The Record Lounge: Review – The Cure – “Disintegration” Remastered

Originally posted on Facebook 06/15/2010

The Cure – Disintegration (Remaster)

It had all begun with a simple drumbeat and a droning bassline. Methodical. Haunting. Unsettling. Maybe it was even dark. No-one really knew , since it was the first of its kind. It was a little scary, and a bit crude, much like an aural version of Nosferatu. The year was 1979, and Bauhaus had recorded their first single, “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” which would in turn spark and entire genre. This was Goth.

What no one would realize in 1979, was that although Bauhaus would be considered the progenitor of the genre, it would be a three piece Post-Punk act to dethrone them from their place as flag-bearers and most recognized artist of their genre. That three-piece Post-Punk band, The Cure, had also released their debut in 1979 with the decidedly un-Goth Three Imaginary Boys.

Flash-forward a decade. After molding themselves through several different lineups, delving into drug-fueled hazes that would see them record albums they don’t necessarily remember writing, they would come out of their dark period (Faith, The Top, Pornography), and into a brighter place (Head On The Door, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me). Hardcore fans of the band were not necessarily happy with the results of Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, landing the band their biggest commercial success in the US to date, with the single “Just Like Heaven”. This was bringing in a new breed of fan for sure.

Taking the darker part of their career, and blending it with this poppier attitude towards songwriting, Disintegration was the album The Cure was destined to make. All paths led to this point. Dark and moody with all the pop sensibilities they had implemented over the past 4 years or so, along with the building successes of each album, they were poised to take over not only alternative music, but mainstream radio as well.

The lead single, “Fascination Street”, had arrived a month prior to Disintegration. This would be the call hardcore fans had waited for. Throbbing basslines, needling guitars, and Robert Smiths all too familiar wail insinuated it was a new era. This was and is driving goth rock at its finest moment.

Soon after the album’s release, the nimble guitar of “Lullaby” brought to life one of the creepiest pieces the band had produced. The delicate tale of the spiderman would go on to be a fan favorite. The accompanying video was unsettling for the time, portraying Robert Smith in smeared pre-Tim Burton makeup with hair even more unruly (even by Smiths standards) being eventually swallowed whole by a giant spider.

The pure pop of “Lovesong” became the third single. This track grabbed a hold of the charts unlike anything else The Cure had offered before, fully breaking the mainstream. This wasn’t Alternative or even Goth, this was a pure pop song peaking at #2 on both Modern Rock and Hot 100 charts in the US.

“Pictures of You” would be the final single from the album. Although not charting well in the US, “Pictures of You” would be a staple on US radio for the next 2 decades.

The singles weren’t the main reasons to buy this record though. The growth as an album band had progressed by leaps and bounds; Disintegration delivers the flow of an instant classic. This wasn’t built around several singles and filler. Disintegration has endured as a solid piece of art, from the opening of “Plainsong” through the end of “Untitled”, and should be viewed as a complete work.

This remastered version comes a drinking age past the original release, 21 years in the making. The album has never popped the way it does now as it leaps out of the speakers at the listener, giant, fresh, vibrant and unaged. The Cure sound almost more relevant on this reissue than they do on their later releases.

Packaged with the remastered album comes 2 more discs of rarities and goodies. First you get the treatment from the past remasters, with Robert Smith’s home demos and extras. You also get Entreat Plus, which is the entire Disintegration album in its entirety live.

To commemorate this release, The Cure offer even more material. Alternative Rarities 1988-1989 delivers more Robert Smith home recordings, and many songs that did not make the cut. Also, there is another live version, Disintegration Live In Dallas. This is taken from what is rumored to be one of the bands best and favorite shows, from Starplex Amphitheatre in Dallas, TX, 9/15/1989. (Thanks to http://www.chainofflowers.com/ for the additional release information, both can be downloaded through links on their site.)

Although The Cure did not originate Goth, or even begin as a Goth act, it only took them a decade to fully master it for the masses, presenting the go-to album for the entire Goth genre.

Disintegration is available at http://tinyurl.com/37uds9q or in person at Good Records.

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~ by thesynaptic on August 8, 2010.

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