The ten best songs by The Cure

Written by
Time Out contributors
2019 is set to be a huge year for British goth rock titans The Cure. Not only are the band celebrating the 40th anniversary of their debut release, but they will also issue their first album in over ten years. To mark these achievements, the band will undertake a summer-long tour of European festivals, including a headlining slot at Zagreb's INmusic festival, which takes place from 24 to 26 June. 

In June, the band also play Ireland, Austria, Italy, Hurricane festival and Southside festival in Germany and also in Belgium. In July, they move on to Serbia, Denmark, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Czech Republic and Romania. In August, they complete the run by visiting Russia, Norway, Finland, Scotland and France.

Prior to the album release and tour, we pick out the ten best tracks from the band's career to date.

Pictures Of You, extended mix

As the '80s were drawing to a close The Cure found themselves as perhaps unlikely pop stars, having scored hits with several accessible singles. The band reverted to a more typical introspective and gothic form for the 1989 album 'Disintegration'. Issued as a single almost one full year after the album's release, 'Pictures Of You' was inspired by images of his wife which Robert Smith saved following a house fire. The song's wonderful extended version is a welcome invitation to wallow in its melancholy for even longer.

Fascination Street

Yet another single from 1989's 'Disintegration', the song explores the feelings of expectation and anticipation before a night out in the city. Could such a high calibre of single releases indicate that 'Disintegration' is The Cure's finest album? Many fans would not disagree.

Inbetween Days

In 1985 The Cure's long-serving (and current) bass player Simon Gallup rejoined the band, but his arrival did not mark a return to the mostly dark material to which he'd previously contributed. Instead, the material offered on the Robert Smith-penned 'The Head On The Door' album was eclectic, with this indie rock defining anthem its lead single.

Just Like Heaven

The pop chart-courting sounds contained on The Cure's 1987 album 'Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me' helped secure a huge American fanbase for the band. Of its four singles, 'Just Like Heaven' has arguably aged the best. It is a timeless classic of indie guitar rock, its place secured via a slew of cover versions, not least Dinosaur Jr's, which actually influenced how The Cure went on to approach the song in live performance.

Close To Me

One of The Cure's greatest pop songs, 1985's 'Close To Me' is a masterpiece of catchy, accessible melodies paired with Smith's unique and oblique poetry, the delivery of which adds to the overall intimacy of the song. Maybe that's why this is the perfect Cure song to dance to, either at a party or alone?


While DJs at the local club might get more requests for different songs by The Cure, many hardcore fans of the band would rather dance to 'Primary' over any other track. The only single from 1981 album 'Faith', its rhythmic assault is powered by the filtered and effects-laden duel bass guitar lines played by both Simon Gallup and Robert Smith.


It was telling when, in 2003, The Cure released a video of them performing albums 'Pornography', 'Disintegration' and 'Bloodflowers' in their entirety that they should name it 'Trilogy'. The Cure's 2000 album 'Bloodflowers returned them to some of their best, darkest days and its title track was the triumphant epic on which the longplayer so memorably closed.

Killing An Arab

Famously inspired by French existentialist Albert Camus's book 'The Stranger', The Cure courted a certain controversy with the release of this, their debut single. Luckily, anyone who actually went beyond being shocked by the title and ventured into this claustrophobic tale of a soldier overwhelmed by his surroundings and scenario understood where Robert Smith was coming from. In comparison to their much more popular and successful second single 'Boys Don't Cry', this displays a much more serious attempt at adventure, particularly in the eastern-style guitar and Smith's picture painting poetry.

A Forest

At one time a mainstay of live performances by the band, 'A Forest' is the undoubted highlight of The Cure's second album 'Seventeen Seconds' and also their first UK top 40 hit. It is a dark, psychedelic and highly atmospheric affair, which perfectly introduced the wider public to the band's then mood and is now available in a confusing array of different versions.

The Lovecats

In the times when The Cure have emerged from the shadows, they have been capable of penning pure pop brilliance. Significantly lighter than much of their material, 1983 single The Lovecats is a playful and melodic piece, the highlight of which is undoubtedly Robert Smith's fitting poetry. It rightly earned the band their first top ten singles chart position.

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