Pornography

by The Cure

Released May 3, 1982 via Fiction Records

Reviewed April 28, 2022

Top tracks (based on community voting)
One Hundred Years (70%), The Hanging Garden (52%), Siamese Twins (48%)

​​As one of the first progenitors of gothic rock to achieve great commercial success, The Cure’s legacy is nothing less than infallible. And with a career that spans over forty years—which brought us eight albums in their first ten—The Cure have been some of the most consistent purveyors of sadness. The band’s fourth record, Pornography, is a defining effort that beautifully captures the band’s early era when they were at their darkest. Ominous, gloomy, and atmospheric, Pornography harnesses the most somber elements of post-punk and sees The Cure enveloping themselves within. Reverb and overdubbed vocals are staples, drowning the atmosphere of Pornography in misery. Written and recorded during a time in frontman Robert Smith’s life that saw him experiencing severe depression, mental exhaustion, and suicidal thoughts, Pornography is fully submerged in the darkest depths of hia psyche. Smith’s voice is often fraught and despondent, with the band enveloping his words in dense, spiraling, instrumentals that only push the feelings of madness deeper. The level of self-loathing is long past desperation and cries for help, now coming to terms with a life devoid of joy and merely anticipating the day it all comes to an end. Pornography is a catacomb of despair that leaves the listener with no recourse, proving to be one of the most ingenious artistic explorations in incapacitating feelings of existentialism. – Dominick (10/10)


Drenched in damp production—reverb-heavy, wet washed, and home to the signature sullen Robert Smith outlook—Pornography packs quite the gothic gut punch. “One Hundred Years” opens up the album with what may just be the quintessential gothic rock track. Thoughts of the end—both personally and romantically—visions of impending doom, and soundscapes akin to mental decay paint pictures of shadow strewn bedroom walls and strobe lit hallways. The album’s sound design and a spacious sense of close proximity make it an intimate experience. Not in the nice sense, however. Rather, everything feels like it is closing in on the listener, edging closer to complete submersion. What was once a distant concern has become a bitingly proximal problem. Perennial gray engulfs and it doesn't have an ounce of niceness to its existence. Pornography is nothing short of chilling and everything oozes a distant, disconnected feel. – Peter (8.5/10)


Dominick: 10/10 | Jared: 10/10 | Ben (Synth): 9/10

Cam: 9/10 | DeVán: 9/10 | Pax: 9/10 | Peter: 8.5/10