We take a look back at The Cure’s incredible cover of the seminal post-punk anthem, Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear us Apart’, a period in which Robert Smith is at his absolute best during this wonderful recording.
Sometimes songs can transcend the artists that created them. Whether it’s bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, who in the early sixties covered a wealth of R&B music from the United States, or, as in this case, a song and its sentiment can be nurtured and grown by another band.
Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ is one of those songs. Entrenched in the mythology and sadness of Ian Curtis’ suicide, the track remains as a bastion of emotion. One band perfectly placed to reenact this feat of songwriting prowess is The Cure.
Recorded backstage at Livid Festival in Brisbane, Australia in 2000, the track is a perfect example of how two different vocals, music styles, viewpoints, and personalities can use the same song to display their individual art. It’s a triumph.
The beauty of this particular cover lies in the juxtaposing movements of each band. Although Robert Smith and the band pay tribute to the song’s artistry and Ian Curtis’ inspiring songcraft, they turn the song into something you’d expect to hear on The Cure’s next album.
The bass line is as strong as Peter Hook would’ve liked, the synths play their role in replicating the original but this version feels totally changed by Smith’s vocal. While Curtis’ feels stark and morose, Smith’s is damaged and delicate. It sums up the artists quite succinctly.
We’ve always thought that the mark of a great artist is the ability to make anyone’s work feel like their own, and The Cure have certainly done that.
Listen to The Cure’s cover of Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ below.