It seems like people either like some bands before they were anyone (so you could say you were there) or you like how the band evolved. I tend to like bands based on their actual music rather than a timeline, although there are plenty out there that seem spent after the first few albums or after they achieve widespread attention. For instance, I liked old Mission UK far more than what they are now, but I think much of that has to do with the lineup being primarily Wayne Hussey and not the lineup that clicked for me. Wayne is a great guy, with an awesome sense of humor (at least when I got to hang with him), but I think the Mission was more a sum of parts than all about Wayne and they seemed to be missing something essential after Simon Hinkler left (or was drummed out, take your pick).
Anyway, The Cult is one of this bands that trends towards the divisive before/after with a lot of original fans giving up on them either on the third album, Electric, or after the fourth, Sonic Temple. Me, I even like the “Black Sheep” album, though I readily admit that it sounds least like The Cult. I think they lost something after Ian started to (maybe?) get a grip on his alcoholism (one show I went to was a travesty — he slurred made-up lyrics and stumbled around on stage, obviously drunk and unable to keep his shit together). Not that I would want anyone with a problem to go back to drinking, self included. But I still like the latter music as well as their original sound. I can’t say the same about my favorite band of youth, The Cure — I can largely avoid listening to anything after Disintegration and not feel like I missed anything in doing so.
Anyway — the point here is that Ceremony was one of those divisive albums for the band (it seems like everything after Love was); it wasn’t quite as rocker as Sonic Temple and it harkened back to some of Ian’s Native American obsession on a number of songs — and yet it was too rocking for the people who wanted the old semi-goth Cult. It’s perhaps one of my favorite albums, if only for the first two songs. But I can’t think of a really bad one on the album. Wild Hearted Son is one of the Native American songs as evidenced in the hints the lyrics below give, although nothing so overt as those found on the first album.
I was born to the city
But I longed to roam free
Got a screaming horse in my belly
Scar on my heart
I live outside of convention
You know the people who stare
I’m just a breed of society
I’m pushin’ hard and I’m stealin’ free
Don’t try to lay no trip on me