The Story Behind The Song: The Cure’s ‘Friday I’m In Love’, a “dumb pop song”
It’s difficult to put your finger on it. You shouldn’t fall for it, but the likelihood whatever “the Friday feeling” is it infects you as the clock strikes 00:01 every Thursday. So we thought we’d find out a little bit more about our favourite song for the last day of the working week, The Cure’s wondrously brilliant goth-post-punk-pop song ‘Friday, I’m In Love’.
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. But in truth, with all the happy naivety the song imbues, it still feels authentic. It’s largely what makes the song resonate.
But how did it all come about? 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.”
Just drink that in for a second: Robert Smith, the Robert Smith set out to write a ‘Friday song’ to make you feel happy and impatient for more happiness. 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 was a little less gushing about 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.
Robert Smith was seemingly convinced that he had heard the progression of chords somewhere else: “‘Friday, I’m In Love’ is not a work of genius, it was almost a calculated song. It’s a really good chord progression, I couldn’t believe no-one else had used it and I asked so many people at the time – I was getting drug paranoia anyway – ‘I must have stolen this from somewhere, I can’t possibly have come up with this.’ I asked everyone I knew, everyone. I’d phone people up and sing it and go, ‘Have you heard this before? What’s it called?’ They’d go, ‘No, no, I’ve never heard it.’ On the same album, there were songs which I’d slaved over and I thought at the time were infinitely better, but ‘Friday’ is probably the song of the Wish album that’s the song.”
The song may still represent one of the few forays into the wilderness of ‘pop’ that The Cure has knowingly made, but it did encourage a certain type of fame and behaviour that Smith would later regret. “We had spent such an awful long time to get well known. [When] it happened, though, I found it very uncomfortable. For a long time, I didn’t like certain songs because I thought, ‘You’re to blame, you bastard. You made me popular.’ ‘Friday I’m In Love’ is a perfect example.”
So while it may annoy Robert Smith, and you’re unlikely to capture many die-hard The Cure fans as friends, sit back, turn up the volume, pour yourself a drink and enjoy this quite brilliant pop song.
Now you know the story behind ‘Friday I’m In Love’ it feels that much sweeter.