Sound: Seventeen Seconds, the Cure's second album, was a change in direction from the light post-punk of Three Imaginay Boys. After having keyboardist Matthew Hartley join, their sound changed to a more melancholy, moody sound, with Roberts clean guitar sounding perfect on the seminal Cure track, A Forest, and the title track. Simons bass interlocked perfectly with the simple drumming of Tolhurst and the rest of the band, and Hartleys keyboard shone on the instrumental tracks, as well as Play For Today. // 10
Lyrics: Roberts voice was perfect on the album. The lyrics about getting sick of a relationship (Play For Today) and the slight paranoia/fear in M (the best track in my opinion) towards the darker lyrical content, like Robert being lost in A Forest, chasing a girl that doesnt exist, and the minimalistic Seventeen Seconds, bemoaning the end. // 10
Overall Impression: 01. A Reflection - a short piano piece, setting the mood for the rest of the album; bleak and introspective. 9/10 for the fact that I would've rathered a full song.
02. Play For Today - a brilliant quasi-upbeat piece with some great guitar and lyrics. This one is about being bored of pandering to her expectations. The line "You expect me to act like a lover, consider my moves and deserve the reward" is brilliant. Begins with train track drumming, then the bass with harmonics from Robs guitar. Then Rob gets to business as the graveyard synths come in. The rest is the same, but with the bass changing and Robert riffing off in different directions underneath his brilliant singing 10/10.
03. Secrets - Robert is down to a husky whisper, sharing himself with another girl. Very dark track, but slightly too unvaried. Bass is very good on this track 9/10.
04. In Your House - slow and moody. Perfect for when the rain is coming down outside. Pretending to swim in someone elses house 10/10.
05. Three - begins with a piano having random keys hit with a voice muttering over it. Then the drums and guitar stutter their ways in. A bass saunters in mimicking the piano. A very good instrumental, disintegrating with a distorted guitar 9/10.
06. The Final Sound - a solo piano piece. Meant as an intro to A Forest, I found it to be filler. The piano plays, then, at 51 seconds, falls away suddenly 8/10.
07. A Forest - The Cure song known by most. There is a reason this is played at nearly all cure shows over twenty five years later. Begins with Robert playing that simple yet perfect riff over a swirling background. Then, around a minute, everything else comes in, and the same riff is played again out of the other channel. The layered effect created by the note perfect bass, haunting synth and that oh-so-amzing guitar work is nothing short of legendary. I could run out of words, but I would not wish to bore anyone. Lyrics fitting the denseness of the murky instrumentalism perfectly. Disintegrates at the end, leaving Simons bass to trail off 10/10.
08. M - probably my favourite song on the album, despite A forest. M has simplicity in stark contrast to A forest. The simple Em-C-Em-C-B guitar line is brilliant. Roberts fear of losing M (a reference to Mary, his then girlfriend and now wife of 16 years) is portrayed perfectly. The guitar solo fits in like a jigsaw.
9)At night- At night opens with a drum beat and synth for a minute before Roberts voice comes in, mixed lower than the instruments. The guitar plucks cleanly through the murky synthesizer. A very good song, but slightly too long 8.5/10.
10. Seventeen Seconds - opens with a simple drum beat before the melancholy guitar comes in, with the bass then sliding lower. The lyrics are among Roberts best here. Suddenly, the drums become more animated and the vocals move in. The band sounds perfectly assured and confident at this point. This is a perfect closer, ending on the simplistic drum beat, which bounces off into the darkness 10/10.
This album is not for all people. It would be too dark for the Wish and WMS fans, and is the perfect compliment to records like Silent Alarm or Disintegration. One of my personal favourites. // 10