Pictures Of You

Album: Disintegration (1989)
Charted: 24 71


  • In this song, lead singer Robert Smith seems haunted by pictures of the girl he lost. Like many Cure songs, it's an emotional song about longing and love.

    Listening to songs like "Pictures Of You," you might think Smith was in a perpetual state of heartbreak, but he was lucky in love, finding his soulmate, Mary Poole, when he was just a teenager. They got married in 1988 and stayed together; Smith's heartsore songs are often inspired by literature or observations.
  • "Pictures Of You" was based on an essay by Myra Poleo called The Dark Power of Ritual Pictures. Smith says that after reading it, he destroyed his old personal photos and many of his home videos in an effort to wipe away his past. He came to regret the decision a few days later.
  • Smith has given conflicting accounts of what events inspired the song. In other interviews he has said that the song was the result of losing pictures he carried around in his wallet, many from before he was born.
    What is certain is that the song is defined by an overwhelming sense of loss. Smith explained the emotions behind the lyrics in a 1989 interview with Music Box TV: "It's about the idea you hold someone. It goes back a bit to a song like 'How Beautiful You Are.' The idea of you hold someone isn't really what that person is like. Sometimes you completely lose touch with what a person has turned into. You just want to hold onto what they were."
  • Rolling Stone magazine placed the track 278th on their 2004 list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
  • The song has been featured on US teen drama One Tree Hill and the 2012 romantic drama The Vow.

Comments: 25

  • Melissamary from Germany This song is so penetratingly and beautifully melancholic. It gives you an immense sense of freeness, joy like you are a bird gliding high above humanity but at the same time you plummet and are tearing up inside missing someone so painfully that you have intensely loved. This longing for what was - a place or person in time that you will never be able to return to or to have again. A lost someone - a shadow of yourself - floating in space for eternity. A yearning so tragic but wider than that- maybe even like the moment of death. What a genius you are to have captured a complex feeling in music and lyrics. I bow in gratitude.
  • Me from UsaWhere was the video filmed. I've always wanted to know. e-mail me at smartchick at gmx dot com if you know. thx
  • Kimberly Kisinger from Pasadena Texas This song to me is very sad. I identify with it because my daughter's were removed from my life 12 years ago. I've not seen them in so long, and all I have are pictures and memories of them. And I've looked at the pictures for so long that they are my children in a sense. They are what I talk to, what I kiss, what I hug... I almost believe that they are real...
  • Jack from SdThe riff is so catchy, the melody
  • Steff from VaThis song to me is about letting the grief and pain out before you can ever move on from someone who meant the world to you. Never really wanting to move on but knowing deep’s time. Wanting to trade every minute of the present for mere seconds of the past.
  • Allison from NcReminds me of someone who broke my heart many years ago . . .
  • Jerry from Los Angeles, CaI was going through my separation and divorce a couple years ago. Where Robert Smith sings "If only I thought of the right words,..." That part was so true for both of us at the time. To me its that part that are so true. Every time I hear that I am taken back and remember and regret some things.
  • Grayson from Cleveland, Ohthis whole album flows so well. the first three songs are amazing when played together...
  • Andy from Lake City, Flthe fire theory falls flat because robert is obsessing over "these" pictures. i believe maybe this could be about a close friend that overdosed. hear me out..."the sky fell in" "screamed at the make-believe" "you were stone white" "lost in the dark" robert could even be referring to himself...his own early romance with a drug that doesn't make him feel the same way now. but cure fans tend to get very angry at this kind of interpretation, just as seal's fans do.
  • Matt from Anderson, ScI love this song. I spent 20+ years in the military and much of that time away from my beautiful wife. This song automatically runs many memories of her through my mind everytime I hear it. I'm away again and listening to this song puts a huge lump in my throat.
  • Jan from Antwerp, --This is one of those rare songs that made me cry the very first time I heard it and up untill today, it still does sometimes.
    This is the song that turned me from a Cure-liker into a Cure fan.
    I especially like their nostalgic sounding songs like this one and Charlotte Sometimes, etc.
  • Lllgfkf from Boston, Mauritiusthis song is about his house burning down and him going through and finding his pictures burned
  • Jose from Brisbane, --Beautiful song, beautiful voice and a great band.
  • Krysta from Yuma, MdI love The cure :]
    especially this Songg.
    it makes me Rememberr
    The Lostt Ones <3

    the Cure is the bestest.<3
  • Annie from New York, NyIt makes me cry every time for the brother i lost to suicide, for the daughter i lost in late pregnancy, and the man i love who i still have pictures of. This song lets me cry it out, when i need to. It touches me so much
    Annie, NY
  • Edal from Baltimore, MdFirst of all very cool website. I hope that I will remember it. This song is haunting. Its a direct memory conduit. I don't know whether its the powerful instrumentals, Robert's tone, or the lyrics themselves, but this song is powerful. I was 17. I had a few beers, I was trying to go to sleep, I was thinking of my girlfriend, with whom I was obsessed at the time. I fell asleep, but I still remember this song digging its way into my history. Wow!
  • Connie from Palatine, IlMy son recently died as a result of suicide. In his memory, I created a Powerpoint presentation showing pictures of his life and played "Pictures of You" at his memorial service. The song means something different to everyone - sign of a great song writer that can make the lyrics obscure enough that each person finds their own experience in the words. Now I only have pictures and memories of my son, so this song is very poignant to me.
  • Ali from Wine, CaThis the only thing i know of that makes a friend of mine cry. Id actually laugh if sometime she read this, because shes the one who showed me this website.... anyway, i always find it funny, some of robert's songs, because he always writes from expiriences, or certain things...and the song ends up being changd and turns out to sound like a pretty much completly normal love/breakup song. So that when you actually find out what the songs are about, youre just...amazed.
    i think that this song, with the first verses and certain parts, could be about just...looking at pictures and remembering certain things about your "lover" hee hee, and things like that. it says in my favorite part, "If only I'd thought of the right words
    I could have held on to your heart
    If only I'd thought of the right words
    I wouldn't be breaking apart
    All my pictures of you" its saying that he obviously lost the person he loved. he couldve fixed it...maybe if hed tried harder...but didnt. kind of like in Cut Here, which i totally love for that sad factor in an up-beat song.
  • Weird-freak from Antwerp, BelgiumI heard this song was based on the experience of walking into a burned down house( don't know for sure if it was his house) and to find half burned pictures he realy liked.
  • John from Seattle, WaNo disrepect to Joe from Ulaanbaatar, but "Pictures of You" also was used in an HP printer commercial about a year before "Picture Book" by the Kinks.
  • Alberto from Carpi, ItalyAn amazing song that reminds me a certain person... a distant person of which I have only some pictures left, and few other things. For this reason I'm so attached to it. Verses like the first two seem to be written for this story.
  • Joe from Ulaanbaatar, OtherJust to clarifiy Picturebook by the Kinks was used in the HP Commercial
  • Florencia from Buenos Aires, Argentinawell, first of all, I want to excuse my english, I'm from argentina and I'm very young.
    I read somewhere in the net a coment from Robert that said that it was a song that he wrote after being in a fire in a pub. When he arrived to his home he took the first pictures that he took with his wife and then...he wrote this song, for her, in someway. Of course then he add some poetic things, like "the girl who left'him'"(obviously, because mary never left him ^^).
  • Minael from Quincy, Main this song i feel like the person is torn between keeping the pictures and forgetting them, finding what lead him to this point and how these pictures have been reminders of what has become...if he had only found the right things to say he could have found closure or even have kept the relationship going, this song is one of my first favorite songs in my interest in songs
  • Suzi from Charleston , Scbeautiful instrumentation
see more comments

Editor's Picks

90s Music Quiz 1Music Quiz

First question: Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson appeared in videos for what artist?

Richard MarxSongwriter Interviews

Richard explains how Joe Walsh kickstarted his career, and why he chose Hazard, Nebraska for a hit.

Jason Newsted (ex-Metallica)Songwriter Interviews

The former Metallica bassist talks about his first time writing a song with James Hetfield, and how a hand-me-down iPad has changed his songwriting.

Mike CampbellSongwriter Interviews

Mike is lead guitarist with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and co-writer of classic songs like "Boys Of Summer," "Refugee" and "The Heart Of The Matter."

Charlie Benante of AnthraxSongwriter Interviews

The drummer for Anthrax is also a key songwriter. He explains how the group puts their songs together and tells the stories behind some of their classics.

Van Dyke ParksSongwriter Interviews

U2, Carly Simon, Joanna Newsom, Brian Wilson and Fiona Apple have all gone to Van Dyke Parks to make their songs exceptional.