25 May 2006

8+

"Fascination Street" (Extended Mix) by The Cure which clocks in at 8:48

Cure people don't care for Mixed Up do they? Idiots. It's a really great disc of remixes in my opinion and a few of the versions on it are better than the originals. Gasp! That's right, I said it. And I've felt that way forever. Then again, I wouldn't call myself a Cure person. The first time I had to listen to The Cure was so I could sing the song "Three Imaginary Boys" in my high school band for our talent show. We used to rock the shit out of that song, and listening to it and "Boys Don't Cry" (our band covered both of them) over and over got me really loving my CD copy of the American version of The Cure's first album. From that point, I moved on to purchase Mixed Up, so the first time I heard classics such as "Pictures of You", "Close to Me", or "Fascination Street" was when I heard them on Mixed Up (don't fear, I did then go on to get all of the other albums by The Cure and Mixed Up is probably not one of my three favorites by them but it's still so much better than most fans will admit). Yes, I know that the probable reason I fell in love with many versions of the songs that are on the remix album is because I heard those versions first but come on, it actually IS pretty good. Hey, don't just take my word for it. See what Mallory O’Donnell from Stylus had to say about Mixed Up.

The song though, this feature is about the SONG. And this song paints a picture. This...this is one helluva song. It starts like a child waking up in a meadow on a dewy spring morning. Everything is all light and airy and ethereal and then with a crash of a cymbal (about fifty seconds into the song) the sun sets and the landscape starts shifting towards urban. The well-known booming bass line comes in around 1:09 and slowly works its way deep into your being delivering a dark, urban, night-clubby vibe that excites the imagination and the senses. You could dance to the slow, driving beat but you'd probably do better to have drunken dirty anonymous sex to it. Actually, the song almost demands that from you.

Robert Smith's vocals don't work their way into the mix until about 4:01 and by then they're like a welcome beacon of light in a far too dark alley. Somehow, there's extra reverb and delay on his vocals (no, I mean even more than usual) and it sounds glorious. It's the sound of anticipation. Of desperation. And yes, of course, of fascination. But don't go running for the comfort of your bed when the song fakes an ending moment around 6:40 because this is an 8+ yo. There's still stringed moments left to work themselves out. And that familiar light melody and the guitar riffs and more Robert Smith singing... It's such a classic Cure song in that the sum of the parts of the song are much greater than any one part would be on its own. The fun in this extended version is that these parts have been tweaked just perfectly to get the very most out of what was already a classic song. Sure, from time to time that prominent bass line from the original version (on Disintegration) drops into my head all "bud duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh duh..." but when I really want to listen to "Fascination Street" I find myself reaching for Mixed Up. Blasphemy!

Buy Mixed Up HERE on Amazon.

EAR FARM's 8+ is a weekly feature that showcases songs longer than 8 minutes. In the recent past these songs were featured on EF's 8+:
British Sea Power - "Lately"
Islands - "Swans"
Isolée - "Pillowtalk"
Animal Collective - "Banshee Beat"
Wilderness - "Post Plethoric Rhetoric"
The Wedding Present - "Interstate 5"
Sleater-Kinney - "Let's Call It Love"
My Morning Jacket - "Dondante"
Wilco - "Spiders (Kidsmoke)"
Isis - "From Sinking"
Lemon Jelly - "A Tune For Jack"
Herbie Hancock - "Sly"
New Order - "Temptation"
Polvo - "El Rocio"
Pulp - "Countdown"
Morrissey - "The Teachers Are Afraid of the Pupils"
Dungen - "Du är för fin för mig"
Loose Fur - "Wreckroom"
The Who - "A Quick One, While He's Away"
Destroyer - "Rubies"
Neu! - "Fuer Immer (forever)"
Iggy Pop - "Mass Production"

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you haven't read this already, here's an excellent defense/celebration of Mixed Up by my colleague Mallory O'Donnell. http://www.stylusmagazine.com/articles/on_second_thought/the-cure-mixed-up.htm

Disintegration and Mixed Up were the first two Cure albums I bought, on the same day if I remember correctly. I'll always look on the latter with fondness, even if I don't pull it out that often.
Cheers
Jake

Jesse a.k.a. The Vicar said...

As an old school Cure fan, I have to say I really do love the Mixed Up album.

marathonpacks said...

The "Mixed Up" version of "Close to Me" is miles, miles, miles better than the album cut. Word.

Word Verification: yyfscuw.

Tim Young said...

Another great 8+ Matt. I remember buying mixed up and being diappointed but then coming back to it a couple of years later and loving it.

btw. The 8+ podcast has behaved really weirdly compared to all the others. To start with there was much less interest than normal but now it's getting lots of downloads. So 8+ podcasts are different too!

word verification: puxmp ....

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