Our Blog

The Cure “Seventeen Seconds” (1980)

What a difference a year can make! Released only 11 months after the rather straightforward post-punk of Three Imaginary Boys, Robert Smith and company completely reinvent their sound and deliver one of the defining albums of the gothic rock movement. The songs here are bare and carefully measured, with little trace of the distorted wall-of-sound that would dominate later efforts like Pornography. Where Seventeen Seconds is very similar to those later releases is via the somber lyrics and the vocal delivery itself, which routinely take a backseat to the arrangements and rarely structures itself into a verse/chorus format. So if you enjoy the atmospheric slow-building side of the Cure, you’ll probably love this album. I personally consider it to be among the best in the Cure discography, rivaling the likes of Faith and Disintegration.

Despite a similar musical approach as Faith and Pornography, I find far more standout tunes on Seventeen Seconds. The entire back half of the album is nearly flawless. “A Forest” is particularly effective, mixing a haunting ambience with an almost Krautrock-esque driving groove. “Seventeen Seconds” is another personal favorite, although it does feel slightly underdeveloped at ~4 minutes. Gothic rock fans will also undoubtedly adore “Secrets”, “In Your House”, and “At Night”, while “M” should placate listeners starved for a slightly catchier and more upbeat melody. All things considered, one of the finest albums of the early-80’s. —Paul

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *