the cure - strange attraction
no intro just lyrical analysis bay bee!
It started with a dedication Lost in admiration happy birthday I'm forever yours blossom Faded red inside a tiny book of butterflies I smiled surprised at how when flickered through The wings flew by spelled out my name
the song begins with the protagonist describing their. evidently happy long distance relationship. we are dropped into the narrative evidently some time after it has begun, with the protagonist and their partner enamored with eachotheir. their partner sends a birthday present, a card promising their everlasting devotion and a painstakingly crafted book featuring illustrated butterflies which when the protagonist flips through form an animation that spelles out their name.
Six months went by the summer lost Obsessively the letters dropped into my life The same soft blood smooth flowing hand Please try to understand I have to see you have to feel you Tell you all the ways I need you yours forever in love
the protagonist describes falling deeper in love with this person. time passes, months, and they continue to communicate with their lover via mail, letters flying back and forth talking of how desperately each desires to meet the other in person. i think it somewhat interesting that the protagonists lover uses a similar dedication as with the birthday gift: 'forever in love' and 'i'm forever yours'.
Strange attraction spreads it's wings It varies but the smallest things You never know how anything will change Strange attraction spreads it's wings And alters but the smallest things You never know how anything will fade
we get to the chorus. the protagonist talks of their 'strange attraction', a relationship consisting entirely of letters sent back and forth. we can only imagine how it began: did the lovers meet once and agree to keep in touch via mail? or was it something more whimsical, a letter delivered to the wrong person? the protagonist describes this love changing their life, which is understandable: their main relationship is one with someone they haven't seen in months, if ever! there is a bit of foreshadowing for the end of the song, with the talk of unforseen changes and things fading. another aside: we see a reference to the 'wigns' of this attraction, much like the wings in the birthday gift in the first verse.
The year grew old incessantly she wrote to me She'd started smoking poetry I laughed in recognition of a favourite phrase She'd pulled me in I answered her A Christmas card in sepia Arranging when and where And how the two of us should meet
the lovers continue to write eachother, and the year draws to a close. i have to say, i really have no idea what 'she'd started smoking poetry' means: i assume it's a metaphor, but i can't imagine what. based on the next line, i assume it's a style of writing or something? whatever. continuing: the protagonist becomes ever more enamored with this lover and their letters. i imagine them opening a letter, reading it, chuckling to themselves as they read, because of this 'favorite phrase' of theirs. they finish the letter, maybe re-read it, and sit down to write one of their own. they bring up the topic of meeting up, and in the next letter their lover enthusiastically agrees. they send a christmas card, with a date and location, and the protagonist prepares.
Her opening so well prepared A nervous smile I couldn't take my eyes from her She whispered Can I use some of your lipstick? It was perfect so believable I couldn't help but feel that it was real And kissing crimson fell into her waiting arms
the day comes, and i like to imagine the protagonist stepping off a plane. their lover is waiting. both are nervous at first, happy but also not entirely ready. they stare at eachother, unable to speak, until their lover breaks the silence, rather anticlimactically: they ask to use some of the protagonist's lipstick. it's nice to imagine this as robert smith inserting a small reference to himself in the song: he often wore lipstick, even once during the tour for the cure's album 'kiss me, kiss me, kiss me' using it as eyeliner. with this simple question, the nervousness seems to fade away. the protagonist breaks out into a grin, believing with every fiber of their being that this is true love, believing their lover's signature 'forever yours'. they blush and embrace their love, and the pair walk away blissfully.
So alone into the cold new year without another word from her I wrote to ask if we could maybe meet again before the spring But weeks went by with no reply until once more my birthday came And with it my surprise but this time nothing was the same
but alas, the visit has to end sometime. the protagonists lover returns to wherever they came from, and the protagonist is left alone. incidentally, this first line is my favorite in the whole song: i feel the phrase 'cold new year', and the line as a whole, really encapsulate that feeling of just having gotten done talking with someone, just having gone home or just having hung up the phone, and still feeling good, but now you don't know what to do with yourself. the protagonist sits, alone, and another year ends. they decide to write again, asking, of course, if they could meet again. but their lover doesn't respond for months of end, until one fateful day in spring.
I'm sorry blame infatuation blame imagination I was sure you'd be the one but I was wrong It seems reality destroys our dreams I won't forget you blossom Faded red inside a tiny book of old goodbyes
the lover writes with devastating news. they aren't forever in love, as they put it; the protagonist was wrong to believe it was real. maybe they found someone else, maybe something happened who's to say. but either way, they have come to the conclusion that they got caught up in the moment, forgot the rest of their life, and they can't keep doing that. the tone makes it sound involuntary, almost: they would love to keep writing back and forth, keep meeting up, keep getting off a plane and fallign into the protagonist's arms, keep being in love. but they can't. life, reality, saw that beautiful dream and crushed it. all they can offer is another book, a bittersweet memory of the birthday gift from the first verse, with the attached note not a celebration but the phrase 'i won't forget you'. 'blossom' seems to be the protagonist's pet name here, and in using it they really drive home that their relationship has to end. 'i won't forget you, blossom'. the protagonist opens the book and finds not butterflies, but a farewell.
Strange attraction spreads it's wings It varies but the smallest things You never know how anything will change Strange attraction spreads it's wings And alters but the smallest things And you never know, and you never know, and you never know
the protagonist has finished their tale. they repeat the chorus, and now it's clear what they meant by 'you never know how anything will change'. this strange attraction altered all but the smallest things, as they put it, changed their life, and then it ended. they may fall in love again, but how can they know that any love in the future will be real? how can they know that anyone else they meet won't turn out like their lover, forced by circumstance to end whatever they had? the answer is they can't. they'll never know.back to home