Just Like Heaven (1987) :: The Cure
“‘Why are you so far away?’ she said,
“‘why won’t you ever know that I’m in love with you,
that I’m in love with you.'”
About the song:
Just Like Heaven is a song by the The Cure. The group wrote most of the song during recording sessions in southern France in 1987. The lyrics were written by the band’s frontman Robert Smith, who drew inspiration from a past trip to the sea shore with his future wife. Before Smith had completed the lyrics, an instrumental version of the song was used as the theme for the French television show, Les Enfants du Rock.
In order to develop material for Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Smith forced himself to write music for 15 days of each month. During this regimen, he developed the chords and melody which form the basis of Just Like Heaven. Structurally, Smith found what he had written was similar to The Only Ones’s 1979 hit Another Girl, Another Planet.
When he brought an instrumental demo of the song to the album recording sessions in Southern France, Cure drummer Boris Williams increased the tempo and added an opening drum fill which inspired Smith to introduce each instrument singularly and in sequence
He completed the lyrics when the group moved the sessions to Studio Miraval, located in Le Val, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.
The band completed the song quickly, and at the time Smith considered it to be the most obvious potential single from the songs the band had recorded during their two-week stay at Miraval.
Just Like Heaven was the third single released from the band’s 1987 album Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, while Smith’s memories of the trip formed the basis for the song’s accompanying music video. The song became The Cure’s first American hit and in 1988 reached # 40 on the Billboard charts.
Robert Smith has said he considers Just Like Heaven to be one of the band’s strongest songs.
The music video (see above) for Just Like Heaven was directed by Tim Pope, who had directed all of the band’s previous videos since 1982’s Let’s Go to Bed. The video was filmed in England’s Pinewood Studios in October 1987.
Set on a cliff overlooking a sea, the video recreates many of the memories detailed in the song’s lyrics.
While Smith had claimed for years that the video was shot at the same place that inspired the song, he later admitted that the bulk of it was filmed in a studio, utilizing footage of the water and cliffs of Beachy Head taken for the band’s 1985 video for Close to Me.
During the song’s piano solo the sky turns to nighttime and the band is shown clad in white shirts. Mary Poole appears in this sequence as a woman dressed in white dancing with Smith. As Smith explained, “Mary dances with me in the video because she was the girl [in the song], so it had to be her.”
Pope later commented, “[Poole] can honestly lay claim to being the only featured female in any Cure video, ever.”
Once upon a time I had a reputation of always included a song by The Cure in any mix tape I made. It was a habit that wasn’t intentional, though looking back it was understandable considering how much I loved, and listened to, their music. Though not in my list of top favorite Cure songs, this one does hold in it a lot of fond memories, mostly of driving around listening to some of those mix tapes, and also of going dancing at Knott’s Berry Farm’s Cloud 9.
This was before I discovered underground clubs in Hollywood, and before I had a driver’s license or a car. Knott’s Berry Farm had two dance clubs within the park that was the highlight of my friends and my Summer nights in 1987. Cloud 9 was my favorite as it catered to the KROQ/New Wave/Alternative (before that was a word)/Goth type of music, and had all those brooding, eye-linered, skinny boys I crushed on so heavily hanging out within it.
Sometimes I think I love this song more now than I did back then. The lyric “Show me how you do it
and I promise you, I promise that I’ll run away with you” has had a certain resonance in my life when I fell hard for someone, ten years or so ago, who took me by surprise, and took my breath away. That kind of rush of emotion that feels akin to an adolescent crush, mixed in with the lust and desires of a grown-woman, and yeah, for a moment I considered that whole running away option, the kind that makes this song hit home.
I think the next playlist I make will have to include this song. Some habits never die.
Just Like Heaven (live 1990, MTV Video Awards) :: The Cure