On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
The Cure – Close to Me (1985)
We’re staying in the UK today and heading back to Crawley to check in with The Cure. They previously appeared back in 1979 with the classic track, Boys Don’t Cry, very early in the band’s canon. It’s now 1985 and the band has gone through many changes. Having been largely sombre and gothic in their early albums, the group have now become more pop friendly but remain distinctly The Cure. With the release of their sixth album – The Head on the Door – 1001 Songs have gone with the song, Close to Me.
The song was a peculiarity on the album with frontman Robert Smith having had different lyrics in mind and not even considering the song nailed on to even appear on the record. He described revisiting a feeling of foreboding he had had as a child, one that became manifest in the young man he now was in the studio and from there the final version of Close to Me took shape. The song does capture a sense of fear and maladjustment with Smith teetering on the brink of hysteria. He wants reassurance that all he sees and fears is but a dream but he can’t quite get to that level of comfort. The song is notable for a music video which had the band packed into a wardrobe standing on the edge of a cliff overlooking an ocean. Eventually the wardrobe takes a nosedive into the water and begins to flood with the band members still trapped inside.
Robert Smith has downplayed Close to Me as one of the band’s weaker efforts and though I like the track I wouldn’t consider it as one of the best by The Cure. Two versions would hit the UK charts with Top 30 and Top 20 placings respectively. The band was still thriving at this point and better was still to come as the 1980s played out and they entered the 1990s. With a bit of luck we’ll have even more to look forward to from Crawley’s finest.
Favourite songs so far:
The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)
Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)
The Doors – The End (1967)
The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)
Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)
Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now (1978)
Ultravox – Vienna (1980)
Don Henley – The Boys of Summer (1984)
The Smiths – How Soon Is Now? (1984)