The Scissor Sisters vocalist and BBC Radio 2 presenter opens up to Felix Rowe about her lasting, unconditional love of The Cure’s monumental sixth studio album.
In 1985, when my sister Kate was 13 and I was 11, she brought home a copy of The Cure, The Head On The Door. It was the first record that blew my mind. At that point, I’d already started collecting records.
I loved that experience of going to a record store as a kid and talking to somebody behind the counter. I was really lucky to have Dudley’s New & Used Record Store in downtown Portland, Oregon. Dudley was really sweet and answered all my questions, telling me who the band were if there wasn’t a name on the poster. So, you know, sometimes you just want to check out a record because you like the look of them.
The first record I ever bought with my own money was Oh, No! It’s Devo when I was nine. And I loved Duran Duran, they were my first favourite group – I was obsessed with them. But The Head On The Door was the one that turned me from a casual new waver at 11 years old into shopping for Doc Martens and buying nothing but black clothes! I used to listen to the radio, but once I’d heard The Cure I stopped, ’cos they didn’t really play that sort of stuff.
Not long after that, I heard Siouxsie And The Banshees for the first time, and that just sealed the deal for me. But I think The Head On The Door, when you go through it track by track, is a masterpiece. In Between Days, Kyoto Song, The Blood, Six Different Ways, Close To Me… I spent so much time with that record. I remember having to put a penny on the head of the record player because there was a bit of a skip in the track Screw on the second side.
One song that doesn’t get as much attention but is a fucking masterpiece is Push. That song brings goosebumps all over my body. The first minute of it, there’s just that huge intro, and it reminds me of bands of that age like Echo & The Bunnymen, who were really melodic, playing with a 60s psychedelic influence, but also taking it into a really melancholic and symphonic place. That song is a beautiful composition, one of the best album tracks of all time.
As for Close To Me – let it be known for the record that the only version of Close To Me is the one without the horns! And, you know, Robert Smith was one of the only goths out there who was able to be cute. I mean, he even dresses up in a bear costume! There’s a genuine cuteness to that song, but not in a cloying way. I think it’s what the kids today refer to as a bop.
But The Head On The Door was also a gateway to their darker stuff. Disintegration came out when I was in 8th grade and the opening still just gives me goosebumps! I had the extended version on 12″. It’s so good! Lullaby, I played at my Halloween show, because it’s scary and spooky. They’re just so good at creating a mood. Whatever mood they wanted to be in, they were able to capture really, really well, and do it honestly and earnestly, without coming across as cheesy. And that’s a pretty monumental feat for a band.