Making banana bread this morning, I was struck by a surprising thought.
I am a dope.
What made me realize this, you ask? "Catch"—a song by The Cure which teenage William found incredibly profound. Teenage William thought a lot of silly things were profound—Phish, Bret Easton Ellis, using turn signals—but The Cure was right at the top of the pile. And even as I've given up on hippified improvisation and proper driving etiquette, I've remained fond of the pancake make-up doom-and-gloom of Robert Smith and co.
But while pulverizing breakfast bananas, it hit me that The Cure might not be quite as clever as I thought. Most Cure fans realized this a long time ago, but I held on, charmed by the nostalgia for the excess of feeling that once meant so much to me. And I'll go to my grave insisting that "How Beautiful You Are" is one of the finest pop songs of all time. (Hopefully in some kind of pop music firing squad situation, with a jack-booted Long Island gestapo type promising to spare my life if I'll just swear fealty to Billy Joel.)
But "Catch"? "Catch" is a stupid fucking song. Let's have a listen.
Sounds all right, eh? I'd describe it as swirly, and that's a good thing. And the way Robert Smith slurs out the lyrics—it's a naptime kind of song, and that's good too. The sort of thing an eighth grader might murmur along to, imagining that one day he'll discover the alchemical secret behind turning girls into girlfriends.
But the lyrics, as I realized this morning while measuring flour, are dumb.
She used to just stand there and stare
And roll her eyes right up to heaven
And make like I just wasn't there
And she used to fall down a lot
That girl was always falling
Again and again
And I used to sometimes try to catch her
But I never even caught her name
At fourteen, this all struck me as romantic, in an, "Isn't she amazing/She's so damaged" kind of way. But in breakfast baking retrospect, this doesn't even approach that level. This is a song about a girl who spaces out and falls down. It isn't an epic, swirly, sleepytime love story. It's a cry for help about a young woman with an inner ear problem, and the man who doesn't have the sense to direct her to a chair.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to reminisce about The Smiths, who never wrote a stupid song in their life. Oh, wait.