I have to give a shout out to my girl Neci for inspiring today’s Wayback Wednesday. Yesterday, she asked me how far back I go for Wayback Wednesday. And when I told her as far back as I want to, she said, “I’d love to see The Cult’s Love on there.” Done! Or so I thought. As I sat down to write this, I reignited a debate I’ve been having with myself and others for years. Just what is the best Cult album? Love or Electric? These albums have been known to divide Cult fans into 2 camps: Pre-Electric and Post-Electric.
See, Electric was a turning point in their sound as a band. Before Electric, The Cult was thought of as more alternative/gothlike. But Electric turned them into a rock band. In fact, they actually recorded an album after Love called Peace but , when they didn’t like the sound of it, found a new producer in Rick Rubin and churned out the different sounding Electric. (You can hear both albums together in the double CD set Electric Peace released last year.) While both albums are stellar in their own right, I am in the Electric camp for best Cult album. Don’t get me wrong. She Sells Sanctuary, Rain and Nirvana are all great songs. But if Wildflowe r or Love Removal Machine come on in the car, I’m cranking it to 11 and stepping on the gas. There is something about a great rock song that gets me going. My opinion aside, I’m not sure there is a definitive answer to the question. Alternative-leaners will go with Love and rock lovers will go with Electric.
For our purposes here, I was going to be diplomatic and include a song from each. But as I watched the videos, I was amazed at the transformation of The Cult between videos especially with Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy. So here are 3 to watch the change for yourself. First, the headscarves, eyeliner and flowing or puffy shirts (Ian) and short Billy Idol-esque hair (Duffy) in 1985’s She Sells Sanctuary.
Next, the transitional period shown by both the beginning sequence of turning on all the Marshall stacks and the clothing/hairstyles of both Ian and Duffy in 1987’s Love Removal Machine
And lastly, the full on rock and roll Cult: leather sans shirt and long straight hair sans makeup for Ian and lots of hair , headbanging, denim and leather for the rest of the band in 1987’s Wildflower