With “Why Can’t I Be You?,” The Cure found catharsis in song

With “Why Can’t I Be You?,” The Cure found catharsis in song

In Hear ThisA.V. Club writers sing the praises of songs they know well—some inspired by a weekly theme and some not, but always songs worth hearing. This week, we asked: “Record Store Day is this weekend. What’s your favorite song getting re-issued this weekend or that you’ve discovered through a previous RSD?” 

At the top of my Record Store Day shopping list this year is the LP reissue of The Cure’s 1987 record Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, a vinyl version of which I’ve wanted to own for years now. 

I love The Cure a lot. For about a year in college, I woke up and got dressed every single day to the Greatest Hits album. While this double-disc collection might not be the most in-depth guide to the band’s extensive oeuvre, it is a hell of a look at the band as a whole, as well as just how many kick-ass singles they recorded and released. 

“Why Can’t I Be You?” the eighth track on the first disc, comes off Kiss Me, the record that also spawned the incredibly romantic “Just Like Heaven.” But “Why Can’t I Be You?” is pretty romantic as well, in its own way. It’s also fairly creepy, just like The Cure. Absolutely enamored by his muse’s essence, Robert Smith calls the object of his affection “perfect” and says everything she does is “irresistible” and “simply kissable.”

While that’s flattering, I’ve always read Smith’s affection as teetering on the border of smitten and criminal. He might be into his muse’s hair, but he also may want to cut it off and weave it into his own fright wig. He might think that his lover’s skin is “delicious,” but that doesn’t preclude him from biting off chunks should his paramour’s scent turn too arousing. Perhaps that’s a bit of a gothic interpretation—maybe he’s just jealous he’s not so perfect?—but that’s how I read it, sinister Dahmerisms and all, and that’s what I’ll be thinking about when I slap that new LP copy of Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me on my turntable on April 20.

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