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Wild Nothing's Jack Tatum: Five Essential Cure Songs

Wild Nothing's Jack Tatum (photo courtesy of Captured Tracks, PR)

Wild Nothing's Jack Tatum (photo courtesy of Captured Tracks, PR)


[August 2018 update: Wild Nothing's Jack Tatum is on the brink of releasing a fourth album, called Indigo, on August 31 followed by a North American tour this autumn. And as Tatum also marks his first decade of making music, one of his beloved bands, the Cure, recently celebrated its 40th anniversary with an uplifting (even for the Cure) concert at London's Hyde Park in early July with a line-up that included Slowdive, Interpol, Goldfrapp, and Ride. In addition, the Cure's Robert Smith curated this summer's 25th annual Meltdown Festival at London's Southbank Centre, pulling together a dazzling roster of acts he admires like Nine Inch Nails, My Bloody Valentine, Manic Street Preachers, Kristin Hersh, Mogwai, and the Psychedelic Furs. Sadly, Frightened Rabbits were also on that bill and following Scott Hutchison's tragic death in May, Smith replaced what would have been the band's set with a panel on mental health awareness and the music industry.]

Back when Wild Nothing's Jack Tatum visited WFUV for a session in 2013, in support of his lovely second album, Nocturne, he spoke of his admiration of Fleetwood Mac, Kate Bush, and shoegaze bands like Slowdive. His impressive 2010 debut, Gemini, deftly embraced the grey, dream-pop terrain of Cocteau Twins, The Go-Betweens, and the Cure.

For his most recent album, the bold Life of Pause, Tatum found inspiration in the guise of Philly soul; but the former Brooklyn resident (he's a recent Los Angeles transplant) still harbors a fondness for the Cure and the bands that shaped Wild Nothing's early sound.

FUV asked Tatum to come up with a list of some of his "Five Essential Cure Songs" for FUV Essentials and his selections include a long-lost B-side that's been cropping up in the Cure's 2016 tour.

Wild Nothing's Jack Tatum: Five Essential Cure Songs

So I'd feel weird calling this an "essential" list of songs by the Cure (there are much bigger fans who could handle that question better), but for me these are the songs that mean the most to me for whatever reason:

"Charlotte Sometimes," a single but found on Faith (Deluxe Edition)
I'm not actually that drawn to a lot of the Cure's early work, which is probably stupid, even blasphemous maybe. I respect those first few records a lot and, of course, there are classic songs littered throughout, but my own personal love affair with the Cure starts with this song. It's fairly dark but as with a lot of the Cure's music it doesn't feel menacing to me. Musically it's also pretty simple which feels and felt inviting especially as I was starting to write some of the early Wild Nothing songs and thinking about rhythm.

"The Caterpillar," The Top
The Top is a weird record, but it also happens to be home to what I feel like is the first really great Cure pop song after "Boys Don't Cry." It's an extremely catchy song, but also has a lot of unique elements to it like the chaotic intro and the super-layered and panned vocal effects.

"Six Different Ways," The Head on the Door
I really love The Head On The Door-era Cure. Hard to pick a favorite, but I've always been drawn to this song. The instrumentation is really varied on this record and this song is a good example of that. I guess it must've been the DX7 they were using for a lot of these sounds which is pretty iconic in a cheesy sort of way.

"The Exploding Boy," B-side of "In Between Days"
The fact that this song never turned up on an LP sort of baffles me because it's such a great song. I guess that's just a testament to how many great songs Robert Smith has written. I'm a sucker for sax, especially in this context. In my opinion this is the best Cure B-side.

"Disintegration," Disintegration
It would feel wrong to not include a song from this record and for me, the title track is the most powerful song of them all. I love the build; it's just an extremely epic song. Seeing them play this song live a few years ago, broken glass sample and all, was very moving.

- Jack Tatum, Wild Nothing
June 2016

Read all of FUV's Five Essentials.