Tuesday, June 15, 2010

From the people who tried to bring you “Let’s spend some TIME together” (succeeded) and “Girl we couldn’t get much BETTER” (failed)…

On their controversial song “Killing an Arab” (1980), The Cure’s Robert Smith had this to say:

“It was a short poetic attempt at condensing my impression of the key moments in L’Etranger (The Stranger) by Albert Camus” (Cure News Number 11, October 1991).

In 2005, The Cure began performing “Killing an Arab” with “kissing” in place of “killing”.

In 2007, a new first verse and this refrain: “Killing another.” (“An other”?)

(If the lyric is such a problem, why not drop the song’s “live” performance altogether?)

With Smith’s atonement coming in the form of safer and safer revisions, I wonder what he makes of his earlier explanation – specifically, the novel’s “key moments.” Are they? Either way, if they were then, they aren’t now.

KILLING AN ARAB
(Robert Smith)

Standing on the beach
With a gun in my hand
Staring at the sea
Staring at the sand
Staring down the barrel
At the Arab on the ground
I can see his open mouth
But I hear no sound

I'm alive
I'm dead
I'm the stranger
Killing an Arab

I can turn
And walk away
Or I can fire the gun
Staring at the sky
Staring at the sun
Whichever I chose
It amounts to the same
Absolutely nothing

I'm alive
I'm dead
I'm the stranger
Killing an arab

I feel the steel butt jump
Smooth in my hand
Staring at the sea
Staring at the sand
Staring at myself
Reflected in the eyes
Of the dead man on the beach
The dead man on the beach

I'm alive
I'm dead
I'm the stranger
Killing an Arab

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