The Cure’s Robert Smith has cemented his place in the pantheon of alternative music’s greats over the last 40-years, and there are five of the band’s songs he once singled out as his all-time favourites.
Smith initially formed the group while he was a student in Crawley, and they went through various incarnations before eventually becoming The Cure in 1978. The band were unlike anybody else and quickly gained a reputation that caught the attention of Fiction Records, who they stayed with for over 20 years.
The band’s debut album, Three Imaginary Boys, arrived the following year, but it wasn’t until their sophomore effort, Seventeen Seconds, that Smith felt like they’d landed on their definitive sound.
Speaking to the Chicago Tribune in the 1990s, the singer highlighted the mind-spinning masterpiece ‘A Forest’ from the record and commented: “The archetypal Cure sound, it was probably the turning point when people started listening to the group and thinking we could achieve something, including me”.
From this point on, The Cure knew their identity and expressed their newfound relentless confidence that helped shape 1981’s Faith which was an elevation from their previous release left off. The closing titular track stood out to Smith, who said: “I don’t think I’ll ever write a song that’ll ever move me as much as ‘Faith’, that’ll change my life as much as that song did, or encapsulate a period of my life as well as that one does”.
However, Smith also praised the illuminating, ‘Boys Don’t Cry’, which they released as a non-album single in 1979. His reasoning for holding such a strong affinity with the youthful track is precisely because it “reminds me of being very young”.
It was a rarity to hear a man talk so frankly about his feelings, but for Smith, it’s all he’s ever known, and throughout his career, he’s worn his emotions like a badge of honour. Elaborating on the meaning of ‘Boys Don’t Cry’, he once told NME: “As an English boy at the time, you’re encouraged not to show your emotion to any degree. And I couldn’t help but show my emotions when I was younger”.
Smith added: “I never found it awkward showing my emotions. I couldn’t really continue without showing my emotions; you’d have to be a pretty boring singer to do that. So I kind of made a big thing about it. I thought, ‘Well, it’s part of my nature to rail against being told not to do something'”.
Smith also dished out love to the seductive ‘Just Like Heaven’, which he described as “the best pop song The Cure has ever done”, and few would disagree with that statement. He continued: “All the sounds meshed, it was one take, and it was perfect. I love Dinosaur Jr.’s version of the song, and they’ve influenced how we play it”.
Smith’s final choice came from their then-newly released album, ‘Wish’, with the singer selecting the appropriately titled closing track, ‘End’. It’s an effort that the frontman feels he got just right, and said: “It achieves everything I wanted it to”.
Listen to a playlist of Robert Smith’s five favourite songs by The Cure below.
Robert Smith’s favourite songs by The Cure:
- ‘A Forest’
- ‘Boys Dont Cry’
- ‘Just Like Heaven’