The Cure
The Head on the Door



by pulseczar USER (67 Reviews)
November 2nd, 2005 | 24 replies

Release Date: 1985 | Tracklist

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.

Recommended Songs:
The Blood
Close to Me
A Night Like This

The Head on the Door----------> 4 stars

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The door to rejuvenation…...

Comments:Add a Comment 
November 2nd 2005


Good reviewThis Message Edited On 11.02.05This Message Edited On 11.02.05

November 2nd 2005


Galapwngos can you make me an avatar thats as cool as yours?

Good review too.

November 4th 2005


Album Rating: 4.0

i think i overrated this, deserves a 4 really.

heh, i forgot i had this account

September 5th 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

The Cure has long been one of my favorite bands. They have strong superb albums, and even in their weakes albums, they manage to have one or two amazing songs. This album is probably their first of really big commercial hits and though it is not one of their wekaest, it certainly is not one of their strongest either. Of course that lyrically speaking, the album is excellent but it is musically where I feel the album has trailed off a bit. Of course there are gems in this album. The song "A night like this" is nothing short of superb. Parhaps the best song on this album. It's sad yet catchy enough to be recognizable. This song was even my favorite Cure song for a while. Push is another great song with great guitar work and very upbeat. Kyoto song and sinking are also great. Now The Blood is where is the album sinks a bit. The song has something I can't put my finger on but I feel this song is a filler. Screw and the baby screams seem a bit cheesy to me and though fun songs, they do not fit in with A night like this or Push. Close to me is an unshamed pop song but if we are talking pop songs on this album the better choice is the opener In Between Days. All in all is a good buy, a good enjoyment and gems in an album that could've been better but good nontheless. If this album would've been released by any other artist, it might have been rated higher but knowing what The Cure are capable and have done in subsequent albums A head on the Door is certainly not The Cure at it's finest, but a good, perhaps great album by any other standards. Very easy to digest for the ones not familiar with the cure and a good buy for the fans....AZ

Two-Headed Boy
October 28th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Wonderful review, Mr. Towers.

This is a great album. I really love "Sinking" and all of your recomended tracks.

October 1st 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

This music is so freakin' awesome. I remember the intro music for some kind of cartoon called Dragon Hunters. I really liked the intro music, very calm and emotional. A few days back I found out it was The Cure who wrote it, so I downloaded Close to Me. I was in love at once, and my love began to go deeper when I also found out the Cure wrote Lovesong (I though it was the Police) which is covered perfectly by Tori Amos (and several others). This is my new fav. band.

November 22nd 2009


one of the catchiest Cure albums so good mhm

March 24th 2010


Album Rating: 5.0

This is underrated as hell.

I thought The Cure would be huge on this site.

March 24th 2010


Album Rating: 3.0

I consider this The Cure's most overrated album. It seems to be universally liked, even more so than Kiss Me or Wish. The two big singles on here are a couple of my least favorite. Push is overrated, and Screw is just plain bad.

I love Kyoto Song, Six Different Ways, The Baby Screams, A Night Like This, Sinking. The rest just don't do it for me. The Top is their most underrated IMO. I like it twice as much as this. [edit] don't get me wrong though, i'm a fan. just my least favorite from their stretch of great albums.

Slipping Away
August 20th 2010


Album Rating: 3.5

love this album, probably my fourth favorite of theirs, has some of my favorite cure songs on it

July 9th 2011


Ah nostalgia. I miss my cure days.
I don't miss being a whiny heartbroken wuss though.

August 1st 2011


Close To Me is so stuffy and claustrophobic sounding

November 6th 2011


Album Rating: 4.5

In between days is amazing

November 12th 2011


nice review, just one thing; INXS DON'T SUCK

May 10th 2012


Album Rating: 3.5

I don't remember when I gave an album less than 4. Today I rated this one 3.5 and I am so happy, because I had so much fun listening to it. "Close to Me" is sick!

August 20th 2012


Album Rating: 5.0

I love this whole album,

August 20th 2012


Album Rating: 3.0

everyone should

August 20th 2012


Album Rating: 4.5

Kyoto song rules

August 20th 2012


Album Rating: 3.0

A Place to Bury Strangers have a track called "Keep Slipping Away" that sounds a lot like "The Baby Screams" on this if you ask me, but I'll let you be the judge of that.


The Cure:

September 18th 2012


Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah, it's too similar.

Gosh, this album has such a variety. I love it. Never gets boring.

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