The Head on the Door by The Cure

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The Head on the Door by The Cure
The Head on the Door by The Cure

Album Released: 1985

The Head on the Door ::: Artwork

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1.In Between Days2:57
2.Kyoto Song4:16
3.The Blood3:43
4.Six Different Ways3:18
6.The Baby Screams3:44
7.Close To Me3:23
8.A Night Like This4:16


In their early days, The Cure epitomised 'Goth' - Goths being essentially defined as Romantics who had become somewhat disillusioned with life and developed a bit of an 'attitude problem' as a result.

The 'Goth' Cure were a superbly talented musical unit, straddling the post-punk boundary between the sentimental pop of the New Romantics and the edginess of the New Wave, employing the make-up and dressy presentation of the New Romantics, but coupled with musical and lyrical themes that were closer to the spirit of the New Wave than the typical 'boy meets girl' preoccupations favoured by the Romantics.

But regrettably, as a result of their considerable early success, The Cure went a bit soft, lost their New Wave edginess, and fell off the Goth fence - firmly into the camp of the New Romantics.

This album reflects that shift, much of it sounding similar to second-division New Romantics like A Flock of Seagulls, China Crisis, and Tears for Fears. The only remaining vestige of the original Cure is Robert Smith's rather angsty-weepy vocal style - which all goes down rather well in the States apparently, where The Cure remain absolutely huge, but outside North America their star waned a long time ago.

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by Reviewer: bluemoon

The transformation is complete. This is easily the most melodic Cure album since Three Imaginary Boys. It also sports the best sound, they've seemingly left their underground roots behind, although Smith still does his best lyrically ... "Kyoto Song" has a chorus where he's lying on the floor of the night before, with a stranger next to me. He then mentions death in a pool, and trembling hands.

Anyway, this is the album that contains one of my favourite Cure songs, "Inbetween Days", the first all-out classic popsong The Cure ever wrote. It has a perfect popsong length of no more than 3 minutes, a distinctive introduction, the vocals are swooning and gorgeous, and has sad lyrics that are married to one of the happiest melodies on earth.

It's an album with a uniformity of sound, yet still containing variety, for example exotic-sounding guitar on "The Blood". And as well as the actual hit songs, there's a plethora of potential hits too ... "Six Different Ways" is jaunty enough to be a hit song, and "Push" is similarly joyous.

So The Head on the Door is certainly the most 'poppy' album since the band's debut, no question. It's in some ways the flip-side of Pornography, literally the other side of The Cure.

There's also moments of darkness of course, such as the closing "Sinking", with its delicious extended instrumental introduction (something that would become a Cure trademark). Overall, this is a good rounded album, a relatively happy pop album for people who don't normally listen to happy music.

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by Reviewer: Adrian Denning (blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews)

The first thing I notice about Head on the Door is that The Cure sound like a band again, not just a motley collection of studio hacks brought in to do overdubs and then head to the pub. The songs sound tight and alive, they're little pop/rock nuggets that wouldn't have sounded too off-base coming from a Big Star or R.E.M. album.

The Cure create a strong and buoyant jostling sound that's unbelievably confident when compared to any of their previous albums. The band have somehow found a way to finally fix Smith's stylistic rift, by tempering the most gloomy aspects, and by losing the dance/pop trend that was anyway best left to idiots like Simple Minds.

Now that the contrived guitar effects that the band hadn't ever really learned how to use effectively have been subtracted, room is created for some new tendencies to surface (better to check out Spacemen 3 or My Bloody Valentine to hear how to take The Cure's early-80's sound and make it kaleidoscopic and HUGE).

I already mentioned how the odd folk/rock thing pops up from time to time, but there's also a nice Roxy Music-ish, romantic Euro/rock feel to this album that's surprising to an old Bryan Ferry fan like myself. You can't just pull that crap out of nowhere ... this is music that, first off, is very centered melodically, is professionally and spiritedly performed, and has a little more emotional depth than 'woe is me...I want a cookie'. Of course, so was Pornography (except for the melodic part), but Door is also well-arranged, almost always sounds full and warm, and the synergy of the band is infectious.

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by Reviewer: Capt Bonanza (blogging at Capn Marvel's Bonanza [Defunct])

The Head on the Door seems to be quite a departure for The Cure. Suddenly, they start to make HAPPY music - sun-shiny music for the masses! What the hell?

But is it really happy music? Well, I don't think so. The album's themes seem to be as dark and sad as before, but they've been dressed up in 'happy' music. And that gives the album quite an ambivalent feel - a dichotomy that in my opinion gives it a big advantage over Pornography - this time the dark mood isn't in my face. Rather, it's suggested, just as much as a happy mood is suggested. Nothing is clear, and I like that.

But what is mood without good music? There are lots of people who say that 'there is no music without emotion', and I partly agree with that - you have to 'feel' the music when you make it. Yet a song can't be based solely on emotion - if there aren't any decent musical ideas, emotion by itself isn't worth crap. The music comes first, and emotion next.

So the mood on this album is not only lighter, but also more varied, so songs aren't all based on the same pattern. Not that the album is necessarily superior to Pornography or Faith because of its diversity, yet that diversity does make a positive difference. Still, although a lot of songs sound happy, they might hide deeper meanings.

Album opener "In Between Days" is a piece of fast pop with strummed acoustic guitar, a great little synth riff, and catchy vocals. It's one of the best tracks here. And although "Push" is a 'typical' guitar rocker, it's a beautiful song, and it's also notable for being the one that started a pattern that The Cure would follow a lot over their next few albums, where the vocals only come in halfway into the song - before that, it's all instrumental.

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by Reviewer: Fernando Canto (blogging at Sir Mustapha's Album Reviews [Defunct])

After The Top tour, Phil Thornalley (who was filling in for Simon Gallup on bass) and Andy Anderson (who had taken over drumming duties from Lol) left the band. So Smith hired former Thompson Twins drummer Boris Williams, original founding Easy Cure member Porl Thompson became official, and Gallup rejoined.

Voila, instant great record! ... an album that's solid from beginning to end - heck, even the B-sides are fantastic! Here's an album where song after song is in the vintage Cure style - it's hard to even pick highlights because every song is so great.

The Head on the Door is what The Top was meant to sound like, where Smith found a happy balance between his ever looming pop tendencies and his dark side. Result: Spectacular!

by Reviewer: Austin