Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs: “The Holy Hour” — The Cure (1981)

I kneel and wait in silence
As one by one the people slip away
Into the night
The quiet and empty bodies
Kiss the ground before they pray
Kiss the ground
And slip away…

Yet another one of those “Strictly Speaking, Not A Halloween Song, But…” songs.

I mean, it’s The Cure right? Certain bands and performers have seamlessly integrated haunting lyrics and sinister melodies into their songs. I’m not even going to say they make it seem like an effortless process, because that’s their wheelhouse. The shadow world of their songs isn’t where they go when they feel “haunted”; they freakin’ live there, mostly.

What was it that Bane said in The Dark Knight Rises? “Ah you think darkness is your ally? You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn’t see the light until I was already a man, by then it was nothing to me but blinding!”

I didn’t think I’d be quoting comic book movies today but there you have it.

Anyway, The Holy Hour from the band’s 1981 album Faith joins our Halloween playlist, and with good reason. Ignoring the lyrical subject matter entirely, the song just sounds right for the season. It’s dark, minor-key, gloomy, and haunted in sound and feel. Simon Gallup provides a trebley, modulated six-string bassline which cements the song’s spinal column, as Robert Smith’s wistful guitar chords and multitracked vocals bubble just above the surface in consternation and dreadful woe. It’s a beautiful, desperate, bleak sounding piece.

The central struggle over the narrator’s faith, and his ultimate rejection of it, has been and will forever be fodder for mortal beings trying to grasp with the concept of a seemingly absent creator. Some would consider the rejection of faith as tacit acceptance of a cold, meaningless universe. The Holy Hour is that time of reckoning.

I stand and hear my voice
Cry out
A wordless scream at ancient power
It breaks against stone
I softly leave you crying
I cannot hold what you devour
The sacrifice of penance
In the holy hour…

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