The Cure, the legendary British rock band whose music has spanned the styles of post-punk, pop, and — the genre with which they are perhaps most closely identified — goth, were inducted Friday night into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as Pitchfork reported. This comes 40 years after the release of their now-classic debut album, Three Imaginary Boys — retitled Boys Don’t Cry for American release — in 1979.
But band founder, leader, and songwriter Robert Smith found himself trending on Twitter Sunday morning, according to Trends 24, not for the band’s performance at the induction ceremony at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York — or for his moving acceptance speech — but for his terse but hilarious five-word response to an overexcited American interviewer.
Said response was heard as Smith came offstage following his band’s induction, and it was deemed — as one Twitter user put it — “wonderfully British.” Another Brit, 1980s pop star Boy George, also took to Twitter, calling it “Funny as f***!”
As he came off the stage, Smith was greeted by what the site ClashMusic.com described as “an excitable American presenter” who rushed toward him, brimming with enthusiasm for her meeting with the Cure frontman, who will turn 60 on April 21. The instantly viral exchange can be viewed below.
this is the funniest start to an interview i have ever seen i love robert smith man pic.twitter.com/7H4okzPX0L— al (@_hidingwithboys) March 30, 2019
As The Independent recounted, after the hyped-up interviewer asked Smith, “Are you as excited as I am?” the deadpan goth rocker, who was raised in Crawley, West Sussex, England, replied, “By the sounds of it, no.”
“I didn’t think it was possible for me to like Robert Smith any more than I already did. I was wrong,” wrote Twitter user Prof Alice Roberts.
“This is my Britain,” wrote another, Jess Phillips.
“Forget the brexit jingoism, this the the Britain we need back,” wrote Tadeo on Twitter.
Smith founded The Cure in Crawley in 1976, at the height of Britain’s punk rock era. But by the time the band found its own musical voice and began recording and releasing music, the punk phenomenon had largely passed, and The Cure fit transitioned to — and helped to create — a new movement labeled “post-punk,” which AllMusic described as a “more adventurous and arty form of punk, no less angry or political but often more musically complex and diverse.”
The Cure also pioneered the rock genre known as “goth,” a post-punk style which celebrated “outsider” themes, often focusing on emotions such as alienation and depression — emotional states felt widely by teenagers, but rarely acknowledged in popular music until The Cure and others made them a central theme, as Uproxx described.
But in the 1980s, Smith’s songwriting was able to translate his goth sensibilities to a broad, popular audience, with singles such as “Just Like Heaven,” “Friday I’m In Love,” and other hits.
“Niche bands with entirely subterranean fanbases don’t get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” Billboard magazine wrote. “But now, The Cure are inside, and it shows that they haven’t been true outsiders for some time now.”