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At the end of the 80's The Cure released what has been hailed by many (including myself) to be their finest work ever: 'Disintegration'.
Being quite a fan of the miserable and the melancholy as I was back in the 80's, I had a great love of The Smiths, Depeche Mode and The Cure which formed a big part of my record collection along with some more upbeat stuff (I wasn't always miserable!) so it was no surprise that I loved this album.
There are many albums by The Cure, but this is the one I play the most. Produced by Robert Smith himself with David. M. Allen, it is clear the album benefits from having the sound that the band and Robert Smith in particular, intended it to have.
Disintegration came about when singer Robert Smith was not too happy with The Cure and their popularity and wanted to write something deeper and darker. It has been said that his distaste for the ways in which the band were popular caused him to lapse back into taking drugs (LSD). Now whilst I don't condone drug taking, one thing I have noticed is that there are a few song-writers who have undoubtedly written their best work whilst under the influence of drugs. Whilst yes the songs may be melancholy and dark, they are songs which are undeniably great in my opinion.
Take for example one of the tracks here, 'The Same Deep Water As You' with its slow melodic tune and Robert Smith's voice drifting in and out as if he were falling asleep as he sings "kiss me goodbye", inviting you to join him whilst claiming that swimming the same deep water as you is hard. This epic track is great to drift off to at over nine minutes in length. Melancholy it is, but the tune still gets me every time with its soothing ability.
'Prayers For The Rain' continues in a similar vein of drowning in despair, "you strangle me, entangle me in hopelessness" is probably as low as it gets here, but at the same time the song has a surreal haunting quality which makes it beautiful to listen to with its lengthy intro and breaks.
From the opening track, the almost trance-like 'Plainsong' with its distinct melodic guitar sound clearly identifying this as The Cure before Robert Smith even sings a note, I am always compelled to listen right through to the final track, the more quirky sounding 'Untitled' with Smith claiming he never quite managed to say what he wanted to say (but to be honest he doesn't have to, as the music on Disintegration speaks volumes).
Disintegration is not all sombre and downbeat and what I like about listening to this album is how the more upbeat tracks such as 'Pictures Of You' and 'Lovesong' for instance still retain that broken-hearted despair which touches me each time I listen.
Indeed "Pictures Of You" which builds from a sombre intro into an almost jaunty track whilst retaining a certain sadness, is a great example of what The Cure do best in my opinion, with the line "Open my eyes but I never see anything" summing it up perfectly. It is truly a beautiful song and the same can be said for the most upbeat song on the album, 'Lovesong' which grabs you from the first note and whilst having a happy-sounding melody, it still tugs at my heart strings each time I listen. Robert Smith wrote this for his wife and as he sings "whenever I'm alone with you" he sounds on the verge of tears, yet the catchy melody keeps you feeling uplifted.
'Fascination Street' is another example of the dark but strangely upbeat and I also especially love the background music on this track. 'Closedown' holds very little in the way of lyrics but the music and constant beat from the drumming stands out and I often wonder if this was a contender for the final track.
Another masterpiece here is 'Lullaby,' a song Smith wrote after remembering the made-up lullabies his father would sing to him when he was little and couldn't sleep, yet they would always have a horrible ending!
Here he whispers the lyrics which are amusing yet could be deemed as scary when it is meant to be a lullaby... "The spiderman is having you for dinner tonight" he whispers as he tells of something awful approaching the bed and there is no escape. Just the thing to help you sleep?
Lullaby is a clever song with its music resembling a soothing lullaby combined with the whispered vocals, however, the lyrics tell a different tale altogether. This is something that resonates with me in the way that Morrissey's lyrics always do.
Disintegration may be the The Cure's darkest album, giving us perhaps some of the most melancholy but absorbing pieces of music you'll ever hear, so you would be forgiven for thinking that this album is definitely not one to listen to when you're feeling sad, depressed or broken-hearted. However, that is the strange fascination of this album for me, as whilst you'd think that you couldn't bear to listen to it if feeling down, you may actually find, as I do, that it is strangely comforting.
Embrace it for what it is...a masterpiece.
Pictures of You
Prayers for Rain
The Same Deep Water as You
Please note that 'Last Dance' and 'Homesick' were not featured on my vinyl edition due to the running time of the album, but they do feature on the original CD pressing as well as the remastered CD edition which was released in 2010.
**100th Review Special**
The Cure - Disintegration (1989)
Producer: Robert Smith, David M. Allen
Pictures of You
Prayers for Rain
The Same Deep Water as You
After the comprehensive range of songs on their previous studio album, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, The Cure returned in 1989 with one of the greatest albums of all time - Disintegration. It marks a return to the gloomy mope-rock of their early trilogy of albums - Seventeen Seconds, Faith and Pornography - although the most notable difference this time around is that bandleader Robert Smith has 10 years of recording experience under his belt and finally has the technical skills to match his ambition.
I want to get a couple of things out of the way before I continue with my review. Firstly, Disintegration is the greatest album ever recorded, period. That includes all records which I have ever heard and anything which I am ever likely to hear. I am so in love with this record and all of the lasting messages which it conveys - intolerable despair, unbearable isolation, insufferable loneliness, undying love and the disintegration of relationships - that my review may take on a far more informal approach than usual and this is down to the simple fact that I have lived and breathed this album. It is sad to say as much, but this record is a large part of my life and will remain so until the day I expire.
Quite unlike anything else the band would ever record, the record clocks in at an impressive 72 minutes. The most notable shift in style is that the short pop gems which could be found on Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me are a thing of the past and that this album is incredibly slow and unhurried, the calming arrangements second to none. Robert Smith could have quite easily taken months to produce and arrange each one of these tracks, which boast running times of up to and over nine minutes. As one piece of instrumentation is brought in, another effortlessly interlocks with it, until you have a sea of rising and falling grandeur washing over you. I've never heard such a carefully considered recording in all my life.
This brings me nicely onto the topic of Disintegration's production techniques. Each track sounds spacious, the soundscapes emerge open and vast, and the arrangements appear unforced and natural. While The Cure's 1982 album, Pornography, is often compared with this work of art, the two recordings couldn't be further apart where musicality is concerned. Pornography was miserable and depressing, the music unsympathetic and ugly, the production claustrophobic and closed. And as much as that record rocked out in places, it was forced and oddly unattractive, especially to the first time listener. Disintegration still features a miserable set of songs, but here the music and production has been so well thought-out that you become fully engrossed and absorbed in each track. You become so lost within this record's overwhelming magnificence that it hardly matters Disintegration is merely saying, 'The world is unfair,' in twelve similar, yet subtly altered ways. Never has a style of production suited a set of songs as well this.
Before I get on with talking about some of the songs, one last area needs to be mentioned - the lyrics. Oh, how the lyrics are some of the finest poetry every written. Robert Smith has become wrapped up in his song writing at this stage of his career, so much so that you feel for him during each cry for help and revulsion from this world's ghastliness.
Plainsong opens proceedings how they intend to continue - enduring and roomy, dreamy and comforting. Breathtaking from the off, Plainsong delivers a glistening anthem full of icy keyboards and suspended guitar notes, the mood of the song smothering you in its shimmering beauty. Whenever I talk about romantic declarations, this is what I have in mind. Robert Smith, you are my saviour.
The monumental inclusion of the new wave colossus, Pictures of You, paved the way for myriads of emotionally despondent teenagers, as Smith brings with him one of his more passionate vocal deliveries. My heart breaks in two when he gets to the lyric, "There was nothing in the world that I ever wanted more than to feel you deep in my heart!" Pictures of You is also a great example of the grand arrangements which are to be found on Disintegration, as the song progressively builds to the sudden explosion of life which occurs a third of the way through.
Third song, Closedown, is notable for the fact that it features only one verse, no chorus and is without a true melody. The cavernous drumming paves the way, as a vast bombardment of keyboards halo around the song's perimeter. You almost forget to breathe as you listen intently to this immersive lamentation.
Love Song comes as welcome respite after the opening torrent of songs and is probably the most upbeat and catchy number to be found here. Bearing in mind Love Song was written as a wedding present to his soon to be wife, Robert Smith has never again sounded so fascinated and in love, "Whenever I'm alone with you, you make me feel like I am home again. Whenever I'm alone with you, you make me feel like I am whole again." Beautiful, honest and true, this is a glorious addition to the record as a whole.
The pulsating and menacing introduction to Fascination Street should have you quaking in your boots, and if it doesn't you are the Devil himself. The repetition of the song should grate, but it doesn't. It just keeps on going, building up strong momentum and stunning structure, until the bass line becomes unbelievably alluring and as the title of the song indicates, fascinating. Prayers for Rain and The Same Deep Water as You are akin to slowly drowning in an ocean of despair, or gradually being suffocated by an intense despondency. My God, the musicianship throughout is so beautiful it makes me want to weep with joy. The Same Deep Water as You is a particular standout for me, with its lengthy intro & outro and slow but sure pace, making sure that each second of its nine minute running time is essential.
The title-track returns to the profound rhythmic repetition of Fascination Street, although now with a heavier reliance on keyboards. Robert Smith's gloom-laden suffering reaches an excruciating zenith here, "Oh, I miss the kiss of treachery, the shameless kiss of vanity, the soft, the black and the velvety!" This is the soundtrack to your world falling down around you and nothing shall remain.
Like some sort of sick and twisted joke on Smith's part, Disintegration closes with the relatively bouncy Untitled. It provides a syrupy resolution after Disintegration's cruel world, especially with regards to its reflective thoughts, "Never quite said what I wanted to say to you, and never quite managed the words to explain to you." Like the other eleven songs on the album, it is a slow train coming and eventually socks you one right upon the jaw.
It took me a great deal of time before I felt I could write even a sentence about Disintegration. It is without a doubt my favourite album of all time and I am unapologetically in love with it. Of course, producing an album of such peerless quality would prove to be a tough act to follow, and The Cure, while still releasing a couple more must-have albums, have always struggled to replicate the awe-inspiring successes of Disintegration.
** The Vinyl edition of Disintegration omits Last Dance and Homesick**
Read more reviews at www.danielkempreviews.co.uk
For me this is the best Cure album. I never liked there 90s era.
The songs on Disintegration are beautifuly written and performed and from start to finish i always just stop what i'm doing and listen.
The highlight of the album for me is 'Pictures of You'. But every other song is classic Cure. 'Last Dance' in particularly is another lovely song
Faith is a bit more depressing, Head on the Door is a bit more upbeat. Disintegration sits in the middle somewhere and although those 2 albums are also great, this one perfects it!
If you are into alternative rock music, this is the absolute essential must have album and is rated as an influence by the majority of alternative music acts.
Also, for a different feel i find listening to this album on your mp3 player while out for a walk in winter is nice. Especially if you can find a wooded area while it's snowing. I did this in Austria in the mountains and my imagination went crazy!
The Cure achieved international success in the eighties with their infectious mix of pop beats and a darker, gothic style in both their lyrics and general appearance. Their 1989 release Disintegration did not have the same instant success of their earlier albums due to its much different style, but many of the bands fans consider it to be the pinnacle of their creative and musical achievement.
Ive never really been a fan of the Cure, but after hearing a couple of songs from this album I wanted to hear it in its entirety. In many ways this is atmosphere-heavy mood music with occasional catchy rhythms and choruses, and as such its not really an album to listen to for specific tracks: the general feeling of the album experience as a whole is the Cures ultimate goal, and in that respect this is a very good album. The lyrics deal with loss, regret and sorrow, all of which are reflected in the music; while not bleak and depressing, the slow beat of the drums, the echo effect of the vocals and the soft melodies of the guitars and bass convey a melancholy and haunting atmosphere, the occasional keyboard tunes and more powerful guitars lifting the listeners spirits every so often.
Robert Smiths English voice is a trademark of the Cure, and although the tracks here are a large step apart from something like Friday Im in Love, his talents shine through more than ever, adding to the songs even when he essentially fades into the music completely. And impressionable teen girls probably find the calm voice and wild hair very sexy (I dont, Im not strange). The problems with this album are all subject to peoples opinions. But listening to this album does make you want to hug something and stare at the moon for a while.
The Cure were:
Simon Gallup - Bass, Keyboards
Robert Smith - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Producer, Engineer
Porl Thompson - Guitar
Laurence Tolhurst - Multi Instruments
Boris Williams - Drums
Roger O'Donnell - Keyboards
A classic opener, the orchestration dominating this track introduces the mood of this album perfectly, and also results in one of my favourite songs on here. The vocals only begin towards the end of the song and suit the music perfectly: this is a huge-sounding track.
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 it's like the
Cold if you were dead
2. PICTURES OF YOU
A more traditional track, this retains the slow rhythm of the last song (and the album in general) but the vocals and instruments can be heard much more clearly against the less intensive backing orchestration. The song does last longer than it should at almost eight minutes and although this is an album to get lost in, this is a bit too lengthy for such an early track.
I've been looking so long at these pictures of you
That I almost believe that theyre real
I've been living so long with my pictures of you
That I almost believe that the pictures are all I can feel
Carrying on from Pictures of You in a very similar style, this is essentially a bridge between that track and Love Song. Not very memorable or impressive, but it keeps the tone and mood of the album flowing. The sombre atmosphere is alleviated a little to lead into the next song.
I'm running out of time I'm out of step and
Closing down and never sleep for wanting hours
4. LOVE SONG
One of the more commercially aimed tracks, this is driven by more upbeat drums and memorable keyboard rhythms, but the atmosphere is still somehow retained. Smiths vocals are less melancholy with his statement I will always love you, and despite not sounding too original at the end of a romantic-ballad-obsessed decade, this is definitely a cut above the rest. Its also the shortest track on the album, so doesnt drag on in the way that others do.
Whenever I'm alone with you you make me feel
Like I am home again whenever I'm alone with
You you make me feel like I am whole again
5. LAST DANCE
A return to the more sombre sound with distant-sounding, echoing drums accompanying a soft, melodic guitar beat, the build-up of orchestration and subtle keyboards to some of the best vocals of the album may seem a bit lengthy, but listening to the album as a whole this doesnt stand out as a problem. After the catchy and more poppy sound of the previous track this is less instantly gratifying, but is certainly not a filler track. It does bridge the gap between the singles though.
I'm so glad you came I'm so glad you remembered
To see how we're ending our last dance together
Expectant too punctual but prettier than ever
I really believed that this time it's forever
This excellent and strange song was my main reason for wanting to hear this album. Along with the dark, sepia music video, the symphonic arrangements, whispered vocals and haunting keyboard tune make this the stand out track of the whole album. At just over four minutes it wastes no time in getting started, and by the end the sound has been elevated to include even more orchestration over the keyboards, leading to a fantastic sound. The only song on the album that I can listen to repeatedly.
And I feel like I'm being eaten by a thousand
Million shivering furry holes and I know that in
The morning I will wake up in the shivering cold
And the spiderman is always hungry
7. FASCINATION STREET
A slightly heavier track than the rest, this follows the same formula as the longer tracks and as such fails to stay memorable after only one listen, apart from the chorus which unfortunately sounds like that programme. The name, not the theme (thank God). This song seems to divide public opinion into those who love it and those who find it out of place, but I think it fits into the album perfectly. It doesnt stand out for me though as it shares a very common sound with other tracks, such as the first track, which execute it better.
Oh it's opening time down on Fascination Street
So let's cut the conversation and get out for a
Bit because I feel it all fading and paling and I'm
Begging to drag you down with me
8. PRAYERS FOR RAIN
This is the point in the album when the songs start to become a little boring for me, due to the lack of real variety (with a couple of noted exceptions). The vocals again take almost two minutes of synth and slow drums to begin moving the song along and its mainly its place in the album that counts against this song. As a stand alone track it is one of the better offerings, with some very dark and interesting electronic sounds behind the excellent atmosphere of the keyboards, not seeming overdone at all. Smiths vocals still suit the music a little too well however, and it would be easy for my mind to wander while this was playing.
You shatter me your grip on me a hold on me
So dull it kills you stifle me infectious sense of
Hopelessness and prayers for rain
9. THE SAME DEEP WATER AS YOU
The longest song on the album at almost ten minutes, this should be the ultimate exploration of the themes and moods of this album, but it drags on for far too long to remain musically interesting. The beat and guitar melodies are constant throughout, while Smiths vocals again fail to truly impress in any way. This song would be a lot better if it had been tightened and cut down, as it doesnt offer anything that hasnt been done earlier (and better).
Kiss me goodbye bow your head and join with me
And face pushed deep reflections meet
The strangest twist upon your lips and
Disappear the ripples clear
The band dont shy away from placing the two longest tracks together, certainly creating the most moody and atmospheric part of the album but also alienating casual listeners. This is a clear improvement on the last track as it manages to sound quite unique on the album rather than a re-hashing of whats come before, the watery effect of the guitars and the very strong bass presence leading into some great keyboards in the middle. Smiths vocals are also more forceful and varied for a change, giving this a much more improved sound but also rendering the last few repetitive tracks completely unnecessary.
Oh I miss the kiss of treachery
The aching kiss before I feed
The stench of a love for a younger meat and
The sound that it makes when it cuts in deep
This song doesnt hide its tone with a dominant piano/keyboard rhythm throughout that is slowly joined by the other instruments. One of my least favourite tracks, but I can appreciate its diversity from the others, leading up to the end. This seems like an instrumental at first, as the vocals dont begin until the three-minute mark.
Hey hey! Just one more and I'll walk away
All the everything you win turns to nothing today
This epilogue begins with what sounds like an organ tune before the drums, guitars and bass begin. Strangely, this is probably the most positive sounding song that sounds like more of a celebration than a regret, but it isnt one of the better tracks and does drag on towards the end. Maybe I only think this because Im not used to this style of album, but this could have been better.
Hopelessly drift in the eyes of the ghost again
Down on my knees and my hands in the air again
This album would clearly be the soundtrack of choice for a Tim Burton film if Danny Elfman hadnt already proved his incredible skills, and its popularity with Cure fans is understandable, as is its lack of popularity with the general public in comparison to their other work. There are several songs on here that are impressive in their own right (Lullaby, Love Song, Plainsong), but the rest all sound very similar and only really serve to create a musical atmosphere when listening to an album. This is not a bad thing, its a great achievement, but I think it came with a cost to originality.
I love listening to albums in their entirety when they have been structured excellently, but the slow pace of Disintegration bores me towards the end. Robert Smiths lyrics are very moving and easy to relate to, but they dont really need the overlong interludes between them, and although the guitar layering is perfect and detailed it does become lost in the atmosphere. Every so often one of the instruments will do something that grabs my attention, but this is quite a rare event.
Id recommend this album to anyone who loves mood music, or who is just a big Cure fan, but it takes some effort to listen to and may not be to your taste. But it is cheap.
When i finally found some cure albums on here (it took a while seeing as searching for things is becoming increasingly difficult) and saw that no one had written a review on disintegration, i was amazed. How can this album be overlooked? Ok, so the cure arent as popular as say, robbie williams, but still, come on!!!!! If you ask a cure fan what their favourite album is, chances are it'll be this one. Its one of the now revered 'trilogy' which consists of Pornography, Bloodflowers, and this one, disintegration. It is very much a darker album than the more upbeat Wish, and perhaps thats why Wish got to No.1 in the album charts, and this didnt, but its no reflection on the quality of the music. to me, this is The Cure at their best, long instrumental intros, meaninfull lyrics and an overall sound that really makes you reflect, and think about what Robert smith is singing. The album kicks off with 'Plain song'. This has a very orchestral sound, and the echoe effect over smiths voice makes this a very mellow song. This and the following song seem very intertwined, both musically and lyrically. Its not the best song on the album, but i think its short lyric is really beautiful, and the sound it creates is brilliant. 'Pictures of you' follows, and this has a more upbeat tempo. Smith sings about reminiscing over a former love, and the words he uses really connect with me. Ive seen the video for it so many times, and i always think of it when i hear this song, about playing in the snow with somone you love (very mushy i know, but i dont mind embarassing myself!). The guitar they use creates a really cool backbone to the song, and its really a song that you cant tire of hearing. 'Closedown' is the third track, and is a song i love. It has a nice bass riff running throughout, and the bass drum is loud and upfront, and it really adds to the sound of this song. The lyric is again very short, but
you can hear the feeling in smiths voice. Its got to be the shortest song on the album, but it think its one of the best. 'Lovesong' is up next, and this is definately one of my favourites off the album. The intro isnt so long, and the song is governed by the drums. The lyrics are really great, and i think if you listen to this song, youll always connect with them, no matter who you are. Its not the longest song, but its the first one to have a guitar solo, however short. I have to say that the rythm of this song is brilliant, and for some reason, ive allllways wanted to dance to it, but never have :). 'Last Dance' is the 5th song, and strange that ive never wanted to dance to this one. The guitar is very prominant, and the riffs used are powerful, and sound great. Smith sings about 'dancing' with a woman, and regrets how its so different now than when she was a girl. Its a moving song, 'im so glad you came, im so glad you remembered, to see how we're ending our last dance together', it definately stirs feelings, and reminds me how i wish things were as they were. A very emotive song. 'Lullaby' has always been a mystery to me, when smith sings 'on candystripe legs the spiderman comes, softly through the shadows of the evening sun'.....'when i realise with fright, the spiderman is having me for dinner tonight', ive never been sure what he means, but im happy taking it as almost a fairytaleish song. The lyrics are split between smith the victim, and smith the 'spiderman', 'be still be calm be quite now, my precious boy, dont struggle like that or i will only love you more'. Ive always wondered if it is about some kind of abuse, but you can decide. The song itself is brilliant. (Incidentally, the cure won best video for this at the 1990 brit awards, then best british group in 1992 brits. that was back when a brit award meant something!!) 'Fascination str
eet' has got to be my favourite song from this album. Ive been playing the bass riff on my guitar ever since i first heard this song, its really catchy, and the guitar layered on top makes this song the best sounding on the album. Ive loved singing along to this song (again, i dont mind embarassing myself) as the lyrics are just awesome, and the tune is so excellent, its hard to describe. Im not too sure where fascination street is, its not in my local a-z, but wherever it is, it sounds like an awesome place! 'Prayers for rain' is a song where smith sounds very angered by something. it almost sounds like he could be annoyed about the heatwave we just had! but seriously, his lyrics are very harsh, and almost desperate 'you fracture me, your hands on me, so plain, so stale it kills'. the music is very much in the same feeling as that of closedown or plainsong, with a keyboard being the background to a lot of nice guitar riffs, and heavy drum beats. Not one of my favourite cure songs, but nevertheless, excellent. 'the same deep water as you' is such a brilliant song. The lyrics and the overall sound make this a haunting, and very emotional song. Its hard to decide whether he is singing about drowning himself after a loved one died, or he is commiting suicide with the person he loves. ' ''kiss me goodbye, and bow your head and join with me'', and face pushed deep, reflections meet, the strangest twist upon your lips', 'silently my hands before my fading eyes, and in my eyes your smile......the very last thing before i go......i will kiss you forever on nights like this' the lyrics, and guitar riffs/solos make this the most romantically haunting, emotionally brilliant songs ive heard. 'Disintegration', the title song from this album has a slighty different feel to it from the rest of the songs. Although lyrically this song is very sad, its about missing the feel of somone to l
ove, but being so self destructive, that you know youre going to leave that person, despite how much hurt it will cause, and what you will leave behind, its just the way it has to be, and its not your fault. The sound of the music is slightly more upbeat, as if almost a contrast, with the familiar strong drum riffs running through, and the awesome guitar played by smith and thompson. The more i listen to this song as i write this, the lyrics really do get to me, it really is a moving song. 'Homesick' is an awesome song. The long intro is excellent, the guitar riffs make this sound so good, and a piano playing almost jazz licks really adds to the ambience of the song. the lyric is very short, but ive always loved it. This song is one of the longer songs, and its great to have on, even in the background, as the music is really great. this song is about some kind of addiction, and i think the line that says it all is 'oh it was sweet, it was wild, oh how we....i trembled, stuck in honey, honey cling to me'. It really is a brilliant song. 'Untitled' is another really emotional song. smith sings about losing someone, and regrets not saying and doing things while they were still there. ''feeling the monster climb deeper inside of me, feeling him knawing my heart away hungrlily, ill never lose this pain, never dream of you again'. Its a beautiful song, and a very reflective song. A brilliant way to round off the album, with more great guitar riffs, and the over riding drums adding depth to this classic cure song. Ive never been that good at expressing feelings about how things, especially songs, make me feel, but honestly, this is the best album ive ever listened to. Perhaps its a cure fans album, and may be an acquired taste, but if thats the case, then id suggest you become a cure fan, and acquire the taste, because if you dont listen to this album just because 'its a cure album', it would be a real s
hame. Buy wish, and kiss me kiss me kiss me, then buy this, and im sure you'll feel the same way.
The latter half of the '80s saw the Cure bring a sparkling pop flavour to their music, revitalising a band that seemed to be heading toward self-destruction after the intensity of albums like 'Faith' and 'Pornography'. It was with mixed reactions then that fans and press greeted the news that 1989's 'Disintegration' was going to be a return to the mood of earlier albums. When it arrived however, any fears were proved unfounded. Though Robert Smith's lyrics occasionally floundered in the same sea of melodrama as 'Faith' and 'Pornography' (as in 'Prayers for Rain'), the album contained some of his best writing yet and musically the album was far richer in texture than anything they had recorded. 'Plainsong' is a beautifully fragile song, the music sweeping like a breaking wave toward the viewer while Smith whispers: "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 'Pictures of You' is (along with 'Lovesong'), the most conventional pop song on the album, and it remains one of their best. 'Lullaby' sounds slightly out of place, a quirky, nightmarish little number that sounded like it had lain lurking in Smith's head from around the time they recorded the deranged 'The Top'. Other highlights include 'Same Deep Water As You', reminiscent of 'All Cats Are Grey (from 'Faith'). Here, as throughout the album, the subtly interwoven guitars and keyboards create a rich texture dripping with beauty and emotion. As Smith is consumed by the song, his words linger at the surface: "I will kiss you I will kiss you I will kiss you forever on nights like this I will kiss you I will kiss you And we shall be together..." The title track was the album's equivalent of ea
rlier epics 'A Forest' and '100 Years'...on and on it plays, constricting the listener with its endless guitar, Smith protesting "I never said I would stay to the end...When we both of us knew how the end always is" Elsewhere on the album, Smith continues to explore the theme of decay and the inevitability of loss. Unlike 'Faith' and 'Pornography' (which shared similar themes), his lyrics are less self-absorbed, somehow infused with the passing of the seasons and other universalities. And the music here his more complex, richer and lighter. The album closes with a pleasant drum rhythm carrying the words of a simple, untitled love song: "Never know how I wanted to feel Never quite said what Iwanted to say to you Never quite managed the words to explain to you Never quite knew how to make them believable And now the time has gone" Disintegration saw the Cure returning to earlier preoccupations with all that they had learnt from their excursions into pop. The result was their most consistent and satisfying album to date, and one that they would not better until 2000's 'Bloodflowers'
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Pictures Of You
4 Love Song
5 Last Dance
7 Fascination Street
8 Prayers For Rain
9 The Same Deep Water As You