Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me
The Music Box's #7 reissue of 2006
First Appeared in The Music Box, September 2006, Volume 13, #9
Written by John Metzger
Having finally achieved commercial success with The Head on the Door, it would have been easy for The Cure simply to craft another effort that followed the same, basic formula as its predecessor. Instead, mastermind Robert Smith opted to take a more democratic approach to recording, and the resulting outing Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me blossomed into an expansive, 18-track, two-LP package that presented the full range of The Cureís capabilities. For a group that sometimes seemed schizophrenic as it swerved back and forth between heady pop and darkly experimental textures, the endeavor proved to be a surprisingly cohesive masterpiece. Because it was so dense with ideas, however, the 74-minute triumph always has fared better on vinyl than on CD, and its latest incarnation ó which resurrects the driving rock of Hey You! from extinction ó does little to change that notion.
The concept behind Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me was reasonably straightforward, and in effect, its music and lyrics were meant to tug the filaments of the heart in opposing directions. Over the course of the endeavor, Smith perfectly captured the narcissistic adolescent experience where an initial, all-consuming obsession with a new object of desire quickly can give way to pure hatred, and where the idea of being in love frequently turns out to be better than the relationship itself. "Iím smitten!/Iím bitten!/Iím hooked!," Smith sings on the worshipful Why Canít I Be You?, a song that counters the suffocating horror of The Kiss on which he declares, "Your tongue is like poison" and "I never wanted any of this/I wish you were dead."
Musically diverse, Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me begins with the dark, mechanical beat of its pseudo title track, and as the sounds of an icy cold synthesizer glide across its surface, the coiled notes from an electric guitar writhe in increasing agony. For more than three minutes, the tension builds until Smithís voice cuts through the clatter, releasing his pent-up frustration in an anguished wail of disgust and loathing. The mood changes dramatically on the subsequent Catch, as The Cure enhances the songís confused, misplaced affection by embedding it within an swirl of dreamy happiness. Taken together, these tunes make for a convincing opening statement that establishes the divergent tones that creep through the remainder of the endeavor. Shifting from brilliantly crafted, ebullient pop (Just Like Heaven) to dance club-friendly, rhythmic funk (Hot Hot Hot!!!) and sprinkled with nightmarish visions that are both beautifully sensual (If Only Tonight We Could Sleep) and ominously haunted (The Snake Pit), Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me is, from start to finish, remarkably consistent, and it, along with 1989ís Disintegration, served as the pinnacle of The Cureís career.
As was the case with its predecessors in Rhinoís campaign to reissue the entirety of The Cureís catalogue, Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me boasts a second disc of bonus material that was composed from a hodgepodge of inessential home and studio demos, alternate mixes, and bootleg concert recordings. Half of the extras are instrumental-only tracks, and consequently, they are likely to be as insightful to diehard fans as they are annoyingly obtuse to the casual listener. The live material, however, fares far better, especially since the five cuts are all presented in nearly pristine fashion, which leaves no chance that aural defects will undermine their potency. The Snakepit, in particular, is a deliriously dense concoction that is as suffocating as anything from the Pornography sessions.
Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me [Deluxe Edition] ó
Bonus Tracks ó
Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me [Original Album] ó Ĺ
Of Further Interest...
Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me [Deluxe Edition] is
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box