The Cure – Like Cockatoos

Like Cockatoos - The Cure

A flock of cockatoos in the wild produce a cacophonous, frantic shriek that can be strikingly unsettling. Their call radiates a sense of terror and dread that is reminiscent of the scream of an imperiled person. How imaginatively fitting that Robert James Smith, singer/songwriter for The Cure, would choose the sound to represent the inner turmoil caused by a woman’s punctured dreams after the failure of a destructive relationship. “Like Cockatoos” is a haunting song from The Cure’s 1987 release Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me. It begins like a gloomy symphony, cockatoos lamenting and wailing, setting a foreboding mood of fright and turmoil, followed by a death march percussion and a guitar/bass line that pulses through like the desperate heartbeat of a shunned lover. Smith’s deeply despondent voice lends somber color to his tale of alienation and unrequited love, “She walked out of her house and looked around at all the gardens that looked back at her house (Like all the faces that quiz when you smile…)” Her lover stands at a corner and “Like blood the rain falls black down on the street” before her. She kisses his feet, emotionally an “inch away from heaven” while the sound of cockatoos ring out all around her. He rejects her, telling her he will never again say magical things to her and she is left lying alone, drowning in a trail of bleeding rain bubbles while the night sings out around her “like cockatoos.” The Cure stand not only as the founders of post punk emo, but also as one of the most inventively imaginative bands to ever explore the darker realm of existence and present it creatively in music.

“She walked out of her house and looked around
At all the gardens that looked back at her house
Like all the faces that quiz when you smile
And he was standing at the corner where the road turned dark
A part of shiny wet..Like blood the rain fell
Black down on the street and kissed his feet she fell
Her head an inch away from heaven and her face pressed tight
And all around the night sang out like cockatoos
“There are a thousand things” he said
“I’ll never say those things to you again”
And turning on his heel he left a trace of bubbles bleeding in his stead
And in her head a picture of a boy who left her lonely in the rain
And all around the night sang out like cockatoos.”