and humor... brilliantly...artfully. He is undoubtedly one of the best wordSmiths who ever picked up a pen...it's poetry. Oh, and by the way this act can put together albums that with majestic cinematic qualities that hold a mood and tone from the first track to the last while peppering in 2-3 top 40 tunes per effort. What a sham! It's tragic snubbery! Hmmm, maybe they should return the favor when the hall comes knocking in the not so distant future. :-)

    December 9, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
  3. formergothboi

    speaking of (former) goth wailers...didja see the pics of sinead o'connor getting married in Las Vegas?

    ouch.

    December 9, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  4. formergothboi

    "white boy bass face" LOVE IT!

    yah, wish I'd been young enough for the Cure during my dark years, but my finding them later probably save me $50,000 in therapy and perhaps from some explosively violent end. now I have a wife and two kids, but alas, no bass face. can't have it all, I guess.

    December 9, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  5. Maritas

    The Cure has always been one of my favourite bands and in various times of my life, they were my go to band. I could wallow in my pity or I could sing out loud – Friday I'm in love. They're the perfect band for all moods. I get the peppers might be more popular and have more statues but that's not what really counts. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has always seemed like a craptastic way to say who's more popular – they're wrong.

    December 9, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
  6. Someone

    I like both bands, but The Smiths are better!

    December 9, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • Kat Kinsman

      Better, I don't know, but as important – you will get no argument from me.

      December 10, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
  7. Just Like Heaven

    Hall of fame or not, I'll keep listening! Robert Smith, I have always loved and will always love you!

    December 8, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
  8. Good Lord...

    Jeeze Louise... what a freak show.

    December 8, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
  9. Jen

    The Cure and Depeche Mode are overlooked and I hate that...

    December 8, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  10. omniluxe

    Does anyone actually care about the rock n' roll hall of fame?

    December 8, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
    • Rob L

      The Hall of Fame is a joke. They should call it the music hall of fame not rock and roll.

      December 9, 2011 at 12:45 am |
  11. M4RKNYC

    The Cure helped me through High School, too! I love all their records, and also hate that they constantly get labeled "goth". They truly deserve the Rock n Roll hall of fame!

    December 8, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
  12. joseph

    In high school in the mid 80's I had the HUGEST crush on a girl who dressed like Robert Smith.

    December 8, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
  13. smclean

    Wow, I absolutely agree with you. The Cure have to be one of the most influential bands of the last 30 years in my opinion. I hate the word 'emo' but i would have to say The Cure were an 'emotional' band 20 years before that term was ever coined by the mainstream. I do appreciate RHCP but where they took an existing form of music 'funk' and combined it with punk and rock, I would have to say The Cure actually invented their own genre of music. DCFC anyone??

    December 8, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
  14. Waffle Follower

    If you bash them over the head with a baseball bat, that should take care of things.

    December 8, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
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