The Cure – Disintegration (1989)

The Cure – Disintegration (1989)

This is still hands-down my favourite Cure album. I say ‘still’ because back in my high school days, The Cure were a big fave band for me and my mates. We dug their whole catalogue, but it was great timing that we should witness the release of Disintegration, because after their (partial) dissolution in the wake of Pornography (1982), Robert Smith directed the music toward a more pop-orientated sound, with the hit singles “Lets Go to Bed”, “The Walk” and “The Lovecats”. They reunited with the commercially acclaimed albums The Head on the Door (1985) and Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (1987), which saw further success pop-wise, but Disintegration seemed to be the album we were waiting for. From the gentle opening crash of “Plainsong” the blue/green layers float down and blanket you with sonic sedatives. Ahh…s’just like coming home. Robert Smith’s whispered vocals begin their mournful litany: “I think it’s dark and it looks like rain, you said/ And the wind is blowing like it’s the end of the world, you said/ And it’s so cold, like the cold if you were dead/ And then you smiled for a second”…and those words were like poetry for morose (self absorbed) teenagers, like myself. And even though the lyrics are a bit over-marinated in gothic gloom, they fit the melody and the atmosphere like a glove. He couldn’t sing anything else. Plus I actually think Robert Smith has quite a talent for lyrics. There are some great lines on this album. Another example is the title track, with the lines: “Now that I know that I’m breaking to pieces/ I’ll pull out my heart and I’ll feed it to anyone/ Crying for sympathy/ Crocodiles cry for the love of the crowd and three cheers from everyone”. Not too subtle perhaps, but hey, this album is one long sad dirge (it’s The Cure, we know that going in). Even somewhat brighter songs like “Lovesong” or “Pictures of You” can’t fully step from the alienated (Floyd-flavoured) shade cast by the other songs. But it’s just another reason to love this album – it’s such a cohesive work, sonically and thematically. The spacey keyboards, the flanged guitars, Simon Gallup’s bass-line anchors; they all meld into one thick lava-flow of sound. Maybe the members of The Cure were going through some dark times personally, but they managed to conjure the finest gothic-prog concept album of the modern era.


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