The Cure
Disintegration


5.0
classic

Review

by Major Tom CONTRIBUTOR (139 Reviews)
July 14th, 2011 | 308 replies


Release Date: 1989 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Return of the Goth.

‘Disintegration’ is a grand, elegant, atmospheric body of work; both a return to the accomplished gothic style the band toyed with in the early eighties, and the culmination of all the experiments pursued by the tenuous gang of goths in the years preceding the album‘s 1989 release date. Initially dubbed a ‘commercial suicide’ by the record label, the album went on to become The Cure’s magnum opus - it’s epic grandeur enticed listeners into bolstering the album up to an impressive #3 placing on the UK album charts - #12 in the US, with recent worldwide sales figures claiming over 3 million copies sold.

What a perfect time it was for the band to become massive, too, as ‘Disintegration’ audibly sounds like The Cure’s crowning glory. It’s at once, both epic and subtle, expressing the same gloomy notions as previous works but doing so in a much more sophisticated and mature fashion. Take, for example, the fact that the majority of the record consists of lengthy instrumentally-driven tracks, with Smith’s poetic confessions serving as the cherry on top of an already mouth-watering cake. It doesn’t rely on simplistic, easy, 3 minute pop songs to draw attention - it expects the listener to invest time and to absorb its splendorous atmospheres, which isn’t that difficult a task when the quality is as undeniable as it is here.

Opening to the superb ‘Plainsong’, the mood and standard of the entire disc are set firmly in place, with icy-cold synths whisking up both magnificently uplifting and darkly downtrodden tones to accompany the gorgeous flickers of guitar and stadium-sized percussion driving the number home. From ‘Plainsong’ we move to the beautiful ‘Pictures of You’ - it’s generous seven and half minutes rarely seeming tedious or unwarranted - a trait which the remaining 10 tracks solidify to an increasingly impressive standard. For all the times the phrase ‘not a single weak track on the whole album’ gets thrown around; ‘Disintegration’ is one of those rare examples of when the phrase rings utterly true and couldn’t be more accurate.

Apart from the dominating lengthy pieces that are most frequent in the latter half, such as the desperate title track; the subtle undercurrent of stormy sound effects present on ‘The Same Deep Water As You’, and the effortlessly sentimental ‘Homesick’; ‘Disintegration’ bares its intelligence by pacing itself with shorter, but nonetheless compelling outings. Such tracks include the almost-poppy ‘Love Song’ - one of Smith’s most starkly personal pieces of writing, and the dark splendour of ‘Fascination Street’, menacing and brooding with its propulsive bass, and tense, spidery lead.

One could write about each and every track in great detail, but for want of not producing a 17 page review, this writer opted to pick just a few of the standout moments detailed above. Every listener will have their own favourites anyway - especially fitting, seeing as the album is, overall, the strongest effort The Cure ever produced. ‘Disintegration’ is an album that works best when heard in a single uninterrupted sitting, letting its sweeping atmosphere seep in and take the listener on a gloomy, midnight rollercoaster ride through the downs of existence.

‘Disintegration’ is the finest album The Cure ever constructed, featuring a consistently brilliant atmosphere on a level the group never quite managed before. Albums like ‘Pornography’ were immensely dark but suffered the tiniest amount from omnipresent melodrama, and that’s precisely why ‘Disintegration’ is a better album - because it takes all the captivating angst and darkness from the past, but expresses said emotions with a newfound grasp of subtlety and sophistication, so that any of the issues that held previous efforts back are simply erased; overcome; bettered. This is truly the work of a master of its field; the master being The Cure and the field being alternative rock. ‘Disintegration’ is more than just merely the best Cure record - it’s one of the greatest alternative rock albums of the entire decade.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
bakkermaarten007
July 14th 2011


3601 Comments


A classic. Period

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
July 14th 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

bakkermaarten007 - Absolutely. One of the best records of its time - probably of all time, come to think of it.


BigHans
July 14th 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

great album, good job again.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
July 14th 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

BigHans - Thanks, man.


Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
July 14th 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

chambered89 - Cheers.


Acanthus
July 14th 2011


9543 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Was sad when there wasn't a review up yesterday, but cheered right up when I saw this and the rating in the morning!

Digging: The Knife - Deep Cuts

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
July 14th 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Acanthus - I'm glad, man, thanks. Had a little 1 day hiatus yesterday, but i'm back - normal service should be resumed.


Acanthus
July 14th 2011


9543 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Everyone needs a break now and then, especially for reviews such as these.

fsharptrit0ne
July 14th 2011


4814 Comments


This is one album I have that I haven't really delved deep into, that needs to change

Acanthus
July 14th 2011


9543 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It does indeed, I admit to sometimes having to be in the mood but this but luckily I'm on an 80's binge.

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
July 14th 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

fsharptrit0ne - Have you heard any Cure before? Perhaps listen to some of their earlier stuff before and build up to this epic.


Acanthus
July 14th 2011


9543 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This was my intro to the band, probably why I like their dark material so much.

fsharptrit0ne
July 14th 2011


4814 Comments


I haven't heard much. I kind of want to start with this one though, I like what I've heard so far.

Pyosisified
July 14th 2011


2450 Comments


Revenge of the Radio

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
July 14th 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Acanthus - My intro to the band was Pornography, so i also have a predilection for the darker stuff.

fsharptrit0ne - Fair enough - this is fucking great, so you can't go wrong.



bloc
July 14th 2011


34926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hmm, never had this one rated yet. Album is indeed epic.

I just love this style of music; perfect balance of emotion and well executed music. NEW ORDER RULES ALL THOUGH.

AggravatedYeti
July 14th 2011


7685 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

amazing album

Irving
Staff Reviewer
July 14th 2011


7312 Comments


Great review Tom; pos.

DoubtGin
July 14th 2011


6752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

gotta listen to New Order

Tom93M
Contributing Reviewer
July 14th 2011


1106 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Irving - Thanks, man.

bloc - "I SEE A SHIP IN THE HARBOUR / I CAN / I SHALL OBEY" ; )



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