This list of songs is inspired by lists published by radio station KEXP-FM from Seattle in 2010, as well as the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part I will faithfully countdown from their lists, starting at Song #500 and going until I reach Song #1. When you see the song title listed as something like: Song #XXX (KEXP)….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. Song XXX (RS) means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: Song #xxx (KTOM), it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In any case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, just so everyone is aware, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Here is the story behind today’s song. Enjoy.
KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #18: Just Like Heaven by The Cure.
One of the things that constantly amazes me as this countdown unfolds is how time has stood still for so many of these songs that have made the list. There was a time, early on in the countdown, when I received a few minor complaints that I was favouring newer music over the classic tunes from The Beatles and Elvis and The Rolling Stones. The complaints centred on a small stretch of songs, within the first twenty or so posted, that all seems to focus on Manchester, England in the early 1980s. The funny thing about this is that even those songs from the early 1980s….the ones derided as being “new music” are, in fact, forty years old. The bands and singers who first broke into our musical consciousnesses back then are now all qualifying for the Senior’s discounts in restaurants and at department stores. Yet, their music still sounds fresh and relevant and important. Such is the case with today’s song, “Just Like Heaven” by The Cure.
In my mind, I find myself still reflecting upon the impact that bands like The Cure, Depeche Mode, Joy Division/New Order and The Smiths all had on me and millions of other fans. Between all four bands, they have sold over 150 million albums. All have been inducted into The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. All but The Smiths continue to tour to sold -out audiences. Their music appears in movies and on TV shows to this day. Their songs, like The Cure’s, “Just Like Heaven” continue to play in high rotation on my own personal playlists at home. So, it is not surprising to note that their music finds itself near the top of this countdown list, as well as, sprinkled liberally, all the way through. In fact, if you are a fan of The Smiths, you can read all of their posts here, here, here, here and here. Fans of Depeche Mode can read posts here, here and here. Those interested in Joy Division/New Order can read posts here, here, here, here, here and here. And, as for The Cure, their posts can be read, here, here and, of course, today’s song, “Just Like Heaven”.
“Just Like Heaven”, along with “A Forest”, have been my favourite Cure songs for the better part of my life. “Just Like Heaven” opens with one of my favourite “first verses” ever because, as a much younger man, it describes the type of feelings and emotional reaction I was always hoping that some girl would feel for me one day. In the case of this song, singer Robert Smith must have been a lot like me because he is writing about the young woman who would go on, one day, to become his wife. The song opens with the girl saying to the boy:
“Show me, show me, show me, how you do that trick.
The one that makes me scream!” she said.
“The one that makes me laugh!”, she said.
And she threw her arms around my head.
“Show me how you do it
and I promise you, I promise that
I’ll run away with you.
I’ll run away with you.”
Those words about falling in love with his future wife occurred at a special spot in England known as Beachy Head. It is a windswept, beautiful location; one which seared itself into Robert Smith’s heart and his mind. This memory took the form of a song that Smith confesses, never would have been written without the presence of his wife in his life. In a world where successful musicians can end up over-indulged and excessively pampered, to the point where they lose their bearings and give way to addictions of one sort or another, Robert Smith always points to the constant presence of his wife, Mary, all throughout his career as being one of the main reasons why The Cure have had a career that has lasted a long as it has and been as successful as it has. At a time like we are experiencing in our society, it is refreshing to see someone like Robert Smith expressing his love for his wife, not through physical actions but, instead, through the words of a song that turned out to be one of the biggest selling songs of all-time. It is certainly a song that makes me smile whenever I hear it and makes me reflect on how lucky I am to have someone who throws her arms around my head, from time to time. Living life with a soulmate is the ultimate blessing. It is what this song always means to me.
So, without further delay, here is Robert Smith and The Cure with one of my all-time favourite songs, “Just Like Heaven”. Enjoy.
The link to the video for the song, “Just Like Heaven” by The Cure, can be found here.
The link to the official website for The Cure, can be found here.
Thanks, as always, to KEXP, for helping to inspire the writing of this post. The link to their wonderful website can be found here.