You know I can't emphasize enough how dangerous to carelessly play with doors. If I knew the Cure were encouraging their fans to put their heads on a door, or doorway, I would have to renounce my lurve for the Cure. But that's not the case; the boys of the Cure are only hazards to themselves. They had been advocates of heavy drinking and drug use, eventually sacking keyboardist (previously drummer) Lol Tolhurst over the years of turmoil. omg his name is lol. But that had not happened yet and with The Head on the Door
The Cure had got their head in the door of the mainstream's humble abode. Releasing their debut in 1979, and gradually picking up a fan base, the Cure finally established some American fans. This was not easy as lead singer and creative force of the Cure Robert Smith was afraid of flying. So by boat they sailed to the new land, and with the follow-ups Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
and the legendary Disintegration
, the Cure maintained themselves in the mainstream with their New-Wave vibe and clever videos.
The Cure have gone through many sound changes, from their Post-Punk days to extreme gloominess, The Head on the Door
signaled a poppier Cure, causing some older fans to call them sell-outs. Yes, this album is poppy, and one of the Cure's best pop albums. The most noticeably poppy song would undoubtedly be the schizophrenic hit Close to Me
driven by a catchy beat and bassline, pretty much the base to the song as Smith sings in a rather erratic voice. To be exact, this album has synth-pop, the slick 80s production, the light, bright guitars, and Robert's voice sounding similar to many New-Wavers at the time. Though the Cure are tinged with this rather dated sound, they don't overdo it, varying the album enough. So it turns out I can enjoy synth-pop, it's just rarely done well. Of course the synth-pop gives way too much of a dated sound on some songs, which devalues the music overall. The exception would be Push
, a triumphant sounding tune that is well fit for the pomp of synth-pop.
The Head on the Door
shows that the Cure aren't afraid to keep their music diversified. The two most obvious examples are Kyoto Song
and The Blood
. Kyoto Song, if you know your geography, has a very Japanese feel, with an oriental plucked string instrument playing a rather typical sounding part. Despite there's usually an upbeat mood accompanied with something like that, Kyoto Song is a rather sad, lustful song though with light instrumentation. The flamenco guitar drenched The Blood is probably the most appealing, despite not having any relations with synth-pop, it showcases Smith's incredible ability as a melody chameleon. The Blood is not literally about "the Blood of Christ", it's a type of liquor Smith got wasted with one night. Close to Me's horns, the techno backdrop of the Baby Scream
, the creepy disco vibe of Screw
, all are gears of the Cure's experimental machine for this album. Screw, however, backfires; while it has a strong melody like most of the Head on the Door
, the song falls flat with its cheesiness. Sounds like INXS with a Sonic Youth bassline, and we all know INXS suck and Sonic Youth are keen. Close to Me is similar, being quite a weak song musically in reality, but I suppose we all have a soft spot for pop. Even Robert Smith, who once said the Cure were a pop band :gasp: But really, it's no surprise , with a handful of pop hits. The Lovecats, Mint Car, Friday I'm in Love, In Between days
from this record. But he also said that the Cure at the same time are always teetering on the mainstream, pushing things over the edge a bit.
While the Cure do not hint much to their past on this album, the Head on the Door
foreshadows the Cure's future. A Night Like This (once covered by coolest 90s band ever the Smashing Pumpkins) conveys the same mood as Disintegration, loneliness, regret, overall just bummed out. But the music remains poppier, light everyone needs some casual sax every now and then [/lame joke] The album's closer, could easily been stuck in on Disintegration. Sinking
has a long intro, symphonic synthesizers, tons of gloom, it basically reeks of the 1989 classic. It's kind of strange, to have these songs on the Head on the Door
, but still keeps the nice variety. Perhaps leaves one a bit on a downer to end with Sinking, especially with so many more upbeat songs. There's a mood progression through the songs, slowly getting sadder and sadder as the album comes to an end (marketing scheme?) Like its very ignored predecessor The Top
, The Head on the Door
has an array of many moods and sounds. Big early Cure or Pornography
(the album, you shameless pig) fans may not concur, but this is one of the best Cure albums, though one of the shortest (considering the era they were in). Despite some few weak points, it's a solid, interesting listen through, not sticking to a certain sound. While it may not be any Disintegration, it sure is something great by the Cure.
Close to Me
A Night Like This
The Head on the Door----------> 4 stars