The mercurial talent of The Cure hangs heavily on the songwriting skill of Robert Smith. While the group is bolstered by some very talented musicians, there is no doubt that it is Smith’s artistic vision being more resolutely enacted. It has meant that some of the most personal moments in Smith’s life have been immortalised in a cacophony of goth-pop brilliance. One such song even acted as a wedding present for his wife, Mary.
Anyone wrapped up in the fandom of The Cure will be well aware of Mary’s influence not only on Smith, but on keeping the band afloat by ensuring Smith didn’t descend into debauchery as was so often threatened by his behaviour. Smith has written a lot of songs about his love for Mary, including ‘Just Like Heaven’, which he said captured the “breathlessness” of love. However, it was the more aptly titled ‘Lovesong’ that was presented as a marital gift for his other half.
This track came straight from Smith’s heart, taken from arguably the band’s finest album, 1989’s masterpiece Disintegration. “I wrote ‘Lovesong’ for Mary, my wife, as a wedding present, and I put it on the album to be kind of romantic,” he explained. There’s a sweetness to this answer that frames Smith as a lovelorn romantic poet of the ages. However, anyone who has followed Smith over the years knows that he always has a slightly sour edge to his review of his own work.
Talking about ‘Lovesong’ and the album, Smith continued: “I thought it was the weakest song on there, and suddenly it went to number two in America. It was kept off the top by, like, Janet Jackson. I thought, Of all the songs I’d written, this is the one that cracks through. It was quite disappointing.”
Now, if we were to judge The Cure’s songs by Smith’s opinions of them, we’d have a vastly different list of favourites to look over, so we’ll take his assessment with a pinch of salt and enjoy the track for what it is. The reality is that when this song hits the airwaves, it’s hard not to be completely charmed by it.
Including lyrics that referred to Smith’s issues with touring so much and being away from Mary, as well as a gentle reference to love songs of the past as Smith subtly sings “fly me to the moon” after the second verse. It’s a recognition of the track as a vehicle for Smith’s expression that is unusually usual.
Pulsing with the giddiness of love, it’s a track that deserves recognition beyond Smith’s appraisal. Written as a lasting tribute to his wife, Mary, the track is imbued with the vibrant dizziness of falling in love. It may not be the first thing you think of when attributing adjectives to The Cure, but across their career, the band have proved that they can rarely be pigeonholed for long. Here we listen back to one of their finest love songs.