From mournful laments to giddy, knees-up swoons and everything in between, in observance of Valentine's Day Sound Affects runs down the choice love songs from post-punk's most capable romantics.
Despite his ghoulish appearance, Robert Smith is a big softie. For the past three decades, the mind, heart, and soul of the Cure has been one of the top songwriters around, and though he has a penchant for doomy goth dirges, he’s also got a real knack for writing the sort of songs you’ll play at your wedding. A ravenous reader, Smith has mastered a literate lyricism that when married to his band’s winsome melodies results in songs worth wrapping your arms around. It’s not for nothing that generations of flutter-hearted youth have dedicated countless hours listening to the group’s songs alone in their bedrooms, headphones on their heads and the rest of the world shut out.
That’s not to say that the Cure’s most moving love songs are always of the happy variety. Actually, Smith often throws in a somber twist—a “catch” if you will, if you wish to use the Cure vernacular—that adds an emotional counterbalance to the sweeter phrases. Smith is smart enough to realize his songs exhibit more heft (well, that and he’s unsurprisingly the sort of person prone to dark moods) when they contain a tragic element, a slice of longing that’s never fully resolved. Sometimes he’ll go pitch-black, plumbing the depths of his despair over his departed love with such agony that he invites the release of death. And then every once in a while, he’ll do the complete opposite and throw out a love song without a catch, one that expresses romantic sentiments with nary a hint of gloom, and unfettered by the irony favored by some post-punk peers who’ve also taken lighter detours.