Robert Smith talked ‘Wish’ for its 30th anniversary on Tim’s Twitter Listening Party
The Cure's Wish turned 30 back in April, and the band just released remastered editions of the album, including a 45-track deluxe set with demos, b-sides, unreleased songs and more. To celebrate Wish's 30th anniversary and plug the reissue, frontman Robert Smith -- whose Caps Lock key on his laptop has been stuck for years -- stopped by Tim's Twitter Listening Party to offer up a very entertaining track-by-track look back at the album. You can replay the whole thing over at the Listening Party site, but here are some highlights.
"MAKING THIS ALBUM I USED TO GET GOING AROUND 4PM… LISTEN TO THE PREVIOUS DAYS THING… CYCLE TO THE LOCAL PUB… CYCLE BACK… FAFF ABOUT… EAT… THEN GO FOR IT!," Robert said. "ME AND SIMON AND PERRY (AND OF COURSE DAVE AND STEVE) WERE THERE FOR THE DURATION… BORIS AND PORL WOULD FREQUENTLY TAKE TIME AWAY… WE DEMO’D EVERYTHING AS A BAND, BUT WE RECORDED THIS WISH ALBUM IN DIFFERENT WAYS. USUALLY BORIS AND SIMON AND ME WOULD PUT DOWN A BACKING TRACK - ONCE WE WERE HAPPY WITH A TAKE (THIS WAS RECORDED TO TAPE REMEMBER - NO CUTTING AND PASTING BACK THEN!) ME AND SIMON AND PERRY WOULD OVERDUB ‘OTHER BITS’. THEN PORL WOULD ADD HIS THING - THEN I WOULD SING - AND THEN ME AND BORIS WOULD ADD SOME FINAL BITS OF ‘THE WEIRD STUFF’… USUALLY PERCUSSION! BREAKFAST AND BED AROUND 7AM…" Robert then added, "I STILL KEEP THESE HOURS! BUT I DO CYCLE TO THE PUB FAR LESS OFTEN."
As for the new 30th anniversary edition, Smith said it "SOUNDS LIKE THE ALBUM I HEARD IN THE STUDIO… FINALLY."
On "Open," which does indeed open the album, Smith said, "AS SOON AS I FOUND THIS TUNING ON MY GUITAR AND WROTE THE OPENING THREE CHORDS I KNEW IT WAS GOING TO BE THE ALBUM OPENER...THE LYRICS ARE ABOUT THE DERANGED PERSPECTIVE, LOSS OF CONTROL AND OVERWHELMING BANALITY OF BELIEVING ONESELF DEFINED BY THE ROLE ‘SINGER IN A FAMOUS BAND,'" adding, "ALBEIT IT WAS VERY OFTEN VERY FUN!!!"
"High" was the first single from Wish and Smith says he first heard it in bassist Simon Gallup's kitchen. "A HISSY BUT PERFECTLY FORMED INSTRUMENTAL CASSETTE DEMO… I KNEW STRAIGHT AWAY IT HAD TO BE THE CURE'S NEXT SINGLE." As far as the lyrical subject matter, he said it's about, "WHEN YOU WAKE UP ONE STEP AWAY FROM FALLING OFF THE EDGE OF THE WORLD… A REALISATION OF HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO HOLD ON TO THOSE YOU LOVE." Smith also played six-string bass on Wish, giving it some of its signature melodic leads. "I LOVE THE WAY MY FENDER V1 BASS SOUNDS ON THIS ALBUM," Smith enthused.
The second single from the album was "Friday I'm in Love." Robert said, "ONE FRIDAY NIGHT ABOUT HALFWAY THROUGH THE MANOR STUDIO SESSION I WENT HOME FOR A WEEKEND BREAK, AND ON THE JOURNEY I STARTED HUMMING THIS SONG… WHEN I GOT HOME I QUICKLY FIGURED OUT THE CHORDS AND THREW IT DOWN ONTO CASSETTE. IT TOOK ME AGES TO CONVINCE MYSELF AND EVERYONE ELSE THAT I HADN’T NICKED IT! IT SEEMED SO INSTANTLY FAMILIAR." On the recording, Smith remembered "STANDING AT THE MICROPHONE AFTER THE FIRST VOCAL TAKE FEELING VERY HAPPY… LOOKING UP AND SEEING EVERYONE WAVING AT ME THROUGH THE CONTROL ROOM GLASS."
"A Letter to Elise" was the third and final single from Wish. "AS WITH EVERY CURE ALBUM, CERTAIN LITERARY WORKS PROVIDED TOUCHSTONES," Smith noted. "‘A LETTER TO ELISE’ DREW STRANGE INSPIRATION FROM KAFKA'S 'LETTERS TO FELICE'. THE BOOK, WHICH IS PRETTY MUCH A SERIES OF INCREASINGLY DEMENTED UNANSWERED LETTERS, REALLY RESONATED WITH ME AT THE TIME. FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS IT NEVER REALLY ESTABLISHED ITSELF IN THE CURE LIVE REPERTOIRE… WHICH IS ODD, BECAUSE I THINK IT IS A REALLY LOVELY SONG."
Smith said he wanted "Doing the Unstuck" to be the third single but was convinced otherwise by the label. "MAKING ‘DISINTEGRATION’ I KNEW EXACTLY HOW I WANTED THE SONGS TO SOUND," Smith wrote. "WITH ‘WISH’ I HAD LESS OF AN OVERALL IDEA… I JUST KNEW I WANTED IT TO BE KALEIDOSCOPIC SOMEHOW...THIS WAS 'SOMEHOW'." He also calls it "JUST ABOUT THE MOST CAREFREE, ABANDONED AND HAPPY WE EVER GOT I THINK."
A few other tidbits from the Listening Party:
Smith said "To Wish Impossible Things" is "REALLY THE TITLE TRACK… ANOTHER GORGEOUS, MELANCHOLIC PIECE... IT’S PROBABLY MY FAVOURITE SONG ON THE RECORD?," though he also says this is another one he finds hard to listen to now. He also says "I THINK I RETURNED TO THIS SONG IN SPIRIT WITH OUR NEW SONGS ‘ALONE’ AND ‘ENDSONG’."
Smith called "Trust" "ONE OF THE BEST THINGS WE'VE EVER DONE, IT'S PLAYED WITH SUCH FEELING. IT IS A LOVE SONG WITH A DARK HEART."
As for "From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea," Smith said it's about "A VERY PSYCHEDELIC TRIP… I AM NOT SURE IT EVER REALLY ENDED?!!" and adds it's "WITHOUT DOUBT MY FINEST ‘JIMI HENDRIX WANNABE’ MOMENT!"
The album closes with "End," which Robert said he wanted to give Wish an epic finish. "I THINK I GOT IT," he said.
Replay Robert Smith's Wish Listening Party here.
The Cure's Lost World Tour resumes Thursday in Dublin and wraps next weekend with three shows at London's Wembley Arena. North American dates have yet to be announced, and neither has The Cure's new album, though they've been playing a number of songs from it at shows. Stay tuned.
THE CURE - 2022 TOUR DATES
01 DEC 2022 3ARENA Dublin Ireland
02 DEC 2022 SSE Belfast United Kingdom
04 DEC 2022 OVO HYDRO Glasgow United Kingdom
06 DEC 2022 FIRST DIRECT ARENA Leeds United Kingdom
07 DEC 2022 UTILITA ARENA Birmingham United Kingdom
08 DEC 2022 MOTORPOINT ARENA Cardiff United Kingdom
11 DEC 2022 OVO ARENA WEMBLEY Wembley, London United Kingdom
12 DEC 2022 OVO ARENA WEMBLEY Wembley, London United Kingdom
13 DEC 2022 OVO ARENA WEMBLEY Wembley, London United Kingdom