Dark, dreamy, career-defining.
Originating in the wake of the late-’70s punk scene, British import, The Cure, emerged as a forerunner in the post-punk, new wave movement of the 1980s–releasing 13 studio albums over the course of a career that has spanned more than three decades.
The band’s eighth record, 1989’s “Disintegration,” is their biggest commercial success to date and considered critically acclaimed amongst the masses–myself included.
Remastered in 2010, its vinyl was divided into two LPs–adding two bonus tracks that were scrapped from the original pressing due to the record’s length. Owning both the original LP and digital remastering, I can say each record provides a different listening experience, but one truth remains for both: “Disintegration” is a thought-provoking listen full of heartbreak and soul-baring honesty.
“Disintegration” is something out of a synth-pop dream. The record’s opener, “Plainsong” is anything but what the title suggests. Subdued, cascading wind chimes explode–giving way to synth-laced guitar as frontman Robert Smith’s spellbinding voice and haunting lyrics paint a picture that is, in true The Cure fashion, nothing short of melancholic.
Other highlights on the record include “Lovesong” and “Pictures of You“–arguably two of The Cure’s biggest hits, the former reminiscent of “Just Like Heaven“–a track off the band’s 1987 album, “Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me” and testament to Smith’s ability to juxtapose gloomy, morose lyrics with sickeningly sweet melodies and vice versa.
But the heart of this album lies within the title track. Eight minutes and 20 seconds of chilling intensity–the climax of the record shattering through the silence following “The Same Deep Water as You “–glass breaking as a heavy, hypnotic guitar riff plays on. “Disintegration” is without a doubt the record’s darkest track (and my personal favorite.) And although its upbeat tempo may at first suggest otherwise, its lyrics seem to convey the somber tone of the album in its entirety.
“Disintegration” is a record that doesn’t feel like a hassle to listen to all the way through. Each track effortlessly dissolving to the next–its all consuming sound made to be played at full volume–has the making of any solid vinyl. Dismal and captivating, an atmospheric album unlike any other I’ve heard, “Disintegration” is a record well worth the listen.