Disintegration by The Cure

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Disintegration by The Cure
Disintegration by The Cure

Album Released: 1989

Disintegration ::: Artwork

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2.Pictures Of You7:28
6.Fascination Street5:15
7.Prayers For Rain6:09
8.The Same Deep Water As You9:21


Whilst The Cure pursued different themes for a few years, what with popsongs and stylistic shifts, they never strayed too far from the black side.

For every "The Lovecats" there was a "'Sinking". Disintegration on the other hand was an entire album with much the same atmosphere, tone, and feel throughout. Of course, there are variations, but variations rather than diversity - as with Pornography and 17 Seconds, Disintegration isn't really about being diverse.

As such, these songs have backing tracks that on first glance all seem very similar. One thing that happens here, as on Pornography, is that the lyrics are really thrown into sharp focus. Apart from subtly-differing tempos and moods musically, it's the lyrics that really hold this album together. Having said that, certain Cure musical trademarks, such as lengthy introductions, are taken to glorious extremes. Some of the intros take on hypnotic qualities, instrumental introductions you could almost immerse yourself in all day long.

Musically then, there's a wash of atmospheric keyboards, one-note and one-tone guitar playing, a drummer who tries gamely to provide different drum patterns throughout, even though the majority of songs are in more or less the same tempo. Then there's the bass guitar - for some songs, the bass plays a minor supporting role, but generally it's the poppier material (if it can be called such) that gives the opportunity for melodic and wonderfully uplifting basslines.

Following the mumbled mentions of cold amidst music that evokes a freezing dark landscape in "Plainsong", there's a seven and a half minute popsong. Well, 'popsong' is stretching both the format and the term, but I assume the "Pictures of You" the single version was shorter. But a good two minutes elapse before the vocals arrive, and when they do the vocals and especially the lyrics are absolute romance of the best despairing kind, the kind that Goths called romance in the 80's.

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

Wow, what happened? Suddenly The Cure deliver a totally balanced album, where nothing goes over-the-top or misses the point, where sound and music merge into a perfect breathtaking package, and where Robert Smith finds the key to delivering true melancholy and sadness without sounding in-your-face or fake.

Disintegration is the culmination of everything The Cure had always tried to be, their career had been building up to this album, even if it did deliver some smaller gems along the way. Everything I said in that first paragraph is true - The Cure do sound that good on this album, not only good, but somewhat different too. This is not The Cure of Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, Pornography, or The Head on the Door This band sounds mature and fully-fledged. They knew where they were going, and looking back they recognised their flaws and past mistakes, and do their best to avoid them here.

I'm not saying this is a perfect / fantastic / spectacular album the way Dark Side of the Moon or Amarok, or even Equinoxe are. But just because an album can hardly compare to such masterpieces doesn't mean that it doesn't deserve a top rating. For this album speaks to me in a way no other Cure album ever did, and it strikes me in a way no other album I own has.

Is it Goth? I'm not sure. You see, it nags me that Robert Smith said The Cure were never a Goth band, because this album is very very close to Goth philosophy, at least closer than Pornography was. This album is sad and gloomy, but this time Smith treats the matter with a certain delicacy and kindness, transforming it into a thing of beauty, both in the lyrics and in the music. It's not a sick, suicidal album anymore - it's a beautiful artistic statement, however sad and melancholic, as opposed to The Head On the Door - that sounded too ironic and sarcastic with its 'happiness' - and Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me - that sounded like it was on a sugar high at times.

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

Disintegration is where Robert Smith learns how to mope again, but he does it beautifully this time round.

Billed as a sort of sequel to Pornography, this album is more like a collection of all the best slow songs on Head (more so) and Kiss Me (less so), layered on top of each other in a lush ocean of warm echo and romantic proclamations. The overall feel of the album is one of overwhelming width ... of big clear skies and multicolored planets making lazy circles around distant stars.

So Smith has found his inner poet - finally - and he makes his impressionist vision available to those who aren't afraid of a few blatant synths or girly platitudes. He creates a landscape of sound here, and fits words just vague enough to be evocative no matter where you may be coming from.

So is it melancholic / desperate / depressive, or is it joyous and life-affirming? Hell, you make the call - there are parts of Disintegration that sound far more realistically heartbreaking than anything on Pornography, which is a sledge hammer compared to this album's straight razor. Porno lacked subtlety and told you exactly how awful you were meant to feel, whereas Disintegration leaves big spaces to fill in yourself.

In short, this is a gorgeous, deft piece of artistic expression in rock music on par with any of your favorite Forever Changes, Pet Sounds, or Automatic for the People's in eliciting an emotional response without telling you what that emotion is supposed to be.

This album is the first time Smith - the guy who started figuring out what he was about around 1981, began getting excited about it in 1982, then became a good songwriter in 1985 - has finally achieved balance. He'd been trying to figure out the proper combination of noise and melody, accessibility and inaccessibility, and light and dark, for most of the 1980's, and he finally hit on the answer. Here, he's fused his preoccupations into 'The Big Cure Sound', rather than try to graft it in.

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

This is the biggie ... where Kiss Me was sunny and extroverted, Disintegration is dark and isolated. This is The Cure's most perfectly realized album, and a work of true artistic genius.

Chances are, most Cure fans would name this as their favorite album by the band. And rightfully so - it's an epic work, with not a bad or even 'just alright' song on it. For me, it's right at the top of the pile when it comes to Cure albums.

Even so, I wouldn't recommend Disintegration as an introduction to The Cure - for every pop-inflected single like "Pictures of You", or big hit "Lovesong", there's a dark dissonance-filled epic like "Fascination Street" or the title track.

The album is more of a 'grower', one that sounds a million times better on the tenth listen than on the first listen, and because of that I wouldn't make it my highest recommendation, but I could see how some people would.

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by Reviewer: Austin