Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The End of the Eighties, Track 18

The Cure

When it comes to The Cure, and Disintegration in particular, I’ve said so much already, but I hope that doesn’t mean the subject is unworthy of being revisited and refreshed…

I started dating Pam in January of 1989. It was the most intense relationship I’d ever been a part of at that point in my life. Inspiration and passion were the order of the day, every day. She encouraged me and challenged me. It was here that I found my voice. Here that I found my creative outlet. Here that Random Thoughts Escaping truly began. The title of the blog is taken from my first collection of poetry dated January 1989 through August 1989, which I pretentiously – and completely unironically in the way only an 18-year-old can – subtitled “Ideas of Life, Death, Love, Loss, Beginnings, and Endings.” I wrote constantly, scribbling furiously every chance I had. I filled page after page of angsty, sometimes-overwrought, sometimes-pretty good poetry. Ultimately, I found my voice and found a direction.

This relationship with Pam, however, wasn’t going to last. She opened me up to worlds I had never experienced, but I didn’t recognize what was always hanging in the air. She gave me as much fair warning as she did play with my heart. Ultimately, she broke it and moved to San Francisco to live with her ex-boyfriend. I spiraled.

Music was a huge part of that period in my life and that relationship in particular. And this album, released just a couple of months before Pam literally moved out of my life, was epic in scale. Disintegration became the soundtrack to my loss, and “Untitled” the voice of my heart. Sitting in my parents family room in the early morning summer hours after coming home from the bars, the stereo playing this album, this song, as my Sharpie raced across the page, trying to capture all the emotion of Life After Pam.

“Untitled” is six-and-a-half minutes of sorrow and resignation. Where “Closedown” is musically hard-charging, “Untitled” is languid, wallowing in tears and defeat. Thematically, it’s right in line with what’s considered typical Cure of the era, but the lyrical imagery is some of Robert Smith’s very best:

Hopelessly fighting the devil futility
Feeling the monster climb deeper inside of me
Feeling him gnawing my heart away hungrily
I’ll never lose this pain, never dream of you again.

And it spoke to me like no other in that dark summer as I struggled to redefine my new self, alone.

As a young writer, I loved the notion of this song being untitled. It fit perfectly with my own writing style of the time, which lacked punctuation and capitalization, eschewing rhyme and titles (the bulk of my poetry from the era took their titles from the first line of the poem). Today, I recognize “Untitled” as a cheeky bit of fun on Smith’s part, unable to even find the right words to provide a title for a song that laments “Never quite said what I wanted to say to you / Never quite managed the words to explain to you.”

If you’ve followed this blog over the years (thank you!), then you probably already knew there was simply no way “Untitled” wouldn’t appear on the End of the Eighties playlist. For an expanded look at the entire album this song is taken from and the importance of Disintegration, I hope you’ll take a few moments to revisit my thoughts on it from 2011 with fresh eyes, and enjoy!