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91 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally Worthwhile Upgrade
For fifteen years consumers have had to live with muddy-sounding, flat, low-rent mastering of this classic album. Now, finally, we've got something akin to actual hi-fi. The remastering is amazing. I'm listening to it right now on my wife's cheap Panasonic shelf system and can hear at least four new levels of nuance in just about every instrument in the mix. I honestly...
Published on April 26, 2005 by A. Johnston

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A reissue or a bad joke?
It's obvious this is a classic album and deserves four or five stars rating. It deserves respect as well.
And that's the big problem with the Vinyl Lovers/Lilith's LP re-release: they don't give a #@%& damn about the historical value of this goth masterpiece.

When after weeks of anxious waiting you finally receive your order and open it the first thing you...
Published 11 months ago by Patrik Adam A. Pinto

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars quintessential Cure - first big bid for the Gothic Throne, November 11, 2002
"richlatta" ("The War Zone" ABQ, NM) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Pornography (Audio CD)
A gothic masterwork and the height of the Cure's second phase, this album is undoubtably dark, eerie and, yes, depressing. It's also often very beautiful at the same time. Much of what colors in the darkness here is the drum sound which emphasises bass and de-emphasises higher register percussion. Simon Gallup's bass guitar compliments the moods movingly and assuredly, while the hallucinatory guitar work and voice of Robert Smith swirls in the center.
Opening track "One Hundred Years" casts an apocalyptic shadow of impending doom and destruction over the proceedings ("over and over we die one after the other"). The next track, "A Short Term Effect" is a wierd one, like being in a room of shifting walls and ghosts. This can be attributed to Smith's atmospheric backwards guitar and vocal manipulations as well as the merciless drums and wavering beat. "The Hanging Garden" makes a worthy, intense single, but the heart of the album is "Siamese Twins" and "The Figurehead" with gorgeously grim lyrics of fear, isolation and loathing. Then "A Strange Day," one of the Cure's very best songs, offers a ray of hope via escapism. This song also features one of the rare moments when Smith plays a solo guitar segment with no other instruments - the purpose is to illustrate the feeling of being instantly hit by the memory of a song. Particularly gloomy is "Cold" which features what sounds like a dreary classical bass played with a bow, more brutal drums and icey keys. Finally, the closing title track sounds like some scary torture chamber scene. From my point of view, it's one of those songs that are better appreciated stoned because you're more able to sort out the whirlwind of sounds, otherwise it's kinda hard to make out an actual song here. The muddled voices at the beginning and end of the track are especially freaky.
I definately warped my little teenage mind in the 80's playing this album regularly. I suppose I have an unnatural appreciation for all things goth, grim and disturbing, but it's worth it to see the beauty and pain from the other sides of life.
Regarding the title "Pornography." I happen to know that while Robert Smith can appreciate eroticism, he abhors pornography. I imagine he tried to think of one of the worst things in the world to illustrate how he felt at the time.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Shock of What Was New, January 31, 2009
This review is from: Pornography (Audio CD)
It's a shame in a way that nowadays this album seems to fit in with a vast amount of similarly aggressive and agonising music. On it's release it was the first of it's kind and to describe its impact as harrowing would be a serious understatement.

Seminal it undoubtably was but where other bands strive to achieve the same effect they fail because 'Pornography' is so sincere. Only Nirvana reached the level of outright desperation that brutally stabs out of this recording. But cacophony in itself is not enough. These are really great songs produced by a man who was driving himself way too hard.

In amongst the relentlessly attacking sound, evidence of a great songwriter emerges in moments of astonishing beauty. This is why the Cure's more recent releases fail. Smith was still discovering his ability and wrote as a man in some kind of genuine purgatory. Now, he's wealthy and comfortable and no matter how hard he digs, the well of desparate memories and wondrous revelations have run dry.

So considering it's utterly uncompromising sound it's not surprising that this shocking album didn't sell on release. It left people either stunned (like watching someone having a nervous breakdown at a party) or alienated, after all, it's predecessors were low key and fanciful in comparison.

It marked a change in Smith's life. Although the following album had it's moments of crushing beauty he moved firmly into the land of the 'Lovecats', commercial success and some kind of weird happiness. And unlike Kurt Cobain there really was a happy ending.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "It Doesn't Matter If We All Die.", April 19, 2003
This review is from: Pornography (Audio CD)
"It doesn't matter if we all die" whimpers Robert Smith on "One Hundred Years," the kickoff track from this 1982 album by the Cure. With an opening line like that, you don't need to be a psychic to predict what the rest of "Pornography" is going to sound like. Originally released by A&M records some twenty-odd years ago, "Pornography" was dismissed by some critics, including Rolling Stone, which gave the album a one-and-a-half star rating. But in the years since its release (and particularly following the Cure's rise to fame in America), "Pornography" has been hailed as a gothic masterpiece, a morbid offering that helped raise mope rock to the level of art. Looking for the perky flavor of "Inbetween Days?" This isn't it. Each song creates a dark and dismal landscape that's just as powerful as Joy Division's "Closer." The tribal drums of "The Hanging Garden," the moody "Figurehead," and the creepy title track still sound great after two decades. "Pornography" may be the Cure's best record; doom and gloom have never sounded this fun.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite, And Therefore The Best, Cure Album Ever, January 24, 2004
This review is from: Pornography (Audio CD)
Pornography is my favorite album from The Cure, and is one of my favorite records of all time. Expletives which capture the feeling of Pornography include; dark, rocking, spooky, lush, morbid, strange, ugly, beautiful, brilliant, frightening, calming. I could go on and on, really, but that whole list was getting redundant. I'll say right now that this album is brilliant and beautiful and is the greatest Cure product on the market. If you'd like to leave now, I'd suggest it, because i'm about to over-analyze the whole record.
One Hundred Years - The first track on Pornography is the tense excersize in abstract and nightmarish imagery. The verses jump, in an almost dream-like fashion from topics of death and pain, to lyrical paintings describing things to the last detail ("Just a piece of meat in a clean room, the soldiers close in under a yellow moon, all shadows and deliverance, under a black flag, a hundred years of blood, crimson, the ribbon tightens round my throat". Further proving that Robert Smith is one of the truly great poetic lyricists of our time or that he did a lot of drugs. 8/10
A Short Term Effect - Slowing the pace from One Hundred Years to a dragging beat over-ridden with a declining bass line and the dream-like, effect ladden, lead guitar parts and vocals from Robert Smith. More of the abstract lyric stylings found in "One Hundred Years", less abbrasive as the first track, and yet still leaves and eerie aftertaste in your mouth and a feeling of discomfort in the back of your head. 9/10
The Hanging Garden - One of the key tracks on the album. This could very well be the best song they've written. Driving tom's push you through a fabric of layered guitar effects, and the urgent bass line. Containing some of the most vivid lyrics written by Robert Smith. Definitely one of the best songs on the album. 10/10
Siamese Twins - Starting off with hypnotic chimes over an equally soothing and downbeat drum part, and then gradually revealing the swirling guitars. More abstract lyrics with the Robert Smith trademark vocal treatments. 8/10
The Figurehead - Similar in style to "One Hundred Years" this, the first track on the second half of the record, accounts for a painful look at self-loathing lyricism. The music swells and breaks methodically, to almost the point of leaving you feeling suffocated by the sounds, and then gradually fades out towards the end. 9/10
A Strange Day - This song has an almost aquatic feel to it, as the keyboards waver in and out as Smith indulges in more of his abstract lyricism, and just as the hopeful chorus breaks in and leaves you feeling relieved as you are led to believe the boo-hoo-i'm-sad music is finally behind you, they bring you back down as though pulling the safety blanket out from under your feet. We're not done yet kids! Robert Smith needs his paycheck! Que awesome guitar bridge. 8/10
Cold - Uh oh. You hear those opening notes and the dreary drumbeat and you know that this hallucinogin inspired masterpiece isn't over just yet. The instruments build and build as Robert Smith's lyrics become darker and vocally become more urgent. This is the big lead up to the sad-bastard grand finale of the record.
Pornography - Congratulations, you've reached the end, and if you're lucky haven't slit your wrists yet! And now you're about to live through the weirdest, most lyrically abstract, and darkest piece of music that you've probably ever heard in your life. The drum beat pushes against your temples like nothing else on this record, as the completely bleak music crowds into your headspace, with the added bonus of completely hopeless vocals which are lost within a barrage of alien sounds and voices. 10/10
So that wraps up my over-indulgent look at my favorite record of all time from The Cure. If you think you've heard music about as dark as it gets and you haven't heard this album, you haven't even experienced the half of it. However, if you have heard this and do know of a darker, more sensory-wrenching piece of work, let me know, cause i'm curious as to know how you lived through it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The longest most boring music review ever.", November 14, 2001
This review is from: Pornography (Audio CD)
There is no hope, no direction, and no point left in the world. And no one will ever do anything about it. We are handicapped by time and by our mortality. If we were to live for a hundred years we would still be as ineffectual. The only thing we know is death and blood. Life is a heartless babysitter waiting to be relieved of her duties.
This is my interpretation of The Cure's Pornography. The real beauty is that The Cure declares this messege without having to sound stupid, like I do. The work is abstract and implied, but where as that could become annoying, they balance it with lyrics and music that are powerful and straight forward. There are lines you can get behind like a picketer.
For an album you can get in the crusty "Gothic" section, this album stays clear of the main pothold of gothic/dark music; it doesn't ask for pitty. We are all in it together, but "it" is nothing, and we are nothing. So whatever.
As an album that didn't come out during a great war, it does feel like post-World War literature. It's as nihilistic as a soldier realising he isn't dead, but buried permanently in a mass grave. Surrounded by bodies.
But The Cure says none of this. This is only what I have to say about it.
Musically, it has the strongest guitar work of sll the albums, and the addictive drums make the tracks feel more like acts of a play. Drums that sound like a beating that never ends. Or Changes. Yes, drums that never change, like how life never changes. Get it?
It is impossible for me to be able to judge the actual music, I have simply listened to the album too many times to do that. The album is a feeling and I cannot seriously rate a feeling.
It's a feeling of ennui, but, it is respectable because it rebels from it. It's not simply about nothingness, but the rebellion against nothingness. It's a report; look at the state of the world-- What is this garbage?
But then again, it is also nothing of this.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Walls Crash Down..., October 26, 2005
This review is from: Pornography (Audio CD)
I think the other reviewers have described the bleakness and brilliance of this album much more poetically than I'll be able to, but here I go anyway. This is definitely one of the darkest albums of the 80's, and even of all time. There's no album in existence that really comes close to the sound on this one, except maybe "Disintegration." The Cure is one of my favorite bands of all time, and it's a testament to their genius that they can manage to make songs with the same instruments and vocals that can be so gloomy and oppressive one minute and then poppy and cheerful the next. (Don't believe me? Check out "Japanese Whispers," which was released right after Pornography.) The entire album is like suffocating in despair. "A Strange Day" almost fools you into thinking there may be a break in the clouds with its poetic chorus, the guitars that seem to be waking and stretching after distant riffs and gloom, and the vocals that invoke a feeling bordering on peaceful; but for me this is the most depressing song on the album. In the end, this isn't a song of freedom from a crushing despair, but a song of giving in to it. For me it's heartbreaking to listen to, but it's also the most beautiful song on the album.

"Siamese Twins" is a masterpiece. As far as I can tell, no two people think the same thing or interpret the lyrics in the same way. And even if you can't make head or tails of it, the music that seems to reek of guilt and Robert Smith's tortured voice can move you to tears. I personally think it's about guilt after betraying someone. It has imagery that can haunt you. "She glows and grows, with arms outstretched/Her legs around me/In the morning I cried."

"A Hundred Years" and "The Hanging Garden" are the most caustic songs on the album, with a gloom and horror around them that eats away at you. I used to not be able to stand "The Hanging Garden," just because of the horrible images the lines "Cover my face as the animals die!" invoked. What can I say, I'm an animal lover. The same goes for "A Hundred Years" and the line "A sound like a tiger thrashing in the water." Go figure. They grew on me eventually. But a warning: These songs are both very, very disturbing. "A Hundred Years" especially is not a song to listen to if you're feeling suicidal. I especially like the drums on "The Hanging Garden." Who knew? Evidently Lol Tolhurst does have his moments, however few and far between.

"Cold" is another masterpiece, with chilling synth tones and vocals that have been mechanized enough to sound harsh and frozen. The title is not a coincidence. There are a few more scarred images here. "Your back was turned/Curled like an embreyo" and "I was cold as I mouthed the words/And crawled across the mirror."

I'm not a huge, huge fan of "A Short Term Effect." I think this has more to do with me being sick of hearing the words "cold," "mirror," and "die" so many times than a reflection on the actual song. If it had been on any other album I probably would have loved it, but here it just seems repetitive and boring. "The Figurehead" doesn't do much for me musically, either. I do love the words to it, it's just that the music it's set to doesn't appeal to me. It's slow, but not in the way that the other songs are slow. It's gloomy, but not innovative. Again, this is probably just from being set against this album. I would love it if it were paired with songs that didn't make it sound like a cheap imitation. The imagery and flow to the poetry of "The Figurehead" is twisted and dark and amazing. It's just the music I don't like, is all.

And finally, "Pornography." The title track is definitely a love-it-or-hate-it compilation, consisting of what sounds like a German talk show being played in reverse and more disturbing lyrics. The drum beat is excellent, threatening to blow us away but never quite doing so--reminds me of the craving of lust. Bloodlust, in this case. "A desire for flesh/And real blood/And I'll watch you drown in the shower/Pushing my life through your open eyes."

"Pornography" is one of the most stark, terrifying trips into the depths of the human soul that you can find anywhere, in music, art, literature, etc. So in conclusion, buy the damn CD and let it change the way you perceive everything in your world. Wisdom leaks from the edges of this work like blood, and the gloom is waiting for you.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sounds much better, June 2, 2006
"Pornography" may be the definitive Cure album. The group has had some serious missteps, several lineup changes, all the highs and lows that go with a thirty year history, but this one is on the mark from begining to end. Many fans cite the 1989 masterpiece "Disintergration" as the groups finest hour, and I'll stay out of the debate (personally, I am partial to "Faith", despite its obvious shortcomings)--but if there is such a thing as a Cure aesthetic, it finds some of its best exprression here. The sound is stipped down, ominous interlocking drums and bass. The lyrics are mostly superb. From the opening of the disc, "It doesn't matter if we all die" (can there be a better summation to the group's gestalt?), to the self-referential final lines of the work, there is real passion here. It flirts with solipsism--a characteristic that mars much of their other work--but never quite crosses over. Whether you're 14 and "screaming at the moon", or 40 and covering your face as the animals die, there is poetry enough here.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cure's timeless masterpiece, August 31, 2004
B (Rochester, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Pornography (Audio CD)
After the goth/punk classic "Seventeen Seconds", and the bleak, homogenic soundscapes of "Faith", The Cure released what many (including myself) consider to be their greatest album of all time, "Pornography". Whereas "Seventeen Seconds" and "Faith" were both dark and rather depressing, "Pornography" is downright scary.

The opening guitar riff of the monolithic "One Hundred Years" sets the tone for the whole album. Extremely haunting, and instantly memorable - and that applies to the entire song, a much heavier affair than anything on previous Cure albums.

"A Short Term Effect" is built around robotic drumming and eerie layers of guitar distortion. "Siamese Twins", in which Robert Smith repeatedly asks, "Is it always like this??" (referring to his first sexual experience), is another slow burning, brooding collage of pounding percussion and gloomy guitars.

Arguably the best song on the album (although it's nearly impossible to choose) is "The Figurehead", an anxious, 6+ minute goth/psychedelia dirge whose spine tingling, scary guitars are enough to frighten the little kids on halloween this year. Actually, that's not a bad idea.

"A Strange Day" provides a template for the more optimistic gloom that would be found on later releases such as 1989's "Disintegration". It's still dark and fits the tone of the album, but the chorus soars, full of more life and anthematic qualities than the rest of the album.

The title track closes out the album - a collage of sounds, horrific synthesizers, pounding drums, and Robert Smith's most anguished vocals on the album. He closes by screaming, "I must fight this sickness! Find a cure!". Talk about perfect endings..

The other great moments include the hypnotic tribal beat and overall sparseness of "The Hanging Garden", and the gloomy, synth-laden "Cold".

Make no mistake about it: "Pornography" will be extremely tough to swallow at first, especially if you're used to later Cure albums such as "Wish", "The Head on the Door", and the aforementioned "Disintegration". It's one of the bleakest, univiting, depressing, and scary 45 minutes ever recorded. However, repeated listens will reveal more and more - it may not become your favorite Cure album like it did for me, but you'll certainly appreciate it as a truly incredible work of art. One man's pain will become another one's pleasure.

Highest Recommendation

Best Songs: The Figurehead, Siamese Twins, One Hundred Years, Pornography, A Strange Day.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Drum driven emotional scatology", October 9, 2000
Stefvon Egeston (Chicago, Il. United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Pornography (Audio CD)
17 seconds begun a musical exploration of emotive detatchment which evolved into alienation and uncertainty on the album faith. Both albums were still somewhat reserved in expressing each of their respective moods, but with pornography, there is no particle of temperance evident.The rage, regret, resentment, and despair layered of this album are the result of losing sight of everything including faith itself. This albums thematic vision is only rivaled by their 8th release disintegration which has 4 more trks than pornography.The thick basslines which dominated the two previous releases have been supplanted by pounding drums which are relentless on trks like 100 years and the hanging garden, and as methodic as a pulsing heart on trks siamese twins and the figurehead.The words are fleshier and the images they induce more vividly nourishing than ever before.17 seconds was flirtation, faith was fourplay, and with pornogrphy comes unadulterated carnality with all it's rancorous side effects. All the vagaries have dissipated, replaced by fury and conscious futility where smith lyrically drags us into a world littered with blood, waves, mirrors, blindness, kisses, insomnia, and screams where pain, death, and dust govern... Cold(trk7) has a tinkling noise that sounds like a perverse interpretation of a xylophone composed of bone
and icicles behind a sound of mechanized combustion which steams along with smith's frostbitten voice. A strange day(trk-6) has a feel of eerie intrepidation and an inevitable submission to the drowning unknown, while siamese twins gives us smith's vocals bitterly drenched in remorse and hopelessness. Echos fade in a verbal distortion of impassioned distress amidst stalking drums and vibrating reverberations on a short term effect. This album is a documentation of internal warfare, the fight to descend to deeper, darker, depths, and the struggle to resist once momentum urges you onward despite fear and ensuing madness.The title trk. opens with inverted speech over a faint conversation in the back ground. When the vocals begin, they sound as they are clawing through a small slit that is in the fabric between life and death. The lyric;" and I'll watch you drown in the shower, pushing my life through your open eyes", seems to be a threat the soul makes to the flesh. Had this been the follow up to 3 imaginary boys, I would be inclined to feel these sentiments were contrived attempts to start of join a trend. This was not the case with the cure, they made a natural progression of sound and lyrics, making it imperative to listen to 17 seconds, then faith, before engaging in pornography... Robert and lol subsequently recorded 3 atypical singles(let's go to bed, the walk, lovecats) undoubtedly to the dismay of people who had liked the tone and mood that the cure's last 3 releases expressed. This willingness to go in a new direction was consistent with what the cure have always done. A change was necessary to reign in the intensity that would have consumed them had it progressed in totality on the heels of pornography. Many artist and people who admire their creativity embrace and emulate what they perceive as darkness without having taken a natural journey to that point. The lesson that can be learned from this album is that true darkness occurs in stages, and is not always a voluntary excursion. The purest darkness is not trendy, sophisticated, or stylish. Anyone who has ever felt it realizes that it's an insidious sickness agonizing to cure.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 100 stars If I could..The cures finest moment, October 9, 2006
I have been a cure fan since the 8th grade. They are and have been my favorite band. Having digested all of thier albums continously (this band got me through high school, so I support this band very strongly) I can honestly say that Pornography is thier best body of work. Nothing else they did comes close to this...its incredible. Its like being thrown into your worst nightmare and enjoying it. Yeah, Im confused too but there it is. The song "100 Hundred years"(the song itself makes the album worth buying) starts the trip without mercy with Robert Smith uttering the harsh "It doesnt matter if we all die." You know that you are in for a heck of a ride so your brain automatically buckles its seatbelt and before you know it, your lost in this beautiful and disturbing world. If the cure were labled Goth after this record than they only have themselves to blame for churning out this masterpiece. But you cant help but listen to this and know that all of the dracula wannabes have this record in thier collection.

If your new to the cure and you are interested in trying to understand what all the fuss is about than this is the best starting point for your unforgettable journey into this bands mythic and brilliant music.

Most people will say that Disintegration or Head on the door is the launching pad But I disagree. Pornography is the best way to get it. Its the Cure at its most vulnerable and its most potent. THe song "100 years" will be all the proof you need and before you know it your hooked.

Than you will find yourself patting yourself on the back for listening to this wonderful band...I still do....17 years and counting.
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Pornography by The Cure (Audio CD - 1990)
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