Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hypnagogic States EP - The Cure

Hypnagogic States EP

The Cure
Geffen Records.

SCQ Rating: 37%

I need a minute to get this right. So the Cure, having been broadening out to a more youthful audience since their 2004 self-titled effort and collecting the fans of every imitating, generation-skipping indie band, decide to drop a remix EP featuring eternal emo-undergrads My Chemical Romance, AFI, and Fallout Boy. Let’s forget for a moment that these boys share nothing in common with The Cure musically – make-up and misconstrued understanding of The Cure’s relevance to Goth notwithstanding – and for the sake of argument, let’s assume they somehow gained an extraordinary breadth of skill on soundboards and remixing. Is this still a good idea?

For those emo-remixers, absolutely, what do they have to lose? For the Cure, it won’t make much difference beyond providing an unnecessary black eye for their discography. My primary squabble is that Hypnagogic States EP is under the Cure name, which after twelve albums and a billion tours, is a brand I thought I could trust. Had they issued this as a Geffen Presents: Hypnagogic States, The Cure Remixed, like The London Philharmonic Orchestra plays Pink Floyd, I wouldn’t be bothered. Yet under the Cure name, much of this material is as offensive as if all the people in your life that drive you mad showed up to your house unannounced, walked right in, and toyed with all your most precious belongings. This feels violating, to say the least.

Strangely, the disc opens promisingly – so long as you’re familiar with the product – with 30 Seconds to Mars’ remix of ‘The Only One’, giving their ecstatic first-single a slightly sinister edge before some drum-machines and overdubbed vocals combine with Smith’s yelping for an excellent chorus. It’s an impressive remix, keeping the merits of the original while adding flourishes that compliment and morph its tone and tempo. Unfortunately it’s immediately followed by Jade Puget’s (AFI) regrettable stab at ‘Freakshow’, resulting in dance music you’ll only hear at the sleaziest, cheapest, underage club, in 1997. Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance fares slightly better with a new-wave synth-athon that is, in the least, a propulsive alternative vision of ‘Sleep When I’m Dead’ while Fallout Boy merely act as Robert Smith’s imaginary backing-band, adding brisk percussion and lame rhythm guitar to the verses of ‘The Perfect Boy’, which generously leaves the original largely intact.

There’s an ‘Exploding Head Syndrome’ remix of all four singles from 65 Days of Static, which shifts between interesting and syndrome-inducing, but overall Hypnagogic States EP does more to deter 4:13 Dream’s hype than the four CD-singles that built its momentum. Of course, Robert Smith and the Cure are classy and turn pure evil into something sweet by surrendering all artist royalties to the International Red Cross, making my criticisms, as a result, look pathetically low-class. Seriously though, wouldn’t this EP be way more credible and buyable had the Cure taken all the B-sides from their four independent singles and tied them into a package? Now that’s something the Cure name belongs on.

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