May 2nd marks the 27th anniversary of The Cure's seminal eighth studio album. Disintegration remains a monumental achievement in gothic rock/post-punk culture - a whirl of gorgeous instrumentation, emotional weight, and psychedelic bliss.
The Cure was at a commercial peak in 1989. They had numerous charting singles under their belt; notably 1979's Boys Don't Cry, 1987's Just Like Heaven, and even The Hanging Garden - a song from an album that was an attempt at retreating from their pop conventions - reached number 8 in the UK charts. By the time the late '80s rolled around, Robert Smith was approaching 30 and felt that a more personal and less pop-oriented statement was in order. Smith began to fall into a depression, convinced that he still had yet to release an album he was truly satisfied with. Fame had taken its toll on the band, and, combined with a newfound use of psychedelic drugs, they began working on an album that sounded like nothing they'd done before it.
Disintegration valued mood and atmosphere over catchy singles. Though accessible with plenty of hooks, the album still resonated with the gothic rock subculture. Its twelve songs seamlessly flow together through harmonic progressions, hypnotic dance rhythms, and a predominantly melancholy, despairing mood. Smith's vocal talents reach its peak on Disintegration, with powerful and heart-wrenching croons that stitch perfectly within the sonic fabric of the album. On a technical level, its production quality is unmatched; with astounding attention to the smallest details. Disintegration was the band at their creative and commercial peak, and its legacy will not soon be forgotten.
Listen to The Cure's Disintegration below and catch them in Boston at the Agganis Arena on June 16th!