Sticking with the quiet creepy side of The Cure comes The Caterpillar. The quiet and the creep are of a different bent this time mind.
To begin with it’s practically abstract impressionism made song. There are elements of the most experimental arty composers in the intro to the song. Hang out for a bit and super slick sweet pop is never far from the surface in The Cure’s 80’s output.
the poppyness is heralded in with a ‘Pitter patter pitter patter pitter patter’ and then bongo rhythms and German expressionist piano wonk swirl around acoustic bass and slapped guitar bodies.
This is an odd song indeed. A soft smooth sweet happy little cloud of music made up of all the wrong things for a mainstream mid 80’s pop hit.
I’ve got to mention Tim Pope’s incredible pop videos at this stage too. He made so many of The Cure’s massively diverse and creative promo clips during their pomp. The value he and the band wrung out of such simple conceits is impressive to this day.
While the band are enjoying themselves messing about with bouncy pianos and shirts that switch on the edit from mono black to mono white, Bob has to work hard.
His direction to never look into the camera personifies the Goth Rock image without anything like special effects. Tim must have seemed an obvious choice when it came time to make the sequel to The Crow. His goth credentials were assured. Now. Let’s never talk about that movie again.
This quiet little happy ditty has creativity oozing from it the way some caterpillars can bring you out in a rash if they do their weird little Newton’s Cradle in slow mo shuffle across your skin.
“You flicker and you’re beautiful, you glow inside my head, you hold me hypnotized I’m mesmerized your flames, the flames that kiss me dead”
In 1984 I bet most people did not know what to do with this. What did I know? I was ten.