Monday, June 15, 2020

"Why Can't I Be You?" by The Cure

Song#:  3165
Date:  06/20/1987
Debut:  92
Peak:  54
Weeks:  12
Genre:  Alternative Rock

Pop Bits:  This goth-rock rooted UK band started to gain attention in the US with their sixth album The Head on the Door. It featured the college rock radio staple "In Between Days (Without You)," which made a very brief appearance on the Pop chart at #99. The LP sold relatively well reaching #59. Hoping to capitalize on that exposure, The Cure then put together an epic and eclectic double-LP titled Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me that featured a couple songs with an eye towards mainstream rock. One of those tracks was this first single. The rock-n-raver with its hooky, questioning chorus and keyboard horns caught some ears and it nearly cracked the Pop Top 50. A remix of the tune was able to reach #27 on the Dance chart. The song helped to gain more fans and in early July the album peaked at #35. By August it had reached gold level sales.

ReduxReview:  The Cure were tagged as goth rock pioneers, but not everything they did was doom and gloom. While the lyrics to this song weren't necessarily happy-happy-joy-joy, the band framed them in an exuberant fashion that even made it danceable. Robert Smith's hyper performance added to the excitement as well. It may have been slightly over the top for pop radio, but it won enough fans to get it near the top half of the chart. Another song from the LP would outdo this one, but the tune did what it was supposed to do, which was draw more people into The Cure's circle.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  The Cure's first Top 10 hit in the UK was 1983's "The Love Cats," which made it to #7. It was released as a stand-alone single following their fourth album, 1982's Pornography. The oddball vaudeville-like track was just a lark that leader Robert Smith apparently wrote while inebriated. The band got it recorded and filmed a video for the tune. It was shot in a mansion that was for sale. It seems that the real estate agent was contacted and keys to the place were obtained by the band under the guise that they were interested in buying the building. They got in, filmed the video, and then returned the keys the next day. Directed by Tim Pope, the video featured a lot of cats. Initially the intent was to use a bunch of real cats, but when they proved to be difficult (of course...they're cats!), stuffed (taxidermy) ones were used instead. One big fan of the song was actress Molly Ringwald who ended up playing the tune for her Breakfast Club director John Hughes. According to Ringwald, Hughes then went and wrote a screenplay for a film based on the song. He even had a soundtrack in mind that Ringwald said sounded like a lot of Dave Brubeck followed by a Bob Dylan song. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the script never saw the light of day.


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