Those who woke up today with the excitement of Christmas morning (or who stayed up last night trying to catch Santa in the act) were instead greeted with the lumpiest of coal: No, Twitter, there isn’t a new Frank Ocean album. Maybe it’s coming later today, maybe it’s coming later this year, maybe it already happened back in 1916 and we’ll discover it buried underneath the Liberty Bell someday. Regardless, it’s not here yet, and the list of people who know for certain when it is coming may begin and end with the man born Christopher Edwin Breaux.
You know what is here, though? SPIN‘s very own, specially curated Boys Don’t Cry playlist: The Cure’s “Boys Don’t Cry” 15 times in a row. It may not pack the innovation, the surprise, or the mystery of the other Boys Don’t Cry, but it probably runs a lot leaner — 15 tracks in just 39 minutes — and it almost certainly has less filler. Plus, you can listen to it on Spotify any time you want to.
For a band permanently bronzed in public perception as a bunch of mascara-running miserablists, the Cure had an utterly bizarre number of truly perfect pop songs, of which “Boys Don’t Cry” was the first and most textbook. And that’s not a perfect pop song in, like, the “Letter From an Occupant” sense, but in the true “Tracks of My Tears” sense. In fact, “Boys Don’t Cry” is nothing if not a Smokey Robinson classic for the post-punk era: A devastatingly catchy, sub-three-minute, verse-chorus-verse emerald, which understands there is no greater formula for pop immortality than the combination of gut-wrenchingly confessional lyrics with heart-burstingly joyous music. There’s a reason why it both gave its title to the most the most emotionally brutal movie of the late ’90s, and soundtracked its most celebratory moment.
Not a lot of songs that get more out of less, either. The riff is rudimentary even by late-’70s U.K. underground standards, but damn if there’s a former teenager alive that’s heard it once and wouldn’t instantly recognize it every time after. The chorus is just three words (four if you count the “’cause”), but Robert Smith stretches it like his heart’s own Laffy Taffy, till it conveys more than an entire BNL-rapped refrain. And the bridge is the best part: unexpectedly dropped into the middle of the third verse like no other song in history, getting out of the way just in time for the song’s climactic final chorus to take flight. If whatever was ultimately being built in that Frank Ocean live stream was this structurally sound, it’s gonna make some IKEA customer very happy someday.
Cute video, too. Maybe watch it after the playlist, as a bonus track.