The Cult: “Love”
Secondhand Vinyl Album
Original Release Date: 1985 Beggars Banquet
(My Rating: 3 Stars)
Big Neon Glitter
Brother Wolf, Sister Moon
She Sells Sanctuary
To begin, I want to state that the title of this album perfectly describes how I feel about it. Not that I’m in total, “Love,” with every song presented here. I guess I think of this record as more of a complex relationship. When there are good times they’re extraordinary, but the bad times well…they’re pretty terrible. However, that’s love right? To put it simply, sometimes it can really suck.
Keeping this in mind the album, “Love,” by The Cult is no different. Being introduced to this record is like meeting an attractive person for the first time. Initially what drew this listener in was it's outer appearance. I have to give major kudos to the individual who designed the album art for this band. Not only did this artist have a firm grasp on the appeal of a cohesive theme, they managed to execute one that reflected The Cult’s vision of hippie dipped metal. Nothing says, “I’m a head banger dancing among the hyacinths,” like an artistic tribute to ancient civilizations. Basically, when it comes to photography, font, and overall packaging, "Love's," cover design deserves 5 pharaohs for its’ Egyptian theme.
However, like most relationships, this review is not based on appearance alone. While song’s like, “Nirvana,” “Revolution,” and, “Love,” (the title track) are for the most part agreeable, this listener can’t help but be disappointed by the underwhelming feeling she gets upon hearing the actual content behind such a pretty piece of artwork. It’s like discovering the, “hot guy,” at the party is really boring.
Of course, one prefers boring to just plain bad, which is also presented through the songs, “Big Neon Glitter,” and, “Hollow Man.” Listening to these tunes I can’t help but smirk at their extremely silly, sing song rhymes. This is a real shame because despite the pretty perturbing lyrics, there’s some real guitar talent going on here. I guess this listener simply can’t get past vocalist, Ian Astbury, continually telling her to, “Drag Me Back, Drag Me Back, Drag Me Back…” How about we, “drag back,” to a better song like, “Rain?”
Which brings me to the highlights of the album. “Phoenix,” is without a doubt the best example of The Cult’s, “guitar god,” status. Not only are the instrumental solos awesome but Astbury’s vocals on this song are like a slow burn that ultimately sparks enough excitement at the end to literally raise a Phoenix from the ashes. Cheesy…maybe, but I believe it to be true.
In addition, songs like, “Brother Wolf, Sister Moon,” and, “Rain,” (my personal favorite) are the perfect complement to the aforementioned album art. Not only do these tunes create an inkling of ancient mystery and drama, but they make this listener want to do a crazy rain dance in the middle of a mosh pit. Who says metal heads can’t wear moccasins? It’s certainly not this critic or The Cult.
Lastly, what can one say about a song like, “She Sells Sanctuary?” I mean, it’s the reason everyone bought the album, “Love,” in the first place. I guess one can think of it like this the, “hot guy,” at the party finally comes across the room and says, “The sparkle in your eyes keeps me alive,” and all of a sudden you find yourself in, “Love,” even though a lot of what he has to say is ridiculous.