Tuesday, August 9, 2022

"Fascination Street" by The Cure

Song#:  3898
Date:  05/13/1989
Debut:  77
Peak:  46
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Alternative Rock

Pop Bits:  This English band headed up by Robert Smith broke through in a bigger way in the US with their seventh studio album, 1987's Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me. It would be a #35 platinum seller that featured their first Pop Top 40 single, the #40 "Just Like Heaven." Following a supporting tour and a small lineup change, Smith and the band got back in the studio to record their next album Disintegration. While other territories including the UK would see the track "Lullaby" as the LP's first single, in the US the label chose to release "Fascination Street" instead. It would become the band's first and only song to hit #1 on the Modern Rock chart. It would stay in that spot for seven weeks. The song would also get to #7 Dance and #24 Rock. On the Pop chart, the song performed fairly well, but stopped shy of the Top 40 mark. Although the album would quickly reach its peak of #12 and go gold, it would be a steady long-long tail seller thanks to a second single that would be the band's peak moment on the Pop chart.

ReduxReview:  This is a rare single where the opening is quite long. Smith's vocal doesn't start until about 1:20 into the tune for the single mix (2:24 on the album version). For the majority of pop singles, by that point in the record you've usually already heard the first verse and the chorus. Prior to this, I think one of the longest intros on a single in the 80s was Pet Shop Boys' "It's a Sin" (#9 Pop) which at 45 seconds seems short compared to this Cure tune. I'm sort of surprised the record label didn't do more editing to shorten the intro for the single mix. I thought it was kind of an odd choice for a single, but it actually did okay nearly cracking the Pop Top 40. Smith was in a depressed state during the writing and making of Disintegration and it showed with the tunes reaching back to the darker sounds of The Cure's earlier albums. It think it came along at the right time and alt rock folks along with others ate it up. This grooving, droning track was certainly a highlight.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  It seems that this song getting selected by the band's US representative label Elektra might have been two-fold. One story told is that the folks at Elektra didn't like the song "Lullaby," which was chosen for the first single in the UK and other territories (it would prove to be the band's biggest hit at home reaching #5). Also a factor was that "Fascination Street" was included on the soundtrack to a US indie film that was being released around the same time. The song was used in the film Lost Angels. The drama starred Donald Sutherland along with Beastie Boys member Adam Horovitz (aka Ad-Rock). The movie didn't do much business at the box office and the soundtrack album failed to chart.


1 comment:

  1. A 9 for me, just a cracking, brilliant, droning tune with an amazing bassline.

    Disintegration is an amazing album, although I can't for the life of me understand how anyone thought this ice bath would play on pop radio. No matter -- they would soon hit a chart apex that their peers, save Pet Shop Boys, could never come close to.