Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The Cure: Boys Don't Cry [PVC, 1980]
The sound is dry postpunk, with touches of Wire's spare, arty melodicism, more Pink Flag than 154. Never pretty, it's treated with a properly mnemonic pop overlay--scan the titles and you'll recall a phrase from all but a few of these thirteen songs. Intelligent phrases they are, too. Yet what are we to think of a band whose best song is based on Albert Camus's The Stranger, a book that was holy writ for collegiate existentialists before Robert Smith was even born? The last thing we need is collegiate existentialism nostalgia. B+