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A melancholy masterpiece.
Disintegration - The Cure
Member Name: jeffjen
Disintegration - The Cure
Date: 05/10/11, updated on 05/10/11 (85 review reads)
Advantages: Musically and lyrically tugs your heart strings with every listen.
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.
Summary: The Cure's finest album.