The Cure have carved out a dark corner in music history for us to enter and indulge ourselves in the melancholy beauty that only the UK post-punk scene can offer. From their genesis in the late 1970s, the group of goths moved with their emotions from the humble beginnings of raw and energetic punk heard in their first album Three Imaginary Boys, to the atmospheric and darkest work exhibited in Pornography in 1982. Of course, Pornography infamously saw the band at breaking point as a feud between frontman Robert Smith and bassist Simon Gallup erupted in a run of cancelled shows and missed rehearsals.
From this point onwards, Smith recalls that it was a surprise even to himself that the band found a way to continue into the 1980s. With Gallup’s departure, Smith and drummer Lol Tolhurst decided to push on with due reluctance to work on new material that eventually made up their 1983 album Japanese Whispers which saw the first real turn toward pop music for the band with catchy hits like ‘The Lovecats’ and ‘Let’s Go To Bed’. With the success of the singles, the album inspired the band to stick with this formula keeping their trademark gothic touch but allowing their music to reach more ears with catchier rhythms and lyric structures.
Throughout the 1980s, The Cure enjoyed an unprecedented rise to commercial success with the triumphant return of Gallup as he and Smith buried the hatchet in 1985. This era saw the band become a whole again and the headspace of the members was clearly one of increased pride and happiness.
This period of commercial success began to reach its pinnacle in 1987, bolstered by the release of Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me which capitalised on the success of its globally successful predecessor The Head on the Door as it became the first album by The Cure to make a real dent in the American charts as it broke into the top 40 of the Billboard 200.
The success of Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me was undoubtedly enhanced by its most successful single, ‘Just Like Heaven’. The song is a classic that shows The Cure doing what they do best in taking a melancholy tone, combining it with lyrics full of emotional imagery with the addition of an energetic guitar rhythm and beat that one can almost dance to unironically. The band had well and truly come into their stride, and were beginning to hint toward the sound they would champion in their 1989 masterpiece, Disintegration.
The song is one of the band’s most recognisable hits in the global arena with a long-lived tenure in the higher reaches of the US charts. At the time, music television was an important element of any charting act’s releases. For The Cure, this was an important aspect for ‘Just Like Heaven’ as they looked to enhance the narrative of the music through visual display led by Smith and his ghoulish choreography.
The video for ‘Just Like Heaven’ was one of the group’s most iconic visual productions. This behind the scenes footage gives an intimate insight into the world of 1980’s music video production with an introductory interview where Robert Smith discusses his vision for the video, some of his artistic influences and beyond.
See the clip, below.