Sound: Roundly accused as being the Cure's worst album, Wild Mood Swings is a foray into funk for the band. The use of horns on tracks such as the 13th (the first single), Return, and Gone! has not been seen on Cure releases since the seminal The Head On The Door (Close To Me, A Night Like This). However, back then, it was Porl Thompsons sax. Trumpets are utitilized here, giving some of the tracks a party feel. The acoustic guitar features here, generally under layers of lead guitar and brass. Originally, Robert planned to make the album a lonesome, mainly acoustic record, until the influences of the new band members (Perry Bamonte and Jason Cooper, replacing Porl Thompson and Boris Williams on guitar and drums respectively) pushed the sound into other areas. The sound on the album is good, but there is too much banal filler (Round and Round and Numb, which is hailed as the worst Cure song ever). However, their branching out from the pop of Wish is good, even though much of this album is pop-oriented; Mint Car is Friday I'm In Love v2 with a good lead line. There is enough variety to satisfy anyone here. // 9
Lyrics: Roberts singing is aggressive on Trap and Club America, free on the 13th and melancholy as can be on Bare. His lyrics range from taking a swipe at America in Club America; "Club America salutes you, says the girl on the door. We accept all major lies and any type of fraud" to losing himself to a Latin dancer on the 13th and bemoaning lethargy on Gone!. Roberts lyrics are not as strong as the absolute catharsis that was Disintegration, the album which all Cure output will be compared to, but his delivery is spot on. // 8
Overall Impression: 01. Want - the opener sets what should be a tone for an album. This does the opposite, with Robert opening up about his demons pushing him to want everything that there is. A long winding intro which worked well, leading into a pleading chorus which ends with a spiral downward. Could've fitted onto Disintegration. Robert is at his absolute best when fighting himself.
02. Club America - from melancholy to party. Wild Mood Swings indeed. Club America is a rousing guitar rock number with a distorted guitar telling the story of falling for a girl at a club where everything is wrong. Robert is deceptively singing deep here. Excelent drumwork performed by studio drummer Louis Pavlou.
03. This Is A Lie - Robert plays every song to his wife Mary. This is one of the few that has ever got her angry; as Robert tells us that we can never be sure that the one we love loves us, or whether it is actually love or a simple need to be with someone. The use of violins over the meandering guitar works to a tee.
04. The 13th - perfect Cure pop song. Begins with some drunken horns until the "two chord cool" starts. Robert falls for a dancer at a club. The use of the horns makes it one of the most unique songs in the Cure catalogue. Horribly addictive.
05. Strange Attraction - the album begins to sink slightly here. Strange Attraction is a tale of a long distance relationship failing to work out. The winsome keyboard and the floaty guitar fails to save this attempt at pop. Not a poor song, but nowhere near the standard set by the first four songs.
06. Mint Car - staple pop love song. Friday I'm In Love rehash with a good lead guitar bit. Not drivel. Barely.
07. Jupiter Crash - opens with the sound of sea swelling. An acoustic guitar fades in, as Robert discusses "the Jupiter Crash" an explosion in the sky one night that he is watching with his lover. The buildup towards the event and the eventual anti-climatic response on the part of the lover present make this a track of beauty. Its a sad fact the way it is placed on the album, in between two poor tracks. A true Cure epic.
08. Round & Round & Round - this track is not worth the time I take to type this out. Robert squealing on "and Round & Round & Round we GO" is painful. A banal diluted version of Return.
09. Gone! - this track, the fourth single, uses the horns in a different way to the rest of the album, creating a sluggish and lethargic mood reflecting the lyrics that complain of being unable to do anything one day. A good showing of the Cures songwriting, using the brass in a completely different way.
10. Numb - Robert telling the downfall of someone "in love with a drug". There is not enough emotion here to be carried out appropriately. A poor showing. Pure filler.
11. Return - this song can make anyone dance. Gloriously over-freaking-joyed, with bouncy horns and a free guitar. Yet still Rob ponders that "there must be something wrong", which sort of blances the ying and yang of the album; between the vigourous joy of this track and the regret of Bare, Roberts insecurity is always there. An absolute pop gem.
12. Trap - he is angry! The Cure are at their best when there is a problem. Robert bemoans a realtionship heading nowhere fast. The guitar is excellent on this track.
13. Treasure - this track begins to show Robert slowing down after the exuberant middle, towards a more melancholy finish. The violins shine on this track, but is not memorable.
14. Bare - an epic track. Robert's straightforward, pondering and lonely lyrics gel with the start-stop acoustic and the violins. There is not much I can say to describe it. Robert ends with the line "I will never forget", ending an album which is hard to forget, despite its faults.
Wild Mood Swings faults lie in its length; at an hour and fourteen tracks, it is far too much. And, the pure filler tracks; having been cut out, this would be a Cure experimental masterpiece. However, it falls short. // 8