FFWDing to the Best Part: “Pictures of You,” The Cure (1990)

Without a doubt one of their worst videos, The Cure’s “Pictures of You,” from their 1989 album Disintegration, is by far one of their best songs. Epically emo, with a droning rhythm, and sentimental lyrics, it is the definitive Cure ballad. The lyrics are amorphous and unspecific enough that anyone who has felt heartache or loss can bleed along with Robert Smith as he whines, “If only I’d thought of the right words/I could have held on to your heart.”

The video is a strange one. Palm trees, snow, winter coats, and the making-of-a-video-within-the-video-idea make you wonder “Why?” With their caught-on-film Hard Day’s Night-type antics and Smith’s cringe-inducing smile, it feels like it should have been the backing video for 1992’s regrettable but (unfortunately) unforgettable “Friday I’m in Love.”

The Best Part comes at the 4:07 mark. The music swells with a strum of chimes as the chord progression goes from the monotonous A-D-A-D to A-B-C#-D. Those two chords in between seem to stretch out the emotional motif and, for one reason or another, the upward spiraling bass line gets me every time.

 

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2 thoughts on “FFWDing to the Best Part: “Pictures of You,” The Cure (1990)

  1. Come on, now. “Friday, I’m in Love” is REALLY good. I shall figure out the Best Part!

    And re-seeing this video sadly reminds me that Robert Smith is not aging terribly well. Of course, who is? Besides Bruce Springsteen and John Taylor.

  2. The chord progression changes a little. It goes from straight A-D to A-D/B-A/C#-D. So while the guitar continues with implied A and D chords throughout, the bassline is doing a typical scale walkup, with the D/B reading as a Bm. The bass continues upward after that point as well, bringing the “climbing out of the hole” release effect that you identified.

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