Would one expect anything less than a double album from the Cure on the occasion of its 13th studio release? "Rather than cut it down, at the stage we're at with the band, I'm making this record because I want to enjoy the process and be proud of the finished result," frontman Robert Smith tells Billboard of the as-yet-untitled effort, due in October via Suretone/Geffen. "It isn't a commercial concern for me."
"What will probably happen is that a double album will come out like a limited edition, mixed by me," he continues. "A single-disc version, which I assume will be primarily chosen by the label, might get mixed by someone else in order to have a different thing. There's a concern Cure fans will feel like they have to get both, but the fact is, I've agreed to sell the double version at a single album price, because I feel that strongly about it. It is almost impossible to get a double album nowadays. I naively thought my standing as an artist would push aside all objections, but the world gets ever more commercial as it turns."
Tracks due to make the cut include "Lusting Here in Your Mind" ("It sounds suspiciously like heavy rock to me," Smith says), "The Hungry Ghost," "The Perfect Boy," "Christmas Without You" ("That's not a very happy song," he says) and "Please Come Home."
"There are songs about relationships, the material world, politics and religion. They're very upfront and dynamic," says Smith of the new songs. "People will be surprised how stripped-down and in-your-face the record is."
Smith also trolled through his massive catalog of demos and found three pieces dating back to the '80s that the band revamped. "They've changed quite a lot, but the basic melody and chord structure has remained," he says. "They do have a certain old Cure-ness about them."
As usual, Smith slaved over the lyrics, contributing to a delay in completing the project. "I've gone through so many revisions, probably more than all of the other records put together," he says. "I just wanted to get the tone right to reflect how I am at the age I'm at."
Smith promises the Cure will play new material during its fall North American tour, but not too much. "A lot of people who come to Cure shows want to hear something they haven't heard before, but they also want to hear old songs," he offers. "I enjoy playing them. But the idea of going out and doing a two-and-a-half hour show and including 10 or 12 new songs would actually be really awful, I think. A show is an experience. Anyone coming to a Cure show isn't going to go home and think about buying the album. They've already made their minds up by the fact they've bought a ticket to see us."
-Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.