1982 | Rock
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“Stroking your hair as the patriots are shot fighting for freedom on the television. -- Sharing the world with slaughtered pigs, have we got everything?"
- Frontman Robert Smith was also the lead guitarist for Siouxsie and the Banshees from 1982 to 1984.
- Smith on the record:, "I had two choices at the time, which were either completely giving in [committing suicide] or making a record of it and getting it out of me" & " Ireally thought that was it for the group. I had every intention of signing off. I wanted to make the ultimate 'fuck off' record, and then sign off."
- Following its release, bass guitarist Simon Gallup left the band and the Cure switched to a much brighter and more radio-friendly new wave sound.
THE HOT TAKES
Dark stuff! This seems to be the sound of oppression. Life that continues under a tyrannical regime. The vibe I get is questioning the continuing of life. So much terror and evil surrounds us, so why bother? Obviously, a dark and nihilistic state of mind to find yourself in. "The soldiers close in under a yellow moon; All shadows and deliverance under a black flag." This leads shortly thereafter a death, either real or imagined. Everyone dies eventually, so why not add yourself to the death toll early? This is the kind of thoughts that I imagine the people of places like North Korea must think. I'm reading liberty into this one a bit, perhaps, but surely freedom is the only solution to this kind of maddening downward spiral.
I think this song is of a soldier who's life is flashing before his eyes as while "one after another we die." As someone who has had a "life flashing before your eyes" moment, I can tell you that time really does seem to slow down. When you are thinking of the murderous things you did as a soldier, I'm sure it can seem like 100 years.
I think Smith did too many drugs watching an old WWII doc on the tele. This is another where I think it's easy to get mired in the poetry and lose the threads of meaning in the song. The way I read this story is as two young lovers preparing for one of them to be sent off to war for the ambitions of the people in the big towers and black cars. The people with those ambitions seem to never tire of sending generation after generation off to die to secure them. I think the death of the old man in the later portion of the song is a reference to carrying the torch from the last generation. Our lives are our own and any society that sends young men to die for the ambitions of other men is no society. It is a barbarism I'm not sure how a culture could atone for.