Frankie Rose - Seventeen Seconds

by Rob Taylor Rating:3 Release Date:2017-10-27
Frankie Rose - Seventeen Seconds
Frankie Rose - Seventeen Seconds

1980’s Seventeen Seconds caught The Cure at their most austere and introspective. Whilst it was their sophomore album, it was regarded by Smith as the first proper Cure album after the departure of bassist Martin Dempsey in favour of Simon Gallup, who shared a more collateral vision with the frontman.

As a 15 year old, I remember my mother despairing over my deeply morose listening habits, and I think this album, and Faith that came after it, was her idea of the Devil’s spawn. The oppression wrought by the submerged bass and uncertain, languid pulse raised many difficult questions, that’s for sure. Do you think I could articulate that it was simply exciting music to listen to; music so exquisitely grey in tone, and perfectly capturing a bored teenager’s ambivalence ? Of all the emotional highs and lows, the disappointment in what an adult life promised? No, but I shrugged off the misplaced concern and turned the music up, probably to eleven. 

Anyone who deigns to cover Seventeen Seconds in its entirety, hoping for a moment to either approximate, or subjugate the psychological abyss at the core of it, is surely deluded. Rose does a decent job of it to be fair, and makes no attempt to suffuse it with feminine tones, or brighten its darker elements. In fact, she makes little attempt to re-interpret anything, and therein lies the problem. This is paying tribute in the most literal way. I went back to the original, and it was like a breath of fresh air, like visiting an old friend in person rather than reading a postcard.

I wouldn’t bother. The original trumps all.

 

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