Surely there’s no better moment to look back at one of the seminal songs in The Cure’s long and arduous musical journey than today, Friday. We’re looking back at the band’s live performance of their “dumb pop song” ‘Friday, I’m In Love’.
“The people who like ‘Friday I’m In Love’ aren’t actually fans of the Cure,” Robert Smith told Musikexpress in 2000. “They’re not the ones who buy my records.” While that sentiment may be true, they are seemingly the ones who buy tickets as the crowd go nuts when The Cure begin playing their iconic 1992 number.
The track was released in 1992 and was taken from The Cure‘s “pop record” Wish and represents one of the largest departures from a band’s perceived ethos you’re likely to ever hear or see. The song is, according to perennial moper and the world’s favourite goth Robert Smith, “a throw your hands in the air, let’s get happy kind of record”—anyone who knows The Cure or has ever seen Robert Smith can already understand the juxtaposition we’re facing here.
Somehow though it’s that exact juxtaposition that makes the song work both on and off record. While on Wish the song is clearly a shinier happy side of the group, when they perform it live it still rings with the melancholy its singer can’t seem to avoid. Yet the track’s pop tones came directly from Smith and his attempts to right a song that captures the ‘Friday feeling’.
When speaking with Guitar World, Smith opened up about the track he said: “I remember driving home one Friday afternoon to have the weekend off. And I started to think of this really great chord sequence. I was about 20 minutes away from the studio. So I turned around, went back to the studio and everyone was still there. We actually recorded it that Friday night. So from then on it was always just called “Friday.” Then, when I came to do the words for it, I thought, why don’t I do a song about that Friday feeling? It’s a thing you have at school, and lots of people work at jobs they don’t really enjoy. So that Friday afternoon feeling is something you look forward to.”
It’s a beautiful moment of conversely positioned paradigms converging to make one beautifully organic moment of joy. He candidly spoke of the track in an interview with SPIN magazine where he gave his true feeling on the track: “‘Friday I’m in Love’ is a dumb pop song, but it’s quite excellent actually because it’s so absurd. It’s so out of character – very optimistic and really out there in happy land. It’s nice to get that counterbalance. People think we’re supposed to be leaders of some sort of ‘gloom movement.’ I could sit and write gloomy songs all day long, but I just don’t see the point.
“Genuinely dumb pop lyrics are much more difficult to write than my usual outpourings through the heart.” Smith continued “I went through hundreds of sheets of paper trying to get words for this record. You have to hit something that’s not cringing – a simplicity and naiveté that communicates. There’s a dumbness that sort of cracks. We’ve always done pop songs. It’s just sometimes they’re way too down—sort of desperate.”
But somehow The Cure pulled it out of the bag and it quickly became one of their most adored tracks, even in 1992 when the band took to the stage at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan to record their live album and concert video, Show, the crowd were enthralled by its arrival.
Though Show is undoubtedly a place that the group highlighted their poppier moments without reproach it’s still startling to see just how enamoured the audience are with this “dumb pop song”. That’s because, underneath it all, we want some candy to nibble on every so often. It’s made all the sweeter if we trust the source.
So while Smith may not always be so attuned to the grandeur of the song, nor its ability to transcend genre and audience, one thing is for sure; when The Cure play ‘Friday, I’m In Love’ everyone is living their life, if only for a few moments, in the arrogant splendour of the weekend.
Watch below as The Cure perform ‘Friday, I’m In Love’ in Detroit, 1992.